Over the years I’ve made a huge number of blog posts here (well over 730 by now), and I’ve also participated in a number of public lectures and/or discussions. Many of these events were recorded on video, and I’m happy to share with you a collection of those public events through my Lanyard page…
Posts Tagged ‘Chicago’
Posted by mattusmaximus on March 1, 2014
Posted by mattusmaximus on January 6, 2014
The fine folks at Chicago Skeptics are currently in the early stages of organizing the Chicago Skepticamp 2014 conference, which is scheduled for Saturday April 5th at the Irish American Heritage Center, and one of the things they need most right now are speakers. Please read their latest press release for more information on this, and consider getting involved or at least passing along the news:
Saturday, April 5th
Irish American Heritage Center
Registration will be open through March 1.
This year’s schedule:
10:00 am: Hello!
Here is the part of the schedule where there will be a whole bunch of awesome speakers, just like you!
So much like you, in fact, that one of them could BE you.
Speaker registration is now open! Get those brains a-stormin’. You don’t have to have your whole talk ready, but tell us what you’d like to speak about and we’ll get you signed up.
Speaker sign-up ends on February 1st.
(All final speaker materials must be submitted by March 1)
What is a Skepticamp?
Skepticamp is an opportunity for us to get together to learn about different ares of skepticism from our fellow group members. These talks give an opportunity for individuals to delve into particular areas of skepticism…both the tried and true topics and those that may not get as much attention in the regular blogs and articles. Skepticamps encourage as many people as possible to give a talk…and certainly encourages first-time speakers to try their hand at presenting in a friendly, supportive atmosphere.
For more info on skepticamps in general, visit:
One of the principles of Skepticamp is that everyone participates either by talking or helping in some way. We are already having planning committee meetings, and interested parties can still help. Other ways to help will be announced as we get closer to the date…setup and cleanup crews, distributing publicity, etc. (Nobody is going to be turned away because they don’t have a specific job, though.)
Skepticamp is a participant supported event. If you’d like to help offset some of the financial costs incurred by the organizers, please consider making a donation. We’ll also be accepting donations at the event.
Though Skepticamp is free to attend, there are several significant expenses for making it a reality. If you’d like to help, please click this link.
Posted by mattusmaximus on March 4, 2013
This past weekend I had the honor of speaking at the Chicago Skepticamp 2013, and I chose to do my talk on a topic on which I’ve written before here – the communication gap that we skeptics and science-supporters have with creationists and other psuedoscientists.
I recorded the talk (which is only about 16 minutes long), and I include that along with the slide presentation I made below. Audio is on the first slide. Mouse over it and you should see the tab for it. Enjoy!
Posted in creationism, psychology, skeptical community | Tagged: 2013, argument, astronomy, believer, Bible, biology, Catholic Church, Chicago, church, communication, conference, creationism, Earth, evidence, evolution, Galilei, Galileo, Galileo Was Wrong, geocentrism, geocentrist, heliocentrism, literalism, physics, pseudoscience, psychology, religion, science, seminar, skeptic, SkeptiCamp, skeptics, talk, worldview, YEC, Young Earth Creationism | 6 Comments »
Posted by mattusmaximus on January 6, 2013
I wanted to pass along to everyone a call-to-arms which hits really close to home for me… literally. As a science teacher, I am especially concerned with seeing that public institutions that promote good science education are protected. This usually means that I am defending our public schools from creationism or other nonsense, but there is another insitution which often goes overlooked: museums. Case in point: the Field Museum of Natural History, perhaps one of the best public educational/research institutions in the country, is in real trouble. Please take a few minutes to read this excellent Skepticblog post by Donald Prothero and consider taking action!
