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Promoting
Science in an Age
of Uncertainty

Partner







Speakers

Gerd Antes

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Prof. Gerd Antes is a mathematician and methodologist at the Institute of Medical Biometry and Medical Informatics of the University Medical Center Freiburg, Germany. Since 1997 he has been director of the German Cochrane Centre. During the last 15 years he has been involved in a large variety of activities to establish Evidence-based Medicine and in particular Systematic Reviews as a central tool to allow the systematic use of scientific evidence. Currently he is one of the pioneers to foster
knowledge translation structures.



Anila Asghar

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Anila Asghar is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Integrated Studies in Education at McGill University. Prior to joining McGill she was an Assistant Professor at the Johns Hopkins School of Education. Her research focuses on the complex interactions among Islam, modern science, culture, and education. She focuses this interest more specifically on the conflicted, and conciliatory, relationship between evolutionary science and religious interpretations in predominantly Muslim societies. Drawing on quantitative and qualitative methods she is examining, comparing, and contrasting various trends and methodological issues across diverse Islamic cultures and communities. She has also been looking at science education reform in diverse contexts in her research. She received her doctorate in Education from Harvard University and did postdoctoral research at the Evolution Education Research Center at McGill University.



Johan Braeckman

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Johan Braeckman studied philosophy at Ghent University, Human Ecology at the Free University of Brussels and Environmental History at the University of California, Santa Barbara. His doctoral thesis was on the influence of the theory of evolution on philosophy. He published books on Darwin and evolutionary biology; cloning; the history of philosophy, critical thinking and bioethics, as well as various articles in peer reviewed journals. At Ghent University, Johan Braeckman teaches courses on the history of philosophy, the history of biology and philosophical anthropology. He has also taught a course on bioethics at Amsterdam University, the Netherlands. At Ghent University he is co-director of the research group The Moral Brain. Johan Braeckman is also an active member of the Flemish skeptical organisation SKEPP.


 



Chris French

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Professor Chris French is the Head of the Anomalistic Psychology Research Unit in the Psychology Department at Goldsmiths, University of London. He is a Fellow of the British Psychological Society and of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, as well as being a Distinguished Supporter of the British Humanist Association, a member of the Scientific and Professional Advisory Board of the British False Memory Society, and a Director of the Centre for Inquiry UK. His main current area of research is the psychology of paranormal beliefs and anomalous experiences. He frequently appears on radio and television casting a sceptical eye over paranormal claims, as well as writing for the Guardian's online science pages. For more than a decade, he edited of The Skeptic and he co-edited, with Wendy Grossman, Why Statues Weep: The Best of The Skeptic (London: The Philosophy Press).


 



Luigi Garlaschelli

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Luigi Garlaschelli teaches chemistry at the Università di Pavia (Italy) and is research director of CICAP, the Italian skeptics group. He has done major investigative work on claims of miracles. His duplication in the lab of the blood of St. Januarius, published in Nature in 1993, made worldwide news. He has investigated and duplicated weeping madonnas and other religious relics, including the Shroud of Turin (on which he wrote a book, and in October 2009 revealed a major experiment during CICAP's 20th Anniversary Congress; see SI, January/February 2010). He is also expected to publish soon an investigation on the supposed miracles of Lourdes. Apart from miracles, as a chemist he has investigated and challenged homeopathy and many other pseudoscientific claims. From the late India skeptic Premanand he learned how to be a fakir, and during lectures and TV shows he frequently performs fakir stunts. He has helped in the investigation of dozens of psychics, both in the lab and out.



Dittmar Graf

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Dittmar Graf, born in 1955, Professor of Biology and Biology Didactics at the University of Dortmund, Germany. Editor for biology and co-editor of the journal "Der mathematische und naturwissenschaftliche Unterricht". Current books: Evolutionstheorie – Akzeptanz und Vermittlung im europäischen Vergleich (editor); Evolutionsbiologie: Moderne Themen für den Unterricht (co-editor). Member of the scientific advisory board of GWUP



Harriet Hall

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Harriet Hall, MD, aka "The SkepDoc," is a retired family physician and former Air Force flight surgeon who writes prolifically about science, critical thinking, alternative medicine, and quackery. She is a CSI fellow, a contributing editor to both Skeptic and Skeptical Inquirer magazines, an editor of the Science-Based Medicine blog, an adviser to the Quackwatch website, a founding fellow of the Institute for Science in Medicine, and is on the editorial review board of the Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database.



