I should say about DJ’s keynote: he argued (at least this is my rough take) that what motivates skeptics isn’t so much the epistemological fact that “we’re right and they’re wrong”, but rather the moral imperative that being wrong hurts people.
I think that’s correct.
I’d back that up by saying that atheism is a (form of) humanism as well. I think this is equally important. It’s not simply a negative position, but rather something of real moral weight, at least in its implications.
While I understand the socio-political reasons for de-emphasizing atheism, it seems to me that it is only by making plain the lack of supernatural support for our moral and ethical reasoning, by making plain the bankruptcy of Bible- and religion-based morality, that we can really hope to advance a skeptical approach to the world generally.
The other great panel was attacking so called “quackademic medicine”, run by people from the Science Based Medicine blog. That one was rather depressing, since it seems that this kind of woo is invading all sorts of academic hospitals under the guise of “patient centered care”, etc.