Our time at TAM has come to a close. We’ve said our goodbyes to new friends and the real world avatars of Twitter people. We’ve walked away embiggened by exhortations to think more critically about the world around us. And Embiggen Books has sold an extra 73 copies of The Demon Haunted World into the community – which can only be a good thing. We got to chat with the Amazing Randi, the awesome Dr Karl, Simon Singh, Brian Dunning, Eugenie Scott, Dr Rachie, Podblack Cat, Mr Simon Taylor, Peter Ellerton, The amazing photographer Geoff Cowan, The peeps from the Skeptics Guide to the Universe and a host of others.
The event was thrown into stark relief once I returned to the shop in Noosaville. Moon landing deniers, 9/11 truthers, bioforce amulets, reiki masters and more all within a couple of days. This isn’t all that unusual for us but TAM could not have emphasized them more if it had used loudspeakers, powerful spotlights and a full orchestra. The average well travelled, university educated person on the street buys into to some pretty flimsy and potentially very harmful stuff. The people which highlighted it for me this time have even been coming into our shop for 12 months without bumping into the material which might challenge their ideas. This is harder that it sounds in Embiggen Books, we don’t hide our skepticism, critical thinking, and science sections and there’s no new age or pseudoscience. And so, even though we may have brought the best available books to bear on the problem of woo and conspiracy thinking it’s clear in may cases we still can’t get the horse to drink. At least we got to converse and offer alternative ways of thinking about the things they have accepted as true. Perhaps that’s all that is really needed — more opportunities for the general public to bump into the best available evidence and explanations for the things in the world.
Now as I didn’t get to attend most of the talks I can’t provide a break down or even a list of impressions. I am eagerly awaiting the DVD to reveal all. Instead of this we’re displaying some of the great photography of the weekend by Geoff Cowan below (not my happy snap at the top). Other than that here are some links to pieces by others on this Amazing weekend:
Australian Skeptics; The Young Australian Skeptics; Simon Taylor; Kylie Sturgess; Chrys Stevenson; Naon Tiotami; Vic. Skeptics; Maynard; Codenix; Drunken Madman; and Robin Capper. I’ll add more as I find them, or you can feel free to link to them in the comments below.
For those who want to know the best sellers of the weekend, they are as follows:
1. Demon Haunted World by Carl Sagan
2. The Australian Book of Atheism Edited by Warren Bonett
3. Flim Flam by James Randi
4. Trick or Treatment by Simon Singh
5. 59 Seconds by Richard Wiseman
6. Pale Blue Dot by Carl Sagan
7. The Grand Design by Stephen Hawking
8. Hitch-22 by Christopher Hitchens
9. Skeptoid 1 & 2 by Brian Dunning (no longer available with us)
10. Evolution by Daniel Loxton