Given the breadth of skepticism (and science and medicine as well!) there should be no shortage of topics, covering not only introductory material, but also niche and cutting-edge subjects as well. But most importantly, do a talk on a topic that is important to you!
Collections of topics
Here you will find hundreds (if not thousands) of topics, each of which can be approached from many different angles.
- Thousands of interesting questions to explore on the Skeptics Stack Exchange
- Bob Carroll's Skeptic's Dictionary
- The Rational Wiki and Skeptic Wiki
- Wikipedia categories: Cryptids, Conspiracy, Paranormal, Pseudoscience, Superstitions, UFO Culture, Hypothesis Testing, Logical Fallacies, and Cognitive Biases.
- James Randi's An Encyclopedia of Claims, Frauds, and Hoaxes of the Occult and Supernatural
- Snopes Urban Legends
- BarCamp's Recommended Sessions
- The Skeptic Report covers a spectrum of material
- See also Skeptical Inquirer Online, 29 years of Skeptical Inquirer DVD, CSI's Skeptical Briefs newsletter and Skeptic Magazine's Reading Room
- Jim Lippard's collection of Critiques of Skepticism
- Wikipedia's list of unusual articles
- Bent Spoon Magazine - a skeptical magazine for the true believer
- The Skeptoid podcast has explored hundreds of topics of interest to skeptics
- Fortean Times magazine has explored the weird since 1973
Each region has its own unique phenomena and strange claims. These should be on the short list of anyone looking to tackle a challenging topic for a skepticamp presentation. But as can be seen below, topics can stretch far and wide...
- Investigations of local paranormal or cryptozoological claims
- The Filter Bubble - as a bias that we skeptics must be aware
- Cognitive Biases A Visual Study Guide
- A Code of Conduct for Effective Rational Discussion
- An introduction to the user-driven conference
- Basics of Modern Skepticism
- Skepticism vs Denialism
- Methodologies of denial
- Conspiracy Theories
- A Tour of Logical Fallacies
- A Tour of Cognitive Biases
- The positive side of cognitive biases
- Detailed exploration of a specific fallacy or bias
- The Paradox of the False Positive
- Critiques of Skepticism
- Pseudoscientific products at your local drugstore and supermarket
- Consumer scams against senior citizens
- Pseudoscience in High-end Audio products
- How to lie with Statistics/Charts/Graphs
- Anti-vaccination and anti-fluoridation activities in your region
- Creative Commons Licensing and how it can give skeptic lit and media greater reach
- Magical thinking in the martial arts
- Deconstructing an Urban Legend
- Baseless fads in public education (Brain Gym, etc.)
- Woo in veterinary medicine (pet acupuncture, etc.)
- Demonstrate a dowsing test protocol
- Image processing artifacts and techniques of photomanipulation
- Travel scams
- A little knowledge is a dangerous thing
- Shame Them versus Try and Win Them Over
- The Monty Hall Problem
- Skepticism is not atheism
- Exploiting a cognitive blind spot
- The Crackpot Index
- How to combat the negative effects of your cognitive biases
- Poe's Law
- Look to your own profession or your favorite hobby for ideas where you employ the tools of skepticism
- Propose a regional auto tour of skeptic and woo-oriented sites, describing the itinerary
- Investigate and present upon the different ways that people stumble upon the value of critical thinking and skepticism
- The value and limitations of Occam's/Ockham's Razor
- A visit to your local metaphysical fair
- The Baloney Detection Kit
- The Null Hypothesis and UFO claims
- Skeptical Inquiry versus Debunking
- The value and limitations of an informed consensus
- At what point does a maverick researcher become a crank?
- An examination of ghost-detection tools
- An examination of energy-based healing claims
- Claims about 'Orbs' and how to reproduce them
- Drake's Plate of Brass
- Principles of the American Cargo Cult -- the beliefs that make bad argument
- Bigger numbers trick your mind into buying
- What does randomness look like?
- What's the difference between skepticism and critical thinking?
- Benford's Law
- Death by Powerpoint - on the limitations and abuses of presentation slides
- The Wason Card Problem
- Hume's Maxim
- Spinoza's Dictum
- The Backfire Effect in Debunking
- The Royal Touch
- Einstellung effect - predisposition to solve a given problem in a specific manner
- Morgan Robertson and Titanic; Kennedy/Lincoln assassination similarities; Texas Sharpshooter fallacy
- Apophenia - bad things come in threes, law of large numbers, etc.
- Devil's Advocate - attempt to persuasively argue a position with which you disagree. Don't do it half-hearted. Go all in.
- Why Augustine thought that astrology was nonsense
- Dissect argumentation style. People usually stick to what works. Ask what's right and wrong.
- How the philosophy of science has evolved in past few decades
- A taxonomy of high pressure sales techniques
- The use and abuse of the Null Hypothesis - does it apply to nebulous, ill-defined claims?
- Are some numbers illegal? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wo19Y4tw0l8
- Base Rate Fallacy - it's prevalance and damage http://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2013/06/finding_sociopa.html
- How thought-terminating cliches propagate cognitive dissonance
- The "Invited Inference" - where people believe magicians to be "truly psychic"
- How do rumors start, propagate and morph into what people accept as fact?
- Regression towards the mean & regression fallacies - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Regression_toward_the_mean
- When the lottery reaches a prize of $X million, is it worth playing when compared to other investments?
- Toulmin Model of Argumentation
- The peril of justifying belief in miracles and test results for rare diseases - http://www.aeonmagazine.com/altered-states/dont-believe-in-miracles/
- Coincidences and the Baader-Meinhof phenonmenon
- Falsehoods programmers believe about: gender names addresses time more time geography
- Abilene paradox
- Gell-Mann Amnesia effect
- (add new ones here)
Note that the skepticamp format supports non-traditional talks as well. We've seen demonstrations of Therapeutic Touch, skeptic trivia contests, collaborative talks, presentations by paranormal investigators and skeptic-themed music performances.
Sessions on non-skeptic topics might work, provided that they are well thought-out and adapted to the audience. If you are unsure, talk to the organizers of your event to see if they think it'd fit.
Don't hesitate to look outside the skeptic community for presentations that would be of interest. See the Nine Steps to Organizing document for more details on this important topic.