Brian Greene

Brian Greene is a professor of physics and mathematics at Columbia University, and is recognized for a number of groundbreaking discoveries in his field of superstring theory. His books, The Elegant UniverseThe Fabric of the Cosmos, and The Hidden Reality, have collectively spent 65 weeks on The New York Times bestseller list.

Presentation: 11:00 AM | Sunday, October 20th


Julia Sweeney

Julia Sweeney is an actress, comedian, writer and film director. She was born in the U.S. 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.  She has created several comedic one-person shows.

VIP Luncheon: 12:30 PM | Saturday, October 19th

Performance: 4:00 PM | Saturday, October 19th


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.

Taking Courage from Darwin: 4:00 PM | Friday, October 18th

VIP Luncheon: 12:30 PM | Saturday, October 19th


Britt Marie Hermes

Britt Hermes is a writer, scientist, and a former naturopathic doctor. She practiced as a licensed naturopath in the United States for three years and then left the profession after realizing naturopathy is a pseudoscientific ideology. She now writes to expose issues with naturopathy, the current rising profession in alternative medicine.

Do Not Harm. But First, Nature: 12:00 PM | Saturday, October 19th


Banachek

Banachek is respected as the greatest Mentalist/Mindreader in the world.  It is very hard to find a single mentalist or magician living today that is not using one of Banachek's effects or applying one of his subtleties.  He has put more magic on Television than any other magician in history. Luckily Banachek is also a skeptic and debunker of charlatans and mentalist techniques.

Magic Show: 8:15 PM | Friday, October 18th


James Alcock

James Alcock is professor of psychology at York University in Toronto, Canada. He is a fellow and member of the Executive Council of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry and a member of the Editorial Board of the Skeptical Inquirer.

Workshop: Skeptic’s Toolbox: 10:00 AM | Wednesday, October 16th


Kurt Andersen

Kurt Andersen is a brilliant analyst and synthesizer of historical and cultural trends, a bestselling novelist, a groundbreaking media entrepreneur, and the host of public radio’s Studio 360. Andersen is the author of the novels HeydayTurn of the Century and his latest, True BelieversThe New York Times called Turn of the Century "wickedly satirical" and "outrageously funny" and named one of its Notable Books of the year, while The Wall Street Journal called it a "smart, funny and excruciatingly deft portrait of our age." It was a national bestseller. Heyday was a New York Times bestseller which the Los Angeles Times called "a major work," and won the Langum Prize as the best American historical fiction of the year. True Believers was named one of the best novels of the year by The Washington Post and The San Francisco Chronicle, called by Fortune "the best reverie on the 1960s and their legacy," and by Vanity Fair "a great American novel.” His non-fiction books include The Real Thing and, in 2009, Reset: How This Crisis Can Restore Our Values and Renew America. He is also host and co-creator of Studio 360, the cultural magazine show broadcast on more than 200 stations and heard by near a million a million listeners each week and has won two Peabody Awards. He also writes for film (Walt Disney Pictures, Village Roadshow), television (HBO, Universal Cable Productions) and the stage. He was executive producer and head writer of two prime-time specials for NBC, starring Jerry Seinfeld and Julia Louis-Dreyfus, and a creator of pilots for ABC and NBC. He was co-author of Loose Lips, a satirical off-Broadway revue that had long runs in New York and Los Angeles. From 2001 through 2004 he served as a creative consultant to Universal Television, helping to create cable channels and to shape Universal's TV programming.

