Featured Speakers


Neil deGrasse Tyson

Neil deGrasse Tyson

Neil deGrasse Tyson, a fellow of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, is an astrophysicist and the author of seventeen books, including the #1 bestselling books Starry Messenger and Astrophysics for People in a Hurry, which spent eighty-two weeks on the New York Times Best Seller list. He is the director of the Hayden Planetarium at the American Museum of Natural History, where he has served since 1996.

Brian Cox

Brian Cox

Brian began his career in the music industry as keyboard player with rock band Dare and later with chart-toppers D:Ream. In 1995 he obtained a first class honours degree in physics from the University of Manchester and in 1998 a PhD in High Energy Particle Physics at the DESY laboratory in Hamburg. Brian is now Professor of Particle Physics at the University of Manchester, The Royal Society Professor for Public Engagement in Science and a Fellow of the Royal Society. Brian is credited with boosting the popularity of subjects such as astronomy and physics and has garnered a host of accolades for his TV work, including two Royal Television Society awards and a Peabody Award.

Banachek

Banachek

Banachek was born in England on November 30, 1960. He was schooled in South Africa and the United States. It was while living in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, that Banachek saw his first magician at a high school function at the age of fourteen. He was intrigued but not enough to delve much further into that secret world. In 1976, the bicentennial year of the United States, Banachek moved to the U.S. It was at the end of this same year that he picked up a worn copy of James Randi’s book The Truth about Uri Geller. Banachek’s Mind Games Live is in Las Vegas at the prestigious Strat hotel, Casino and Skypod.

Michael Mann

Michael Mann

Dr. Michael E. Mann is Presidential Distinguished Professor in the Department of Earth and Environmental Science at the University of Pennsylvania, with a secondary appointment in the Annenberg School for Communication. He is director of the Penn Center for Science, Sustainability, and the Media (PCSSM).

Web space bg

Where

Hotel Icon

Find your rooms at the Horseshoe Las Vegas. Act fast because there are a limited number of rooms available!

More Hotel Information

When

Hotel Icon

CSICon 2024 is happening October 24-27, 2024.

How

Hotel Icon

Register for CSICon 2024 today. You won't want to miss this year's amazing guests and speakers!

Register Today

Schedule


Thursday, October 24

8:00 AM | Registration

In this workshop, Kenny will be going over his toolbox of strategies for solving mysteries – from apparitions and haunted houses to UFOs and Cryptids, even throwing in a ‘weeping statue.’ A detailed description of each strategy will be followed by an example or two of how it helped solve a mystery. In this extended workshop, we’ll also go over – and create – some viral TikTok videos that claim to show ghosts, disappearing people, objects “moving on their own,” and more.


Event Location

SkyView 3

Presented by

“The scientific mind does not so much provide the right answers as ask the right questions.”

—Claude Levi-Strauss (translated by John and Doreen Weightman from* Lu Cru et le Cuit*, 1964)

We like answers. We like to know them and give them. Sometimes we want others to think we are smart or knowledgeable, so we jump to give answers rather than ask questions. And the questions we do ask are sometimes more about our personal assumptions and biases than about getting to the real answer.

Good questions are a skeptic’s essential tools for finding good answers. In this participatory workshop, we will ask you to interact with us and fellow attendees to practice methods for posing questions that lead to better understanding and possibly rethinking ideas—maybe even your own.


Event Location

SkyView 3

Presented by

We are excited to announce that the Lilienfeld Alliance will be hosting its first half-day academic conference this year! We are calling it LiliCon. It will be held in conjunction with CSICon, Thurs Oct 24, 2024, 12-4pm, at the Horseshoe Las Vegas Resort and Casino. We hope to promote the scientific study of our work, to discover what is effective, and to promote it. Furthermore, we hope to build the strength of connections among academics who are working toward this end by providing an inspirational meeting of the minds.

