Reed Esau – SkeptiCamp: The Unconference

December 24, 2010

Reed Esau is a skeptical activist and one of the founders of SkeptiCamp. Also known as Open Events, these are informal, community-organized conference where speakers tackle issues regarding science and skepticism. SkeptiCamp encourages participation as well as observation.

A software architect by trade, Reed is author of the blog “An Illustrative Account”, and he writes for the James Randi Educational Foundation’s blog Swift. Reed is also a contributor to Skeptical Inquirer magazine for which he wrote the article “Reinventing the Skeptical Conference”.

In this interview with Karen Stollznow, Reed discusses the unique model of SkeptiCamp, which he calls an “unconference”. He explains how these differ to traditional conferences that feature “celebrity skeptics” over local and regional speakers. He speaks about how these Open Events aim to distribute knowledge within the community, and reach people beyond the community.

Must every skeptic contribute to skepticism? Does calling oneself a “skeptic” imply that one is active? Reed addresses these questions, and talks about what he calls the “Long Tail” of skepticism, and how skeptics can move from a more passive role in the movement to become participants. A self-confessed “Armchair Skeptic” for twenty years, Reed speaks about how he got out of the armchair to become involved in the community.

Links Mentioned in this Episode

An Illustrative Account