by Bob Ladendorf
Even skeptics need to eat, and they did that well in Kansas City in late October at a conference, munching on the citys famous barbecued beef. The lunch break was just one of the highlights at the three-day "Science and the Culture Wars" conference held at the Center for Inquiry -- Midwest, the new joint regional office of the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal (CSICOP) and the Council for Secular Humanism.
The regional conference featured speakers and panel discussions on a variety of topics, including science and multiculturalism, science and creationism, mathematics and medicine, and whether science is at war with the supernatural.
Speakers included Dr. John Renner, National Council Against Health Fraud; Dr. Leonard Krishtalka, Natural Museum at the University of Kansas and a Council for Media Integrity member, and many others. Shorter talks were given by CSICOP board members, including Ray Hyman, Joe Nickell, Phil Klass and Bela Scheiber.
The CSICOP Executive Councils annual meeting also was held at the new Center, which is currently housed at the Kansas City Eupraxophy Center. At the conference, more than $10,000 was raised towards a three-year goal to raise $249,000 for operating programs and creation of a permanent Center.
The Centers executive director, Verle Muhrer, organized a long and intensive series of lectures and discussions, as well as providing entertainment by Anthony Burnside, a magician with the K.C. Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, who performed a voodoo psychic surgery.
Note to our REALL members: REALL was listed in the Center for Inquirys fundraising brochure as one of the regions "voluntary, autonomous local groups" in which the "skeptical heritage lives on."