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. This was the book that changed Banachek’s life by giving him the tools to construct his own versions of metal bending. His life was never the same. Banachek’s Mind Games Live is in Las Vegas at the prestigious Strat hotel, Casino and Skypod.

James Randi: An Honest Liar | Saturday 11:00 AM

Kenny Biddle

Kenny Biddle has been investigating (and solving) mysteries for over two decades. His investigations have entailed everything from debunking ghost hunting gadgets and famous haunted houses to exposing psychics and recreating photographic "evidence" of the afterlife. He hosts/cohosts two livestream shows each week, providing an informed skeptical approach to paranormal topics. He also writes an online column, “A Closer Look,” for Skeptical Inquirer and produces the vlog series Ghosts in the Machine detailing his various investigations. Biddle frequently attends paranormal-themed events, where he often sets up a "Skeptical Help Booth" to bring skepticism and critical thinking where it is much needed. He's also highly skilled in the art of NERF-combat.

Bridging the Gap Between (Some) Paranormal Believers and Skeptics | Friday 3:00 PM

Robyn Blumner

Robyn Blumner joined the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason & Science as executive director in February 2014, and a year later she was promoted to president and chief executive officer. In January 2016, she became CEO of the Center for Inquiry. She comes off a sixteen-year career as a nationally syndicated columnist and editorial writer at the Tampa Bay Times newspaper (formerly the St. Petersburg Times). Blumner is an expert on civil liberties and civil rights. She has written extensively on church-state separation, free speech, and privacy issues as well as economics and the diminishing power of the middle class. In 2012, she was a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize for editorial writing along with three colleagues. Blumner was executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Utah from 1987 to 1989 and executive director of the ACLU of Florida from 1989 to 1997. In that role she led efforts to protect abortion and student free speech rights and to prevent the adoption of school vouchers, among dozens of public policy battles. Blumner attended Cornell University, School of Industrial and Labor Relations, graduating with honors in 1982. Her law degree comes from New York University School of Law, where she graduated in 1985. She is a member of the New York State Bar.

Opening Reception | Thursday 7:00 PM

Timothy Caulfield

Timothy Caulfield is a Canada Research Chair in Health Law and Policy, a professor in the Faculty of Law and the School of Public Health, and research director of the Health Law Institute at the University of Alberta. Caulfield is also the host and coproducer of the award-winning documentary TV show A User’s Guide to Cheating Death, which has been shown in over sixty countries, including streaming on Netflix in North America.

Misinformation and the (Big) Ideology Problem | Saturday 9:00 AM

Richard Dawkins

Richard Dawkins is one of the most respected scientists in the world and an internationally best-selling author. Among his books are The Selfish GeneThe God Delusion, and his autobiography A Brief Candle in the Dark. He is a fellow of the Royal Society and of the Royal Society of Literature.

VIP Luncheon | Friday 12:30 PM

Chip Denman

Chip Denman has been a director of the James Randi Educational Foundation since 2008 and has served as the statistician behind the Million Dollar Challenge since its start. He is a cofounder of the National Capital Area Skeptics in the D.C./Maryland/Virginia region. He is retired from the University of Maryland, where he created and taught the course “Science & Pseudoscience” for the University Honors Program.

Workshop: Asking Good Questions … of Others and Yourself | Thursday 9:30 AM

Grace Denman

Grace Denman has been a leader in the arena of skeptical activism since cofounding the National Capital Area Skeptics (NCAS) in 1987. She has had the privilege of serving on the NCAS Board of Directors since its inception and has served as treasurer and president. She is retired from AccelerED, a subsidiary of the University of Maryland Global Campus, formerly University of Maryland University College (it’s complicated). She still questions assumptions daily.

Workshop: Asking Good Questions … of Others and Yourself | Thursday 9:30 AM

Kathleen Dyer

Kathleen Dyer, PhD, is professor and department chair in Child and Family Science at the California State University, Fresno. Her research is in the areas of parenting and infant sleep, as well as critical thinking and pedagogy in higher education. Her teaching is focused on research methods. Her most recent book is Research Foundations in Human Development and Family Science: Science versus Nonsense.

