Comité Para is the French language Belgian skeptical society. They are the oldest general purpose skeptical society in the world, founded in 1949. They’re also among the youngest, after a dynamic young team took over the leadership. They organize a "Skeptics in the Pub” event on Thursday afternoon, in the center of Brussels, as a starter to the “main course” of the congress in Ghent. More details will follow.
Hier een leuke introtekst over het programma.
An evening of magic and music, drinks and merrymaking, organized by Belgium’s famed mentalist Gili and his friends. Loaction is the suitably named music pub Charlatan. Free entrance and one free drink for every congress participant. Go easy on the beer - Belgium’s beers may look innocent but many pack a punch.
Quackery has always been one the top interests of skeptics. It exists in so many forms, most of it is obvious nonsense, it causes real harm, but so many people “believe” in it. Even countless medical doctors make money promoting quackery. Will it ever go away? The venerable Dutch society against quackery (Vereniging tegen de Kwakzalverij) has been at the forefront of this battle, ever since it was founded in 1880. But quackery is like the Hydra (of Herakles’ second labor): if you cut off one head, it sprouts two new ones.
A guided tour through the old city center, a visit to the belfry (traditional tower where the “borough charters” were preserved during the Middle Ages), a romantic boat ride on the canals, … The historical city center offers everyone something exciting to do at night.
“The study of human behaviour and experience connected with what is often called the paranormal, with the assumption that there is nothing paranormal involved” says Wikipedia, and who am I to argue against it. A good understanding of which strange experiences can occur in the human mind, and what might cause them, is important before you try to propose a normal explanation for apparently paranormal events.
Not skepticism about climate change, but ecomodernism, “an environmental philosophy which argues that humans can protect nature by using technology to decouple anthropogenic impacts from the natural world”, as Wikipedia defines it. How can state of the art nuclear energy help us to decarbonize our energy supply. And how can genetic engineering help us to improve the food quality, increase the yields, reduce pesticide and fertilizer use, create plants that can survive climate change, and why are so many in the uninformed population dead against it.
Every congress needs a “culinary extravaganza”. We meet at “Carlos Quinto”, named after 16th century Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor (Carlos I in Spain) who was born and raised in Ghent. Enjoy the food and drinks, and the company of the finest selection of skeptics in Europe.