James “The Amazing” Randi, DJ Grothe (President of the James Randi Foundation), Brian Thompson (Outreach Coordinator of JREF), Rebecca Watson (SGU blogger), Lawrence “Unbelievable” Leung (as seen on TV!), Dr. Rachael Dunlop, Richard Saunders, Lynne Kelly, Dr. Krissy Wilson, Dr. Ken Harvey (Choice Magazine Consumer of the Year Award), Adam vanLangenberg, Dr Cameron Martin (from Friends of Science in Medicine), Meredith Doig, Stephen Mayne (media commentator and shareholder activist), plus many others.
Scroll down the page to see speaker biographies.
Meet and Greet: 5.30 – 7.30 pm Friday 30th November.
Venue: Immigration Museum, 400 Flinders Street Melbourne.
Convention 9.00 am – 5.00 pm (approx) Saturday 1st December and Sunday 2nd December
Venue: The Spot Theatre, The University of Melbourne, 198 Berkeley Street Melbourne.
Convention Gala Dinner: 7.00 pm – 11.30 pm Saturday 1st December
Venue: The Arts Centre, 100 St Kilda Road Melbourne.
Dr Ken Harvey
Dr Ken Harvey is a public health physician with a particular interest in medicines policy. He was a member of the expert group that drafted the World Health Organization “Ethical Criteria for Medicinal Drug Promotion” and also the Pharmaceutical Health and Rational use of Medicines (PHARM) Committee that formulated the quality use of medicines pillar of Australian medicines policy. He has recently served on Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) Transparency Review Panel, the government Working Group on Promotion of Therapeutic Products and the TGA Working Group on Regulatory Reform of Complementary Medicines. Dr Harvey has been awarded life membership of CHOICE (the Australia Consumer’s Association) for services to the consumer
movement and currently holds the position of Adjunct Associate Professor, School of Public Health, La Trobe University. His talk is titled, Confessions of a serial complainant: why take on the therapeutic goods industry?
Dr Rachael Dunlop
Rachael Dunlop PhD is a campaigner for science-based medicine in Australia, with a special interest in refuting the claims of the anti-vaccination movement. In her day job, she works as a medical researcher with an interest in motor neurone disease and ageing disorders including heart disease and Parkinson’s disease.
Rachael is a reporter for The Skeptic Zone Podcast and blogs at the Skeptics Book of Pooh Pooh and tweets @DrRachie. She is also a vice president of the Australian Skeptics, and a member of Mystery Investigators science show for children. In 2010, Rachael won the Shorty Award in the Health category for the most interesting health and science information on Twitter. As an ex-graphic designer and copywriter, Rachael enjoys combining her love of science, art and social media as a means of communicating science to the public.
Dr Rachael Dunlop’s talk is titled: Skepticism in Science: a help or a hindrance?
Lynne Kelly: A skeptic tackles Stonehenge
There are more crazy theories about Stonehenge than any other place in the world. So what happens when a hard core skeptic claims to have solved one of the world’s greatest mysteries? And then gets even wilder claiming that the same thinking will not only explain why they built Stonehenge but also explains Easter Island and lots of other mysterious sites around the world? Currently under examination as a PhD thesis, I am throwing this theory out to the best collection of skeptics available and challenging you to fault the theory.
Lynne Kelly is a science writer and the author of “The Skeptics Guide to the Paranormal” as well as 14 other titles in popular science and education. With degrees in Engineering, Information Technology and Education, she has just completed an interdisciplinary PhD at LaTrobe University, Melbourne. She believes that the real world is awesome, especially the spiders.
Dr Krissy Wilson
Psychologist, Lecturer, Director Science of Anomalistic Phenomena (SOAP), Charles Sturt University
Dr Krissy is a lecturer and psychologist. She has had rather an eclectic career starting out as a professional actress. She then joined British Airways and worked as cabin crew for six years. Whilst working for BA she studied for a BSc in Psychology and went on to complete a PhD at Goldsmiths, University of London with Prof Chris French. In 2007 she emigrated to Australia to work at the University of Tasmania. After two years she was let out on good behaviour and is now lecturer and Director of SOAP (Science of Anomalistic Phenomena) at Charles Sturt University, New South Wales. During her time in Australia she has published in a variety of journals and magazines, appeared on TV and national and state radio and presented all over Australia, in London and Singapore, and presented at TAM Oz in Sydney in 2010. Her main research topics are the creation of false memories, and the psychology of religious and paranormal beliefs and experiences.
Earlier this year Dr Krissy set up a new research unit at Charles Sturt University called the Science of Anomalistic Phenomena. This new and innovative research centre is one of the few in Australia dedicated to the scientific investigation of belief and ostensibly anomalous experiences. Krissy will detail the recent activities of the unit and outline the future plans for the expansion of interest at home and abroad of anomalistic psychology.
Simon Taylor is a full-time entertainer and writer. He performs stand-up comedy, close-up magic and is an experienced MC. He writes Moral Melbourne for Beat Magazine, is the host of radio podcast Manthropology and is the creator of Flim-Flam comic. Simon is also a board member of The Rationalist Society of Australia.
His achievements include being a Raw Comedy Finalist, Winner of the Adelaide Magic Convention, Victorian Poetry Slam Champion and Winner of The Under Our Wing Award (previously won by Tim Minchin and Sammy J). Simon writes for The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and was the host of the 2012 Global Atheist Convention Gala Dinner.
