The material that was produced in Hickory, NC, at ReasonCon earlier this month, is beginning to post for public consumption. The majority of presentations are not yet available, but one is, along with something that has become informally dubbed The Drunk-Cast. Below are the audio files that are currently accessible, with descriptions. I will post the remaining material as it becomes available to share.
Phoebe Cahours’ Presentation
First, the one speaker presentation that is now available in audio is the one by Phoebe Cahours. Phoebe is only 17, but has a wild story to tell about how she was dragged from cult to cult by her family for most of her upbringing. Somehow she’s come out of this a seemingly reasonable and well-adjusted teen. And I recommend giving her talk a listen.
Then there is…The Drunk-Cast. The first I heard of it, the convention organizer came to me to say there was a voluntary-participation podcast happening downstairs—in a huge empty lobby area of the hotel, with a large double staircase. People were hanging out on the steps and the floor, and others were weaving between folks, recording their conversations. On the No Religion Required Podcast page, it’s described as including,
…Noah Lugeons and Heath Enwright from The Scathing Atheist, Cash and Love from Atheists On Air, Bill and Suzy Robbins from The Barroom Athiest, Dr. Richard Carrier, Tracie Harris from the Godless Bitches Podcast and The Atheist Experience, Pastor Ryan Bell from A Year Without God and many more.
“Drunk” comes into play because Saturday evening, after the day of presentations (and let me just thank them again for making these talks free and open to the public), we were given access to a full and open bar—of which most of us took liberal advantage. And because it was well into the night by the time this podcast experiment was initiated (I landed back in my room at 3:45 a.m.), this resulted in quite a mix of comments, topics, humor, levels of intoxication, and…well…lots of things. I’m not vouching for any of this. I’m just sharing it.
Part 1 – Includes some bawdy jokes and lots of giggling, inebriated people, along with stories on topics like masturbation and corporal child “discipline”—which a few of the participants spoke candidly about. Dr. Richard Carrier makes an appearance about 30 minutes in with a less bawdy contribution tied to his talk earlier in the day. I think there might have been some mention of a new book he’s got out? But the title escapes me.
Part 2 – Includes a lot more Richard Carrier telling a story about some WWII-era translations, and a redundancy of the masturbation story in the second half—for some reason? Maybe it was just funny enough to share twice?
Part 3 – Is mainly me (fueled by three neat double Scotches) talking about my understanding of what constitutes the most useful/observable definition of “morality”—what I consider it is, what I consider it is not, and what observations have led me to these views.
There were quite a lot of other conversations that were not recorded at this podcast event. People were in small groups here and there scattered around, and decisions of economy had to be made about which ones to record at any given time. So, much of the dialog from that evening is gone for good now. Whether to be grateful or disappointed for that, I leave to your individual assessment.
As far as speaker releases to come, my talk, along with Dr. Richard Carrier’s and Ryan Bell’s are still being processed at this point.
I don’t usually share personal items in association with my volunteerism with TAE, but I want to illustrate what can happen at these events when you have a chance to connect with others in person—face-to-face. A brief encounter impacted me emotionally, Saturday evening, during the particularly difficult discussion, covered in Part 1 above, about corporal punishment of children in religious homes—something that is disturbingly common.
As I listened to the stories, I turned to the person next to me and asked if they were ever hit as a child. They shook their head and told me “no.” I then told them, matter-of-factly (because I no longer have any feelings about my history with this—except for anger, if I think too long about it), that I had been beaten with a belt by both my mother and father, and on occasion, hit in the face.
The person said nothing in response, but the look I got back was shock and disgust. And for that, I want to say “thank you.”
Thank you, for so clearly demonstrating to me there are people in the world for whom this is abhorrent—because it should be abhorrent to everyone. Thank you, for showing me this never happened to you—because it should never happen to anyone. Thank you for not being able to relate to it—because no one ever should. Often, when I don’t share a common experience with another person, it can be a source of misunderstandings, and occasionally frustration. But, in this case, I couldn’t have been happier to meet someone unable to relate to my “normal.” As far as I’m concerned there are far too many people who relate to me and can fully understand this experience. There should be a great deal less of us. From the bottom of my heart, thank you, for not understanding. It meant a lot.