The Skeptic Ink Network is proud to be a supporter of this year’s The Amaz!ng Meeting (TAM) and we’d like to introduce our readers to some of the excellent voices which make the “4-day vacation from unreason” such a pleasure. With well over 80 names filling out the program, we’re not able to give every worthy speaker their due, so we’ve decided to focus on skeptical women that inspire us. We think they’ll inspire you, too.
Year in and year out, The Amazing Meeting (TAM) hosts one of the most outstanding group of speakers and workshops of any conference related to scientific skepticism. This year is no exception, and one of the speakers I am most excited to hear (and hopefully meet in person) is Susan Jacoby.
Jacoby is the keynote speaker for Friday, giving a talk entitled “How to Define ‘Facts’ When We’re Not Entitled to Our Own.” A New York Times best selling author and Pulitzer Prize finalist , Jacoby began her career writing for the Washington Post and has written for numerous publications including Mother Jones, the New York Times, and The Nation. She has published 10 non-fiction books, including Freethinkers: A History of American Secularism, The Age of American Unreason, and her latest, The Great Agnostic: Robert Ingersoll and American Freethought.
Her secular and skeptical credentials, in addition to her writings on the topic, include being named to the Freedom From Religion Foundation’s Honorary Board of distinguished achievers and being awarded the Richard Dawkins Award by Atheist Alliance International in 2010. She is also on the senior advisory board for the Center for Inquiry’s New York City branch, where she formerly served as program chair.
For me personally, my introduction to Jacoby came when I read her outstanding Freethinkers: A History of American Secularism. I found it truly inspiring to see how much of an influence freethought and freethinkers played in so many crucial times in American history. From (neglected and oft-ignored) founding father Thomas Paine to (almost forgotten) Robert Green Ingersoll to (often overlooked in typical history books) Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Jacoby demonstrates how powerful secularism has been in our history as a nation, and why the hijacking of politics by the religious right (quite recently) is such a departure from “business as usual.” This book, more than any other I had previously read, really drove home for me how dangerous ignoring the separation of church and state could be and how much the non-religious have contributed to the betterment of society. I consider it essential reading for any secular person in America today.
More in the Inspiring Women of TAM 2013 series: