Quantcast

«

»

Sep 03 2012

I’m back

But still a little shell-shocked. I had a terrible flight back from Denver, thanks to the incompetence of the staff at the Delta desk and the weather, and landing at the airport after 10pm and having a 3 hour drive back didn’t help, either. I just staggered up now and took a shower and desperately need a cup of tea.

But I wanted to quickly mention two things. One was something weird in my talk. I was (once again) making the argument that there had to be more to the atheism movement than just the dictionary definition, and I first made the case that we’ve comfortably accommodated much bigger, loftier goals than not believing in gods, by pointing out that we readily accept science as part of the atheist parcel. And then I moved on to asking whether there were other things we’d be willing to say that atheists, as a movement, ought to fight for. What are the secular causes?

“Science Education?” I asked. And the audience said “yes”.

“Environmentalism?” I asked. And the audience said “yes”.

“Civil rights for minorities?” I asked. And the audience said “yes,” loudly.

“Gay marriage?” I asked. And the audience yelled back “yes”.

“Feminism?” I asked. And the audience shouted “yes”.

It was weird. I kind of expected that at some point the audience would start tapering off or even saying “no,” and they didn’t. They got louder (which was also due to getting warmed up, I’m sure.) Here I was, all prepared to talk about the importance of each of those, and they just rolled over and made it easy for me. In the Q&A, I was later asked, in response to my suggestion that atheist organizations ought to have more prominent special interest groups to pursue specific sub-goals of the movement, if that wouldn’t dilute the focus of the whole organization, which was a reasonable concern, but that was the only reservation I heard. See, weird…from all the pushback we see on the web, you’d think there’d be more objections. I’m pretty sure it’s not my awesome personal charisma that overwhelmed any dissent.

Later in the talk, a similar thing happened. I showed a slide with just this on it:

The audience erupted into applause before I even said anything! I really missed an opportunity — I should have just done an Atheism+ talk and gotten wild accolades. I actually didn’t say a lot about it: I was making the case that the strong response to this idea should be telling every atheist organization something…that there is a huge swell of interest in their potential membership in making social justice issues a much bigger part of the movement.

Oh, and the second thing: I was having lunch with Matt Dillahunty and AronRa, and the possibility of doing a freethoughtblogs conference came up. We bounced around some really cool ideas about making it different from all those other conferences (for instance, what if we did it in Cincinnati, and made challenging Answers in Genesis part of it? What about bringing teenagers in to plan the social part of it all?), but it’s all very tentative and remote at this time — don’t get your hopes up. I thought I’d ask, though…would there be interest in having a free or very inexpensive con ala Skepticon centered around the FtB roster and our pet issues? Should we think a little more seriously about it?


That was quick. Video of the talk is now available.

159 comments

Skip to comment form

  1. 1
    thunk: y'all know ageism is a thing?

    PZ: If you did that, I’d try my best to get me and friends over there.

    What about bringing teenagers in to plan the social part of it all?

    Sure, why not? I need the planning experience :)

  2. 2
    thunk: y'all know ageism is a thing?

    And by “that”, I mean the FTB conference.

  3. 3
    Stu

    No chance of you guys holding it in Stockholm I suppose? :-(

  4. 4
    Jasper of Maine

    As usual, I cannot afford to go anywhere or do anything :/

  5. 5
    chigau (違う)

    Welcome back.
    I’d attend a FtB conference.
    I can’t picture the agenda, though.
    What with all the Deep Rifts™.

  6. 6
    Antiochus Epiphanes

    Of course you should do that!

  7. 7
    Zeno

    Airline incompetence is one of their standard features. Perhaps frequent fliers develop better coping mechanisms, but I’m always in over my head when I’m forced to travel. When Delta had no plane (maintenance problem) for my trip to LA, I passed up the option for a later flight (which would have caused me to miss at least half of a day-long seminar) and grabbed a flight with another airline. A couple of days later I discovered that Delta had kindly cancelled my reservation for the return trip because I hadn’t flown down with them. Screwing you up is a service they provide.

  8. 8
    Antares42

    The whole attitude that “Atheism+ hates everyone who doesn’t want to join them” is pretty persistent over at Reddit. Many people there seem to hate being told what topics atheists might want to care about, although they’re quick to tell proponents of A+ what causes to support and how…

  9. 9
    Antares42

    “A couple of days later I discovered that Delta had kindly cancelled my reservation for the return trip because I hadn’t flown down with them.”

