This page will host some highlights of the WeCanReason 2023, which was May 5-7 at the Hotel Clique. After the inaugural event, two organizers and a participant wrote an article about the whole journey and experience. It is well worth the read! “WeCanReason: From pre-COVID to Reality“
Speakers (alphabetical order)
Adrienne Hill is a retired high school mathematics teacher turned active participant in the skeptic community. Adrienne has been a Guerilla Skepticism on Wikipedia (GSoW) editor, under the leadership of CFI Fellow Susan Gerbic, since 2019. She has spoken at multiple, virtual SkeptiCamps (New York City and Monterey Bay), and moderated her own WeCanReason SkeptiCamp in 2021. She is a regular reporter for the Skeptic Zone Podcast and has written for The Skeptic (Australia). She was part of Richard Saunder’s Great Australian Prediction Project, which researched and scored almost 4,000 Australian psychics’ predictions. Adrienne’s talk was “Skepticism and Syntax: Being a Wikipedia Guru with Giggles and Gumption“.
Aron Ra is a science communicator and secular activist with over 280,000 subscribers to his YouTube channel. His videos promoting scientific skepticism, secular politics and humanist values have been mirrored, featured, referenced, and recommended by many professional scientists, secularists, and educators.
He is best known as the author of Foundational Falsehoods of Creationism, and for public testimonies contesting the Texas State Board of Education in their attempts to denigrate evolution and teach notions of conservative Christian creationism in both science and history classrooms of public schools. After debating dishonest defenders of the faith daily for decades, Aron Ra will talk about how “Faith is really the Father of Lies“.
Celestia Ward co-hosts, edits and produces “Squaring the Strange”, a biweekly podcast examining the mysterious and the mundane through a critical lens since 2017. A writer and cartoonist by trade, she has spent her life pivoting between written, graphic, and now audio communication. With a background in academic publishing, she currently works as a PR coordinator for Imagine Communications, helping clients tell their stories and coordinating press coverage in local, national, and industry media. Celestia has spoken on panels and given presentations on creativity and educational comics at LogiCAL in California and DragonCon in Atlanta, and she is a recurring columnist for AIPT Comics and Skeptical Inquirer. A graduate of the Writing Seminars program at Johns Hopkins University and recipient of the Louis Sudler Prize in the Arts, Celestia resides in Las Vegas with her husband and young son. Celestia’s talk was “PR 101 For Skeptics“.
Courtney Heard is the host of the Q-Dropped Podcast, featuring stories of relationships torn apart by QAnon. She has been an active and outspoken member of the online atheist community since 2014, when she launched her blog, www.godlessmom.com. Born and raised secular in British Columbia, she has never been religious but has found the sudden increase of conspiratorial thinking in the mainstream discourse unsettling. She has dedicated much of her free time to telling the stories of people who have lost a loved one to QAnon because her own parents have been lost down the same rabbit hole. You can hear the latest episodes of the Q-Dropped Podcast HERE, and find her on Twitter as @godless_mom Courtney will be speaking on “No, It’s Not Just A Difference of Opinion“
Janice Selbie is a Registered Professional Counsellor and religious recovery consultant located in the unceded territory of the Syilx people in Kelowna, BC. She de-converted from evangelical Christianity after nearly 4 decades and now has a private practice devoted to helping former believers recover from religious trauma syndrome.
Janice is the founder and host of CORT – the Conference on Religious Trauma – and she also hosts the Divorcing Religion Podcast. Currently, Janice is also serving as Vice President of KASHA – Kelowna Atheists, Skeptics, and Humanists Association. In April she is co-hosting an event in L.A. exploring the need and potential for a secular recovery center for those leaving high-demand, coercive religious and spiritual groups. Janice’s talk at WCR was called UnCOMFORTABLY NUMB: Mourning Faith Loss.
Richard Saunders is best known as an international expert on skepticism, a documentary filmmaker and one of the stars of the top rating Australian paranormal TV show, “The One: The Search for Australia’s Most Gifted Psychic”. He is a life member of Australian Skeptics Inc., a Fellow of the Center for Inquiry and was part of the JREF $1,000,000 prize committee. Richard is the producer and host of “The Skeptic Zone” podcast, now in its 16th year, with thousands of listeners worldwide. An actor, author and origami expert with around twenty books and a DVD published, he also creates origami jewelry and invented ‘Origami Pigasus’ for James Randi. Richard is a founding member of the ‘Mystery Investigators’ live science show for schools now in its 20th year. Richard’s talk was entitled “Are Ghosts Afraid of Skeptics?”
Seth Andrews is a former evangelical and Christian broadcaster who now hosts The Thinking Atheist …one of the most popular podcasts and online atheist communities in the world. The Thinking Atheist is not a person. It is an icon encouraging all to reject faith and pursue reason and evidence.
With a mix of humour and heart, Seth Andrews has spoken for audiences large and small in the U.S, Canada, Europe, and Australia about his former faith, the promotion of science and skepticism, the importance of Humanism in this often crazy world, and why we should all pursue a personal relationship with reality. Seth’s talk at WCR was entitled “God Likes to Watch: The Blaming and Shaming of Purity Culture“.