I wish I could have spent more time at this year’s James Randi Educational Foundation skeptic convention. Randi, Dawkins, deGrasse Tyson (the planetarium guy who’s always on Colbert Report)—all the big names were there.
So were the small ones. Many more than last year. I know this because last year, the main ballroom had chairs & tables. This year, only chairs. Not enough space for the tables. Somewhere around 1,600 skeptics total.
I caught Jennifer Hecht’s whirlwind lecture on the philosophy of skepticism, Pamela Gay’s lecture on astronomy (only at a skeptic convention would the line “Neptune has taken a revolution around the sun!” draw a round of applause), and a panel discussion on the future of space travel with Bill Nye and Lawrence Krauss. (One joke’s punch line: “Especially if they’re a string theorist!” Big laughter.) Had to leave before deGrasse Tyson’s keynote, though.
Best part of the skeptic convention was seeing the old skeptic couples. They’ve scrutinized and rejected so much in life, but managed to accept and believe in each other. Something beautiful about that.