Workshop: Whom to Trust: From Charlatans to Academic Scholars, a Field Guide for the Perplexed | Thursday 2:00 PM

Paul Fidalgo

Paul Fidalgo has been communications director of the Center for Inquiry since 2012, where he writes The Morning Heresy newsletter and hosts the Heresy Now! podcast. He has recently been named the new editor of Free Inquiry magazine. He holds a master’s degree in political management from George Washington University and has worked previously for FairVote: The Center for Voting and Democracy and the Secular Coalition for America. Paul is also an actor and musician whose work includes five years performing with the American Shakespeare Center. More recently he has directed several stage productions for the University of New England Players. In 2017, he was the second Richard Kirschman Free Thought Fellow at the Mesa Refuge in Point Reyes, California, and the resulting article, "Post-Humans on a Sterile Promontory: The New Myths of Transhumanism and the Dark Mountain," was the cover feature for the April/May 2021 issue of Free Inquiry. His work also appears in the thirteenth book of the Dark Mountain Project and two books from the Wicked Problems Collaborative. He lives in Maine along with his two dangerous kids.

Balles Award Presentation | Friday 8:00 PM

Stuart Firestein

Stuart Firestein, PhD, is the former chair of Columbia University’s Department of Biological Sciences, where his laboratory studies the vertebrate olfactory system, possibly the best chemical detector on the face of the planet. Aside from its molecular detection capabilities, the olfactory system serves as a model for investigating general principles and mechanisms of signaling and perception in the brain. His laboratory seeks to answer that fundamental human question: How do I smell?

The Proper Use of Ignorance in Science | Sunday 9:00 AM

Kendrick Frazier

Kendrick Frazier is editor of the Skeptical Inquirer, former editor of Science News, and author or editor of ten books. He is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and a fellow and member of the Executive Council of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry.

Opening Reception | Thursday 7:00 PM

Susan Gerbic

Susan Gerbic founded and manages About Time, a nonprofit organization focusing on scientific skepticism and activism. While her particular focus has been grief vampires (psychics), her activism encompasses all areas of skepticism. Gerbic is the winner of the 2019 CSI Robert P. Balles Prize for Critical Thinking.

You can find out more at

Undercover with the Grief Vampires and Skeptical Activism during the Pandemic | Friday 2:00 PM

David Robert Grimes

David Robert Grimes is a physicist, cancer researcher, and author. His work encompasses everything from how tumors use oxygen to the impact of disinformation and conspiracy theory on public understanding.

He is a fellow of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry and received the 2014 John Maddox Prize for communicating science in the face of adversity. His first book, Good Thinking: Why Flawed Logic Puts Us All at Risk and How Critical Thinking Can Save the World was described as an unstoppable page turner by Richard Dawkins. It is out now from Experiment Publishing.

Situation Critical | Friday 11:30 AM

Raymond Edward Hall

Raymond Edward Hall, PhD, is a professor in the Department of Physics at California State University, Fresno, where he teaches courses in engineering physics, quantum mechanics, particle physics, critical thinking, and the philosophy of science. His current work focuses on the use of social media to promote public interest in physics and science. His Instagram page (@physicsfun) has more than 2 million followers.

Paper Session | Sunday 10:00 AM

Workshop: Whom to Trust: From Charlatans to Academic Scholars, a Field Guide for the Perplexed | Thursday 2:00 PM

George Hrab

George Hrab is best known in his hometown of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, as the longtime drummer for The Philadelphia Funk Authority. Hrab is internationally beloved as the sparkling personality behind more than 750 episodes of The Geologic Podcast. With a knack for quick-witted improv and a deep appreciation of history and trivia, Hrab is also cocreator and host of both the multi-generational game show Boomer vs. Zoomer and the touring educational roadshow A Skeptical Extravaganza of Special Significance. He has published two books of humorous essays (Non-Coloring Book and Spiritual Healing & Balance through Colonic Regularity). Hrab’s commitment to science communication has led him to emcee countless conferences and conventions all over the world, including The Reason Rally on the mall in Washington, D.C., and The Amazing Meeting and CSICon in Las Vegas. He’s been a TEDx speaker (“Rethinking Doubt: The Value and Achievements of Skepticism”) and has presented multiple talks about the importance of critical thinking, science appreciation, dealing with grief, and popular culture.

