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Now I get it

I think I understand now why some less-than-appropriate speakers are appearing at the Reason Rally: those are the siesta breaks.

I owe this revelation to a church sign. Just turn your brain off for five minutes turn to your neighbors and start a conversation, just cool off and ignore the bozo on the screen.

Also as I’ve been learning on twitter and elsewhere on the blogosphere, this event is not one where atheists stand up and let their values shine, it’s one where we’re supposed to bow and scrape and show that we can be accommodating to senators and other assholes.

But what if I don’t want to get along with them? What if I want us to change the world?

Comments

  1. Brownian says

    But what if I don’t want to get along with them? What if I want us to change the world?

    Why, then you’ll be Not Helping™.

    The only way to make the world better for freethinkers, skeptics, and atheists is to force us all to sound exactly the same all the time, preferably with a Harvard accent. It’s how the movers and shakers talk. (Women and non-whites need not apply, unless they’re willing to admit that religion = community ∴ spiritual cuddles for all.)

  2. scrawnykayaker says

    Turning off the brain is certainly the easiest way to religious comfort. I once asked a co-worker/PhD-biochemist/Xtian if invoking God didn’t just remove the problem of origin one level to “where did God come from,” and wouldn’t it be more valid to just accept the existence of the universe we can actually detect?

    Her answer: “I just don’t think about stuff like that.” Sigh.

    OTOH, at least she’s not like those theologians who spend ALL their time thinking about stuff like that, and making up silly internally-consistent gibberish.

  3. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Finally, truth in advertising for imaginary deities. Except what’s the difference between feeling the holy spirit and the results of warm thoughts of coveting thy neighbor’s spouse?

  4. Matt Penfold says

    The more I try to understand Mehta’s position the less I am able to do so.

    He has a point when he says that we all have our foibles, and hold views that may not up to reason. However there are some issues on which if you find yourself on the wrong side you cannot, should not, be considered pro-reason, no matter what else you believe.

    Being against the discrimination of women is one such issue. Alternative medicine is another.

    Just being against religion is not enough, and that would seem to be all Maher has going for him on the pro-reason side.

  5. says

    PZ:

    But what if I don’t want to get along with them?

    Nobody is automatically entitled to your respect. They have to earn it, and the standards you set for that are entirely up to you.

    What if I want us to change the world?

    Then I want to change it with you. Mock mercilessly the motherfuckers you deem deserving of it.

  6. says

    Hemant is at Patheos. Look at that place: it’s woo central. I don’t see how he can stand it and retain his sanity — if I were there, I’d start a daily series of ripping into the morons who share my network, one by one.

    Which makes it really ironic that Patheos tried to poach me from FtB a while back. “Oooh, look at the pretty sniny hand grenade. I wish to clasp it to my bosom!”

  7. says

    it’s one where we’re supposed to bow and scrape and show that we can be accommodating to senators and other assholes.

    … because that hasn’t been tried yet!

    Oh wait, that has been the default for millenia, you say? Hmmm…so if the Reason Rally is , you know, more of the same failed strategy, what exactly is the point?

    Stupid stupid.

    Eff that. Let’s change the world.

  8. says

    this event is not one where atheists stand up and let their values shine, it’s one where we’re supposed to bow and scrape and show that we can be accommodating to senators and other assholes.

    Yep. Looks like it. With the exception of Penn who Jennifurret confronted on her blog and on Twitter, these men have not had to confront their bigotry or superstitiousness publicly. Maher needs to have his antivaxxer beliefs challenged and his hypocrisy about sexist language challenged, and Harkin needs to have his choice to stay a part of the Catholic Church challenged and he needs to be grilled on why he voted to grievously harm LGBT families and questioned to find out if he has any remorse over that and to see if he would apologize.

  9. FilthyHuman says

    But what if I don’t want to get along with them? What if I want us to change the world?

    Get rich.
    Get powerful.
    Get completely bat-shit insane to convince others that your cause is worth it.

  10. Brownian says

    Which makes it really ironic that Patheos tried to poach me from FtB a while back.