Presentation: 8:00 PM | Thursday, October 17th


Jann Bellamy

Jann J. Bellamy is a Florida attorney and lives in Tallahassee. She is a former law clerk to a federal judge, Florida Assistant Attorney General and long-time partner in a Tallahassee law firm, where she practiced mainly in the civil litigation area. Jann became interested in so-called “complementary and alternative” medicine (CAM) when the Florida Legislature tried to establish a chiropractic school within Florida State University in 2005. She joined others in leading opposition to the school, and this “done deal,” which was strongly opposed by the University faculty, was undone by the university system Board of Governors. During this process, Jann became intrigued that scientifically implausible and unproven healthcare claims could be presented as fact to the public, even to the point of being codified into law, and she left the active practice of law in 2006 to form a non-profit to educate Floridians about “alternative” healthcare claims. Since then, Jann has been a relentless educator and activist. She is one of the founders and Board members of the Society for Science-Based Medicine (SfSBM) dedicated to providing accurate information about CAM and advocating for state and federal laws that incorporate a science-based standard for all health care practitioners. She tracks state and federal bills that would allow pseudoscience in health care for the SfSBM website. She has appeared at New England Conference on Science and Skepticism, and has given talks on CAM to medical students, hospital medical staff, the Center for Inquiry-Tallahassee chapter, among others. She has written for Health News Florida, and has blogged regularly for Science-Based Medicine since 2010.

Presentation: 12:00 PM | Friday, October 18th


Kenny Biddle

Kenny Biddle is a science enthusiast and skeptical investigator of paranormal claims. He’s been involved in photography for over twenty years. He applies his knowledge, experience, and critical thinking skills to analyzing alleged paranormal photographs and video to determine the most plausible causes. His work has been featured in several skeptical publications.

Workshop: The Investigators: 2:00 PM | Thursday, October 17th


Janyce L. Boynton

Janyce is an artist, educator, and advocate for evidence-based practices in the field of communication sciences and disorders. As a speech/language clinician in the early 1990s, she became involved with facilitated communication. Her story, first as believer, then as critic, is well-documented and was featured on Frontline's “Prisoners of Silence”. She left teaching to pursue her artwork, but has continued to be active in educating people about the dangers of FC and other facilitator-influenced techniques. An overview of her experiences with FC can be found in Stuart Vyse's "An Artist With a Science-Based Mission," published in Skeptical Inquirer (November 2018). Her 2012 article, "Facilitated Communication: What Harm it Can Do – Confessions of a Former Facilitator," published in the journal Evidence-Based Communication and Intervention, was the first of its kind. To date, she is one of the few facilitators world-wide to publicly acknowledge her role in producing FC messages and speak out against its use.

FC: Communication Unsound: 9:30 AM | Friday, October 18th


Troy Campbell

Troy Campbell is an assistant professor of marketing at the University of Oregon, a design psychologist, and a former Disney Imagineer. He develops psychological theories to design better ways to overcome bias, create great experiences, improve well-being, and communicate ideas, stories, and science.

Presentation: 11:00 AM | Friday, October 18th


John de Lancie

Mr. de Lancie’s film credits include, “The Hand that Rocks the Cradle”, “The Fisher King”, “Bad Influence”, The Onion Field”, “Taking Care of Business”, “Fearless”, “Multiplicity”, "Women on Top", "Nicholas", "Good Advice", “Patient 14”, “The Big Time”, “Reign on Me”, “Pathology”, “Games”, “Teenius”, “Crank2" and “The Marriage Counselor”. Mr. de Lancie has appeared in numerous television shows including; “Torchwood”, “Breaking Bad”, “CSI”, “The Unit”, “West Wing", "Sports Night", “Judging Amy”, "The Closer", “Star Trek”, “Legend”, “LA Law”, “Picket Fences”, “Civil Wars”, “The Practice”, and “Touched by an Angel”.

Presentation: 3:00 PM | Saturday, October 19th


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 co-founder of the National Capital Area Skeptics in the DC/Maryland/Virginia region. He recently retired from the University of Maryland where he created and taught the course “Science & Pseudoscience” for the University Honors Program.

Workshop: Asking Good Questions: 11:00 AM | Thursday, October 17th


Grace Denman

Grace Denman has been a leader in the arena of skeptical activism since co-founding the National Capital Area Skeptics 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 a Program Manager at the University of Maryland University College where she questions assumptions daily.