Acclaim for Simon’s comedy:
“Intelligent stuff.” – The Age
“Taylor is warm, funny, clever and engaging.” – Herald Sun
“Inimitable, talented and rather dashing.” – Beat Magazine
“Taylor is a master of his craft and a master of the mind.” – Our World Today
“One of the best performers I’ve seen.” – Comedy Beast Magazine
Richard Saunders is best known as an international expert on skepticism and one of the stars of the top rating paranormal TV show “The ONE”. He is a life member of Australian Skeptics and a fellow of the Center for Inquiry USA. Richard is the producer and host of ‘The Skeptic Zone’ podcast with thousands of listeners world-wide. An author and origami expert with 30 books and 1 DVD published, he is also the creator of ‘Origami Pigasus’ for James Randi and enjoys being an amateur magician. Richard is also founding member of the ‘Mystery Investigators’ live science show for schools.
Richard will be hosting the two panel discussions at this year’s convention.
Dr Meredith Doig
BA (pure maths), Dip Ed, M Ed Studies, Grad Dip Management, PhD
Dr Meredith Doig is a professional company director and governance consultant. Directorships have included the Bakers Delight Holdings, Port of Melbourne Corporation, Melbourne University Council and its subsidiary MUSUL, V/Line Passenger Pty Ltd, the Victorian Channels Authority, the Asian University for Women Support Foundation, Fintona Girls’ School and the Driver Education Centre of Australia. She is currently on the Council of the University of Ballarat and President of the Rationalist Society of Australia.
Her consulting work focuses on governance and executive team effectiveness (board reviews, potential assessment, executive coaching). She is a facilitator of the Company Directors Course for the Australian Institute of Company Directors and a moderator with the Cranlana Programme on Ethics and the Good Society.
Meredith’s career spans 10 years in education and research, three years overseas, and 15 years as a corporate executive in manufacturing (Ford Australia), mining (Rio Tinto) and banking (ANZ) followed by 10 years or so in consulting.
Her education followed the classical liberal tradition, with studies in pure mathematics, linguistics and classical civilisation. She served on the Federal Government’s Higher Education Council and has been a member of numerous university advisory committees.
Apart from her professional career, Meredith has been a long-time community activist, lobbying on topics ranging from tax and industry development to social equity and corporate governance.
In 2004, she completed a PhD on “The Nature of Organisational Sustainability”, focusing on corporate responsibility and ‘triple bottom line’ accountability.
For over 40 years she has been a passionate motorcyclist, advising the Federal Government on motorcycle safety and becoming the first Chief Motorcycle Instructor in Australia. She still rides a BMW 650GS and has completed five overseas motorcycle trips.
Adam vanLangenberg is a mathematics teacher at McKinnon Secondary College in Melbourne. Since 2011 he has been running a lunchtime sceptical society for students. Being something of a novelty it has attracted some media attention, including The Age newspaper and The Circle television program. Around 20 – 30 students gather once a week to discuss all things sceptical from psychics to Santa to the end of the world.
Adam’s talk is titled:
Teenagers, lunchtime and scepticism
Adam will be sharing some stories including why he started the group, what his students have learned and what he’s learned from them.
Journalist, sharemarket activist and media commentator often in relation to the media itself. Stephen is the founder of the Crikey website and newsletter. He was the former Media Advisor to Jeff Kennett, Premier of Victoria until his resignation after which he stood against him for a place in the Victorian parliament. Stephen worked at the Australian Financial review and is a regular commentator in the media. He has been highly critical of Rupert Murdoch and his appearances at the News Corp AGM is always noteworthy. Stephen is on the National Board of the Australian Shareholders Association and has just resigned from Manningham City Council in order to contest a place on the Melbourne City Council later in the year.
Dr Stephen Basser
Dr Stephen Basser has worked in General Practice in Melbourne for over fifteen years. He has a long term association with Australian Skeptics, and a keen interest in ensuring medicine remains firmly science based.
Lawrence Leung is a TV writer, documentary maker and award-winning stand up comedian. He created the 6 part sceptical TV comedy series “Lawrence Leung’s Unbelievable” (ABC1) and the AFI-nominated documentary comedy “Choose Your Own Adventure”.
His acclaimed one-man shows (including “Lawrence Leung: Skeptic”) have been performed in theatres and festivals around the world, including the Melbourne International Comedy Festival (where he received the 2007 Age Critics Award), the Edinburgh Fringe, London’s Soho Theatre and The Sydney Opera House (where his show received the Best Australian Act Award of 2008 Sydney Comedy Festival). These stand up shows explore his obsessive and obscure interests, including Rubik’s Cubes, con artists, jetpacks, ghost-hunting and scepticism.
His keen interest in exploring why people believe the unbelievable has led him to from a Psychology degree at Melbourne University to lecturing at magic conventions and even designing magical illusions for theatre and screen.
Dr Cameron Martin
Dr Cameron Martin is an enthusiastic General Practitioner who practices in outer metropolitan Melbourne.
Dr Martin graduated from medical school at the University of Newcastle in 2002. He worked in various NSW hospitals before completing his Fellowship with the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners. He returned to Melbourne in 2008. Dr Martin is an examiner for the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP). He sits on multiple committees for the Federal Department of Health and Ageing that consider the quality use of pathology testing in medicine.
Dr Martin has written numerous letters and submissions regarding speaking out against nonsense ‘pseudoscience’ being promoted in Australian health care and subsidised by public monies.
He joined the executive of Friends of Science in Medicine in early 2012.
Dr Martin’s talk is titled Exposing CAM as a Sham
Shane Greenup is one half of the founding team behind rbutr, a new application which aims to organise inter-website discourse and turn the entire Internet in to a global discussion between people who hold opposing perspectives. Shane has been working in his own online business for over 6 years now, after graduating with degrees in Science and Arts from the University of NSW, majoring in Philosophy, History and Philosophy of Science, and Molecular Biology. rbutr went in to public beta in March this year and is freely available from http://rbutr.com