Save the Field Museum!by Donald Prothero, Jan 02 2013
Buried in all the news of the end of the world, the “fiscal cliff”, and the holiday season was another item that probably escaped most people’s attention. The Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, one of the world’s foremost natural history museums, is planning huge cutbacks in their scientific staff in the next few weeks. Details of who will be cut are sketchy, but the news raced through my professional community and made us all very upset. This is not only because many people who are our personal friends will be losing their jobs because of mismanagement at the top, but also because such a disastrous move would hurt science in many ways that the general public may not appreciate. …
… Most people think a museum is just a bunch of exhibits of fossils or art on display, but don’t realize what goes on behind the scenes. As Jerry Coyne also points out in his post, a top museum like the Field is also one of the most important research institutions in the country, with curators who are among the top scientists in their area of research. Just like university research professors, these curators must pursue research grants and find funding to do important scientific projects. Unlike most university research scientists (who don’t have a place to store too many specimens if they find them), museum curators tend to focus on research that recovers new specimens, and adds to the total resource base for scientific research. Without this material, our data base for research and understanding topics in the fossil record would dry up, because there is no else out there to perform such an important role. I’ve known nearly all the vertebrate paleontology curators at the Field Museum (both past and present) for many years, and most are among the sharpest minds in our field, doing essential science that few others could perform. …
Posted in education, science funding, skeptical community | Tagged: Chicago, Donald Prothero, education, Field Museum, finances, funding, money, museum, natural history, petition, public, research, scientists, Skepticblog | 2 Comments »
Posted by mattusmaximus on November 21, 2012
This past Carl Sagan Day celebration in Chicago was a wonderful experience: the room was packed, the speakers were quite inspiring, and I left the evening with my enthusiasm for science and reason elevated! The audio of the entire event was recorded, and I wanted to share that with you below. Enjoy
“We wait for light, but behold darkness.” Isaiah 59:9
“It is better to light one candle than to curse the darkness.” Adage
Posted in skeptical community | Tagged: 2012, advocacy, annual, astronomy, Carl Sagan, Carl Sagan day, celebration, Chicago, Cosmos, critical thinking, day, DePaul University, event, party, physics, popular, public, science, secular, Secular Student Alliance, secularism, skeptic, SSA | Leave a Comment »
Posted by mattusmaximus on October 7, 2012
In the next few weeks, supporters of science and secularism will be celebrating the 78th anniversary of the birth of Carl Sagan, scientist, astronomer, skeptic, and popular advocate for science and critical thinking. For many of us who are in our 30s and 40s, we were inspired to become interested in science as a direct result of Carl Sagan’s public advocacy of science (most especially through his ground-breaking book and TV-series Cosmos). In honor of Carl Sagan and his accomplishments, as well as a way of promoting the public acceptance of science, we in the Chicago area will celebrate Carl Sagan Day on Thursday, Nov. 1st – look here for more information!
**Aside: To find a Carl Sagan Day event in your area, just use Google. If there isn’t one, consider holding your own
Carl Sagan at The Planetary Society in 1980. Image source
You’re invited to Chicago’s Carl Sagan Day 2012! Chicago’s secular community is gathering once again to celebrate the life and legacy of the great science popularizer, the beauty of discovery, and the fun of exploration. The event will be held in Schmitt Academic Center Room 161, on DePaul’s Lincoln Park Campus. The building is handicapable accessible, and accommodation can be provided upon request. …
Apple pie (made from scratch, of course) and cosmos will be served.Speakers: “Carl Sagan’s Life and Legacy” Dr. Peter Vandervoort, Professor Emeritus, Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics, and a former colleague of Carl Sagan[Topic Undetermined] Dr. Angela Olinto, Chair of the Astronomy and Astrophysics Department at the University of Chicago“Citizen Science” Dr. Bernhard Beck-Winchantz, Associate Professor of the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Studies Department at DePaul UniversityEmcee: Matt Lowry High School Physics Teacher, writer at The Skeptical Teacher.
