How to Argue

I don’t know how JT did it, but he somehow got a hold of my argument playbook for this speech at Freethought Festival.

Now you know all my tricks, including the most important one. Don’t start the argument unless your opponent is dead wrong. Think that’ll help?

Based on Judeo-Christian Values, Huh?

Our own Chris Rodda does an amazing job taking down the idea that the U.S. was founded as a Christian nation at an incredibly detailed level. Andrew Seidel of the Freedom From Religion Foundation did the same thing on a conceptual level at Freethought Festival.

I know a number of people I wouldn’t mind showing this to. It’s just the right length for that sort of thing.

Diversity in the Atheist Community

This was the talk at Freethought Festival that prompted Brianne to thank Alix Jules for making her uncomfortable.

If you follow this blog, you probably already know I’m going to say this, but we should be uncomfortable about this. We should be uncomfortable that there is a large population of nonreligious people who don’t feel part of the discussions we have, don’t find our movement relevant to their lives. Then we should fix that.

The Language We Use

I met James Croft at Freethought Festival, and he kept tweeting at me that he was changing his talk in response to something I’d said. I have no idea whether he ended up doing any of that, but it is a fascinating talk either way.

Using someone else’s language to speak to them about our interests is often viewed as manipulative. I don’t doubt that it can be, but it is also what we do when our intent is nothing more nefarious than putting someone at ease. Similarly, we work to speak to their concerns when we simply want to not bore someone. Is what James is talking about any different?

Morality at the Beginning of Human Life

One of the advantages of local conferences with local speakers is adding good speakers and talks as resources in our movement. (Others include decreasing boredom and avoiding holding a small group of speakers up as heroes.) This talk by Chris Calvey was much talked about all weekend at Freethought Festival.

I was still in transit when he spoke, but I can see why people were talking about this. Chris will get more polished as he talks more, of course, but this is a good, thought-provoking talk on a difficult subject. If Freethought Festival had stuck to only already-known speakers, we would have missed it, and that would have been a shame.

Raising Critical Thinkers

The videos from Freethought Festival are out! Currently, this video from Dale McGowan has the fewest hits, which is a shame. It’s a wonderful talk on raising–not atheists–but real freethinkers, willing and able to grapple with all sorts of ideas.

This is a must-see for anyone who has a chance to influence kids.