Image by Adelin Preda
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Saturday, May 15, 2021

9:30 am to 4:15 pm MST

Violet Stars

Skepticamp

Myths and Misconceptions

Join us for a day of learning, entertainment and fun at our first WeCanReason Skepticamp.

 

Each speaker will talk for 20 minutes, followed by 10 minutes for question and answer. 

Speakers will be talking about topics ranging from ghosts to vaccines.

Note: First 100 people can use Zoom.

The event will also be streamed on YouTube. 

Purple Stars

Schedule

Meet and Greet

9:30 am

Sign on anytime from 9:30 am Mountain Time until 10:00 am. It is time to hangout with old and new friends before the start of an exciting day of talks and trivia.

Opening Remarks

10:00 am

Words of welcome with Adrienne and Janalee.

Trivia

10:10 am

Enjoy a Saturday morning brain warm up with skeptical trivia.

David Aveline

10:30 am

'A face at first just ghostly': Ghost beliefs and the skeptic: How to come to terms with alternative realities.

Kenny Biddle

11:00 am

What to Look For in “Ghost” Photographs.

Break

11:30 am

Break time!

Paul Ens

11:45 am

Christianity: Myths about Myths.

Kelly Burke

12:15 pm

Guerilla Skepticism on Wikipedia.

Lunch

12:45 pm

Grab some lunch, go for a quick walk, pet your dog, cuddle your cat.

Gavin McClenaghan

1:45 pm

How not to be wrong: Lessons from statistical thinking.

Mirjam Knapik

2:15 pm

Working with faith and spirituality in counselling.

Break

2:45 pm

Break time!

Victor Palomino

3:00 pm

Vaccination in the Time of Fake News & Conspiracy Theories.

Patricia Grant-McCulloch

3:30 pm

Science Based Medicine.

Closing Remarks

4:00 pm

Final Film of Fun.

About the Speakers

When researchers interview people on various topics, they usually take for granted that their interviewees share the same sense of reality that they do. Sometimes however, this is not the case. What happens when people report events and occurrences that to the researchers are impossible, phantasmal, or against the laws of physics? In this presentation, I talk about my experiences interviewing people that claim to have seen, experienced, and communicated with ghosts, seen goblins, witnessed poltergeists, and lived in houses that were haunted. Various strategies are suggested to handle such interviews and their data.

David Aveline

'A face at first just ghostly': Ghost beliefs and the skeptic: How to come to terms with alternative realities.

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David Aveline is an Associate Professor of Sociology at Mount Royal University in Calgary. He teaches the Sociology of Religion, the Sociology of the Body, and Human Sexualities. He obtained a Master's degree at Concordia University (Montreal) in 1991 and a PhD at Indian University (Bloomington) in the United States in 1999. He has published a number of articles in academic journals and has co-authored a textbook on human sexuality. While most of his previous work has been in sexuality, he launched on a new area of interest several years ago - the sociology of the paranormal, specifically, ghost beliefs. He has interviewed numerous people on their experiences with ghosts and is currently writing a book on this topic. While he remains skeptical about the existence of ghosts, he acknowledges that to other people, they are real.

Kenny Biddle

What to Look For in “Ghost”

Photographs

This talk will look at two “ghostly” photographs, one from 1900 and another from 2020, highlighting details which revealed the “ghosts” had a natural explanation.

Kenny Biddle is a science enthusiast who investigates claims of paranormal experiences, equipment, photos, and video. He promotes science, critical thinking, and skepticism through his blog “I Am Kenny Biddle.” He frequently hosts workshops on how to deconstruct and explain paranormal photography & solve mysteries. Kenny is also the host of Skeptical Help Bar every Friday night and co-host of Three Tortured Souls on Saturday nights. He writes an online column (A Closer Look) for Skeptical Inquirer and was recently awarded a Fellowship with the Committee foe Skeptical Inquiry.

Paul Ens, better known as Paulogia, is a former Christian whose YouTube channel takes a look at the claims of Christians. He interacts directly with many of the most influential young-earth-creation advocates and evangelical Christian apologists in the English-speaking world. Paul resides in Calgary with his three near-adult children.

Paul Ens

Christianity: Myths About Myths

The real truth behind misconceptions of Christians and atheists alike

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Wikipedia has millions of pages in hundreds of different languages, with billions of page views every month. This makes it the perfect place for skeptical activism - and that's where Guerilla Skepticism on Wikipedia comes in. GSoW is a group of Wikipedia editors from around the world devoted to improving pages related to science, skepticism, and pseudoscience. In this talk, Kelly will take you through her journey as a new GSoW editor and share some of the topics she's worked on (and hopefully convince you that you can do it too)!

