Mock the Movie: Misandry Edition

To be fair, we try to sneak a little misandry in every Mock the Movie. In this one, however, we have a full 50 feet of it, or as close as they manage to get in any individual shot. That’s right, we’re doing the Darryl Hannah television remake of Attack of the 50 Ft. Woman. We’ll have to see how much Daniel Baldwin causes the rest of us to Hulk out by the end.

This one is available on YouTube. [Read more…]


Yesterday, I put up a post urging the CONvergence board to listen to their volunteers regarding something they screwed up during con. Shortly after the post went up, it received a longish, bizarre comment:

I am so sorry to hear about how you were treated, and disappointed to hear what ASSHOLES the convergence organizers are. The fact that they let asshole dudebros sexually harass you without consequence is completely fucking inexcusable. I am so glad that I didn’t get to go this year, and I am damned sure I will never be back to their shitty con again.

I wasn’t sexually harassed, and no one “let” it happen. [Read more…]

Volunteers Are Awesome

CONvergence was this past weekend. It was generally wonderful. I was finally able to meet people I’ve admired and interacted with for years. I was able to take some time with old and dear friends and some with newer friends I only see in Beigeland. I enjoyed a parade of cosplay that were works of art and imagination and absurdity, including the tiniest Harley Quinn, who lives only in my memory because she wasn’t there to have her picture taken. I had great discussions with complete strangers that other people seemed to find helpful. I entertained and educated.

I also missed some people I really wanted to see entirely and got to speak only a few words to others. I left a wedding reception early. I let some ugly and harmfully wrong things that were said pass or be marked only with a broad disagreement. I missed out on other discussions I know would have been fascinating. I dealt with a remarkable number of men who implied I was worth more if I didn’t look my age, one of whom–a complete stranger–put his hand on my shoulder “comfortingly” while saying it. I went with little sleep and came home with minor injuries.

All that happened because I volunteered. [Read more…]

“Stay”, Jennifer Michael Hecht on Atheists Talk

After losing two friends to suicide just over a year apart, Jennifer Michael Hecht was looking for answers. As she usually does, she turned to philosophy, but she found herself dissatisfied with the reactive individualism of Enlightenment and modern secular philosophy. Out of that dissatisfaction came Stay: A History of Suicide and the Arguments Against It. Stay chronicles the history of Western reasons for committing suicide and the reasons philosophers have given for people to hang on through bleakness and despair.

Hecht joins us this Sunday to talk about the book and to talk about why would should be grateful to those who chose to remain with us.

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 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

Find Me at CONvergence!

Oh, goodness. CONvergence is just one day out, and it’s going to be a busy weekend. In addition to the FtB party room in the evenings (plus set-up and tear-down), I’m on six official CONvergence panels and running a salon in the FtB room on the side because we all decided we just weren’t doing enough already. Or something like that.

So here’s where you can find me talking at con. You’ll also find me at the Caribou Coffee next to the main conference hotel every morning, but I probably won’t be talking much at that point. [Read more…]

Saturday Storytime: What We’re Having

Time travel stories are tricky. As this story by Nathaniel Lee demonstrates, they’re tricky even when you sort out all the potential paradoxes.

I wondered about the bacon all day. Eventually I went and bought the package anyway, put it in the fridge. I want to do right by you, Frankie, even if I’m crazy and it means I’m wasting five bucks. I don’t want you to have cooked imaginary bacon.

Grilled Cheese, Turkey, and Tomato Sandwiches on Sourdough

That was when I was sure of it. The tomatoes had been in the fruit bowl for a week already and you kept saying we had to do something with them before they went bad.

(They were okay, Frankie. You didn’t need to worry. Maybe a little squishy, but that could have been the whole pan-­frying thing.)

Anyway, the point is, the sandwiches were there, butter­-hot and smelling like purified joy, but so were the tomatoes, still in their bowl. It wasn’t the right day for pan-­frying anyway. You only make sandwiches on your day off, when I’ll be up by afternoon and we can have a little time together before my next shift, because they’re no good once you let them get cold.

(Except they are good, Frankie, I don’t tell you that enough. Even if they were frozen they’d be good.)