    That sounds quite tasty, actually. Poached PZ, with a little lemon, some butter, rosemary and dill…

  11. says

    @Matt Penfold:

    Just being against religion is not enough, and that would seem to be all Maher has going for him on the pro-reason side.

    This. IIRC someone, somewhere in this recent shitstorm pointed out that if Reason Rally were an atheism conference, Maher might be an appropriate (if controversial) speaker. However, that’s not what Reason Rally purports to be, and Maher is about as reasonable as Bill Donohue. We can endorse and embrace his anti-theism, and he may very well be a good vector for spreading it. But it doesn’t get him a pass on women or woo. At a REASON rally.

  12. says

    I generally agree with you on most things, but this time I disagree. I think it is irrational to expect everyone to agree lockstep with everything you do. We are a diverse movement. Sure, we have to have standards to some degree on what is being said. I get that, but I think some people want that bar to be 100% agreement. Also, Harkin isn’t talking about alternative medicine or Catholicism. He is going to be talking about our right to rally and speak freely. He might even talk about his support for the separation of church and state. So unless he plans on talking about stuff that most of the community obviously disagrees with, I don’t have a problem with him welcoming us. When did our community become so concerned with purity in the first place? I’m not sure I want to be in a community that only accepts “yes” voices and no one is allowed to speak if they disagree with the majority on any issue even if they aren’t going to be talking about that issue in their speech. That seems too dogmatic and irrational to me.

  13. says

    He might even talk about his support for the separation of church and state.

    Excuse me? How is voting for DOMA supporting the separation of church and state?

  14. Matt Penfold says

    I generally agree with you on most things, but this time I disagree. I think it is irrational to expect everyone to agree lockstep with everything you do.

    It is a good thing then that PZ is not expecting, nor demaning, that all agree on everything.

    I am not sure why you even suggest he does, since it not what he said. Did you think we would not notice you making up this crap ?

  15. says

    This movement at it’s very heart is meant to move away from accommodation. It was accommodation that got us into this mess in the first place.Atheists and freethinkers never bothered the religious. And not bothering them they have run roughshod all over this planet. The reason there is a ” New Atheist” movement now is to confront these wizards of ignorance and save the minds of the human race for reason and rational thinking.

  16. says

    Sigh! I’ve heard way too many messages like this occasionally from people I otherwise respect. Most of them tend to be tedious reprhasings of “Give yourself up for God.” Translation “Be a useless meat puppet.”

  17. chigau (√-1) says

    PZ on the Reason thread

    Penn Gillette is there. By video.
    Bill Maher, by video.
    Tom Harkin, by video.

    Mystery Science Theater 3000, anyone?

  18. thegoodman says

    I agree with PZ on this one (not that he cares what I think). The whole idea of “live and let live” is bullshit to me. The atheist movement cannot challenge the establishment if we allow and welcome the establishment’s cronies to speak (and influence) our rallies.

    I also question the constitution of the invited speakers who disagree with the overall message. Would you speak at a Nazi conference? a KKK meeting?

    The reason rally with theist/homeopath/theocracy speaks is akin to a feminist rally with muslim/evangelical/amish speakers. It just doesn’t make any sense.

  19. rpjohnston says

    Also as I’ve been learning on twitter and elsewhere on the blogosphere, this event is not one where atheists stand up and let their values shine

    I thought it was agreed on the previous thread that this is the Reason Rally, and atheism != reason?

    Snide barbs aside…

    Matt Penfold @ 19:

    It is a good thing then that PZ is not expecting, nor demaning, that all agree on everything.

    I am not sure why you even suggest he does, since it not what he said. Did you think we would not notice you making up this crap?

    Alright then, what are the areas and degrees to which disagreement is acceptable? It seems to be agreed that endorsement of alt-med is out, as is not being atheist (judging by the reaction to Senator Harkin). Misogyny, as well. Is the objection to Penn Jillette an objection to libertarianism in general, or to specific position(s) he holds? Krauss is taking heat for a particularly odious incident of mangling reason, as well.

