Monday, July 11, 2011

Polaris 25 - The Skeptical Track


Polaris 25 will take place this coming Friday, Saturday, and Sunday (July 15-17) at the Sheraton Parkway Toronto North in Richmond Hill, just north of Toronto. It will celebrate the 45th anniversary of Star Trek. Three of the actors from Stargate SG-1/Stargate Atlantis will be there—that's my favorite TV series (now in re-runs).

The Centre For Inquiry and its Committee for the Advancement of Scientific Skepticism (CASS) has been invited to present a Skeptical Track at the convention. The four speakers are ....
  • Me (Larry Moran): "What’s the Difference Between Science and Science Fiction?"

  • Jeffrey Shallit: "Misinformation Theory: How Creationists Abuse Mathematics."

  • Chris Hassall: "The Evolution of Superstition: People, PCs and Pigeons."

  • Alex Manafu: "Could Science Prove the Existence of God? (Or, Must Science Be Naturalistic?)"
For more information see Jeffrey Shallit's blog Recursivity: See me at Polaris 2011 in Toronto - July 16 and Michael Kruse's blog at Skeptic North: Skeptical Track at Polaris 25.


6 comments :

  1. (*&(&&%^$R#%$%$##%^!!

    Translation: I can't be there!

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  2. Will you record your talk? I'd love to hear it because lately I've come to the conclusion that the the main difference is that science fictions is usually better written.

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  3. Bayesian Bouffant, FCDTuesday, July 12, 2011 9:15:00 AM

    "What’s the Difference Between Science and Science Fiction?"

    One of them sells much better than the other.

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  4. Bayesian Bouffant, FCD says,

    One of them sells much better than the other.

    That's so true! My friends who publish fiction are extremely envious of us textbook authors. Not only do we sell more copies of our books (usually) but the royalty income per book is about ten times higher.

    They're not really complaining, however, since most science fiction authors are writing for the love of a good story and not to make a decent living.

    They usually have real day jobs—Isaac Asimov, for example, was a biochemist!

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  5. DK says,

    ... lately I've come to the conclusion that the the main difference is that science fiction is usually better written.

    That's one of the differences.

    I'm hoping to provoke some discussion. If our goal is a society that's scientifically literate, does science fiction help or inhibit attainment of that goal?

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  6. I'm hoping to provoke some discussion. If our goal is a society that's scientifically literate, does science fiction help or inhibit attainment of that goal?

    My love of science was certainly abetted by science fiction, as my vocabulary was by comic books. (The character "Beast" in the early X-Men comics used phrases like "Hoist by his own petard," which led me as a 4th-grader to Shakespeare. Not that I appreciated Shakespeare then, but it laid some groundwork.) Interesting, speaking of Asimov, that I first read science books he'd written ("The World of Carbon" and "The World of Nitrogen") before reading any of his fiction.

    I really think a parent involved in an effort to ban local school library books was, unbeknownst to her, on the right track. She wanted Alice in Wonderland banned, because "It teaches children to use their imaginations, and we don't want children using their imaginations." Fiction, non-fiction - so long as it gets the imagination fired up, I think that's all to the good.

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