Sven Ove Hansson

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Sven Ove Hansson is professor in philosophy and head of the Division of Philosophy at the Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm. He is editor-in-chief of Theoria. His research areas include philosophy of science, theory of knowledge, and decision theory. He is the author of several books and more than 200 articles in refereed journals. He was the founding chairperson of the Swedish Skeptics (in 1982) and has been a board member ever since then



Holm Hümmler

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Holm Hümmler is a Physicist with a degree in Business Administration. He has done research at CERN and Brookhaven National Laboratory, worked for the Boston Consulting Group and now has his own consulting firm, specializing in strategic planning and the management of business uncertainties.



Ray Hyman

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Ray Hyman is Professor Emeritus of Psychology at the University of Oregon. Prior to obtaining his doctorate in 1953, he worked as a professional magician. His background in magic and his lifelong interest in how smart people can believe in the paranormal prompted him to focus his research on the psychology of deception. He has written books, journal papers and popular articles dealing with how we are fooled. In 1976, he joined with James Randi, Martin Gardner, Paul Kurtz, James Alcock and a few others, to establish the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal (CSICOP) which is now known as the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry (CSI). At that time this was the first and only national or international organization devoted to evaluating skeptically claims of the paranormal. During his career he has served on several governmental committees investigating allegedly paranormal work involving intelligence, military and other agencies.





Walter Krämer

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Walter Krämer is professor of Statistics at the University of Dortmund, Germany. He is the author of more than 200 scientific articles and books, plus several popular bestsellers like "So lügt man mit Statistik" or "Lexikon der populären Irrtümer" (translated into 20 languages with world wide sales beyond one million). His talk will be based on his most recent book "Die Angst der Woche" ("The scare of the week") which is devoted to the scaremongering industry in Germany. Walter Krämer is also a member of the scientific advisory board of GWUP.



Benedikt Matenaer

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Benedikt Matenaer, M.D., anaesthesiologist, pain therapist, specialist in palliative care medicine; works in a palliative care unit of a hospital and in own practice; member of the examination board of the medical council Westfalen-Lippe for "palliative care", B-diploma in acupuncture.



Chris Mooney

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Chris Mooney is a science and political journalist and commentator and the author of three books, including the New York Times bestselling The Republican War on Sciencedubbed "a landmark in contemporary political reporting" by Salon.com and a "well-researched, closely argued and amply referenced indictment of the right wing's assault on science and scientists" by Scientific AmericanStorm World, and Unscientific America: How Scientific Illiteracy Threatens Our Future, co-authored by Sheril Kirshenbaum. They also write "The Intersection" blog together for Discover blogs. In addition, Chris is a host of the Point of Inquiry podcast and was recently seen on BBC 2 guest hosting a segment of "The Culture Show."



Simon Perry

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Simon Perry runs a web software development company in the UK. In his spare time, he uses his IT skills to fight nonsense claims on the Internet. This has helped in the reporting 500 chiropractors to Trading Standards and the General Chiropractic Council, caused huge annoyance to the Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council and organised the reporting of 250 Boots products to the Advertising Standards Authority overnight. He is also the creator of FishBarrel, the Chrome browser plugin that makes it quick and easy to report misleading complaints online. FishBarrel has been responsible for close to 1000 complaints and works with 8 different regulatory bodies in 5 countries.




Massimo Polidoro

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Massimo Polidoro, a journalist and writer, is cofounder and head of the Italian skeptics group CICAP. He began his career as an apprentice of James Randi. He is the first professor of Anomalistic Psychology in Italy, at the University of Milano, and the author of over thirty books. Among his works in English are: "Final Séance", on the strange friendship between Houdini and Conan Doyle, and "Secrets of the Psychics", on his investigations among psychics and mediums. He is often called on TV as an expert or a host for shows related to mysteries: his latest series was "Legend Detectives" for Discovery Channel. He is a Research Fellow for CSI and a longtime columnist for its magazine, the "Skeptical Inquirer".