We are soliciting two types of proposals:

1. Scholarship of Teaching and Learning - Research related to the teaching of rational skepticism in a higher education setting. Proposals must include data.

2. Teaching Demonstration - Description of a course focused on teaching rational skepticism, or an assignment, or an in-class activity. These must include some kind of audience-involved demonstration.

We will have both presentations and posters.

We hope that each of you will consider sharing your work, and help us solicit proposals from other scholars. A PDF of the call for proposals is attached. Feel free to share among your contacts and encourage students to submit as well.

Submit proposals by June 1. https://forms.gle/KwUzaYVm9Bo4ERXC8

LiliCon 2024 Planning Team

(Katie Dyer, Ray Hall, Rod Schmaltz, Natalia Pasternack, & Craig Foster)

Lilienfeld Alliance for the Teaching of Rational Skepticism in Higher Education 


Event Location

SkyView 2

Presented by

They say memory is a fleeting thing, but it does not have to be. In this interactive workshop, Banachek will teach you how to boost your memory retention and recall abilities. Whether you struggle to remember names, important dates, information for exams, or anything else, this workshop is for you.

During this workshop, you will learn:

· The history of mnemonics

· Different systems of mnemonics

· Techniques for enhancing short-term memory

· Memory improvement strategies and exercises

· Tips for staying sharp and focused

In the end, you will blow your own mind with what you remember in a very short span of time. Guaranteed!

Don’t miss this opportunity to harness the power of your mind and improve your memory skills. Sign up now and take the first step toward a stronger, more reliable memory, presented by the Number One Mindreader in the World, Banachek!


Event Location

SkyView 3

Presented by

Please join us for CSICon's opening reception


Event Location

Syview 2 & 3

Presented by

Friday, October 25

8:00 AM | Registration & Bookstore

8:45 AM | Opening Remarks

We all know what pseudoscience is and why it’s important to fight the good fight. Or do we? While some instances of pseudoscience are obvious (astrology, homeopathy), it turns out that it’s hard to draw a sharp line of demarcation. We want to fight the good fight, but, arguably, we go about it largely in the wrong way.

A dip into rhetoric, for instance, may be more useful than one in science communication. And our ultimate objective, the triumph of science over superstition, is very likely forever unreachable. We should instead pursue the more modest goal identified by Carl Sagan: to keep the light of reason alive, even if surrounded by darkness.


Event Location

SkyView 5

Presented by

Have you ever wondered why even smart people fall for hoaxes, pseudoscience, and conspiracy theories? Or why giving people facts doesn’t change their minds? This presentation explores how our brains and social circles can make us vulnerable to false or misleading information and how curiosity and skepticism can help us navigate today’s information landscape … and even connect with people who disagree with us.


Event Location

SkyView 5

Presented by

10:30 AM | Break / Book Signing

Will the stream of science-free wellness nonsense ever stop? A recent and ubiquitous trend: the rising “longevity” industry, which includes everything from consumption of hundreds of supplements to “young blood” infusions to testicle tanning. Influencers in this space, who often have impressive credentials, often use the language of real science—a tactic I call “scienceploitation”—to give their claims legitimacy. And many lean into the growing “manosphere,” that growing and ideologically charged echo chamber where traditional masculine norms are celebrated and framed as a required element to a healthy lifestyle. These characteristics of the longevity business can make it more difficult to debunk. But debunk we must!


Event Location

SkyView 5

Presented by

Science is the most powerful tool we have for revealing objective “truths” about the natural world. As humanity grapples with existential threats such as climate change, COVID-19, and soaring obesity rates, science is our first and last hope for a solution. But what happens when the systems we’ve come to trust become part of the problem? Join Dr. Nick Tiller (research associate, Harbor-UCLA) to explore the shady side of scientific research and expose the spectrum of questionable practices, from basic procedural missteps to financially incentivized data fabrication. Using real-world examples from medicine, kinesiology, and nutrition, Tiller highlights the role of bad science in the spread of health and wellness misinformation and questions the reliability of Hanlon’s Razor—to assume ignorance over malice. In this call to action, Tiller makes recommendations for reform and challenges us to confront inconvenient truths, root out malpractice, and safeguard scientific integrity for generations to come.