    So those positions are definitely out. What positions are acceptable to hold at the Reason Rally that may be controversial in the community?

    And what other prominent “celebrities” are disqualified? Is Richard Dawkin’s handling of elevatorgate sufficiently misogynist to estrange him? How about Hitchen’s support for the Iraq War (if he were still alive)?

    Rather than fling barbs endlessly about whether or not we’re required to agree on everything, shouldn’t we actually decide, concretely, on what can and can’t be believed to be qualified as Reasonable?

    And forgive me for my cultural ignorance, but I couldn’t find a definition for “sniny” so I take it it’s something peculiar to this blog. Could I trouble someone for a definition?

  20. consciousness razor says

    What if I want us to change the world?

    That will have to wait. First, you let the booze spirit take over, because we’re here to have a good time, you know? Second, we all take off our pants. Third: profit. Next, we use that profit to buy lots of stuff, thereby changing the world. Since some of that stuff is even more spirit, the process can continue indefinitely.

  21. greame says

    I tend to be weary of pictures of signage on the internet, what with the Photoshop and all.

  22. xray says

    PZ, if you’re really so pissed off at the choice of speakers, why don’t you just cancel out and stay home? There are plenty of other speakers available. Also, my guess is we’ll be running late and could use your absence to get back on schedule.

  23. says

    @rpjohnston
    I tried to link to the Memes section on the Pharyngula Wiki that talks about sniny, but my comment here was eaten by the spam filter. So I’ll just tell you that sniny is PZ’s misspelling of shiny from a long time ago that we chuckled over and then decided to adopt as a sort of menacing version of shiny.

  24. gragra says

    xray, that’s very mature of you.

    PZ, I suggest you give them a blast in your 15 minutes.

  25. carlie says

    I thought it was agreed on the previous thread that this is the Reason Rally, and atheism != reason?

    Not according to this comment by one of the organizers.

  26. frog says

    “Live and let live” is a reasonable approach for most day-to-day interactions. I don’t give my mother crap for still being Catholic, and she doesn’t give me crap for being an open atheist. I don’t turn every “God bless you” from a stranger into an opportunity to confront them.

    But a rally is a public, non-personal event. It’s supposed to be about confrontation–otherwise shouldn’t it be called a gathering or convention or similar “we’re just here to talk about stuff” term?

    Schools don’t have pep rallies to talk about playing fair and being good sports with the other team; a pep rally is to get everyone’s energy up and focused on doing combat (sublimated as sports) with the opposition. “Rally” seems specifically about gathering the tribes and forming up with spears pointed outward.

    Soft-pedaling Reason at a Reason Rally seems kind of backward.

  27. chigau (√-1) says

    xray #28
    If you are one of the organizers, this is not the appropriate place to make that statement.
    If you are not one of the organizers, why are you trying to be?

  28. Matt Penfold says

    Uh, did you read what Hemant or I wrote? The Reason Rally has consistently and explicitly been about atheism. There’s just this thing called marketing, and “Rally to recruit more people to the atheist movement” didn’t quite have the same ring to it.

    From the comment linked to by Carlie.

    In fact if you look at the website the talk is of advancing the cause of secularism:

    What is the Reason Rally?
    The Reason Rally is a movement-wide event sponsored by the country’s major secular organizations. The intent is to unify, energize, and embolden secular people nationwide, while dispelling the negative opinions held by so much of American society… and having a damn good time doing it!

    It will be the largest secular event in world history. There will be music, comedy, great speakers, and lots of fun… and it’s free!

    Now someone is clearly not being honest here.

  29. nmcc says

    “What if I want us to change the world?”

    There you go, infinitely more funny than anything Eddie Izzard has ever said in his entire career.

  30. says

    But what if I don’t want to get along with them? What if I want us to change the world?

    Usually that’s best done one XXXXX Stout at a time.

  31. Louis says

    Brownian, #2,

    Is that link to a Genuine Bona Fide (TM) Anti-Pharyngula site? One edited by our own Rorschach? What have I missed?