Opening Reception | Thursday 7:00 PM

Opening Remarks | Friday 8:45 AM

Opening Remarks | Saturday 8:45 AM

Opening Remarks | Sunday 8:45 AM

Lee McIntyre

Lee McIntyre is a research fellow at the Center for Philosophy and History of Science at Boston University. He is the former executive director of the Institute for Quantitative Social Science at Harvard University, and he previously taught philosophy at Colgate University, Boston University, Simmons College, Tufts Experimental College, and Harvard Extension School. McIntyre is the bestselling author of Post-Truth (MIT Press, 2018)—named CNN Book-of-the-Week in April 2018 and a Best Book of 2018 by PBS News Hour—along with numerous other works of fiction and nonfiction, including Dark Ages (2006) and The Scientific Attitude (2019). His latest book is How to Talk to a Science Denier (2021). His work has been translated into thirteen languages.

How to Talk to a Science Denier | Friday 10:00 AM

Nathan H. Lents

Nathan H. Lents is professor of biology at John Jay College of the City University of New York. He studies the evolution of the human genome and is the author of Not So Different: Finding Human Nature in Animals and Human Errors: A Panorama of our Glitches, from Pointless Bones to Broken Genes.

The Future Is Now! The Emerging Science of Human Improvement | Friday 11:00 AM

Nick Little

Nicholas Little is vice president, general counsel, and legal director of the Center for Inquiry. As CFI's attorney, he supervises the Center's litigation. In the area of separation of church and state and the protection of the rights of nonbelievers, he has brought multiple suits to require states to permit secular wedding celebrants. In the area of skepticism, he has filed CFI's groundbreaking consumer protection suit against CVS stores for their deceptive marketing of homeopathy. Educated at Oxford University, the University of Warwick, and Vanderbilt University Law School, Little seeks to keep CFI involved in cutting edge litigation to further its mission of a secular society based on reason, science, and humanist values.

How to Talk to a Science Denier | Friday 10:00 AM

Tyler Measom

Tyler Measom is an award-winning nonfiction filmmaker with twenty-five years of experience. He is the codirector of the hit Netflix original series Murder among the Mormons. He also codirected the documentaries In the Balance: Ballet’s Lost Year and I Want My MTV (Tribeca Film Festival, A&E), An Honest Liar (Tribeca, ITVS) and Sons of Perdition (Tribeca, Oprah Documentary Club). Measom is the producer and host of the hit podcast series Was I In a Cult? from iHeart Radio. Measom is currently directing the docuseries Nothing to Lose for Paramount+.

James Randi: An Honest Liar | Saturday 11:00 AM

Natalia Pasternak

Natalia Pasternak is a science writer and microbiologist with a PhD in bacterial genetics from the University of Sao Paulo. She has brought crucial, life-saving scientific information to millions of people in Brazil during the COVID-19 pandemic through her press columns, books, and radio and TV appearances. Pasternak is also founder and current president of Instituto Questão de Ciência (Question of Science Institute), a Brazilian nonprofit organization dedicated to the promotion of scientific evidence in public policies. Her book Science in Our Daily Lives, coauthored with science journalist Carlos Orsi, won the Brazilian Book award for best science book in 2021.

Paper Session | Sunday 10:00 AM

Naomi Oreskes

Naomi Oreskes is the Henry Charles Lea Professor of the History of Science and affiliated professor of earth and planetary sciences at Harvard University. She is an internationally renowned earth scientist, historian, and author of both scholarly and popular books and articles on the history of earth and environmental science, including, most recently, Why Trust Science? (2019) and Science on a Mission: How Military Funding Shaped What We Do and Don’t Know about the Ocean (2021).

Can Science Be Saved? | Friday 12:00 PM

VIP Luncheon | Friday 12:30 PM

Deyvi Orangel Peña Arteaga

Deyvi Orangel Peña Arteaga, the husband of the late James Randi, is a contemporary visual artist known for his performance of the "channeler" Carlos in Australia in 1987. Using his moniker Jose Alvarez (D.O.P.A.), he creates exuberant paintings as well as mixed-media works on paper and in videos, installations, and performances. Deyvi has performed and exhibited as Alvarez (D.O.P.A.) at the Whitney Museum of American Art, The Kitchen in New York, NASA Johnson Space Flight Center, and Parkes Radio Telescope in Australia, among others.

