My FtBConscience Schedule

I have a busy weekend coming up, even though I won’t be on screen for most of it. I’m hosting seven sessions, participating in one of them as a panelist and moderating Q&A in three. And then we drink.

Questions for all of these sessions can be asked in the Pharyngula chat room during the sessions themselves. For more instructions on that (they’re really simple) see the conference’s website. However, I also understand that people might have a burning question for a speaker and a schedule conflict both at the same time. (I know!) If you’re in that situation or you just have bad IRC flashbacks, feel free to ask your question on any of these sessions here in the comments.

All times are in Central Daylight. [Read more…]

“The Complete Heretic’s Guide to Western Religion Book One: The Mormons”, David Fitzgerald on Atheists Talk

David Fitzgerald is an author, atheist activist, and a public speaker. He is a coordinator for San Francisco Atheists and he is the Secular Student Alliance’s regional campus organizer for Northern California. His is on the speaker’s bureaus of SSA and the Center for Inquiry (CFI). He is the co-founder of numerous secular events and festivals in the San Francisco area, and consults with secular and science organization from all over the United States. He is the author of the acclaimed book Nailed: Ten Christian Myths That Show Jesus Never Existed At All.

David Fitzgerald’s newest book is The Complete Heretic’s Guide to Western Religion Book One: The Mormons. It is targeted to those who haven’t been exposed to Mormon teachings, as well as to ex-Mormons. The book attempts to shed light on the practices and ideas that drive the Mormon church, and in doing so is part history book, FAQ, expose, and comedy revue.

Join us this Sunday morning to hear David Fitzgerald speak about The Complete Heretic’s Guide to Western Religion Book One: The Mormons. 

Related Links:

Listen to AM 950 KTNF this Sunday at 9 a.m. Central to hear Atheists Talk, produced by Minnesota Atheists. Stream live online. Call in to the studio at 952-946-6205, or send an e-mail to radio@mnatheists.org during the live show. If you miss the live show, listen to the podcast later.

Follow Atheists Talk on Facebook and Twitter for regular updates. If you like the show, consider supporting us with a one-time or sustaining donation.

So You Want to Argue About Evo Psych

Or at least about what a bunch of us had to say on the topic at SkepchickCon/CONvergence. Then maybe you should watch the video to find out what we actually said:

Or even read the transcript. Though, if you only read the transcript, and you get hung up on one tiny piece of language, you might want to watch that bit of the video anyway to make sure it was captured correctly.

Then, and only then, might it make sense to argue with what we had to say.

But It Changed the World Anyway

What do On the Origin of Species, Broca’s aphasia, the origins of anthropology, the Society of Mutual Autopsy, and early sexist brain science have in common? I’ll let Jennifer Michael Hecht tell you.

There’s plenty more in her speech about how knowing our cultural and scientific history as atheists, women, and people of color can help make our current situations appear less inevitable and prevent us from repeating hard work that has already been done well.

You can read more about Clémence Royer here and about her translation of Origin here.

This Is Why I Waited

I mentioned on Sunday that I was on a new migraine medication. Still on it. It’s working so far as far as migraines go, which is good, because they were getting bad. My head is a very quiet place in some ways. In others, it’s sharply divided.

I don’t really know how to explain that, except to say that it’s a little like the dividedness of migraine. I am in the center; all around me is something that is happening in my brain but isn’t part of who I am. It’s a little like anxiety in that way too. It isn’t mine, but it’s right here and not leaving me alone. But this is its own thing, different from migraine, different from anxiety. Sometimes it’s like a heavy comforter, weighing everything down. Sometimes it’s like the scattered interconnectedness of dreaming.

Some of it probably is dreaming, actually, since what they put me on is amitriptyline. [Read more…]

Numb

I should be feeling today, but I can’t really. I just started a new migraine medication, and aside from sleepy, I can’t feel much of anything at all. With 20 minutes warning (because I hadn’t been checking my email), I switched radio show guests to someone whose name I didn’t recognize when I saw it. It took some calculation and rushing, but I wasn’t nervous. So yay for side effects, I guess.

