I am pleased to announce that the Winnipeg Skeptics are opening their doors to the world again in the second annual SkepiCamp. The location and date of this event continues to be a ongoing work in progress. I had a fantastic chance to join in on the event planning party on Saturday night to share some ideas and contribute my expertise to the gathering.
The evening started off interesting. I woke from a nap late and rushed to get out the door. On the way to Gem and Laura Newman’s residence I was compelled to stop and obtain a bottle of wine for my hosts. I find the gift of a bottle of wine to any host (if they drink or not) is the best way to show my appreciation. Wine carries with it a special message of which an accomplished poet of antiquity is able to hardly murmur a phrase appropriate to its majesty. I digress.
Discussions at the beginning of the meeting were random and disorganised. Gem Newman, Founder of Winnipeg Skeptics, with a commanding clink of his glass (which sounded more like a mouse in a crystal bowl, as opposed to a spoon on a goblet), caught the attention of the attendees and they grew quiet. The meeting initiated with a discussion on the previous year’s event. What worked, what did not work and how we can improve on last years event seemed to make the first hour disappear. I briefly pondered the magical powers that may be present in the Newman household to enable time to evaporate as it did, briefly being 1/32 of a second. The largest complaint from the previous year was the size of the room. To rectify this, we decided as a group to try to find a larger venue or to obtain the larger room at Aqua Books which would hold around four times the crowd we had last year.
On an interesting note, we did have around 25-30 people attend last year. This is above average attendance for first annual SkeptiCamp events held in other major centres. I would like to attribute this factoid to the growing movement of people who are educating themselves and thinking critically. Anecdotal evidence for that claim at best, but one can dream.
We talked further about speaking topics. Several people volunteered to speak and gave us insight into their topics. I have to say, I am extremely excited to hear these talks. Winnipeg Skeptics counts among their members a cornucopia of intelligent people, who have chosen to take time to prepare interesting talks. I also volunteered and only decided what my topic would be on the ride home. I can only hope my talk is as interesting as the other topics discussed at the meeting.
I did notice that not one topic is related to religion. This is an interesting change and one that requires further study. But it does prove that being a skeptic does not mean your anti-religion. I am, but I make that abundantly clear on a daily basis. My talk is also not related to religion directly.
I have chosen to speak about the Star Trek Economy and how humanity can evolve into a utopian society geared around the pursuit of knowledge and fulfillment rather than monetary gain. Each speaker only has 15 minutes to speak so this is going to be a challenge.
We then spent nearly an hour discussing pizza choices. This was interesting to me as the people at the event had a wide range of tastes. I challenged myself to a vegetarian pizza (normally if I don’t have 1 inch of meat, vegetables and cheese I send it back) and I was pleasantly surprised at the amount of flavour. That being said, the time spent on this important choice was not wasted.
The meeting turned, from this point, to casual dinner conversation with topics ranging from polygamy to homeopathy. I know this is not much of a range but it is fair to say, even a microscopic difference in morality is still a difference. The conversation briefly switched back to SkeptiCamp planning from time to time over the course of the meal and we did manage to hash out tasks for people to complete in the next little while prior to the pizza arriving.
All and all, the evening was a success. It created a fire in me to build and share an interesting idea with this group whom I identify with. I hope everyone gets a chance to speak in a venue like this in their lifetime. It is extraordinary to say the least. Incidentally, you can still submit a topic to speak about. So, what are you waiting for?