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Digital Subscriptions > Skeptical Inquirer > Skeptical Inquirer March/April 2018 > CSICON LAS VEGAS 2017

CSICON LAS VEGAS 2017

A Festival of Scientific Skepticism or a Theme Park for Science and Reason? CSICon Las Vegas 2017 Had It All

You might have known things were going to be different when Center for Inquiry CEO Robyn Blumner in her opening remarks impersonated a certain president of the United States mocking the assembled skeptics for their “reality-based” view of the world and their love of facts, evidence, science, and reason. Good luck with that, said the confident U.S. leader, who in this case seems to know what he’s talking about.

Robyn Blumner opens as our U.S. President.

That disquieting theme resonated for a time throughout the conference, but it quickly got on to science with another of physicist Lawrence Krauss’s “isn’t science mind-boggling?” talks. This time he chose mysteries of the sun as his starting point. He soon got to the 1939 discovery of fusion as the sun’s energy source, then went on to the neutrinos that whiz unnoticed through our bodies, our homes, indeed our entire planet by the trillions every second, and then to the discovery that they can change forms en route. And that took him to deep mysteries of the universe, cosmic inflation, and dark matter and energy. Then the discovery just two weeks earlier of gravitational waves from the collision of two orbiting neutron stars. It led astronomers to turn their telescopes to that point in space and observe gamma rays, X-rays, radio waves, visible light, and other stuff from this gargantuan collision. And out of that discovery, already, has come the realization (or confirmation) that vast amounts of gold (perhaps one Earth mass worth) are created in each such event. Our precious metals originate in the collisions of orbiting neutron stars. “Isn’t it amazing!” he exclaimed. We could only agree.

SKEPTICAL INQUIRER Editor Kendrick Frazier
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The War on Science, Anti-Intellectualism, and ‘Alternative Ways of Knowing’ in 21st-Century America
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