    Louis

  32. anuran says

    #24 thegoodman

    The reason rally with theist/homeopath/theocracy speaks is akin to a feminist rally with muslim/evangelical/amish speakers. It just doesn’t make any sense.

    Not quite. I don’t know about Amish, but there are plenty of Muslim and Evangelical Christian feminists. Watching a Musleema in pink hijab with black fringe yelling “Cunt!” during a production of The Vagina Monologues or reading Sojourner Truth demonstrates that forcibly.

  33. Louis says

    Chigau,

    Phew! I thought deep ends had been leapt off! I apologise unreservedly to Rorschach!

    Louis

  34. says

    The “Rorschach” at the Phawrongula Wiki is Franc Hoggle. I imagine he, being the troll he is, chose the nym of one of our regulars simply to sow confusion.

  35. Brownian says

    There you go, infinitely more funny than anything Eddie Izzard has ever said in his entire career.

    Yes nmcc, we understand you have an opinion on the comedy of Eddie Izzard. You can stop sharing it now.

    However much attention your parents gave you, it was clearly the wrong amount.

  36. says

    I understand the push back from Jen and Hemant from a ” I volunteered a lot of time in setting this up and making it a reality and now people are just trying to piss all over it?! ”

    It’s a huge event. It’s the first run-through. I’m sure there’s been a ton of epic scrambling, lots of heartburn, and headaches.

    I’ve been there. I’ve reacted the same way.

    And I was also wrong too.

    This is from Jen’s own blog last April:

    “For one, everyone is good at different things. I don’t know how many times I have to say this, but some people are good at being firebrands, and some people are good at being diplomats. There is no one right way to make progress in a movement, so stop telling people they’re doing it wrong. Feel free to volunteer and be bffs with all the religious people you want. But don’t tell me to shut up because I dare to criticize how someone’s beliefs are harmful not just to them, but to our country and our world.

    But two…right now, the “accepting” interfaith movement is full of hypocrisy. It’s totally fine for religious people in the interfaith movement to disagree about things – that’s the whole concept of interfaith work. But an atheist disagrees with them? Then they’re just being an asshole and need to shut up. We saw this sort of reaction with Everybody Draw Mohammed Day – when the atheists stood by their values, they were the ones in the wrong. They were the ones who needed to shut up lest they offend the others in the group.”

    Hopefully, after the even is over she’ll realize how it applies to the Reason Rally and understand just what PZ is stirring up.

  37. Brownian says

    The “Rorschach” at the Phawrongula Wiki is Franc Hoggle. I imagine he, being the troll he is, chose the nym of one of our regulars simply to sow confusion.

    I could stand here and tout the praises of Jesus’ Own Homeopathic Rhino Horn Remedy until the universe ends, and I could never harm the cause of skepticism as much as Franc “I paid a sex worker to get me off online, and she assured me that there was no problem of sexism at all, and also that I had the biggest penis she’d ever seen” Hoggle.

  38. David Marjanović says

    Which makes it really ironic that Patheos tried to poach me from FtB a while back. “Oooh, look at the pretty sniny hand grenade. I wish to clasp it to my bosom!”

    Day saved.

    Is that how you answered their request? :-)

  39. Stacy says

    @Brownian

    However much attention your parents gave you, it was clearly the wrong amount

    I’d offer you an internet, but you must have boxes and boxes of them all piled up and filled to overflowing.

  40. anotheratheist says

    Maybe a change of perspective would help. Imagine you were a member of the Ku Klux Klan and you were to organize a similar event (the racism rally hihi). Why would you possibly want to invite a high ranking politicians to speak at the event? If you would actually find someone willing what message would that send? Bonus question: How big would the agreement between the political position of that speaker and the KKK be?

  41. rr says

    What if I want us to change the world?

    Hey it’s the Reason Rally, not some sort of think-for-yourself festival.

  42. Brownian says

    I’d offer you an internet, but you must have boxes and boxes of them all piled up and filled to overflowing.

    The problem with internets is that they tend to break down and ooze porn after awhile unless you’re willing to spend some serious coinola on appropriate storage facilities. So, I really appreciate both the sentiment and consideration.