Event Location

SkyView 5

Presented by

Come join us for this VIP Luncheon featuring special guests Brian Cox, Neil Tyson, and Michael Mann. Seating is limited. Be sure to choose it when registering.


Event Location

SkyView 3

Presented by

The technologies under the umbrella of genetic engineering have provided everything from cheap cheese to COVID-19 vaccines to curing sickle cell disease. We are at a precipice where the newest technologies stand to drive incredible innovation in agriculture, medicine, and conservation. However, deployment of these technologies hinges on public acceptance. Those opposed to these technologies exploit social media to spread false information and break trust in genetic engineering, the companies that develop products, and the scientists that seek to educate a concerned public about them. Their goal is to vilify useful technology for political or ideological reasons; sadly even trusted organizations fall victim to promoting misinformation. While the pace of innovation is accelerating, the deployment of technology must navigate a formidable social hurdle. The scientific and skeptical communities play a central role in identifying legitimate concerns, while at the same time countering mis /disinformation before innovation may proceed to application. This presentation frames new technologies, the tactics used to defame them, and how you can participate in effective strategic communication to advance their acceptance.


Event Location

SkyView 5

Presented by

Discover how to cut through misinformation and connect with diverse audiences. This presentation will explore the success of the Unbiased Science platform, highlighting how delivery and empathy are often as crucial as the scientific content itself. Learn about the power of motivational interviewing to build trust within science-hesitant communities. Additionally, the presentation will delve into how online spaces normalize medicalization and contribute to the spread of pseudoscience, particularly in the context of contested illnesses and gaps in the healthcare system—and ways to get through to people especially vulnerable to this type of misinformation.


Event Location

SkyView 5

Presented by

3:30 PM–4:00 PM | Break / Book Signing

In a society obsessed with commercial quick fixes and biohacking, the quest for healthy aging and longevity has taken center stage. From dietary supplements and anti-aging creams to wellness retreats and lifestyle programs, the market is saturated with promises of eternal youth. But what do the experts say about the science of longevity? Can pills, infrared saunas, and cryotherapy slow life’s relentless march toward entropy? Has the first human to live to 150 already been born? Join Nick Tiller, Timothy Caulfield, and Rina Raphael as they untangle the science and pseudoscience of longevity. Through interactive polling and audience Q and A, the trio will dissect the claims of “precision medicine,” delve into tech magnate Bryan Johnson’s quest for the fountain of youth, and challenge conventional wisdom surrounding diet and exercise.


Event Location

SkyView 5

Presented by

Saturday, October 26

8:00 AM | Registration & Bookstore

8:45 AM | Opening Remarks

In recent years, ideology has been creeping into evolutionary biology, distorting facts in a way that gives people a false impression of what nature is like. In this talk, I explore two of the many ways this ideological erosion of biology has infected the field. The first is the increasingly widespread claim that biological sex is a “spectrum”: that there are not just two sexes, male and female, but a large number of them. This may be true of gender but not of biological sex itself, which is always binary, with just two sexes in all animals and vascular plants. Why has this distortion occurred? Probably to buttress the felt identities of people who are transsexual or non-binary. But this conflates sex and gender, and the sex binary, which has led to big advances in understanding evolution, should not be distorted in the service of ideology.

A similar phenomenon has occurred in biological discussions of race, though the term is fraught and I prefer to use populations. The popular argument that there are no meaningful genetic differences between human populations has led the American Medical Association, for instance, to state that “Race and ethnicity are social constructs without biological meaning.” This is in fact false: human populations over the globe have sufficient genetic differences that we can infer our ancestry with high accuracy—and even deduce one’s crude self-identified “race”—from a sample of DNA. These genetic differences evolved when early human populations lived in physical isolation, and have implications not just for deducing ancestry, but also tracing the history of human migration and for mitigating disparities in health and education. Again, the reason for the popular idea that race is nonexistent comes from a well-meaning desire to see nature as we would like it to be: with everyone in the world pretty much genetically identical.

