MURRAY GELL-MANN: "DAZE
Nobel Laureate and Keynote Speaker Murray Gell-Mann
will offer some personal recollections of his
experiences as a member of various Science Advisory
Committees to the U.S. President, along with some
additional related observations.
NADINE STROSSEN, Pres. of the ACLU (featured
speaker): "POLITICIZING SCIENCE: THE WAR ON CIVIL
LIBERTIES" In her debut TAM appearance, Ms.
Strossen will express her views on the current
politicization of science, and how it has undermined
numerous civil liberties, including academic freedom
and other First Amendment rights.
"MR. JEFFERSON SHORE UP THIS WALL!"
TAM4 begins with a BIG BANG as controversial
mega-journalist Christopher Hitchens celebrates
Thomas Jefferson's Enlightenment views, whilst
pillorying those who fabricate "design" and want to
tear down the wall of separation.
Dr. MICHAEL SHERMER: "THE SOUL OF SCIENCE
- "Bootstrapping Meaning, Purpose and Spirituality"
How can we find spiritual meaning and purpose in a
scientific worldview? Spirituality is a way of being
in the world, a sense of one's place in the cosmos,
a relationship to that which extends beyond our
selves. There are many sources of spirituality;
religion may be the most common, but it is by no
means the only. Anything that generates a sense of
awe may be a source of spirituality. Science does
this in spades. Dr. Shermer shows how.
"BREAKING THE SPELL"
What is the future of religion, and why should we
all care? Like weather forecasting,
forecasting depends on knowing the phenomenon, and
seeing where it came from. Religions are biological
phenomena that have evolved to coexist with human
beings just the way pigeons and squirrels-and
Philosopher/evolutionist Daniel Dennett peeks under
the hood and shows that when we reverse engineer
religions, we find they have evolved some surprising
adaptations in their competition for our allegiance.
Should we try to tame religion, improve it, ban it
or wait for it to go extinct on its own? The answer
depends on learning more about why religions are so
ELLEN JOHNSON: "IT ALL STARTED WITH THAT
(DAMN) ATHEIST WOMAN IN BALTIMORE..." A
retrospective of Madalyn Murray O'Hair, a feisty
political and cultural rebel who fought for the
separation of church and state as the nation was
emerging from one of the most politically
reactionary and darkest periods in its history.
O'Hair was "the Atheist" who became part of the
tumultuous decades of the 60s and 70s, giving voice
to Atheists and trying to build a broad-based
Atheist movement. O'Hair laid much of the groundwork
for today's diverse secular / non believer movement.
The violent death of O'Hair and her family in 1995
has prompted many scholars and activists to take
another look at the life and contributions of this
outspoken, brilliant and often misunderstood
PAUL PROVENZA: comedian, actor, director &
co-creator (w/ Penn Jillette) of "The Aristocrats"
- Prepare yourselves for 30 minutes of razor sharp
stand-up comedy that resulted in this performer
being boycotted and picketed in Tahoe, Houston and
Atlanta [in Paul's own words] "...by Christian
fundamentalist nuts whose higher power apparently
needs help defending against the power of mere
"RAPE, WAR, and
AIDS: Rational and Irrational Beliefs about the AIDS
"This presentation will document the way that
the three dozen ongoing wars around the world are
responsible for spreading AIDS, and how the
combatants are given little or no preventive
education. It will also document the irrational and
erroneous data about AIDS provided by folk healers
in Africa, the Roman Catholic Church, and the U.S.
government, especially in its subsidy of
"abstinence" programs in public schools. This will
be a hard-hitting presentation that names Names and
provides solid data. There will be something in it
to offend virtually everyone!
PHIL PLAIT: "IN THE BEGINNING..."
Currently creationists and their not-so-distant
Intelligent Design cousins have their sights set on
evolution. Sadly, other sciences are now (or soon
will be) under attack. Astronomer Phil Plait will
dismantle a series of creationist claims, giving
specific examples of the sort of nonsense used to
sway the faithful.
LAWRENCE O'DONNELL, Jr.:
"THE POLITICIZATION OF SCIENCE"
The former Chief of Staff of the U.S. Senate
Environment Committee explains how environmentalism
has politicized science. Mr. O'Donnell, senior
political analyst for MSNBC, is currently Executive
Producer of "The West Wing."
RICHARD WISEMAN: "MIND MAGIC"
Professor Wiseman presents his latest research into
magic, psychology, and belief. A unique opportunity
to discover the hidden science used by magicians to
perform the impossible, witness jaw dropping optical
illusions, participate in the world's largest
scientific experiment, and find out how to sell
science to an increasingly disillusioned public.
CAROLYN PORCO: "PLANETS, PIETY & POLITICS"
As a veteran Imaging Scientist on the Voyager
mission to the outer planets in the 1980s, and as
the current leader of the Imaging Science team on
the Cassini mission to Saturn, Dr. Porco has
traveled the length and breadth of the solar system.
As a former member of many NASA advisory committees,
she has also observed first hand the changing
political winds blowing through the hallways of
NASA. Her presentation will take us to the
spectacular realm of Saturn and alert us to what the
President's 'Vision' for the future of space
exploration could mean for the scientific enterprise
at NASA, while telling us why the exploration of our
cosmic environment matters for the intellectual and
spiritual health of our species.
DR. HAL BIDLACK: "CAN A SKEPTIC BELIEVE IN
Dr. Bidlack will provide an overview of his own path
to skepticism and deism, and will address the
question, "Can a real skeptic still believe in God?"
This talk will also serve as a thought-provoking
introduction to the panel discussion to follow.
PENN JILLETTE (0f Penn and Teller): "Q&A"
Returning once again is Penn Jillette, outspoken
co-host of TV's most skeptical program, "Penn &
Teller: Bullshit!". Penn will conduct an open and
uninhibited Q&A session in which conference
attendees are invited and encouraged to lob
hardballs at him for 45 minutes. Take your best
As hosts of one of TV's most popular science-related
shows, ADAM SAVAGE and JAMIE HYNEMAN, along with
Kari Byron, routinely debunk the great cultural and
practical myths of our time. Making their first
appearance at TAM, they have agreed to be the
subjects of a lively onstage interview conducted by
a very special celebrity guest.
JAMES RANDI: "So Little Time, So Much To
James Randi will relate various anecdotes (some even
true!) dealing with his adventures as an escape
artist, as a mentalist, and as an investigator of
paranormal claims, worldwide. The secret methods
used to pull off some sensational jailbreaks, a
couple of exposťs of brain-busters with which he
fooled such academics as physicist Richard Feynman
and philosopher Sidney Hook, and a few of the more
colorful applicants for the JREF Paranormal
Challenge will be revealed for your edification.
Following this talk, Mr. Randi will take questions
and possibly give answers...
Marshall E. Deutsch,
View of Cholesterol Phobia Examination of the
recommendations of the National Cholesterol
Education Program shows that they are not supported
by any reasonable interpretation of the available
data. For example, older people with high levels of
blood cholesterol outlive those with lower levels.
A Skeptical View of Cholesterol
The above is from the