    Hey it’s the Reason Rally, not some sort of think-for-yourself festival.

    It’s probably obvious why, if you think about it.

  43. says

    @anotheratheist

    Imagine you were a member of the Ku Klux Klan and you were to organize a similar event (the racism rally hihi). Why would you possibly want to invite a high ranking politicians to speak at the event?

    Well, for one, the KKK is a religious cult so it’s membership doesn’t really work as an analog to the kind of people who will be attending the Reason Rally. But I want to know what kind of signal the people organizing the Reason Rally intend to deliver to LGBT people by inviting not only a Catholic but a Catholic who voted to make LGBT families illegal in the United States? It’s nothing but a big FUCK YOU to LGBT people attending the rally. It’d hideous!

  44. hexidecima says

    the RR is not perfect. The RR has made some bad choices in its attempt to cater to everyone, especially when they have outright liars on stage. That’s what happens. I still shall be going to it.

  45. says

    (edit to above: “It’d” → “It’s”.)
    I mean, PZ had a really good point in the last thread about giving the Westboro Baptists a chance to speak. Might as well if you are going to give a platform to a person who actually harmed LGBT people by voting to make their families illegitimate.

  46. anotheratheist says

    @ Aratina Cage

    You have to choose: Either you argue along the purity line then you have to explain why the signals that all the other speakers sent are okay or you have to explain to me why you voted for Obama despite him being anti gay marriage.

  47. says

    If some people are using reson in some areas, but not others, shouldn’t they be helped along rather than written off? There is hope for them. Praise them when they get it right and explain to them when they they failed to apply reason.

    It seems many here assume they themselves use reason appropriately on every subject. It may be true that you too have emotional blind spots.

  48. says

    I disagree with every speaker on at least something. So does that mean that every speaker is a “big fuck you” to me? Harkin isn’t speaking about gay rights and we can and should certainly criticism him on that issue. But he is speaking to us against his own political interests and certainly with a political price. We should respect that and let the him speak.

  49. says

    @anotheratheist

    You have to choose: Either you argue along the purity line then you have to explain why the signals that all the other speakers sent are okay or you have to explain to me why you voted for Obama despite him being anti gay marriage.

    That is complete bullshit. First, the presidential election is not the Reason Rally. Second, there is no “purity line”. I’ve provided a link up above where you can see that Harkin voted for DOMA, an action which directly resulted in millions of families being denied recognition throughout the United States. That is not reasonable in any way whatsoever and is in direct violation of the separation of church and state.

    Besides that, I wouldn’t want the Reason Rally to give Vice President Joe Biden a place to speak there, either, without grilling him on his vote for DOMA, too. As for President Obama, it must make you Obama H8ers crazy that he is the president who got Clinton and Newt’s DADT Act repealed, that he is the president who signed anti-gay hate crimes legislation into law, etc. So go ahead and lie to my face about how, when Congress passes a bill to repeal DOMA, that President Obama won’t sign it. Go ahead, fucker. Lie to me about it. Lie your fucking ass off.

  50. seditiosus says

    This changing the world gig: will flamethrowers be provided, or should I bring my own?

  51. Brownian says

    This changing the world gig: will flamethrowers be provided, or should I bring my own?

    Atheist funding is pretty shoestring, at least compared to the air-conditioned doghouse budgets of the Evangelicals and the, er, air-conditioned popehouse budgets of the Catholics, so bring your own.

    I can recommend this book should yours need repair.

  52. Beatrice, anormalement indécente says

    If some people are using reson in some areas, but not others, shouldn’t they be helped along rather than written off? There is hope for them.Praise them when they get it right and explain to them when they they failed to apply reason.

    That’s nice. But don’t you think giving someone a platform and a huge audience is a bit of an excessive praise? Not giving them those is hardly the same as writing them off.

  53. frankb says

    I looked up the senate vote on DOMA, thanks Aratina Cage. Only fifteen senators didn’t vote for it. It is apparently a tough issue for senate democrats. But luckily the dominos are falling.