James Randi: An Honest Liar | Saturday 11:00 AM

Penn & Teller

Penn & Teller are perhaps magic’s most legendary duo. In their humble beginnings they were busking on the streets of Philadelphia. Today, they have hosted acclaimed sold-out runs on Broadway and are the longest running—and one of the most-beloved—resident headline acts in Las Vegas history. Penn & Teller continue to defy labels—and at times physics and good taste—by redefining the genre of magic and inventing their own very distinct niche in comedy. The duo has its own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The controversial Showtime series Penn & Teller: BS! was nominated for thirteen Emmys and was the longest-running series in the history of the network. The show highlighted the pair’s ardent skepticism by tackling the fakes and frauds behind such topics as alien abduction, psychics, and bottled water.

Penn & Teller in Conversation with Julia Sweeney | Saturday 4:00 PM

John Petrocelli

John V. Petrocelli is a professor of psychology at Wake Forest University. He is an experimental social psychologist (PhD, Indiana University, Bloomington) and the author of The Life-Changing Science of Detecting Bullshit. Petrocelli has taught social psychology, statistics, and judgment and decision-making courses at Wake Forest University since 2007, where he also serves as chairperson of the university’s Institutional Review Board. Petrocelli has authored or coauthored over fifty scholarly articles and book chapters in the areas of social cognition and judgment and decision-making. His primary research interests and contributions are in the areas of bullshitting, counterfactual thinking, metacognition, attitude strength, and persuasion. Petrocelli also serves as an associate editor for the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin.

Persuasive Bullshitters and the Insidious Bullshit Hypothesis | Saturday 10:00 AM

Piff the Magic Dragon

Piff the Magic Dragon first earned national acclaim as the standout star of NBC’s America's Got Talent and The CW’s Penn & Teller: Fool Us. He continues to win over audiences across the globe with his unique brand of wizardry, wit, and charm. Most recently, Piff was crowned champion of TBS’s comedy competition series Tournament of Laughs, beating some of the biggest names in comedy, including Jeff Ross, Margaret Cho, Gilbert Gottfried, Michael Rapaport, Jim Norton, and Fortune Feimster. Hailed as “a stunningly good magician” by Penn & Teller and “a true original” by David Copperfield, the award-winning comedian-magician, along with his trusty sidekick Mr. Piffles, The World’s Only Magic Performing Chihuahua™, and Showgirl Jade Simone, are currently performing for at-home audiences on their first interactive livestream tour, Piff the Magic Dragon: Live from Las Vegas.

Piff at His Theatre | Friday 4:00 PM

Massimo Polidoro

Massimo Polidoro is a writer and an internationally recognized “mystery investigator.” He began his career as James Randi’s apprentice and is the cofounder and head of the skeptics group CICAP in in his native Italy, where he is a TV personality. A research fellow for CSI, he has been a columnist for its magazine, the Skeptical Inquirer, since 2002. He taught “Scientific Method and Anomalistic Psychology” at the University of Milan and now teaches “Science Communication” to Padua University’s PhD students. He has an ever growing following on social media (200,000 subscribers on YouTube) and is the author of over fifty books. In his latest one, Brilliant, he shares thirteen lessons in critical thinking and in the art of living that he learned from Randi.

James Randi: An Honest Liar | Saturday 11:00 AM

Julia Sweeney

Julia Sweeney is an actress, comedian, writer, and film director. She was born in the United States in Spokane, Washington, in 1959. She’s appeared on numerous film and television shows and is well known for her years on Saturday Night Live in the first half of the 1990s. She has created several comedic one-person shows.

Penn & Teller in Conversation with Julia Sweeney | Saturday 4:00 PM

VIP Luncheon | Friday 12:30 PM

Eddie Tabash

Edward Tabash is a constitutional lawyer in Los Angeles. He is the chair of the Board of Directors for the Center for Inquiry. The son of an orthodox rabbi and an Auschwitz-surviving mother, after decades of research and reflection, he has concluded that the universe is natural with no supernatural beings or occurrences. He is known for his involvement in defending the separation of church and state and for representing the atheistic point of view in debates against religious advocates.