But, in the end, we should not look to nature to buttress our ideology, politics, or morality, for this tactic not only distorts science, but also grounds our values on observations of biology rather than on the proper foundation—reason and humanism.


Event Location

SkyView 5

Presented by

For most of its 4.54 billion years, Earth has proven it can manage just fine without human beings. Then came the first proto-humans, who emerged just a little more than two million years ago—a fleeting moment in geological time. What is it that made this benevolent moment of ours possible? Ironically, it’s the very same thing that now threatens us—climate change. The drying of the tropics during the Pleistocene period created a niche for early hominids, who could hunt prey as forests gave way to savannahs in the African tropics. The sudden cooling episode known as the “Younger Dryas” 13,000 years ago, which occurred just as Earth was thawing out of the last Ice Age, spurred the development of agriculture in the fertile crescent. The “Little Ice Age” cooling of the sixteenth to nineteenth centuries led to famines and pestilence for much of Europe, yet it was a boon for the Dutch, who were able to take advantage of stronger winds to shorten their ocean voyages. The conditions that allowed humans to live on Earth are fragile, incredibly so. Climate variability has at times created new niches that humans or their ancestors could potentially exploit and challenges that at times have spurred innovation. But there’s a relatively narrow envelope of climate variability within which human civilization remains viable. And our survival depends on conditions remaining within that range. In this talk, I will arm attendees with the knowledge necessary to appreciate the gravity of the unfolding climate crisis, while emboldening them—and others—to act before it truly does become too late.


Event Location

SkyView 5

Presented by

10:30 AM | Break / Book Signing

Well, that depends on your definition of critical thinking. The term critical thinking means different things to different people. Who is right? Science teachers are trained to teach critical thinking, emphasizing that science is falsifiable and requires tested hypotheses, evidence, and consensus. They encourage students to engage in the scientific process through NGSS practices and project-based learning.

But here’s what they don’t teach: how our own flawed thinking and perceptions can get in the way of accepting facts. They do not teach that many of the things we each believe are tied more closely to our identities than to any facts. This reality that our worldview affects how we process new information and that science is the best way to put guardrails in place so we can seek the truth in the most objective way possible should be an ongoing theme in our classrooms.


Event Location

SkyView 5

Presented by

David McRaney will talk about how, in the process of writing a book about the science of why it’s so hard to change people's minds, he changed his own mind about how minds change. In this talk, you'll not only learn what works when it comes to persuading, debunking, and challenging conventions to disagreeing well, you'll learn why it is vitally important to understand why some of us saw that photo of a dress as black-and-blue and others as white-and-gold (because it answers a whole of questions about how much of modern discourse can seem impossibly polarized).


Event Location

SkyView 5

Presented by

12:00 PM | Lunch On Your Own

Although the main research focus of the Anomalistic Psychology Research Unit in the Department of Psychology at Goldsmiths was the development and, where possible, testing of non-paranormal explanations of ostensibly paranormal experiences, we have also over the years devoted considerable time and effort to directly testing paranormal claims. This talk will present an overview of these investigations including claims of psychic ability and mediumship, "human magnetism", dowsing, and precognition. Spoiler alert: I am still a sceptic.


Event Location

SkyView 5

Presented by

In a world increasingly polarized by differing ideologies, acceptance of scientific evidence becomes a battleground shaped not only by facts but also by the echo chambers of social and political beliefs. These insular groups and resultant identity communities cultivate selective trust in science, which substantially influence public and individual perceptions of scientific facts.

