the skepticon blog
By watching our online videos we generate ad revenue that we then donate to charity. This week, we were able to donate $200 to Valley Hills Stable and Rescue, a no-kill animal shelter located in Springfield, Mo. Here’s a little bit more about the shelter:
Valley Hills Stables and Rescue is small private rescue. Our focus is to rescue and rehabilitate animals that have been neglected, abused, abandoned or no longer can be taken care of and then find them forever homes. We specialize in dogs & cats on death row at Springfield Animal Control and other rural pounds as well as farm animals, exotics & special needs animals that wouldn’t otherwise have a place to go.
This means that our Skepticon watching selves helped pay for outstanding vet bills, spaying/neutering 6 cats or dogs as well as vaccinating them for rabies! GO TEAM SKEPTICON! And, as you may know, we are huge proponents of cute kittens.
We plan on donating to this awesome charity regularly, so the next time you start to feel bad about binge watching old Skepticon videos, don’t. You’re doing good!
Lent is upon is and people are giving things up left and right. But not us. That’s right, we here at Skepticon Headquarters will never give you up, let you down or turn around and desert you.
Introducing Skepticon’s Never Giving You Up Lent Fundraiser! Here’s how it works:
- $1 monthly “Never gonna give you up” package
- Wall post to a random Facebook fan
- $3 monthly “Never run around and desert you” package
- Wall post to donor AND a random Facebook fan
- $5 monthly “Never gonna make you cry” package
- Wall post to you AND a random Facebook fan
- Skepticon.org post mentioning your donation
- A fun and totally not made up story about you
- $10 monthly “Never gonna tell a lie and hurt you” package
- Wall post to you AND a random Facebook fan
- Skepticon.org post mentioning your donation
- A fun and totally not made up story about you
- A twitter message about your donation
Not only are you helping Skepticon remain an absolutely FREE conference, but you can make the day of a total stranger on top of having us tell the world how amazing you are! That’s three awesome things in one fundraiser.
Remember, Skepticon lovers–we love you right back! Happy Lent, everyone!
Hearts and Kisses,
Today marks the funeral of Hailey Owens. Leading up to this day we have seen thousands of people from all faiths and no faith take to the streets grieve and to support the Owens family.
Last Saturday, the Skepticrew in Springfield were a part of a vigil of almost 10,000 people. It was awkward and beautiful, as one would expect from a short-notice procession run by volunteers. People brought and shared candles. Up and down the line, a woman passed out tin foil to keep hot wax off fingers. When my friend’s back injuries from Iraq acted up, a local business lent a chair so he could still participate. People locked themselves together, arm-in-arm, to ensure that there would be no disrupting the procession. Some sang hymns, others chanted Kaddish, the majority kept a respectful silence. It was beautiful.
Credit Eric Wells
As beautiful as it is, this gesture is not enough. Many came to grieve and to support the family, others came to spite Westboro. So many people comment about how this is shocking- their eyes now open to new dangers and fears. Others were never blind the tragedies happening in our community.
Unless prudent action comes out of this, every shocked face, every tear, every outpouring of community support is empty community theatre. Politicians will congratulate themselves on passing new laws with harsher punishments that never would have prevented the crime in the first place. Facebook profiles will be left changed for weeks. These well-intentioned gestures are worthless compared to prudent action.
There is nothing that can undo this tragedy. There may not be a feasible way to prevent such a crime in the future. However, if you care about children in your community, there are kids in your community in tough times that you can help. There are countless ways to help- one way is to get involved with Big Brothers Big Sisters.
It’s just about February 14th and we here at Skepticon HQ have made some special Dinotines for you to share with your loved ones. Check out our SFW and NSFW cards. We’ve got something for everyone, with jokes this lame, there’s no way they COULDN’T have been intelligently designed!
Something A little more suggestive.
Much love from your favorite Dinotines,
The Skepticon Team
The month of February will soon be upon us and you know what that means: SKEPTITINES DAY! …or Feb. 14th as some of you may call it.