    Did you tell Delta you’re flying down with another airline? Otherwise it’s pretty much SOP. Not saying that id should be, but one can kind of understand it – there are probably hundreds of cases of missed flights every day across the country, and the majority will turn out to be “no-shows” for the return.

  10. 10
    oolon

    How do I square this circle? Thunderf00t, slimepit, CLS etc all telling me atheism+ is DOA and the reaction in the community has been roundly one of derision…

    Given the amount of ‘weird’ PZ has experienced how can we be sure it is the real PZ that came back and his flight was not some sort of travel from an alternative universe?

  11. 11
    PZ Myers

    Among Delta’s amazing adventures: halfway through boarding the plane, they discovered that it was a different plane than they’d thought, with a different seating arrangement. Confusion reigned. The solution: unload the entire plane, and issue brand new boarding passes to every single person on the flight.

  12. 12
    Julien Rousseau

    I can’t picture the agenda, though.
    What with all the Deep Rifts™.

    And it would be boring, what with all the talks being the same due to the Hivemind’s GroupThink.

    Apart from that I think that it is an awesome idea that I would hopefully be able to enjoy vicariously from youtube as I live in Europe.

  13. 13
    Holms

    See, weird…from all the pushback we see on the web, you’d think there’d be more objections.

    Such people are I suspect overrepresented on the internet because that is the venue in which they are safe from having ‘shithead’ linked to their real identity. Greater Internet Fuckwad Theory and all that.

  14. 14
    kreativekaos

    Sounds cool.. Cinnci is reasonably close to home for me, making it more possible for Michiganders to attend. Many of us here in the Detroit area would welcome more events such as this in our region of the country.

  15. 15
    ChasCPeterson

    Yes! Yes! For the Movement desperately needs more panel discussions!

  16. 16
    Alexandra (née Audley)

    I thought I’d ask, though…would there be interest in having a free or very inexpensive con ala Skepticon centered around the FtB roster and our pet issues?

    Yes!

    Should we think a little more seriously about it?

    Yes!

  17. 17
    theophontes (恶六六六缓步动物)

    @ OP

    what if we did it in Cincinnati

    I must point out that Cincinnati has more lap dancers than Tampa.

  18. 18
    rq

    I’m all for that FtB conference, but America’s too far. How about somewhere in Europe? Northern Europe? :)
    But seriously, if it happened and I had a reasonable amount of time to prepare for it (as in, advance warning) I’d do a heck of a lot in my power to go to that and to bring some family and friends to be educated. Very seriously.

  19. 19
    beyondhope

    Surely each aim you mention (feminism, gay marriage, environmentalism) represents an improvement on the status quo – it kinda goes without saying, right? Therefore atheists, who can’t wait for heaven to fix these things for us, should strive actively for them in THIS world. I love the work you and others here are doing towards this end, and look forward very much to a possible FtB conference. Sydney’s not THAT far from Cincinnati is it…….?

  20. 20
    insipidmoniker, 37th Emu of the Mild Dyspepsia

    I completely support the idea of having an FtB conference in Cincinnati. And this is in no way influenced by my selfish desire to attend without having to travel far.

  21. 21
    Michael

    A friend of mine had a bit of a nightmare, flying from Vancouver to the East Coast to catch a cruise ship, only to find his luggage was still in Vancouver. Since he was part of the entertainment on the cruise, and his luggage included the props for his act, this was no small problem. I don’t know if it is an old joke but Delta stands for: Don’t Expect your Luggage To Arrive

    Another airline annoyance another friend had was wanting to fly from Vancouver to another destination. He found that it was cheaper to fly from Seattle on a flight that had a stopover in Vancouver, than just from Vancouver. Of course the airline wouldn’t let him buy the Seattle ticket and board the plane in Vancouver. To get the savings he had to drive to Seattle and board there…

  22. 22
    Jasper of Maine

    Do any of the conferences to ustream/hangout live streaming?

  23. 23
    Antiochus Epiphanes

    It once took me three days to fly from Myrtle Beach to Houston on Delta. Another time they lost my luggage and I never got it back.

    Fie on Delta.

    ++++++++++++++++

    Chas: maybe you could lead a workshop on being the ichi-ban grumpy pants of the internets?

    And we mos def need a thunderdome breakout session. Wear something you’d be happy to bleed on!

