• Chart of the Week – Skepticon (UPDATE)

    Last weekend was the sixth annual Skepticon in Springfield, MO. Skepticon is the largest skeptic/atheist convention in the Midwest and is an excellent way to get in involved in the wider movements, especially if you happen to live within driving distance. I’ve seen various arguments break out on Twitter and Facebook (not to mention the occasional blog post) about whether the conference is aptly named, and I have tried on one previous occasion to take a somewhat more data-driven approach to the question of whether Skepticon is indeed a skeptic con, in the traditional sense of what constitutes scientific skepticism. This post is an update to that post.

    As before, Chas and I tried to sort all the talks into either skeptic or atheist bins, grouping everything else (talks about how to do activism in general, musical performances, comedy, social justice) into a catch-all category of other. As before, we only included the main stage events, and as before, we welcome peer review. If you think we binned a particular talk wrong, after looking at the source data in the spreadsheet, please let us know and we’ll consider resorting it. Some of the talks were difficult to categorize, even for the speakers themselves.

    With all those prefatory caveats out of the way, here is the updated chart:

    Evolution of Skepticon by Subject Matter, 2010-2013
    Skepticon by Subject Matter, 2010-2013

    I’d like to emphasize, once again, that we are not being critical here and now, we are trying to be neutrally descriptive. While I would say that the event has become much more about atheism and social justice than skepticism and science, there is clearly a market to be had for the former (as well as the latter) and there is nothing remotely wrong with catering to that market. While I would probably prefer to see more blue and a bit less orange, I am not about to complain about the content of a free conference that is effectively a labor of love run by overworked volunteers.

    Your thoughts?

    Category: Damned Lies and StatisticsSkepticism

    Article by: Damion Reinhardt

    Former fundie finds freethought fairly fab.