Opening Reception | Thursday 7:00 PM

The Current Supreme Court Super Majority: A Threat to Science and Secularism | Friday 9:30 AM

Nick Tiller

Nick Tiller, Ph.D., is a senior research fellow in exercise physiology at Harbor-UCLA and author of The Skeptic's Guide to Sports Science which was named one of Book Authority's "Best Sports Science Books of All Time." He is associate editor of the International Journal of Sports Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism and a leading authority on the physiology of ultra-endurance exercise. For over a decade, Tiller has been studying the commercial health and wellness industry through the critical lens of scientific skepticism, with his work featured in The Washington Post, Inside Science, and BBC News, among others. In his monthly column for Skeptical Inquirer magazine, Tiller explores the intersection of critical thinking and health and wellness, and scrutinizes the fitness trends that are sold on extraordinary claims and unextraordinary evidence. Born in London, England, Nick resides in Los Angeles, CA, where he can usually be found running in the Santa Monica Mountains.

Science and Pseudoscience in Health and Wellness: When Medicines Go Rogue | Friday 2:30 PM

Neil deGrasse Tyson

Neil deGrasse Tyson, a fellow of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, is an astrophysicist, planetary scientist, and science communicator. A former advisor to NASA and author of fifteen books, Tyson is host and narrator of the Emmy-winning series Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey and Cosmos: Possible Worlds and hosts the StarTalk podcast and television series. Tyson is the director of the world-renowned Hayden Planetarium in New York City and is a research associate of the Department of Astrophysics at the American Museum of Natural History.

Cosmic Perspectives on Civilization | Thursday 8:15 PM

VIP Luncheon | Friday 12:30 PM

Jim Underdown

Jim Underdown is executive director of Center for Inquiry West and the chair and founder of the CFI Investigations Group. He is also one of the co-hosts of CFI's flagship podcast, Point of Inquiry, available at

Halloween Mayhem | Saturday 8:00 PM

Joseph Uscinski

Joseph Uscinski is a professor of political science at the University of Miami. He is coauthor of the book American Conspiracy Theories and editor of Conspiracy Theories and the People Who Believe Them.

Getting Conspiracy Theories Right | Saturday 2:30 PM

Odaelys Walwyn-Pollard

Odaelys Walwyn-Pollard, a native of St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands, left the tropics and migrated to the Northeast of the U.S. to pursue her PhD in microbiology and immunology. Walwyn-Pollard has always been intrigued by the world of science, specifically microbes and their ability to cause fatal diseases in some instances and save lives in others. Not only is she a lover of all things science, but she is also an educator at heart who has had the opportunity to engage with a range of audiences, from middle school to graduate school students and to inquisitive adults. She is particularly passionate about teaching and mentoring students of all backgrounds, especially those underrepresented in the STEM fields, in ways that foster their love for science and research. She is actively involved with and manages STEM programs that provide ways to support and mentor motivated students, teachers, and scientists with the goal of promoting equitable access to and an appreciation for the scientific process.

Illusion of Accessibility in STEM: COVID-19 Edition | Saturday 9:30 AM

Richard Wiseman

Richard Wiseman has been described by Elizabeth Loftus (past president, Association for Psychological Science) as “one of the world’s most creative psychologists.” His books (including The Luck Factor, 59 Seconds and Paranormality) have sold over three million copies worldwide, and his psychology-based YouTube videos have attracted over 500 million views. He holds Britain’s only Professorship in the Public Understanding of Psychology at the University of Hertfordshire, is one of the most followed psychologists on Twitter, and the Independent on Sunday chose him as one of the top 100 people who make Britain a better place to live. Wiseman is a member of the highly exclusive Inner Magic Circle and has published over 100 academic papers (including those on magic and illusion). His most recent book is coauthored with legendary illusionist David Copperfield and explores the history of magic.

James Randi: An Honest Liar | Saturday 11:00 AM

Investigating the Impossible | Friday 9:00 AM

Seema Yasmin

Seema Yasmin is an Emmy Award—winning journalist, medical doctor, author, and director of the Stanford Health Communication Initiative.

Viral BS: Medical Myths and Why We Fall for Them | Saturday 2:00 PM