  24. 24
    lancefinney

    I thought Skepticon already was the FTB/Skepchick conference ;)

  25. 25
    rorschach

    I’d fly Delta just for the crotches, if it wasn’t for the fact that it’s an American airline, in, like, the USA. As to a FTB convent, little bit too in-groupish maybe? We already have Pharyngula meetups anyway.

  26. 26
    hyperdeath

    Regarding AtheismPlus, there’s now a forum for that:

    http://atheismplus.com/forums/

    It’s currently 941 members strong, but has yet to be Pharyngulated…

  27. 27
    Wes F.

    I lived in Cincinnati for 12 years. Lots of good people there. And Skyline Chili, if you’re into that sort of thing.

    As for the lap dancers, there may be more than there were in Tampa, but you have to go to Covington and/or Newport.

    WF

  28. 28
    ChasCPeterson

    maybe you could lead a workshop on being the ichi-ban grumpy pants of the internets?

    OK:

    Fuck you.

    I got yer ‘workshop’ right here.

  29. 29
    blogofmyself, writer of papers

    I don’t usually go to conferences (or comment, or generally do much more than lurk; I’m rather shy) but if there were a FtB conference I would try my hardest to go and bring my friends, especially if it were held somewhere relatively close to me. So, yes, please think seriously about it, because that would be totally awesome.

  30. 30
    naturalcynic

    …“Gay marriage?” I asked. And the audience yelled back “yes”.

    “Feminism?” I asked. And the audience shouted “yes”.

    Don’t let your poopyhead swell too much, Brian. But, do give us a sandal symbol.

  31. 31
    Antiochus Epiphanes

    1. Crotches?
    2. That’s the stuff, Chas. Will you need AV support?

  32. 32
    silomowbray, sans frottage pour la douche

    As a Canadian I moderately dread going through U.S. Customs & Immigration for flights to the U.S. We clear U.S. Customs here in Vancouver before boarding. I can just picture my interview:

    U.S. Customs Officer: Where’re you going?
    Silo the Canadian Traveller: Cincinnati.
    U.S. Customs Officer: What’s there?
    Silo the Canadian Traveller: I’m attending a conference.
    U.S. Customs Officer: What’s the conference about?
    Silo the Canadian Traveller: …atheism.
    U.S. Customs Officer: [pauses] [stares at me]
    U.S. Customs Officer: Head over to Secondary Inspection please.
    Silo the Canadian Traveller: Would that be behind the chemical shed?

    But the answers are Yes and Yes. If I can find a way to get out there, perhaps as one of my business trips to the East Coast, I’ll be there. Look for the guy wearing a hockey jersey and walking his pet beaver.

  33. 33
    irisvanderpluym

    My ex got Ohio in the divorce settlement – I kept New York. But I have it on good authority that said ex has invaded my territory on several occasions, so my undertaking a stealth mission to Cincinnatti is clearly not out of the question.

    And it’s not like I’d ever run into him at any conference even tangentially concerned with atheism, much less feminism. (Thus the “ex.”)

  34. 34
    Zeno

    U.S. Customs Officer: What’s the conference about?
    Silo the Canadian Traveller: …atheism.

    You: “The conference is about god. Yeah, we’re going to talk about god.”

    Him: “Very good. Please pass through.”

    [The customs officer won't even hear the lower-case g.]

  35. 35
    Steve Croker

    Yes! (to the conference idea). I have not been going to atheist/skeptic conferences, largely because I already go to a load of academic conferences, but an ftb conference would help get me off my backside ;-)

  36. 36
    morgan ?! epitheting a metaphor

    Here is my grump for the day. Why don’t any of we freethought fools ever do conferences on the West Coast? Please, somebody, there are a lot of freethinkers out here but you wouldn’t know it by the conference schedules. Except for Las Vegas which I loathe, there is darn little out here in left-land. PZ, anywhere in California, Oregon, or Washington would be grand. And I think the possibility of creating real working groups charged with developing agendas for attacking social issues would be fabulous. Difficult, but worth it.

  37. 37
    Tony! The Fucking Queer Shoop!

    PZ:

    I thought I’d ask, though…would there be interest in having a free or very inexpensive con ala Skepticon centered around the FtB roster and our pet issues? Should we think a little more seriously about it?

    I say yes.

