Wednesday, October 2, 2013

The Festival of Bad Ad Hoc Hypotheses

Do you live in or near Cambridge, Massachusetts? Did you know that there is a Festival of Bad Ad Hoc Hypotheses (BAH!) over at MIT?

"The Festival of Bad Ad Hoc Hypotheses (BAH!) is a celebration of well-argued and thoroughly researched but completely incorrect evolutionary theory. It is put on by Zach Weinersmith (cartoonist of SMBC), breadpig (publishers of SMBC and XKCD), and MIT's Lecture Series Committee. It is sponsored by the EvoS Consortium and This View of Life magazine (Editor-in-Chief David Sloan Wilson)," and it is part of the Cambridge Science Festival. Ben Lillie, director of Story Collider, will be the emcee for the evening (and I am hoping that he will record it for his podcast!).

The event was initially inspired by this comic:

BAH! will be held in MIT's Kresge Auditorium (48 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge MA, USA) on the evening of October 6th, 2013. Doors will open at 6:15 PM and the event will start at 7 PM. There will be 7 speakers presenting their bad theories in front of a live audience and a panel of geeky judges. These judges will determine who presented the best theory who will together determine who presented the best theory according to the following criteria:

  1. Force of Science - how much “scientific” information was brought to bear (graphs, real citations, “research” etc.)
  2. Artistry - how unexpected and clever the idea and presentation are, and how well the presentation is delivered.
  3. Parsimony - the simplest theory that explains the most data is best.
  4. Strength of Defense - how well did you defend your views to the judges. 
    • Note - being funny is not a good defense.

Unfortunately, submissions for this BAHFest closed on March 10th. But they might do another one in the near future, so keep thinking up bad hypotheses and maybe you can present.

Tickets for this event are $5 for students (valid student ID needed) and $10 for non-students.

Visit the BAH! website for tickets and more information. Oh, and if you go, leave a comment to tell us all about it!

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