But to the extent I can feel, it hurts me to be numb today. It hurts me to look at the George Zimmerman verdict and feel nothing but tired.

We can’t afford tired. [Read more…]

Cecil Bothwell on Atheists Talk

Note: Amanda Knief was originally scheduled to be on the air today, but she used up her voice on the Secular Student Alliance conference and got laryngitis. Cecil Bothwell kindly stepped in at the last minute.

Every once in a while, someone will point to the fact that a large number of states in the U.S. still have laws on the books to prevent atheists from holding political office. Then someone else will inevitably point out that these laws have been found to be unconstitutional, so we don’t need to worry about them.

This Sunday’s guest today may have a different opinion. When Cecil Bothwell was elected to the Asheville, NC city council, he faced a challenge based in North Carolina’s religious test. Today he joins us to talk about that, about how North Carolina’s current political situation is influenced by theists, and about his new novel, She Walks on Water.

Related Links:

Listen to AM 950 KTNF this Sunday at 9 a.m. Central to hear Atheists Talk, produced by Minnesota Atheists. Stream live online. Call in to the studio at 952-946-6205, or send an e-mail to radio@mnatheists.org during the live show. If you miss the live show, listen to the podcast later.

Follow Atheists Talk on Facebook and Twitter for regular updates. If you like the show, consider supporting us with a one-time or sustaining donation.

Saturday Storytime: Alive, Alive Oh

In addition to a bunch of short fiction, Sylvia Spruck Wrigley is the author of two non-fiction books on flying, including You Fly Like a Woman, the story of her getting her pilot’s license because someone told her she couldn’t.

“What does it taste like? Food you find on your own, I mean.” By the time Megan was thirteen, I’d given up all hope of returning home. We were “self-sufficient” and a perfect test bed for the colonies of the future, with sterilised capsules transferring data back to Earth. All wonderful research, except that I’d never signed up for this, never wanted to spend a lifetime in space, never would have started a family if I’d known the antiseptic life in the colony was all she’d ever see. Megan’s curiosity became insatiable as she begged for details of a “normal” life, of what she’d missed. I told her about wine and thunderstorms and aeroplanes and guitars. I taught her church hymns and Bonnie Tyler songs and rugby chants. Megan continued to sneak out of the dome, “taking liberties with her safety” it said on the reports. Colony security wasn’t designed to hold in rebellious teenagers; she didn’t find it difficult. I never said anything. How could she grow up in this barren collection of plastic buildings? She needed to explore.

Owen grew distressed. “You are making her homesick for a world she’s never known,” he told me. I didn’t care. I wanted her to know, to understand where she had come from. So I kept telling her the stories, answering her questions. I never noticed how often we returned to the subject of food.

“Shellfish tastes better than anything else in the universe,” I told her. “Especially if you caught it yourself. The fresh air seasons it, we say. But it’s because you put the effort in, you made the food happen.”

“But specifically, what is it like? What do cockles and mussels taste of?”

I didn’t know how to answer that. She had never eaten anything that wasn’t full of preservatives and salt. “They taste like the sea. They taste slick and primordial. They taste of brine and dark blue depths. It’s an Earth flavour. I can’t explain.” She glared at me and stomped out of the room. She wanted facts, not metaphors. She wanted to know and I wasn’t helping. She wanted to go home and taste them for herself.

Keep reading.

Those #SkepchickCon Tweets

You know the drill. One of us folks from FtB or Skepchick announces we’ll be at a conference or convention, and the usual Twitter suspects show up. That’s why this exists:Screen capture of a tweet. Text provided in the post.

@hashspamkiller: Also retweeting #Skepchickcon from @hashspamkiller1 @hashspamkiller2 @hashspamkiller3 @hashspamkiller4 @hashspamkiller5 expecting high LOAD!

This was, of course, no exception. With a hashtag that has the Skepchick name in it? Of course it’s no exception. So here, for the sake of documentation, are the folks who decided that getting their message out–whatever that might be–is more important than people being able to follow panel tweets on science and skepticism. Also, snark from me, because this stuff is tedious. [Read more…]