Posted in skeptical community | Tagged: 2012, advocacy, annual, astronomy, Carl Sagan, Carl Sagan day, celebration, Chicago, Cosmos, critical thinking, day, DePaul University, event, party, physics, popular, public, science, secular, secularism, skeptic | 2 Comments »
Posted by mattusmaximus on January 28, 2012
While presenting at the totally awesome Chicago Skepticamp today, during a break I saw something really funny: the “Sh*t Skeptics Say” video on YouTube. The video is the work of the fine folks at Skeptically Pwned!, a group of comedic skeptics who spoof various kinds of nonsense and woo. Check out their newest video, and tell others about their channel… (warning: NSFW)
Posted in humor, skeptical community | Tagged: atheists, channel, Chicago, comedy, comic, fun, funny, humor, internet, John Rael, kicked in the nuts, NSFW, shit atheists say, shit skeptics say, skeptic, Skeptically Pwned, SkeptiCamp, spoof, video, youtube | 3 Comments »
Posted by mattusmaximus on June 19, 2011
I just wanted to pass along to you some news which might interest those of you in the Midwest next weekend: another Un-Psychic Fair! You may recall the first WTFF Un-Psychic Fair in Chicago last year, and we hope that this one will be even more fun, more skeptic-y, and more un-psychic-y!!! Read on for details…
… This event launches our presence in Indianapolis, a city where we’ve found great skeptics and the potential for a truly bad ass skeptical mofo community. Our only option was to invade Indy and bring some mofos together to help us save them from their little notch on the Bible Belt.
Come out to the Unpsychic fair this weekend and be a part of WTF Indy! We’ll give you all you can eat food and buy your first drink. Then, we’ll be raffling off an entire bottle of alcohol. And we’ll do unpsychic readings… by real fake psychics!
The Women Thinking Free Foundation has arrived in Indianapolis!
Please join us on June 25, 2011 for our first ever Indy event: Mysteries of the Totally Explained, an Unpsychic Faire.
Tarot card readings!
Discover your fate with a oujia board!You will be amazed at the occasional accuracy of your readings!We can already sense your presence!
Tickets are $20 and include all you can eat appetizers, cash bar with drink specials and your first drink is on us!FREE admission for ghosts entering through the Ouija board or other spiritual portal.We predict an awesome time!
Women Thinking Free Foundation
Saturday June 25, 2011 at 6:00 PM EDT
301 W Washington St
Posted in psychics, skeptical community | Tagged: bar, Chicago, crystall ball, divination, esp, extra sensory perception, feminism, fortune, fun, fundrasier, humor, Indiana, Indianapolis, Indy, mind reading, Ouija, Ouija board, palm reading, palmistry, party, physics, pseudoscience, psychic, psychic fair, skeptical community, skepticism, spirit, spirit board, unpsychic fair, Women Thinking Free, Women Thinking Free Foundation, WTF, WTFF | 3 Comments »
Center For Inquiry Chicago Event: “On Deities, Doctrines, Superstitions and Other Things to Die For”
Posted by mattusmaximus on September 12, 2010
Anyone involved in skepticism in and around the Chicago area no doubt knows that one of the key organizations in the local skeptic/freethought movement is the Center For Inquiry Chicago. They have an upcoming event that I would like to pass along to you all in case anyone’s interested in attending…
The Center For Inquiry/Chicago invites you to our multi-media, participatory, Fall extravaganza!
On Deities, Doctrines, Superstitions
and Other Things to Die For
In Wicker Park at “St. Paul’s” Cultural Center – 2215 W. North Ave. – Chicago
Saturday, September 18th 2010, from 7:00 pm – 11:00 pm
The program includes:
- Mark Twain “in person”—Warren Brown, a nationally renowned Twain scholar, will perform as Twain, Huck, and Jim, the runaway slave, and will illuminate their views on science, humanism and slavery. A Q&A discussion will follow the performance.
- Davis Schneiderman, a thought provoking multimedia author, college professor, and editor will read sections from his new book: “Drain.
- Miki Greenberg of ”It’s A Girl” will mobilize us with his satirical songs.
- Poetry Slam! Write your own verse and then sign in with Davis Schneiderman, the host! Be ready to present! As always with a Slam, everything goes: reading, reciting or singing your poem/song, in costume or in plain clothes. Use your creativity, but stay with the theme, “On Deities, Doctrines, Superstitions and Other Things to Die For.” Be prepared—in keeping with the Slam tradition, the audience will express its admiration or disapproval of your wordsmithing!