The lovely Deep Fried Atheists are at it again with their delicious chocolate dinosaurs for sale. The sweetest part? Half the proceeds will go to your favorite FREE convention!
Aaaaaaaand it’s January! My how the time flies when you are busy merry making and holidaying your life away. We here at Skepticon HQ hope that you all had wonderful winter times and got just enough snow to be fun and not awful where you live!
As you might remember, Skepticon decided to donate half our donations for the month of December to Toys for Tots and the numbers are in!
Skepticon raised $180 in December, helping us give $90 to Toys for Tots.
Thank you to everyone in the community who took the time to help us all make this time of year a bit more special for those in need.
American Atheists recently released the incident report that outlines what happened during the weekend of Skepticon 6. Our hearts go out to those who were involved and we hope that they are on their way to a place of healing.
As we move forward, Skepticon will be amending some internal policies regarding emergency situations and safety so that we can be better prepared should situations like this arise in the future. The safety of our attendees is of utmost importance to us and we promise to do everything in our power to ensure that our convention remains a safe place to be.
Hey Skepticoners! The holidays are upon us and we here at Skepticon HQ are excited to announce our very first December fundraiser: Toys for Tots!
Half of what we fundraise in the month of December will go to this awesome charity, so be sure to give today and make this holiday season a bit more amazeballs.
Happy SkeptiHannuKwanzmas everyone!
If you want to help us make next year’s Skepticon even better, click here to fill out an awesome survey!
We greatly appreciate any and all feedback that we get, so if you can take the time to tell us what you liked, what you didn’t like and what we can improve on that would be amazing.
Hope that you are all recovering nicely from last week and are looking forward to the holidays!
We want to thank all of our presenters for their time and letting us exploit them for the sake of our convention.
If you get an oppertunity please follow them of facebook, twitter and their blogs.
David Fitzgerald – http://davefitzgerald.blogspot.com/
Seth Andrews, The Thinking Atheist – http://www.thethinkingatheist.com/ – @ThinkingAtheist on Twitter
Dave Smalley, Dogma Debate – http://www.thethinkingatheist.com/ – @dogmadebate on Twitter
PZ Myers – http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/ – @pzmyers on twitter
Rebecca Watson – http://skepchick.org/author/rebecca/ – @rebeccawatson on Twitter
Shelley Segal – http://www.shelleysegal.com/ – @ShelleySegal on Twitter
Godless Perverts – http://www.godlessperverts.com/ – @godlessperverts on Twitter
Aron Ra – http://www.youtube.com/user/AronRa – Aron_Ra on Twitter
Monica Miller – http://www.religionandhiphop.com/ – @religionhiphop
David Tamayo – http://hafree.org/ – @DavidFromHafre on Twitter
Amanda Knief – http://www.atheists.org/about-us/staff – @mzdameanor on Twitter
Richard Carrier – http://www.richardcarrier.info/
Amanda Marcotte – http://www.pandagon.net/ – @AmandaMarcotte on Twitter
Greta Christina – http://freethoughtblogs.com/greta – @gretachristina
Keith Lowell Jensen – http://keithlowelljensen.blogspot.com/ – @keithlowell
Monette Richards – http://www.secularwoman.org/Monette_Richards – @MistressOfFrog
Debbie Goddard – http://www.centerforinquiry.net/speakers/goddard_debbie/ – @DebGod
Rebecca hensler – https://www.facebook.com/faithfreegriefsupport – www.griefbeyondbelief.org
John Corvino – http://johncorvino.com/ – @johncorvino on Twitter
JT Eberhard – http://www.patheos.com/blogs/wwjtd/ – @jteverhard on Twitter
But just as important to us, we want to thank all of you who attended or watched over our Live Stream. If it was not for you, this convention would not happen and not only that, each time you donate you help support others who cant afford it.
From everyone at Skepticon, Thank you!
You are the reason why we host this event each year.
Later this week we will be putting up a a survey to get your feedback. Any feedback you have we want to hear it.
Some of our friends at Missouri State University in the Religious studies department asked if we could help them out. One of the problems with many religiously driven scholarly surveys is that they rarely get the point of view of skeptics or Atheists.