  38. 38
    chigau (違う)

    I don’t know much about USA geography but I’m pretty sure Cincinnati is not on the East Coast.
    ;)

  39. 39
    PZ Myers

    #15: I actually have some very different ideas for the format — I’m thinking Unconference, only a couple of plenaries, Aron and I talked about an undebate (we invite creationists/evangelicals, each side is given the questions ahead of time, and then we just present our positions on the question without arguing with the other side. For instance:

    How and when was the earth formed, and how do you know?

    Kook: 6,000 years ago, god did it, the bible says it.

    Atheist: 4.5 billion years ago by condensation of…and off they go with a dump of all kinds of evidence.)

    We’d also go into it with specific goals for when we come out the other side. Drafting position statements, getting media attention, that sort of thing.

    Anyway, the aim would be to be something different than the usual.

  40. 40
    Jadehawk

    would there be interest in having a free or very inexpensive con ala Skepticon centered around the FtB roster and our pet issues? Should we think a little more seriously about it?

    only if you hold it not-in-summer (that’s already fully scheduled up with travel), and if it’s somewhere accessible by train (which Skepticon isn’t *grump*)

  41. 41
    Antiochus Epiphanes

    Look for the guy wearing a hockey jersey and walking his pet beaver.

    Who gives a shit about the fucking marmot?

  42. 42
    rorschach

    How and when was the earth formed, and how do you know?

    (Obligatory blogwhoring alert) It’s been done. In 1925.

  43. 43
    PZ Myers

    #36: We are at the wild and crazy brainstorming stage. Nothing has been set, including where we’d have it. We had some other discussions about it, and Seattle/Vancouver was brought up, because there are a bunch of FtBers in that area (and I am a big fan of Seattle myself), there’s also a knot of us here in Minnesota, and if it happened (big if), and if it were successful (bigger if), it would be good to have potential cons after the first (biggest if) floating around the continent.

  44. 44
    Jadehawk

    somewhere accessible by train

    which, incidentally, does include Cincinatti :-p

  45. 45
    Jadehawk

    …and Seattle; and some parts of Minnesota

  46. 46
    jflcroft

    I think a conference would be a great idea – there’s such talent here and it would be fantastic to see it all gathered in one place! Also glad that your talk got such solid support for the “+” part of Atheism+ – it’s an encouraging sign!

  47. 47
    chigau (違う)

    Beavers are cute, marmots are dangerous.
    They’ll hypnotize you.

  48. 48
    canadianchick

    FTB con in Cinci? That could be done. At least if it’s spring or fall (more likely to con my way into a work trip to pay for airfare & accom :-) ).

    Seattle would be a MUCH better choice tho…there’s a shortage of West Coast conferences! And you already have bloggers out here AND PZ could visit his mom.

  49. 49
    PZ Myers

    You know, there’s a reason Seattle has a dearth of these: it’s a damned godless part of the country, so it doesn’t need it as much, and it’s also less likely to stir up local attention.

  50. 50
    PZ Myers

    #46: Yeah, but it’s not up for a vote. I was just surprised that there was that much spontaneous enthusiasm for it.

    It probably helped that the audience was probably about 50:50 male:female.

  51. 51
    chigau (違う)

    Seattle could probably provide more volunteers.
    (no one has ever run a conference of any kind without a BIG bunch of volunteers)

  52. 52
    lorigb

    Cincinnati’s not too far from Iowa, I would totally go to a ftbcon if it’s at all possible. And I’d be happy to pick up people along the way if they need a ride!

  53. 53
    Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden

    Law school is as law school does, remember that PZ.

    But yes, if time and money allowed (it’s the travel from Canada that would cost the money, not the conference) I would sooooooo be there…and possibly Ms. Crip Dyke as well.

  54. 54
    silomowbray, sans frottage pour la douche

    chigau (違わない) @38

    Your grasp of U.S. geography is likely much better than mine, but I do know that Ohio is a dang sight closer to the East Coast than the West, so on my trips to Boston or Halifax I could add a leg and stop in for a few days.

    Unless you guys moved Cincinnati without telling anyone… :p

  55. 55
    Patricia, OM

    Morgan – Barker, Gaylor, Dawkins and crew will be at the Portland Hilton October 12-13th.

    Yes to your questions PZ.

  56. 56
    sarahm

    Cincy: Good
    Cleveland: Better
    I would bribe you with home cooked meals and Great Lakes beer. Cleveland is cool.