James Randi

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James Randi is best known as the world's most tireless investigator and demystifier of paranormal and pseudoscientific claims. Randi has pursued "psychic" spoonbenders, exposed the dirty tricks of faith healers, investigated homeopathic water "with a memory," and generally been a thorn in the sides of those who try to pull the wool over the public's eyes in the name of the supernatural. He has received numerous awards and recognitions. He is the author of numerous books, including The Truth About Uri Geller, The Faith Healers, Flim-Flam!, and An Encyclopedia of Claims, Frauds, and Hoaxes of the Occult and Supernatural. His 10th book, A Magician in the Laboratory, is in preparation. In 1996, he established the James Randi Educational Foundation. Randi's long-standing challenge to psychics now stands as a $1,000,000 prize administered by the Foundation. It remains unclaimed.



Gita Sahgal

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Gita Sahgal is the Director of the Centre for Secular Space and has campaigned against fundamentalism in all religions. She has made numerous and prize-winning documentaries on women's rights and on war crimes in Bangladesh.



Eugenie Scott

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Eugenie C. Scott, PhD, an internationally known expert on the creationism and evolution controversy, is the executive director of the National Center for Science Education. She is the author of Evolution vs Creationism and co-editor, with Glenn Branch, of Not in Our Classrooms: Why Intelligent Design Is Wrong for Our Schools.



Simon Singh

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Simon Singh is an author, journalist and TV producer, specialising in science and mathematics. His latest book is Trick or Treatment? Alternative Medicine on Trial, which he has co-authored with Edzard Ernst, the world's first professor of complementary medicine. He is also the author of Big Bang and a history of cosmology, (details here). In 1996, he made a BBC documentary about Fermat's Last Theorem, and later published a book on the subject – the first mathematical book to be a UK No.1 bestseller. He is also author of The Code Book, a history of codes and code breaking from Ancient Egypt to the Internet.

 

Samantha Stein

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Samantha Stein is the founder and director of Camp Quest UK (CQUK), a secular summer camp that promotes science, philosophy and critical thinking amongst young people aged 9-16. Samantha studied Psychology at York University and Religion in Contemporary Society at Kings College London during which time she wrote her thesis on the rise of organised irreligion in the Western world. In 2010 she was awarded a special award from the National Secular Society for her work on Camp Quest UK.



Kylie Sturgess

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Kylie Sturgess is the host of the Token Skeptic podcast and regularly writes editorial for numerous publications and CSICOP's 'Curiouser and Curiouser' online column. An award-winning Philosophy teacher with over ten years experience in education, she has lectured on teaching critical thinking and anomalistic beliefs worldwide.



Rebecca Watson

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Rebecca leads a team of skeptical activists on the Skepchick Network, which includes Skepchick.org, Teen Skepchick, Swedish Skepchick, Esceptica, and Mad Art Lab. She also co-hosts the weekly Skeptics' Guide to the Universe radio show and podcast. She travels around the world delivering entertaining talks on science, atheism, feminism, and skepticism. There is currently an asteroid orbiting the sun with her name on it



Jürgen Windeler

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Professor Jürgen Windeler is the Director of the Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Healthcare IQWiG, an independent scientific institute that investigates the benefits and harms of medical interventions for patients and informs about the potential advantages and disadvantages of different diagnostic and therapeutic interventions.



Tomasz Witkowski

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Tomasz Witkowski is a psychologist and science writer. He is the founder of the Polish Skeptics Club, and specializes in debunking pseudoscience, particularly in the field of social science, psychotherapy, and diagnosis. He is the author of 7 books including "Forbidden psychology. Between charlatanism and science". As an expert in science-pseudoscience issues, he is frequently called by the media to comment on frauds and abuses witnessed in psychology, psychotherapy and other areas of scientific activity. He is also co-author of the "Open letter in defense of reason" addressed to the Polish Government.