ReasonCon 2015 Coming in April

Hey, Tracie here. I’ve agreed to speak at the 2015 ReasonCon, since I had such a fun time speaking at the one this year in May! That being said, I feel a little obligated to share out some of the promotional materials for the event as part of my due diligence as someone who has agreed to be involved. That being said, here is the link to the promotional video, and here is some information on the initial press release (shared with permission), for anyone interested in attending:

Hickory, North Carolina – November 1, 2014 –“It was beyond anything I would have imagined for such a small town.  To see what these groups pulled together–created for themselves–was an inspiration.  In fact, every time I turned around, I felt inspired this weekend.  The people, the event, the attitudes and dedication-were all inspiring,” Tracie Harris, speaker at ReasonCon One in 2014.

ReasonCon is an event to showcase the existence of a secular community in the southeastern United States.  It is a gathering of atheists, agnostics, secular humanists, believers, and everything in between to join the conversation about what it means to be secular, and the benefits for all in the continued and vigilant separation of church and state.

This is also an opportunity for people in the Hickory area to learn more about what it means to be an atheist, agnostic, secular humanist, etc.  This year, ReasonCon 2015 is being hosted by the Hickory Humanist Alliance, a local chapter of the American Humanist Association with 2 affiliate groups of their own, which gather in the Hickory area once a month.

Over 400 people attended ReasonCon One, as it was called, in May of 2014.  The event took place in the Crowne Plaza Hotel and featured a day full of speakers talking about everything from using analogies in explaining secularism to the question of the authenticity or existence of an historical Jesus.

ReasonCon 2015 will take place on April 24th and 25th, with a VIP dinner on Friday night at which attendees can meet, chat, and dine with the event’s guest speakers, and then a full lineup of speakers and other events throughout the day on Saturday.

Guest speakers will include: Tracie Harris and Beth Presswood of the Atheist Community of Austin, both of whom frequently appear on The Atheist Experience television show; Ryan Bell, the pastor who decided to try a “year without God”; Heina Dadabhoy, a feminist secular humanist author and blogger; Phil Ferguson, founder of Champaign Urbana Freethinkers and investment advisor; and David Fitzgerald, author, activist, and co-founder & director of the world’s first Atheist Film Festival.

Tickets for ReasonCon 2015, as well as official ReasonCon 2015 T-shirts, will go on sale beginning at midnight on November 1, 2014 at http://www.ReasonNC.com.  Early Bird prices will last between November 1 and December 20, 2014, and give attendees a discount for purchasing tickets early.  (All ticket prices will be listed on the website.)  Those who purchase tickets after December 20, 2014 will pay full price.  In the meantime, follow @HickoryHumanist on Twitter, or Hickory Humanist Alliance on Facebook to get further updates, watch for #ReasonCon2015, see the ReasonCon 2015 trailer, and see sneak previews of the events.

Contact:

Rachael Allman or Gene Elliott
HickoryHumanist@gmail.com
PO Box 294
Claremont, NC 28610
Phone: 828-548-0294

2014 ACA Annual Bat Cruise – Tickets on sale now!

You may have seen the prior post at this blog announcing the 2014 ACA Annual Bat Cruise specifics. At that time tickets were not yet on sale, but we now have our order form up at the ACA web page. Visit the page/form for details and costs.

Keep in mind, since it’s a cruise, space is limited. Once we sell out, that’s all the seating we have available. The boat has a capacity we cannot exceed.

Just to offer a quick summary of the event, we are pleased to have two guest lecturers, author and historian Richard Carrier, and the man behind “The Atheist Book” project, Chris Johnson. Both will be presenting at our regular lecture venue, between 1:15 – 4:00 PM, prior to joining us on the cruise. The lectures are free with purchase of cruise tickets.

Visit the prior blog article or the ACA web page for more information and details for the event. And don’t delay your ticket purchase if you’re planning on joining us in September!

Determining the Attributes and Effects of Gods

So, I was on The Thinking Atheist the last two weeks with Matt. And before going on the final night, the show’s host, Seth Andrews, submitted a very long, well organized e-mail that he’d received from a listener regarding the prior episode. It included a number of questions and concerns about statements made by all of the guests on the program, including me.

Whenever, I receive criticism regarding things I say, from someone willing to put the time in to communicate their concerns clearly and thoroughly, I try to listen. I was especially interested in this, as the topic of the program was “counter-apologetics”—something about which I’m not classically informed. So, I was already prepared for some justified correction, as I was clearly out of my depth. People who hear me on TAE know I’m informal and prefer a conversational style. I’m not out in the world doing formal debates—and, honestly, that’s not a format I suspect I’d enjoy. When I was initially invited on the podcast, I asked why I was included, since it was my view that Matt and AronRa (who was also on) were more than sufficient to cover a “Counter-Apologetics” topic. My inclusion seemed, at the very least, redundant. But it is what it is (to wax tautological). And I agreed to do it.

Out of several comments in the e-mail, only one was directed at me. I don’t know whether to feel flattered or slighted, but I would like to take the opportunity to reply to the author, G, here, starting with his original comment in full:

11:55 Tracie: “People want to talk about the attributes of God or the effects of God before they’ve actually demonstrated a God.”

I found this to be circular. If one doesn’t know at least some of the attributes that a God may have, how does one know when and if the demonstration is successful? Going back to our oak tree, if one knows none of the attributes or effects of an oak tree, how does one know when he is looking at an oak tree? How does one determine that tree X is an oak tree without comparing it to attributes of an oak tree? Must we first demonstrate it is an oak tree before we can talk about the attributes of an oak tree? In the same manner one must talk about the attributes and effects that a god would have in order to determine if that god actually exists.  Luckily, the concept of God does carry with it necessary implications; so, we can look at those and work from there. Various concepts of particular gods carry with them distinct implications, as does the concept of no God at all; by examining all of these implication we may be able to come to some sort of conclusion; but, without knowing any attributes we cannot demonstrate anything at all.

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ACA Bat Cruise 2014: Bigger and Better than Ever!

Mark your calendars for Saturday, September 27, 2014! This is the date of the 2014 ACA annual Bat Cruise, and we have something special lined up for this year’s cruise, you won’t want to miss.

Details of the event are still being finalized, and more information will be made available in coming weeks. But we are excited to be able to announce we have confirmed both Dr. Richard Carrier and Chris Johnson for the pre-cruise lectures. Each of these speakers comes to the table with a timely, relevant project that impacts the atheist community in different, but important ways:

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