Drawing from case studies in contentious fields such as vaccines, food ingredients, and genetic technologies, this presentation explores and illustrates how ideological biases lead to the selective rejection of evidence. This rejection is further exacerbated by psychological phenomena such as confirmation bias and belief perseverance.

By shedding light on the challenges of effectively communicating science in a polarized society, this talk aims to propose strategies for bridging the ideological divide. It emphasizes the importance of fostering productive discussions on topics frequently targeted by misinformation campaigns in order to minimize far-reaching and pervasive harms to public health and science literacy.


Event Location

SkyView 5

Presented by

Daniel Simons will talk about how the cognitive abilities that usually serve us well can make us vulnerable to mistaken beliefs, misinformation, self-deception, and outright fraud. Even our abilities to focus intently and think critically can be turned against us when we fail to think about what falls outside our focus. His presentation will draw on topics ranging from visual attention and magic to science fraud and the exhilarating world of management consulting to show how easily we can be deceived—both by ourselves and by others—and what we can do about it.


Event Location

Scenic Ballroom

Presented by

The SGU dissects recent science news and controversies with a dose of critical thinking.


Event Location

SkyView 5

Presented by

When it comes to the world of magic and mysticism, do you consider yourself a believer in the unknown? Well, it may surprise you that magician and master mentalist Banachek is a devoted nonbeliever—and trust us when we say that his skepticism is absolutely a gift to the world.

Banachek's current reputation as the world's leading mentalist began when he was just eighteen years old when he and a friend signed up for a “scientific” study called Project Alpha.

For the next four years, Banachek would use his arsenal of mentalist tricks to convince the researchers at the newly founded McDonnell Laboratory for Psychical Research of Washington University that he had psychic abilities. Some of these researchers were so convinced of Banachek's “abilities” that once he revealed the truth, they still refused to change their minds.

Banachek has also partnered with multiple investigators to expose fraudulent psychics, mediums, and spiritualists who take advantage of the suffering and emotions of others for monetary gain. One of his most famous investigations was of the American televangelist Peter Popoff, whom he unmasked on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Carson in 1986.


Event Location

SkyView 5

Presented by

Sunday, October 27

8:00 AM | Registration & Bookstore

8:45 AM | Opening Remarks

Paper Session

The Sunday Morning Papers session will recognize new voices and new ideas and showcase them in the spotlight of the CSICon stage. These are people who have had success in communicating scientific skepticism, teaching critical thinking, combating pseudoscience, or furthering the mission of CSI in some new and significant way.

Susan Gerbic and Rob Palmer as the moderators.

Click here to learn more


Event Location

SkyView 5

Presented by

Info


Hotel Information

Discounted rooms are available at the Horseshoe Las Vegas. Links are located below to complete your reservation. We recommend booking early as our conference rooms sell out quickly.

Stay at the HorseshoeMore Hotel Information
Accessibility

The Center for Inquiry values full participation at all its events, including participation from individuals with disabilities. Requests for reasonable accommodation may be made by contacting Barry Karr at (716) 636-4869 ext. 217 or bkarr@centerforinquiry.org.

Policies

Policy on Hostile Conduct / Harassment at Conferences: View Harassment Policy

Call for Papers

The Committee for Skeptical Inquiry is delighted to announce our annual Call for Papers. Selected applicants will have the opportunity to give a talk at the Sunday Morning Papers session of CSICon 2024.

The tradition of the Papers session recognizes new voices and new ideas, and showcases them on the CSICon stage. If you have had success in communicating scientific skepticism, combating pseudoscience, or furthering the mission of CSI in a significant way, we encourage you to submit a proposal.

Appropriate topics are those which support the mission of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, and which reflect the type of material typically published in Skeptical Inquirer.

Submit a Paper

Volunteer Information

CSICon Las Vegas needs your help! We are seeking a number of volunteers to help support the event, whether with speaker support, registration, event management, PR, merchandising, outreach, tabling, or other opportunities.

Volunteer Instructions

Apply for the CSICon Scholarship

Students! Apply Today!