Using Paranormal Phenomena to Explain the Workings of Science.
Horoscopes, ghosts, dowsing, psychics, tarot readers, the research of paranormal ability is so last century… for skeptics. To the people to whom we try to communicate science, these topics have a kernel of truth. No one wakes up one day believing the Earth is flat or that BigPharma is putting chips in vaccines. The building of irrational beliefs and anti-science beliefs is a process. We, as skeptics, have to deal with many more pressing issues, such as climate change, the need for nuclear power, and the safety of new vaccines. Can you explain that anthropomorphic climate change is happening, and we know it based on the scientific consensus when the person you speak to doesn’t understand the concept? Can you explain how we know that new vaccines are effective and safe to someone who’s never heard of double-blinded studies? That’s where the skeptic-starter-kit topics come into play. They are a great way of grabbing attention and creating rapport with the person with whom you are speaking. The mistakes made while researching these paranormal topics are lovely teaching tools to explain crucial ways how and why science works and is done these days.
TW: Due to recent events, Claire will also be speaking about the various types of hate we, as skeptics, face, including threats of bodily harm and death threats.
Claire is the president of the European Council of Skeptical Organisations. She has been involved in the skeptic movement since 2013 as co-organizer of the Czech Paranormal Challenge. Since then, she has consulted on various projects where woo & belief meets science. Claire has spoken at multiple science&skepticism conferences and events. She also organized the European Skeptics Congress 2017 and three years of the Czech March for Science. Her current activities include
- Running the “Don’t Let Yourself Be Fooled” project (which provides free critical thinking seminars to interested high schools),
- Contributing to the news site of the Czech Religious Studies journal Dingir
- Giving & organizing talks
- Freelance writing
Claire visits various religious, esoteric, and alternative movements in her free time to better understand what draws people to certain beliefs.