The Program

As you sail along the beautiful Caribbean Sea, enjoy these engaging talks by some of your favorite skeptical thinkers.

James Randi: Where History Meets Woo-Woo: The Maya Ruins and Prophecy
James Randi explores the Maya ruins, early observations made by those who came upon them, and how the “woo-woos” have adopted certain aspects to feed their need to read into them much more than even the imaginative ancient builders could have come up with.
James Randi: My Life in Skepticism
Join James Randi for a retrospective on his decades of fighting those who try to pull the wool over the public’s eyes in the name of the supernatural.
Benjamin Radford: Marine Mysteries and Monsters
Most of the world is covered by water, and the oceans have long held both mystery and death. Join us for this fun and informative overview of marine mysteries around the world, including the Bermuda Triangle, mermaids, and monsters. There will be plenty of time for a lively Q&A session, so bring your questions and share your stories!
Benjamin Radford: Monsters and Myths of Central America
Learn about various monsters and myths of the Yucatan peninsula and Central America including jungle trickster tata duende of Belize, the vampire beast el chupacabra, and much more! What strangeness lurks in the jungles and on the beaches of these paradises?
Benjamin Radford: Doomsdays and the 2012 Maya Calendar
Join Benjamin Radford for an examination of predictions of apocalypse and doomsday throughout the ages, from cults to Bible prophecies to scientist’s fears of asteroid collisions. Why do these beliefs persist? And what’s behind the concern and fear over the Maya calendar’s end in December 2012?
Benjamin Radford: Slaying the Vampire: Solving the Chupacabra Mystery
The fearsome Hispanic vampire beast el chupacabra is one of the world’s best-known monsters. The blood-sucking beast has been sighted many times in Mexico and elsewhere since its first appearance on the island of Puerto Rico. Benjamin Radford spent five years tracking this vampire beast, from the high Texas deserts to the jungles of Central America. Come hear the strange story of the chupacabra, and how Radford solved this fifteen-year-old global mystery.
Jennifer Michael Hecht: The History of Disbelief
History is often portrayed as a long story of rank credulity, wherein everyone believed all sorts of fantastical stories and explanations. A closer look reveals that it doesn’t take modern science to reject flim-flam artists and mythologizers. Every era has had its skeptical members who doubted its cultures of irrationalism from established religion to a great variety of superstition. This talk will look at some of history’s grand champions of the skeptical worldview.
D.J. Grothe: A History of Magic and Skepticism
Join magician and professional skeptic D.J. Grothe as he examines the similarities between magic and skepticism and how the conjuring arts can inform the skeptical movement.
D.J. Grothe: Prophecy and Cognitive Dissonance
A survey of doomsday beliefs and the ways people make sense out of their failure. Grothe explores When Prophecy Fails, the classic work on Dissonance Theoryand more recent prophets who keep revising their predictions, such as Herbert W. Armstrong (whose church Grothe previously attended), Elizabeth Clare Prophet, and Harold Camping. And he talks about ways skeptics can challenge such harmful beliefs without unintentionally making believers hold to them more strongly.
Toni Van Pelt: What’s the Alternative?: How the US Government Evaluates Alternative Medicine
Established in 1998, currently with funding of $127.7 Million (FY 2011), the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) is the Federal Government’s lead agency for scientific research on complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). They are 1 of the 27 institutes and centers that make up the National Institutes of Health (NIH) within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.The mission of NCCAM is to define, through rigorous scientific investigation, the usefulness and safety of complementary and alternative medicine interventions and their roles in improving health and health care. So how are our government scientists doing? Are they producing results?

This program is subject to change.

View the daily itinerary here.