Workshop: Asking Good Questions: 11:00 AM | Thursday, October 17th


Mark Edward

Mark Edward is a professional mentalist who specializes in magic of the mind. He has spent over thirty-five years in world-class venues from high-end night clubs and theaters to hundreds of private party and corporate events. He travels internationally as a skeptical activist, using his skills as a mentalist to teach and promote critical thinking.

Workshop: Skeptical Activism: 11:00 AM | Thursday, October 17th


Susan Gerbic

Affectionately called the Wikipediatrician, Susan Gerbic is the cofounder of Monterey County Skeptics and a self-proclaimed skeptical junkie. Susan is also founder of the Guerrilla Skepticism on Wikipedia (GSoW) project. She is a frequent contributor to Skeptical Inquirer (CSICOP) and Skepticality Podcast. She is the winner of the CSI In the Trenches Award from 2012, James Randi Award for Skepticism in the Public Interest 2013. She became a Scientific and Technical Consultant for CSI in 2015 and a CSI Fellow in 2017. Susan was awarded the James Randi Prize for 2017. In 2018, Susan founded and manages About Time a non-profit organization focusing on scientific skepticism and activism.

Workshop: Skeptical Activism: 11:00 AM | Thursday, October 17th


Jen Gunter

Dr. Jen Gunter is an OB/GYN and pain medicine physician and is Twitter's resident gynecologist. She's here to build a better medical Internet. She blogs and also writes The Cycle, a column on the intersection sex, science, and society, for the New York Times. One day she hopes to ask Gwyneth Paltrow for the physics equation that explains how a jade egg can be recharged with lunar energy.

Presentation: 2:00 PM | Friday, October 18th


Ray Hall

Raymond Edward Hall is a professor in the Department of Physics at California State University, Fresno, where for more than fifteen years he has developed and taught courses in engineering physics, quantum mechanics, and other scientific topics.

Workshop: Introduction to Critical Thinking: 2:00 PM | Thursday, October 17th

Paper Sessions: 9:00 AM | Sunday, October 20th


Bailey Harris

Bailey Harris is a 13-year-old science author, speaker, and freethought/human rights activist. Bailey started writing her first book, My Name is Stardust, at the age of eight. She was inspired to write this first book after watching an episode of Cosmos where she learned that our bodies are made of stardust. Her Stardust book series is published by Storybook Genius Publishing and now includes Stardust Explores the Solar System and the upcoming 2019 release, Stardust Explores Earth's Wonders. These books support Bailey's mission to inspire a love of science and a sense of wonder at the universe.

Stardust: The Book of Truth: 11:00 AM | Saturday, October 19th


Jeff Hawkins

Jeff Hawkins is a scientist and co-founder at Numenta, a research company focused on neocortical theory. His research focuses on how the cortex learns models of the world through sensation and movement. In 2002, he founded the Redwood Neuroscience Institute, where he served as Director for three years. The institute is currently located at U.C. Berkeley. Previously, he co-founded two companies, Palm and Handspring, where he designed products such as the PalmPilot and Treo smartphone. In 2004 he wrote “On Intelligence”, a book about cortical theory.

How the Brain Learns and Why It Sometimes Gets It Wrong: 10:00 AM | Friday, October 18th