So that was that. Today wasn’t your day off, so they weren’t today’s sandwiches.

They were tomorrow’s.

Beef Stroganoff, Same as Yesterday

I kind of enjoyed having tomorrow’s food. It felt special. It was like having a window on you when you didn’t know I was looking. I think about you a lot, Frankie, even if I’m quiet when we’re together. I like to know what you’re thinking about. Mostly I feel like I don’t. That’s why I’ll take whatever advantage I can get.

You never seemed to notice, Frankie. I’m not sure why. You ate those meals, too.

Didn’t you?

(Well, obviously the stroganoff, but honestly, why did you make so much of it? I swear that week lasted a year.)

Maybe you did, but you ate them at the right time, with the right version of me responding to your actual notes and e-­mails and not whatever you’d said the day before or what I thought you might say tomorrow. A lot of times I feel like I’m talking to you a day late anyway, even when we manage to get into the same room at the same time. (I try, Frankie, I really do, but I’m always so tired and half the time I don’t even know what you’re talking about. I’m not good at techie stuff. You just kind of assume I’m keeping up with you.)

Maybe it wasn’t the skillet that was out of synch. Maybe it was us.

Keep reading.

“From Eternity to Here,” Bruce Gerencser on Atheists Talk

Independent Baptist Preachers can be feisty types.  They even maintain their ‘tude after they become atheists.  Bruce Gerencser started over eight churches, pastored at eight and was a preacher for over twenty five years.  Now Bruce is a humanist and agnostic blogger.  Join us as we find out about his life as a preacher and how he left religion.  Bruce blogs at “The Life and Times of Bruce Gerencser; One Man’s Journey from Eternity to Here.”

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 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.

I Might Be a Little Excited

Here’s why.

Skepticon 8 text logo with a rainbow gradient.

That’s right. I’m speaking at Skepticon this November!

I might be a little excited. I might have answered the invitation to speak in approximately 5 milliseconds and with exclamation points. I might have worn my Skepticon t-shirt yesterday in honor of the official announcement. I might be a little overwhelmed by the group of people I’m appearing with.

Just a little excited, you understand.

Apply for Secular Women Work Scholarships Now!

If you’ve been waiting to apply for a scholarship for the Secular Women Work conference, this August 21-23 in Minneapolis, now’s your chance. Regular and student-priced tickets are also available for sale through Minnesota Atheists. Expect lots of interesting news (more speaker announcements!) soon.

From the SWW site:

Secular Women Work is committed to making the conference an accessible space, particularly for those from resource-limited settings. Scholarships include paid conference registration and a travel stipend, where available. Despite being a small, first year conference, we have a selection of scholarships available. [Read more…]

Diet, Skeptics, and Getting It Wrong

This was the first essay I delivered to my patrons this past Friday. If you want to support more work like this, you can sign up here.

There’s a constant tension in skepticism between the desire to educate and the desire to tear down. This isn’t necessarily a tension between people. Both impulses exist in most of the skeptics I know. Nor does it seem to matter whether those people are connected to organized skepticism or simply proud members of the broader reality-based community.

The tension is to be expected. We need both impulses to be effective. We need to give people good information in accessible ways, and we need to limit the harm purveyors of bad information can do. Different behaviors for different goals. Simple, right? Well, no.

We frequently run into problems when we apply one of these impulses to the wrong target. This usually happens in the form of tearing down the people we want to educate for a host of reasons. The fundamental attribution error means we’re more likely to see people’s decisions as personal flaws, leading to both frustration with them as people and losing faith in our ability to educate them. The Curse of Knowledge means that we, as people educated on a topic, have a very hard time putting ourselves in the place of someone with less information. Tearing people down is approximately infinitely easier than educating them, particularly when we’re frustrated. And unfortunately, tearing people down all too often results in us feeling better about ourselves.

I’m hardly the first person to address this. Skeptics fairly regularly point to this problem. We tell each other it is both kinder and more effective to educate consumers first (though consumers who become evangelists are a tougher problem). It helps–for a while–but the behavior tends to revert after a time.

I want to take a different approach to the topic here. [Read more…]