They asked that share this survey with all of our attendees.
We thought that this would be a great way to help get the voice of our community out in to some of these surveys!
So here it is, It takes about 15 mins, and its good to keep in mind that these questions are focused around people who identify as religious or Spiritual.Spiritual But Not Religious
It’s official, you people are amazing.
The Community Blood Center of the Ozarks has reported that we went beyond our requirements by over 50%. Your generosity kept them busy the entire time they were here and they can’t wait to come back.
If you missed out on this blood drive, you can help blood drives in the future by signing a petition with The Banned4Life Project. The petition is against the FDA’s ban on the blood of men who have had sex with men. You can sign online here or in person at the check-in desk (petitions are next to the voter registration cards).
To all of you who donated: We have your names (you rockstars, you). Stop by the check-in desk for a free high hive.
My name is Dave Muscato; I am the Public Relations Director for American Atheists. I am at the Skepticon conference in Springfield, MO, although I am attending on my own “off-duty” this weekend and not in a working capacity for American Atheists.
Early Saturday morning, there was a security incident and I would like to clear up any misconceptions, explain where things stand, and tell you how Skepticon has resolved the situation.
About 4 AM on Saturday morning, another attendee of the conference made a graphic and direct verbal death threat to me while brandishing a semi-automatic pistol, which this person claimed was loaded. The incident occurred on E St Louis Street outside, away from conference property and neither in the conference hotel nor in the expo center. I was with a small group of people who were able to distract this person with conversation and diffuse things until we were able to return to the University Plaza hotel, where the person went to his room. I reported the incident immediately to hotel security and the Springfield police, and made statements on the record about what happened.
Skepticon organizers have been fully informed of all details of the incident, and all organizers and volunteers, as well as police and hotel security, have this person’s name and photograph. This person has agreed to leave the hotel and not return to Skepticon this year or in future years.
Skepticon organizers have been overwhelmingly supportive and competent. I was offered a security escort, which I appreciated, but felt was unnecessary and declined.
I still feel safe at Skepticon. I have been coming to Skepticon for four years now and intend to continue to donate and to return to Springfield for Skepticon 7.
I am not going to name the person involved in this incident at this time. Skepticon organizers and American Atheists have this person’s name and information. I will let them decide how to handle informing other event organizers about this situation.
What happens next depends on what American Atheists’ in-house counsel and the Springfield Police Department advise.
I would prefer not to discuss this incident further. I am OK. I thank everyone for their concern. I am extremely impressed and flattered with the outpouring of support from Skepticon organizers, other attendees, and speakers, as well as the support from the atheist community online.
I am here the rest of today but if I miss you, I will see you next year for Skepticon 7!
Skepticon is officially taking a controversial stance on typhoons: typhoons are bad. Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) is beyond awful.
You can help in two big ways at Skepticon.
This Friday at 1PM, Dale McGowan, founder of Foundation Beyond Belief is skyping in to Skepticon’s main stage to talk about the typhoon and how the humanist community is coming together to help with this and other disasters in the future. Expect hats to be passed at the event, but you don’t have to wait to contribute, click here.
If you’re short on cash and still want to help, next door to Skepticon is an event called Meals a Million. There you will be able to pack meals that fight hunger around the world. This year, they are sending a portion of its food to the Philippines as part of the relief effort. Space is very limited, but to help keep them working at capacity, Skepticon’s volunteers will be announcing opportunities to get involved.
We are only days away from the universe’s largest and absolutely FREE skeptic convention in the nation.
CAN YOU FEEL THE AWESOME?
Firstly, we here at Skepticon HQ want to thank all of our supporters for helping make this year happen. Without you, we would be nothing so a huge THANK YOU from the bottom of our godless hearts.
Next, have you registered for Skepticon yet? Registrants recieve a FREE GIFT at check-in and $100 donors get an EXTRA SUPER SECRET FREE GIFT, so be sure to register now and get in on the fun!
Pre-ordering for SK6 shirts has come to a close, but you can still pick up wicked cool Skepticon t-shirt at the event.
