13th Congress of the European Council of Skeptical Organisations (ECSO)

7-9 Sep 2007
Davenport Hotel,
Merrion Square,
Dublin 2

In 2007 the ISS hosted the 13th congress... below is a brief description of the event.

Congress theme:

The Assault on Science: Constructing a Response

The skeptics movement is comprised of individuals with three primary goals:

  • To promote science
  • To promote critical thinking
  • To challenge extraordinary claims

As Richard Dawkins has stated:

"The enlightenment is under threat. So is reason, So is truth. So is science. I am one of those scientists who feel that it is no longer enough just to get on and do science. We have to devote a significant proportion of our time and resources to defending it from deliberate attack from organized ignorance."

This congress aims to do just that.

Among the Irish speakers are Prof John Crown (Consultant Oncologist, St Vincent's University Hospital), Prof David McConnell (Genetics Dept. TCD) and Dr Brian Hughes (Health Psychologist, NUI Galway).

Visiting speakers include Dr Ben Goldacre, (Guardian UK columnist and medical doctor); Prof Victor Stenger (physicist, USA); Prof Massimo Pigliucci (evolutionary biologist, USA); Prof Willem Betz (medical doctor Belgium), Prof James Alcock (social psychologist, Canada), Prof Chris French (anomalistic psychologist UK)*.

*Chris studies unusual experiences, often those considered paranormal, and attempts to explain them in terms of known physical and psychological factors.

Topics to be covered include:

  • The assault on scientific rationality
  • The assault on medicine
  • Understanding belief systems
  • Psychological factors in physical health
  • Distinguishing science from pseudoscience
  • The science vs. religion debate
  • Studying prayer
  • Public misunderstanding of genetics
  • The Genetically Modified Organisms debate
  • Battling the paranormal with rationality
  • Science and power
  • Countering propaganda from complementary and alternative medicine

7-9 Sep 2007

Davenport Hotel,
Merrion Square,
Dublin 2