  57. 57
    David Marjanović

    Yes! Yes! For the Movement desperately needs more panel discussions!

    …I can’t tell if you’re being sarcastic.

  58. 58
    miller

    Probably the people who complain about atheism+ are mostly people who didn’t participate much in conferences in the first place. Too bad for them–the people who do the work are the people who control the movement.

  59. 59
    Jadehawk

    Yes! Yes! For the Movement desperately needs more panel discussions!

    …I can’t tell if you’re being sarcastic.if he’s not, I kinda agree, though probably for the wrong reasons :-p

    we probably need to move away from conferences that are primarily based around one “leader” after another holding a presentation. That works well on scientific conferences because sooner or later, every member of the audience will also be the person holding a presentation. In the Atheist Movement, it instead leads to leader-follower dynamics.

    So anyway: more discussion rounds and workshops led by the experienced folks; fewer speeches with minimum feedback from the non-experienced folks [/suggestions]

  60. 60
    duvelthehobbit666

    Maybe we need a place on FtB to complain about Delta. Heard a lot of bad things about them recently.

  61. 61
    morgan ?! epitheting a metaphor

    Yes, most indeed yes to a gathering. And as a final word on locale, Hawaii would be perfect. ;-)

  62. 62
    Rev. BigDumbChimp

    Beavers are cute, marmots are dangerous.
    They’ll hypnotize you.

    And eat your climbing shoes

    Stupid marmots

  63. 63
    Jadehawk
    Yes! Yes! For the Movement desperately needs more panel discussions!

    …I can’t tell if you’re being sarcastic.

    if he’s not, I kinda agree, though probably for the wrong reasons :-p

    we probably need to move away from conferences that are primarily based around one “leader” after another holding a presentation. That works well on scientific conferences because sooner or later, every member of the audience will also be the person holding a presentation. In the Atheist Movement, it instead leads to leader-follower dynamics.

    So anyway: more discussion rounds and workshops led by the experienced folks; fewer speeches with minimum feedback from the non-experienced folks [/suggestions]

  64. 64
    Jadehawk

    Cincy: Good
    Cleveland: Better

    Cleveland = accessible by train; acceptable.

    And as a final word on locale, Hawaii would be perfect. ;-)

    Hawaii = not accessible by train; unacceptable.

  65. 65
    marcus1

    Just have a question really. Of the list above.
    “Science Education?”
    “Environmentalism?”
    “Civil rights for minorities?”
    “Gay marriage?”
    “Feminism?

    Are these the preserve of atheist+, or may others including those who do not identify as atheists, join in?

  66. 66
    Tapetum, Raddled Harridan

    Hey! Cinci is in my neck of the woods – well, ok one major city over, but pretty danged close. Woot!

  67. 67
    Ibis3, Let's burn some bridges

    If you guys do do this, may I propose:

    * having some if not all the conference live-streamed
    * having a few panels or Q&As accessible for people who aren’t physically there to join in via web link or even teleconference

    Travelling is a huge barrier to participation for people even of moderate income. Even if you have to do some fundraising to handle the extra expense, I imagine lots of people would donate, say, a hundred bucks, if that meant they could attend virtually. A lot less cost than travel and accommodation and food and/or child care. And the bonus is, even those people who can’t afford the entire time or any money get the benefit too.

  68. 68
    consciousness razor

    Just have a question really. Of the list above.
    “Science Education?”
    “Environmentalism?”
    “Civil rights for minorities?”
    “Gay marriage?”
    “Feminism?

    Are these the preserve of atheist+, or may others including those who do not identify as atheists, join in?

    Atheists can’t in fact stop them from joining in. And personally, I think theists are more than welcome to support all of those, if that’s what you’re asking.

    However, atheists don’t always need to agree that any of it is consistent with any particular form of theism. So, for example, if you’re claiming feminism is right because Big Old White Dude In The Sky commands it, you should expect many (if not most or all) atheists to criticize that, and to have problems making a coherent case for that kind of “feminism” (if you insist on calling it that).

  69. 69
    David Marjanović

    we probably need to move away from conferences that are primarily based around one “leader” after another holding a presentation. That works well on scientific conferences because sooner or later, every member of the audience will also be the person holding a presentation. In the Atheist Movement, it instead leads to leader-follower dynamics.