    I am glad that Senator Harkin is speaking at the Rally as a pro-choice Catholic. He is doing the Vatican no favors and he is countering the gang of US bishops in public. The Vatican might excommunicate him if they haven’t already.

  54. says

    LOL @ nap-breaks.

    I find this issue very complicated. Here’s the trouble:
    We want to achieve social changes – secularism, human rights for all, that sort of thing. To do that you have to have a power base. You need enough people voting on the issues.

    Now, the religious right has done very well at mobilising the right wing, but they have the advantage of irrational tribal solidarity. By contrast, no-one in a freethinkers group is going to agree on absolutely everything. Someone may have an excellent stance on education, and yet be fucking crap on GLBT issues. We see this all the time – misogyny, anti-science health woo, climate change denialism, homophobia, racism etc are all present in some subset of self-named “skeptics”.

    I think we can have party-line ideology tests, or we can have numbers. Not both. Some compromise is essential – that’s politics. Without it, the movement turns into a powerless and pointless rabble of People’s Fronts of Judaea and Judaean Popular Fronts. MP was not making that up; they were satirising real leftist movements of the 60s & 70s. That utterly failed against Thatcherism. Divide et impera.

    But where and how does one apply that compromise without also harming one’s cause? Clearly WBC and KKK can’t be in; but where exactly are those lines in the sand? Are there different lines for a pep-rally vs a vote-collecting or lobbying action? I really do not know the answers, but I do remember the 80s and it scares me how badly we lost.

  55. consciousness razor says

    Hemant really gets on my nerves. From one of his recent posts on the subject (after the long, boring series of imaginary dialogues):

    It’s too bad some people are so hung up on details the rest of the country doesn’t care a bit about that they won’t be able to enjoy the event for what it is.

    I have to ask why the rest of the country doesn’t care a bit about these details, considering that they’re things like being a misogynist, defending pedophiles and hatemongers, and peddling various sorts of woo. I guess I’m not Getting It™ or Not Helping™ or maybe both … or whatever my problem is, it’s awfully nice for Hemant to lament that it’s too bad. The empathy oozing out of him is almost palpable, but I still don’t quite know what he expects. No complaints? No criticism at the Reason Rally? Since the rest of the country doesn’t care, and since those apparently aren’t what the Reason Rally is all about, maybe that means we should enjoy the country for what it is: an intellectual backwater full of bigoted shitheads. Is that the idea? Because if so, I’ll grab my party hat so I can start the fucking celebration.

  56. janine says

    On topic in an off topic sort of way.

    Joe.My.God. also posted a photo of a stupid religious billboard.

    The person without faith has a greater handicap than the person without feet.

    The very first comment is a winner.

    Do they make carbon fiber prosthetic faith now?

  57. Matt Penfold says

    Well I asked at Mehta’s blog exactly what the purpose of rally is. The website claims it is to promote secularism, whereas Mehta and McCreight claim it is promote atheism.

    Given Mehta is one of organisers things are either very fucked up, which could explain why Maher et al have been invited, or the organisers are not being honest in their publicity. I am not entirely sure how you promote atheism by being dishonest in calming you are promoting secularism. I thought there was supposed to be a problem in the US with atheists not be considered trustworthy. How does being untrustworthy go anyway to rectifying that ?

  58. tomr says

    Man, do I agree with PZ on this situation. The Reason Rally has blown a golden opportunity by pandering to an anti-science politician (Sen. Tom Larkin) and a Comedian/Commentator (Bill Maher). Folks, this is NOT a REASON rally with these folks “officially” speaking at a “reason” rally!!! It didn’t have to be this way. Why did this happen???

    I know Hemant and others spend alot of time on this rally. However, is IS labeled the REASON Rally!!! If they wanted to have a political rally to simply promote atheism, WHY didn’t they simply call it the ATHEIST Rally???

  59. Sastra says

    The wonderful thing about all the speakers at the Reason Rally is that none of them* can hide behind a simpering reference to faith. Nor can they put forth a wounded reminder that their private beliefs are so very personal and not open to public discussion or (shudder) debate. So let them go bumpedy-bump along in a rational and merry way during their speech — and then nail them in questions.