Kelly Burke

Taking Skepticism to Wikipedia

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Kelly Burke is a special education teacher who lives in Newark, Delaware. Kelly is currently pursuing a master’s degree in Science and the Public at the University at Buffalo. She is an intern for the Unbiased Science Podcast and she is part of Guerilla Skepticism on Wikipedia, a group of Wikipedia editors who work to ensure that information related to science and pseudoscience on Wikipedia is accurate and well-supported. Kelly teaches Ballroom and Latin dance lessons as well. 

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Gavin McClenaghan

How not to be wrong:

Lessons from statistical thinking

As humans we want to make the right decisions and we want certainty when we make them. However, the world rarely provides the certainty we crave. Statistical thinking gives us tools to confront that uncertainty, manage it to some degree, and confidently make decisions with the uncertainty we can not (or choose not to) manage.

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Gavin is an Engineer by training who derives a deep satisfaction in figuring out bits of how this world works. Twenty years after passing the requisite statistics course in university, Gavin revamped the Alberta Energy Regulator’s (AER’s) random audit process of well, pipeline, and facility applications. The revamped process created and articulated a coherent strategy to provide and enhance assurance that the energy industry plans these activities consistent with AER requirements that ensure public safety is paramount, the environment is protected, the resources are conserved, and stakeholder confidence is maintained. 

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Doing counselling with people, rather than to people, requires a collaborative effort of exploring not only what contributes to their distress, but also the resources they can draw on for their wellbeing. Religious communities and the associated beliefs can serve as both. Spirituality, often associated with religion, presents a somewhat more flexible resource as it is more easily defined by clients themselves. Working from the position that the client's experience of religion and spirituality can be a resource as well as a source of stress, the counsellor is faced with the challenge of navigating notions of faith and spirituality in ways that support clients' goals for change.

Mirjam Knapik

Working with faith and spirituality in counselling

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Mirjam Knapik graduated with a BA from the University of Victoria and completed her PhD at the University of Calgary. She is a Registered Psychologist in the province of Alberta and has served as a counsellor at the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology and at the University of Calgary. She started at Mount Royal University in 2009 and currently serves as the Chair of Student Counselling Services. Her practice is informed by social constructionist approaches to counselling and her areas of interest include resilience, trauma, anxiety, bereavement, and AD/HD.

A brief history of Vaccination and how misinformation poisons everything

Victor Palomino

Vaccination in the Time of Fake News & Conspiracy Theories

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Victor got his Doctor in Veterinary Medicine from San Marcos University – Peru in 2006. After his graduation, he worked in the poultry industry for 5 years. In 2011, he moved to USA to pursue a master’s degree in Veterinarian Biomedical Sciences at the University of Georgia. Following his interest in viral poultry diseases, he worked in a pharmaceutical company focusing on research and development of poultry vaccines. In 2015, Victor joined the University of Calgary (U of C) as part of a joint project sponsored by the Western Canada poultry industry and the Institute for Applied Poultry Technologies (IAPT). Victor recently completed his PhD at the U of C, with a project focused on diminishing the damaging effects that some emergent viruses cause to the Western Canada Poultry industry. Victor currently works as a Research Scientist for a private company and works on solutions for the Canadian Poultry Industry. 

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Patricia will discuss the value and role of evidence based medicine and the importance of scientific literacy in medical decision making - for both patients and practitioners. She will touch on topics of how to interpret medical news as reported in media, how to look a little deeper at the information with which we are bombarded and will review some ways to apply critical thinking to making health decisions.

Patricia Grant-McCulloch

Science Based Medicine

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Patricia was born in Calgary, but grew up all over the world as her family followed her dad's career in oil and gas exploration. She returned to Canada in her late teens and attended the University of Alberta for both her undergraduate education and medical school. She graduated with a degree in medicine from the University of Alberta in 1983.  She completed her residency at the Miserecordia Hospital in Edmonton, and after working in rural Alberta for a year, has practiced family medicine in Calgary since 1987.  She has had a varied practice including hospital work, forensic medicine and maternity care, and now is limited to community practice. 

Over the years she has become more and more interested in evidence based medicine and patient centered medical care, two philosophies that now guide her practice of medicine.