- Art exhibit by three CFI/Chicago members—Ayala Leyser, Eric Wall and Ivan Phillips—on the theme “Not What Meets the Eye: On Deities, Doctrines, Superstitions and Other Things to Die For”
Throughout the evening:
- Food and snacks included with your admission. Cash bar is available for very reasonably priced drinks and soft drinks.
Free street parking, public transportation is nearby, and bike stands are available.
Click here to register online! Don’t miss this one!
If you’ve never before been a Friend of the Center, become a Friend at $60 and pay only $7 more for this event—over half off!
Price if purchased online by Sept. 11th (one week before):
Current Friend of Center: $12
Price if purchased online after Sept. 11th, or at the door (if at door, cash is much preferred):
Current Friend of Center: $15
See below for performers’ bios:
Warren Brown, a nationally known Illinois Humanities Council “Roads Scholar,” presents a first-person Chautauqua-style program as Mark Twain. Twain will take us on a journey on water, land, and air, sharing insights from the “Diaries of Adam and Eve” and thoughts about Galileo and Newton. Mark Twain is claimed by freethinkers as one of our own for his still remarkably contemporary, funny and humanist viewpoints on religion, hypocrisy, and the straight-laced Victorian “virtues” of Then and Now. Brown received the Studs Terkel Humanities Service Award for his Chautauqua-style portrayal of Samuel Clemens, “bridging the lessons of history with the demands of contemporary living.”
A multimedia artist and writer, Davis Schneiderman is the author and editor of eight books, including the novels Drain, Abecedarium, and the forthcoming blank novel, Blank: a novel. He co-edited the collections Retaking the Universe: Williams S. Burroughs in the Age of Globalization and The Exquisite Corpse: Chance and Collaboration in Surrealism’s Parlor Game; as well as the audio collage Memorials to Future Catastrophes. His creative work has appeared in numerous publications. He is Chair of the English Department, and Director of Press/&NOW Books, at Lake Forest College.
As a pianist, composer and arranger for Maestro Subgum & the Whole, Miki Greenberg has been making music on Chicago’s underground scene since 1986. He co-founded the Lunar Cabaret in 1994 and is currently with the group “It’s A Girl,” working on his 16th album. Superstition, religion and things people die for were his obsession while working with his previous band, “Fetal Position,” as he continues to mix good entertainment with wit and critical thinking.
Posted by mattusmaximus on August 1, 2010
On Friday, July 23rd, the Women Thinking Free Foundation held a skeptical psychic fair in Chicago as a fundraiser while also having some fun exposing the various tricks & techniques that go into all manner of psychic nonsense.
Among all the drinking & merriment, there were a number activities that we had, including a tarot card silent auction, a “psychic showdown”, along with some fun mentalism & magic tricks. We also handed out many copies of Michael Shermer’s Learn to be Psychic in 10 Easy Lessons! which outlines the tricks of the psychic trade, including such time-honored (and completely NON-paranormal) techniques such as cold reading.
My primary contribution to the event was to bring a Ouija board to demonstrate a lesson in critical thinking regarding these supposed “spirit boards”…
The whole trick behind the standard operation of a Ouija board is a well-documented & understood phenomenon called the ideomotor effect, whereby the people holding their hands on the pointer of the board (the planchette) subconsciously maneuver it around without necessarily knowing it. In fact, with Ouija boards, tests have been performed that illustrate that when the people using the board are blindfolded, and the board is randomly rotated without their knowledge, then all the supposed messages from the “spirit world” turn into gibberish. Just take a look at this footage from Penn & Teller’s Bullshit where they tested a Ouija board in just this manner…
Posted in ghosts & paranormal, psychics | Tagged: bar, Chicago, crystall ball, divination, eddy currents, electromagnetic induction, feminism, fortune, fun, fundrasier, humor, ideomotor effect, induction, Ouija, Ouija board, palm reading, palmistry, party, physics, pseudoscience, psychic, psychic fair, skeptical community, skepticism, spirit, spirit board, Women Thinking Free, Women Thinking Free Foundation, WTF, WTFF | 6 Comments »