    No better way to celebrate. And, if the speakers are sincere, it will be their favorite part, too.


    *with the exception of Harkin, of course

  60. DLC says

    [viciously stupid rant]
    Just you damned Atheists sit and be still while your more accepting betters conduct their Reason Rally in peace!
    Who do you think you are, Reasoners ? What’s wrong with Nice, Reasonable Gods like those espoused by Tom Harkin !? How Dare you! How DARE you, Sir! Object to (rips glasses off) Other Reasonable People! Other Reasonable People with Other Ways of Knowing! How Dare you conflate science with Reason! How Double-dog Damn dare you declare that Reasonable People can’t believe in the fairies at the bottom of the garden! Have you no Shame! Have you no Humanity! where’s the Reason there!? I for one will not be deigning to attend your precious Reason Rally! Not at all because I couldn’t afford the price of a ticket to the other side of town, let alone all the way to DC, no! NO! I’ll not be there because you and your so-called Aheist Reason! You have no shame! Appropriating a rally meant for such rational people as the peace-loving, gods-fearing members of the Westboro Baptist Church!(pulls glasses off again) Yes! Yes! They at least are Reasonable People! you and your damned Nu Atheisim! You unaccepting, Christian-hating, baby-stewing* Atheist Scum!
    How Dare you think this Rally is for you! Just because the main sponsors and organizers all come from Atheist groups! Ha! . . . Ha! I say!
    [/viciously stupid rant ]

    *everyone knows you don’t stew babies. You barbeque them! slow roasted over a low fire with a nice spice rub, then glased in barbeque sauce and quick-fired to a finish. Damn heathens.

  61. consciousness razor says

    So let them go bumpedy-bump along in a rational and merry way during their speech — and then nail them in questions.

    No better way to celebrate. And, if the speakers are sincere, it will be their favorite part, too.

    That would be nice, but I’m not as optimistic.

    Anyway, many of them are delivering their speeches via video, and it’s also a very tight schedule with a very large crowd, so they’d have to respond to criticism some other time if at all. Of course, I assume that any of the speakers could use their time to raise issues they think need more attention in the atheism/humanism/skepticism/secularism culture — that is, not necessarily criticizing an individual’s position or actions, but more generally why an issue is important and what people can about it.

  62. consciousness razor says

    Gah, they could talk about “what people can do about it.” To make things better, that is. Or worse. One of the two, but doing both might cause some confusion.

  63. mikee says

    Tom @#68

    !!! If they wanted to have a political rally to simply promote atheism, WHY didn’t they simply call it the ATHEIST Rally???

    That really is the crux of the problem. It’s like they wanted to avoid the word atheist – exactly what the recent video PZ showed us is telling us not to do!

  64. says

    I’m on board with every single criticism that’s been made of these speakers, and many others, but after reading this thread I’m also now terrified that we as a secular community are about to fuck up the most amazing opportunity that we’ve ever had to stand up and be counted and make a difference, by having a nasty internecine dispute where everybody comes out hating each other less than a week before the Rally is supposed to take place. Please, please, please tell me that this is not what’s starting to happen here.

  65. Matt Penfold says

    I know Hemant and others spend alot of time on this rally. However, is IS labeled the REASON Rally!!! If they wanted to have a political rally to simply promote atheism, WHY didn’t they simply call it the ATHEIST Rally???

    Because the organisers seem to lack honesty or integrity. It is not the first those charges can be levelled at Mehta either. On balance I know considered him harmful to the atheist movement.

  66. David Marjanović says

    The Vatican might excommunicate him if they haven’t already.

    They don’t bother anymore.

    They’ve noticed it’s not the Middle Ages anymore when being excommunicated meant becoming an un-person.

  67. says

    @78: They still do in extreme cases, if you’ve been extra-specially naughty. Like if you’re a nun running a hospital, and you authorize an emergency abortion to save the mother’s life. Or even worse: ordained a woman to the priesthood.

    Hmmm…I detect a theme here.