Ray Hyman

Ray Hyman is Professor Emeritus of Psychology at the University of Oregon. As a psychologist he specialized in the Psychology of Deception. Along with James Randi, Martin Gardner, Paul Kurtz and a few others he was one of the founding members of CSICOP (now CSI- the Committee for Skeptical Investigation). He has served on various governmental committees investigating paranormal claims as well as individuals such as Uri Geller. Before he earned his PHD in Psychology he engaged in a variety of activities such as reading palms, performing magic and mentalism, and similar activities. Among the several honors he has received are: Honorary Doctor of Science from Simon Fraser University; awards from the International Brotherhood of Magicians for several magic effects he  created; awards from CSI and other skeptical organizations for his efforts in investigating and exposing psychic frauds, etc. He is also founder of The Skeptic’s Toolbox which was first held at the University of Oregon during the summer of 1992. He has written books and many articles critical of parapsychological research and parapsychologists. He has appeared on many television shows as well as giving talks and demonstrations before live audiences. Perhaps his favorite activities are the many workshops he has conducted for skeptical groups in the United States and Europe on how do cold readings (fortune telling). The participants, during the course of a few hours, learn to give cold readings with 85% accuracy (as reported by those receiving a reading).

Workshop: Skeptic’s Toolbox: 10:00 AM | Wednesday, October 16th


Jonathan Jarry

Jonathan Jarry is a science communicator with the McGill Office for Science and Society, dedicated to separating sense from nonsense on the scientific stage. He brings his experience in cancer research, human genetics, rehabilitation research, and forensic biology to the work he does for the public. He is the creator, writer, and host of the YouTube show Cracked Science, which uses a late-night deep-dive format to debunk pseudoscience and denounce bad science. With cardiologist Dr. Christopher Labos, he co-hosts the award-winning medical podcast The Body of Evidence, which aims to contextualize findings in the realm of health research and answer the public's most pressing questions about the biomedical sciences while also being funny and entertaining.

Presentation: 11:30 AM | Saturday, October 19th


Nathan Lents

Nathan H. Lents is Professor of Biology at John Jay College and author of “Not So Different” and “Human Errors”

Human Errors: What Our Quirks Tell Us about Our Past: 9:30 AM | Saturday, October 19th


Scott Lilienfeld

Scott O. Lilienfeld is Samuel Candler Dobbs Professor of Psychology at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. He received his A.B. at Cornell University in 1982 and his Ph.D. in psychology (clinical) from the University of Minnesota in 1990. He is editor of the journal Clinical Psychological Science and recent past president of the Society for a Science of Clinical Psychology. Dr. Lilienfeld is a CSI Fellow and member of the CSI Executive Council; he is also a regular contributor to Skeptical Inquirer magazine. His primary areas of research include personality disorders, individual differences in cognitive biases, psychological misconceptions, and the relevance of scientific thinking to psychology.

Intellectual Humility: A Guiding Principle for the Skeptical Movement?: 9:00 AM | Saturday, October 19th


Nick Little

Nick Little is Vice President, General Counsel, and Legal Director of the Center for Inquiry. As CFI's attorney, he supervises the Center's litigation, both in the area of separation of church and state and the protection of the rights of non-believers, where he has brought multiple suits to require states to permit secular wedding celebrants, and in the area of skepticism, where 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, Nick seeks to keep CFI involved in cutting edge litigation to further its mission of a secular society based on reason, science, and humanist values.

Presentation: 10:00 AM | Saturday, October 19th


Elizabeth Loftus

Elizabeth Loftus is Distinguished Professor at the University of California - Irvine. She holds faculty positions in the Department of Psychology & Social Behavior; the Department of Criminology, Law & Society, and the School of Law She received her Ph.D. in Psychology from Stanford University. Since then, she has published 22 books and over 500 scientific articles. Loftus's research has focused on the malleability of human memory. She has been recognized for her research with seven honorary doctorates and election to numerous prestigious societies, including the National Academy of Sciences. She is past president of the Association for Psychological Science, the Western Psychological Association, and the American Psychology-Law Society. Loftus’s memory research has led to her being called as an expert witness or consultant in hundreds of cases. Some of the more well known cases include the McMartin PreSchool Molestation case, the Hillside Strangler, the Abscam cases, the trial of the officers accused in the Rodney King beating, the Menendez brothers, the Bosnian War trials in the Hague, the Oklahoma Bombing case, and litigation involving Michael Jackson, Martha Stewart, Scooter Libby, Oliver North, Bill Cosby, and the Duke University Lacrosse players.

