Why Free Conferences Are Important — And Why You Should Support Skepticon

Atheist and skeptical conferences matter. They help us find each other and create community. They give organizers and activists a chance to network. They give people who are closeted a place to be themselves, if only for a weekend. They generate ideas. They spread ideas. They’re a testing ground for ideas. They inspire and energize people. Miri Mogilevsky has a great piece on why conferences matter, in case you’re not persuaded.

Conferences are also, much of the time, expensive. And that means that all these wonderful benefits are only accessible to people who can afford them. The high expense of conferences isn’t the only barrier to marginalized people who want to participate in our community and our movement, it’s not even the most important one — but it is a barrier, and it’s not trivial.

This is why I am so tickled to see the increasing trend in our community of free conferences.

And this is why I’m asking you to donate to Skepticon.

skepticon 7 logo

Skepticon is the mothership of free conferences in the atheist and skeptical community. In seven years, it’s grown from a small local conference by and for a student group, into one of the largest, most recognized, most awesomely fun conferences in our community. And it’s become a model for other free conferences.

But free conferences are, obviously, not free to put on. It’s like public radio — it’s funded by the support of generous donors like you.

Please donate to Skepticon. You can make a one-time donation, or get set up to automatically donate a small amount each month. (Or a large amount each month, if you can manage it.) Help keep this free conference going — and help it continue to inspire other free conferences like it. Even small amounts help — they really do add up. So donate whatever you can.

skepticon 7 tshirt
You can also support Skepticon by buying one of these awesome T-shirts. 100% of the profit goes back to Skepticon, and if you order now or soon, they’ll ship them before the event.

And if you register for Skepticon by October 17 (yes, even though it’s free, they want you to register, it makes it easier for them to plan if they know how many people are coming), you get get a free lanyard & badge. So if you’re planning on coming, register now! Skepticon 7 is Friday November 21 to Sunday November 23, and speakers this year include me me me, PZ Myers, Jamie Kilstein, Cara Santa Maria, Hemant Mehta, Heina Dadabhoy, Amy Davis Roth (“Surly Any”), Dr. Nicole Gugliucci, Ben “Sweatervest” Blanchard, Sheree Renee Thomas, Kayley Whalen, Daniel Bier, Peggy Mason, Dr. David Gorski, JT Eberhard, Scott Clifton, and Melanie Brewster.

skeptiprom
Plus this year they’re having Skeptiprom — it’s going to be the best prom ever, as they’ve taken out all the raging teenage hormones and added a crapload of glitter and skepticism. This thing is going to be mega-awesome.

And if you can’t make it — if your sister is getting married that weekend or something (pfff! shabby excuse) — please support them anyway. Think of it this way — if you can’t go this year, you might be able to go next year, and supporting it now means they’ll be able to keep on doing it!

Srsly. If you can, donate now.

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Why Free Conferences Are Important — And Why You Should Support Skepticon
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4 thoughts on “Why Free Conferences Are Important — And Why You Should Support Skepticon

  1. 1

    I have been wanting to go for some years now, but the trip from Denmark has been a bit far. This year I do plan on going though – having registered, bought tickets and booked hotels it seems likely that I will manage.

    Obviously I need to make sure that the conference happens, so I will make sure to donate some (more) money at the end of the month.

  2. 2

    Ooh, if I buy a Skepticon t-shirt, will it magically transform me into a skinny White woman?! (I’m trying to recognize and challenge representational biases wherever they pop up these days. According to most internet stores’ advertising, clothes are for skinny White people. As far as I know, Skepticon isn’t directly responsible for the modeling of their t-shirt on their store site, but if they are, they should go for a wider variety of bodies, and if not, they should pressure their merchant to do so.)

    I was considering trying to go last year, but the more I’m thinking about it, the less sure I am that I’d get anything out of the conference. I can watch the talks online (which is great and totally worth donating to the event), and that seems to be most of what constitutes the conference. Is there something other than face-to-face interaction with large groups of strangers (which is something I actively dislike) that might appeal to me, or should I content myself with watching the talks online and supporting the actual even on behalf of other people (which I’m totally happy to do)?

  3. 3

    I’d love to go and even more to contribute. The facts are that we are on a fixed income and tend to run out of money toward the end of each month. I’m just three weeks from being 80, but I still get in there with Facebooking and blogging. Also help the local Democrats as much as we can and The Sedona Verde Valley Secular Freethinkers which is affiliated with The Secular Coalition For Arizona.

  4. 4

    I agree that networking is very important to the secular movement. Watching conferences and reading forums like these constituted my first gentle steps out of theism. I wanted to say to you personally, Greta, that when I was in the depths of my faith crisis and struggling with my family, you provided a signed copy of Coming Out Atheist to my cousin, with a tender message written on the inside cover. This has helped me a great deal, and I am thankful. It is a good example of the good we can do when we reach out and help one another. Any who are interested in my journey out of mormonism and theism may read my blog: http://diligenceovertime.blogspot.com/

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