Electric Monk

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Panel Discussion #1 - Bringing Skepticism to the Masses

After a break, the panel of speakers assembled to address the topic, "Bringing Skepticism to the Masses". The panel members were: Penn, Teller, Randi, Dr. Phil Plait, Hervey Peoples, Dr. Michael Shermer, Dr. Bob Park, Dr. Steve Barrett, and Dr. Eugenie Scott.

The Panel
Panel Members (l to r): Penn, Teller, Randi, Phil Plait, Hervey Peoples, Michael Shermer, Bob Park, Steve Barrett, and Eugenie Scott

Dr. Scott voiced her opinion that there was no fundamental inconsistency between skepticism and a theism which made no testable claims.

Penn was against bringing skepticism to the masses in the sense of "converting" them. It should be the skeptic's role simply to tell the truth as he or she sees it, with no polite hedging.

The advice was given to people who call in to shows that if there is too limited an amount of time available to make all the desired points on a subject, be prepared to give a web site address where those interested can turn for further information.

Segnosaur Asks A Question

Teller spoke about how big a part in changing someone's mind is played by the esteem in which the speaker is held by the listener.

A question was asked of Dr. Scott regarding the sources of funding for organizations like the Discovery Institute, and the ICR. She responded first by giving a web site, Guidestar which tracks funding for nonprofit organizations, and then by noting that one branch of the wealthy Ahmansen family is supporting the Discovery Institute, while another branch supports NPR.

Following the panel discussion, a special presentation was made to illusionist and JREF supporter, Jerry Andrus, who had been surprising and entertaining eveyone with his optical illusions in the hallways for both TAM 1 and TAM 2.

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