The Fiction of Memory: 2:30 PM | Saturday, October 19th


Leighann Lord

Standup Comedian Leighann Lord was the New York City face of the African Americans for Humanism outreach campaign sponsored by the Center for Inquiry and it’s Millions Living Happily Without Religion campaign. Author Chris Johnson featured her in The Atheist Book: A Better Life. Leighann has been a co-host on the Emmy-nominated StarTalk with Neil de Grasse Tyson. She has shared her comedic and hosting talents at many secular conferences including American Atheists, American Humanists, Center for Inquiry, DragonCon – SkepTrack, The PA Freethought Society, NECSS: The Northeast Conference on Science & Skepticism, and PASHTACon. Leighann is also a CFI certified Secular Celebrant; officiating at milestone life events commemorated with a nonreligious worldview. And this year she was honored with the 2019 Humanist Arts Award from the American Humanist Association.

Opening Remarks: 8:45 AM | Friday, October 18th

Opening Remarks: 8:45 AM | Saturday, October 19th

Opening Remarks: 8:45 AM | Sunday, October 20th


Michael Mann

Dr. Mann is Distinguished Professor of Atmospheric Science and Director of the Earth System Science Center at Penn State. His research focuses on climate science and climate change. He was selected by Scientific American as one of the fifty leading visionaries in science and technology in 2002, was awarded the Hans Oeschger Medal of the European Geophysical Union in 2012 and the National Conservation Achievement Award of the NWF in 2013. He made Bloomberg News' list of fifty most influential people in 2013.  In 2014, he received the Friend of the Planet Award from the National Center for Science Education. He received the Stephen H. Schneider Award for Outstanding Climate Science Communication from Climate One in 2017, the Award for Public Engagement with Science from the AAAS in 2018 and the Climate Communication Prize from the American Geophysical Union in 2018. In 2019 he received the Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement. He is a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union, American Meteorological Society, Geological Society of America, American Association for the Advancement of Science and the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry. He is co-founder of the award-winning science website RealClimate.org, author of more than 200 peer-reviewed and edited publications, numerous op-eds and commentaries, and four books including Dire Predictions, The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars, The Madhouse Effect and The Tantrum that Saved the World.

Lunch – The Truth is Bad Enough: The Role of Urgency AND Agency in Communicating the Climate Threat: 12:30 PM | Friday, October 18th


David Mikkelson

David Mikkelson is the founder and CEO of Snopes.com, the oldest and most respected fact-checking site online. Mikkelson founded the site in 1994 and today the site receives over 20 million unique monthly visitors. Mikkelson speaks worldwide about combating “fake news” and the rise of the digital age and its impact on investigative journalism. Managing everything from researching and writing articles about urban legends to overseeing the site’s technical infrastructure, Mikkelson made Snopes.com the go-to place for Internet users to query the veracity of anything questionable they encountered online. www.davidmikkelson.com

Presentation: 11:30 AM | Friday, October 18th


Loren Pankratz

Loren Pankratz, PhD, was a Consultation Psychologist at the Portland VA Medical Center and a Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at Oregon Health Science University. Among other responsibilities, he was Chairman of the Psychiatry Promotion and Tenure Committee for eight years under three different department heads. After retirement he maintained a forensic practice specializing in issues of deception, testifying across the country on topics like insurance fraud, Munchausen syndrome by proxy, and controversial accusations against clergy. Dr. Pankratz has written and lectured on a wide variety of unusual topics such as dancing manias, spiritualism, Greek oracles, ghosts, plagues, historical enigmas, mesmerism, moral panics, con-games, self-deception, faith healing, self-surgery, miracles, ethical blunders, quackery, and Renaissance science. He now spends his time writing and collecting books related to the history of deception.