Hemant Mehta will be unable to attend this year’s con due to personal reasons, but lucky for us Monette Richards will be able to take his place on Sunday morning. Thank you, Monette!
We will be livestreaming the event on our website, so if you can’t be with us in the meatspace, be with us on the interwebs!
As a reminder, Camp Quest has unfortunately been cancelled due to lack of registrants. Even so, attendees of all ages are certainly welcome! We added a super kid friendly workshop with the awesome Dale Debakcsy at 1pm on Friday if you can make it.
Skepticon 6 will feature a Quiet Room, which will be located in the office to the left of the snack bar on the lower level.
We have started a Ride and Room Share group on Facebook, so join if you need to!
Heina from Skepchick will be hosting an Ex-Muslim meetup on the Saturday lunch hour.
There will be a Blood Drive on Friday from 1pm to 5pm in the upper level atrium (the big room outside all the workshops). Come on by and give us your bloods!
Here is a list of our awesome sponsors. Thank you for your support!
We will also be hosting a voter drive all weekend so come by the registration table and sign up.
Our Friday morning mini film fest hosted by David Fitzgerald will feature these movies: Sophia Investigates the Good News Club, Ron goes to Heaven, and Hug an Atheist.
Quarter sheet fliers that list our local sponsor discounts as well as a map of the downtown area will be available at our registration table, so be sure to snap one up! A huge map of the venue and our schedule will also be on display near the registration table for your convenience.
We will see you soon!
P.s.–Here is a link to our FAQ page just in case we missed something!
There will be a blood drive at Skepticon on Friday Nov. 15 from 1-5 PM.
For this new project, the Community Blood Center of the Ozarks is bringing a truckload of beds and a small army of volunteers. Let’s dazzle them and make them wish they brought another truck!
Get involved and sign up early. Sign-ups will be available in the morning.
The drive itself will happen in the Atrium (the big room outside all the workshops). See you there!
P.S. Regardless of if you are donating, stop by and sign a petition to take remove the ban on gay blood. Because gay panic is lame.
When you check in, you will be given a colored armband and an important mission: Win.
It’s the ultimate showdown of Red Team vs Team Blue and it could decide everything. Help your team win points to achieve victory and get the TOTALLY AWESOME PRIZE!* How do you get in on this? At Skepticon, you can give blood, register to vote, even pack meals for Africa. There are also secret shenanigans to be announced at the event.
Make sure your friends are registered so that they can take part in the antics.
*High fives, bragging rights, and compliments to your attention to footnotes.
We put out the call for some last minute funding and you all answered!
We are happy to report that WE DID IT! We have officially fully funded this years convention.
We are only days away from the largest FREE skeptic convention in the nation and we hope that you are all as excited as we are! See you soon!
The Skepticon Team
One of our most amazing sponsors this year is Secular Woman (SW). From their website:
Secular Woman, Inc. is a non-profit organization incorporated in the state of Georgia in June of 2012. Secular Woman is currently preparing its application for recognition by the Internal Revenue Service of exempt status under section 501(c)(3) of the tax code. Currently, there are seven Secular Woman Board of Directors.
The mission of Secular Woman is to amplify the voice, presence, and influence of non-religious women.
Secular Woman envisions a future in which women without supernatural beliefs have the opportunities and resources they need to participate openly and confidently as respected voices of leadership in the secular community and every aspect of society.
We couldn’t be happier for their support in making this year’s Skepticon happen and are so grateful that they are helping us with travel grants! Please head over to their Facebook or Twitter and give them some Skepticon love!
Many, many thanks to a great sponsor!
The Skepticon Team
We are so unbelievably close to fully funding Skepticon 6. In order to finish payments on the event, we only need to raise $3,000 before next week.
Now, any other community or organization would look at this situation and assume that it is insurmountable.
We here at Skepticon HQ have consistently been amazed by the support and generosity of our peers. Keeping this convention free is not always the easiest thing to do, but has always been the right thing to do.
Please donate today and help keep our convention alive. Together, we can make this year happen.