Two skeptics meetings in Europe this fall (and one in the US)

By Phil Plait | May 27, 2010 10:39 am

If you happen to find yourself in The Old World this autumn, then you may want to attend one or both of these conferences…

1) TAM London 2010 will be October 16 – 17 in (duh) London. The speakers list is every bit as impressive as last year’s! The highlight, no doubt, will be the premier of Tim Minchin’s animated short film "Storm", which is destined to become a skeptical classic — watch the trailer here.


Before you ask, I won’t be at TAM London this year; the point is to make it Eurocentric, so American speakers are kept to a minimum. But of course, TAM 8 will be in Las Vegas this year from July 8 – 11. I’ll very much be there!

2) The 14th annual European Skeptics Conference will be from September 17 – 19 in Budapest, Hungary. That’s run by the European Council of Skeptical Organisations. I’ve heard Budapest is lovely, and someday I hope to get there.

If you’ve never been to a critical thinking conference, then you really should attend. And if you want to go to TAM, you’d better be ready to buy tickets when they become available; last year they sold out in less than an hour. There was a reason for that: it was awesome.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Cool stuff, JREF, Skepticism

Comments (7)

  1. Zixinus

    Wow, I didn’t know there will be a sceptic meeting in Budapest! I live in Hungary.

    Oh, and Budapest is indeed lovely as long as you ignore the hungarist. Hopefully, with the new non-socialist party in government now, there will be less riots.

    Greatest challenge for me now is to remember that there is a meeting there and then.

  2. Heavenly Spoon

    What’s the point of making these Eurocentric? I’d love to see the best speakers, not the ones living closest to me. In fact, it would probably be better to get more distant speakers, since the odds of seeing them elsewhere would be far lower.

    I sadly can’t go (too poor :< , I have a trip to London planned already, and Eurostar tickets (let alone TAM tickets, probably) aren't really the most affordable things in the world), so I really shouldn't be complaining, but this does strike me as odd.
    If I would've gone, I know I would've loved to see you, though.

  3. Thomas Siefert

    TAM London 2009 was fantastic, unfortunately I now live on the far side of the world. :-(

    At least the weather is better here….

  4. reidh

    Nothing personal Tom, but if you don’t like Bad Astronomy, perhaps you could spend a little of your skepticism on debunking the existing Flawed Theory of the Evolution of the Solar System, which is not supported by any of the as yet discovered exo-terrestrial planets.

  5. Sam-Hec

    Two Climate Change Septics walk into a bar, and neither are will believe it.

  6. Being “Eurocentric” has some sense and that is our goal with the 14th European Skeptics Congress in Budapest. I heavily rely on the existing skeptic resources (blogs, forums, podcasts etc.), and I love them. But they of course mostly concentrate on North-American issues. Here in Europe we have some specific topics.

    For example EU legislation about pseudoscientific issues are not so much covered in the existing skeptic media. Homeopathy is simply treated by skeptics in the US as a clear and obvious example of pseudoscience. Meanwhile simplified registration of homeopathic remedies is endorsed by EU recommendations. In many European countries financing of CAM from public money is either ongoing or close to that. Consumer protection and product registration rules in other areas are also driven by EU directives more and more and vendors of dubious products are navigating very successfully between the national and EU level procedures making the life of a skeptic in any given country very difficult. If you combine these Europe-specific challenges with the language barriers, you might understand that we are looking for some specific (additional) forums for European skeptics.

    Of course it does not mean that we might not want to invite speakers from US. They are our heroes as well. But it is too bad that we find much less similar skeptic “stars” here in Europe. We have to find them! Also we – the Hungarian organizers – simply does not have the money to cover the costs for transatlantic travels for speakers from the US.

    That is very good that we now have two skeptic events in Europe already. It is rather unfortunate however that – it seems – there is not so much cooperation between the organizers (I am being one of them). The two events are possibly too close to each other. Last year we voluntarily postponed the 14th European Skeptics Congress by a year (!) not to compete with the first TAM London. That time we heard rumors that TAM London would be organized every 2nd year (like the European congress), so we tried to manage them for alternating years. Now we had learnt that again we would collide. No coordination :(

    Anyhow, there are possibly differences between the two events. TAM is more like a show, a big party for skeptics – and it was a really good one last year in London! We are focusing a bit more on personal involvement. During the 21 years of the European congresses discussions, Q&A sessions has always been an important part of the event. In 2007 in Dublin special workshops had been organized for initiating cooperation. We would like to build on that initiation and will organize workshops on three topics:

    * Enforcing cooperation among skeptics in Europe – Should we set up our own platforms, or should we use existing forums? How to cope with language barriers? How could we utilize, translate each others articles, videos etc. Should we start a podcast specialized on European topics? Should we prepare common statements on specific issues?
    * Reacting on antievolutionist propaganda – Should we participate on direct debates or not? Should we reflect on claims coming from evolution deniers? How should we react on initiations about “teaching the controversy” in schools? How should we present evolution theory, the concept and the new findings to the public?
    * Answering the CAM challenge on a European level – How could we influence policy making about complementer and alternative medicine on the European level? Could we create a general policy recommendation? What are the similarities and differences on CAM regulation and practice in the various countries?

    We are still looking for participants for these panel discussions. Also there is still opportunity for registering as a lecturer for the congress.

    Please visit the following pages for more info:

    Gabor Hrasko
    President – Hungarian Skeptics Society

  7. DataJack

    I have the great fortune this year of going to both TAM Vegas 8 and TAM London 2010. Our first trip to the UK; I am very much looking forward to it. Last year, TAM Vegas 7 was my first, and I honestly think it was the best trip we have ever taken. We learned, we contributed, we met people, we had fun. Plus, I won a bidding war on a signed (by everybody) copy of “Death from the Skies” by some guy who likes astronomy and critical thinking – I highly recommend it (though the signed copy lies in state – I read a different one).

    So, go to TAM or other Skeptical meet-ups if you can, you won’t be disappointed.


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