Workshop: Skeptic’s Toolbox: 10:00 AM | Wednesday, October 16th


Gordon Pennycook

Gordon is an Assistant Professor of Behavioral Science at the Hill/Levene Schools of Business and an Associate Member of the Department of Psychology at the University of Regina. Previously, he completed his PhD at the University of Waterloo and a Banting Postdoctoral Fellowship at Yale University. Gordon's expertise is on the cognitive psychology of thinking and reasoning. In 2016, Gordon won an Ig Nobel Prize for his work titled "On the Reception and Detection of Pseudo-Profound Bullshit". Gordon was also named the Poynter Institute International Fact-Checking Network's "2017 Researcher of the Year" in recognition of his research on fake news and misinformation.

Fake news and pseudo-profound bullshit: Who falls for it and why?: 9:00 AM | Friday, October 18th


Piff the Magic Dragon

Howard Stern called him “a phenomenal talent,” Penn & Teller called him “a stunningly good magician,” Heidi Klum called him… but he sent it to voicemail. The star of NBC’s America's Got Talent and Penn & Teller: Fool Us, think Larry David in a dragon suit performing jaw-dropping magic tricks and you’re on the right track. With over 100 million online views, sold out shows across the US and Canada and a residency at the Flamingo Hotel and Casino on the Las Vegas strip, Piff the Magic Dragon has proved he’s here to stay. Joined by Mr Piffles, The World’s Only Magic Performing Chihuahua™, the dynamic duo have performed all over the world in iconic venues such as Radio City Music Hall, Shakespeare’s Globe, the O2, London and Sydney Opera house. He was the opening act for Mumford & Sons on their 17 date UK tour and graces the cover of their Grammy award-winning album “Babel”. Call him unique, call him an icon, whatever you call him, Piff will leave you asking… "how are you going to top a guy in a dragon suit?" (New York Times)

Show: 3:00 PM | Friday, October 18th


Ben Radford

Benjamin Radford is deputy editor of Skeptical Inquirer and a Research Fellow with the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry. He is an award-winning author of thousands of articles and a dozen books including Lake Monster Mysteries: Investigating the World’s Most Elusive Creatures (with Joe Nickell); Scientific Paranormal Investigation: How to Solve Unexplained Mysteries; Tracking the Chupacabra: The Vampire Beast in Fact, Fiction, and Folklore; and Investigating Ghosts: The Scientific Search for Spirits.  Radford has done first-hand scientific research into mysterious phenomena including psychics, ghosts and haunted houses; exorcisms, miracles, Bigfoot, stigmata, lake monsters, UFO sightings, reincarnation, and crop circles, and many other topics. Radford holds degrees in psychology and education, and has appeared widely in the media, from the Discovery Channel and the National Geographic Channel to CNN and The New York Times.

Workshop: The Investigators: 2:00 PM | Thursday, October 17th


Seth Shostak

Seth is Senior Astronomer and Institute Fellow at the SETI Institute, in Mountain View, California.  He has an undergraduate degree in physics from Princeton University, and a doctorate in astronomy from the California Institute of Technology.  For much of his career, Seth conducted radio astronomy research on galaxies, and has published approximately sixty papers in professional journals. He has written more than five hundred popular magazine, newspaper and Web articles on various topics in astronomy, technology, film and television. For a decade, he chaired the International Academy of Astronautics’ SETI Permanent Committee. Every week he hosts the SETI Institute’s one-hour science radio show, “Big Picture Science” Seth has written, edited and contributed to a half dozen books.  His most recent tome is Confessions of an Alien Hunter: A Scientist’s Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (National Geographic), and he is co-author of a college textbook on astrobiology.

Presentation: 2:00 PM | Saturday, October 19th


Jim Underdown

Jim Underdown is executive director of Center for Inquiry–Los Angeles, and the chair and founder of the CFI Investigations Group. He is also one of the co-hosts, with Kavin Senapathy, of CFI's flagship podcast, Point of Inquiry.

When Skeptics Meet Deniers: 2:30 PM | Friday, October 18th