    Let me press on this issue a bit more. :-) As a scientist, I’m always* culture-shocked by such things as “speaker tables”. In scientific conferences, practically every member of the audience will sooner or later give an oral or poster presentation at that same conference; institutions** won’t even fund your trip to a conference unless you prove the abstract you submitted has been accepted for presentation at that conference. This is why leader/follower dynamics don’t develop to any significant degree at scientific conferences.

    Therefore:

    more discussion rounds and workshops led by the experienced folks; fewer speeches with minimum feedback from the non-experienced folks

    !

    * n = 2 (Copenhagen, Cologne)
    ** n = 3 (CNRS, Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle, Collège de France)

  70. 70
    David Marjanović

    However, atheists don’t always need to agree that any of it is consistent with any particular form of theism. So, for example, if you’re claiming feminism is right because Big Old White Dude In The Sky commands it, you should expect many (if not most or all) atheists to criticize that, and to have problems making a coherent case for that kind of “feminism” (if you insist on calling it that).

    …which leads back to my biggest nit to pick: for me, it isn’t atheism from which social justice etc. etc. etc. follow; they, like atheism, follow from science theory and/or its application, science. I am the scientismist everyone has been warning us about !!

  71. 71
    nohellbelowus

    The UFC: Ultimate Freethoughtblogs Conference.

    Great idea, but Professor Myers would have to shave his head (and keep his intelligent mouth closed) to be a passable Dana White.

    An atheist roller-derby league is another option.

  72. 72
    a3kr0n

    So how many of these do you want for your Robot store?
    Or maybe you’d prefer the thing I’m printing right this minute?

  73. 73
    Rieux

    With a new cranky infant in the house, I can’t promise I’d attend (my chances are vastly better if it’s held in Minneapolis/St. Paul), but I’m all for an FTB convention, or a series of same. Do it!

  74. 74
    Rip Steakface

    I’m a teenager!

    Unfortunately, I don’t know my social media other than Google+. I have never had a Facebook.

  75. 75
    cry4turtles

    Oh do have in Cinci. It’s a day’s drive from here, and I have good friends in Columbus. Yes yes! Ohio needs this!

  76. 76
    Patricia, OM

    PZ’s idea of having the theists there to answer the same questions as A+ panelists is excellent. But how would we stop the preachers from preaching? Equal time limits, howling jackals?

  77. 77
    Gregory in Seattle

    Just give us enough time to plan our vacation and budget!

  78. 78
    rq

    If you won’t be coming to Europe, then I’ll accept the live-streaming.

  79. 79
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    But how would we stop the preachers from preaching? Equal time limits, howling jackals?

    I vote for Tasers.

  80. 80
    consciousness razor

    …which leads back to my biggest nit to pick: for me, it isn’t atheism from which social justice etc. etc. etc. follow; they, like atheism, follow from science theory and/or its application, science. I am the scientismist everyone has been warning us about !!

    Okay, but atheism doesn’t follow solely from science theory or science, unless you expand that to include a whole bunch of philosophy which isn’t entirely and strictly scientific (as generally understood), because not every question requires scientific methodology for an answer. That’s a move you could make: you could give “science” a much broader meaning than it usually has. But I think there are good reasons for letting science do its thing, and when appropriate, taking other more useful approaches to a wide range of issues (in ethics, politics, aesthetics and so on), which should often rely heavily on science but don’t always need it for everything. Sometimes, there is no need of any hypothesis, because there’s more to do than simply explain phenomena.

  81. 81
    morgan ?! epitheting a metaphor

    I suspect there would be few theists willing to participate in such a debate. Unless there were a substantial number of their sort in the audience, the theists may feel like aliens in the enemy camp.

  82. 82
    dgrasett

    How far is Cincinnati from Southern Ontario. Could I drive it in a day? If it is possible by rail, how long is the wait-over in Chicago. There’s always a wait-over in Chicago.

  83. 83
    niftyatheist, perpetually threadrupt

    Love the idea of Cincinnati FTB conference and I would definitely go!

    Also add my YEA to the livestream or somehow bringing in long distance participants. That is a fantastic idea and it makes me wonder why it hasn’t been done already! :-) I’d love to see the FTB conference become renowned for its barrier-breaking inclusiveness. I’d contribute toward setting up the technology for that even if I am going (because I used to live in CInci, so my room will be free- I’ll stay with friends)

  84. 84
    Muz

    I’m surprised they applauded at feminism. Thanks to my venturing into the wider internet and video games communities lately I have learned many enlightening things about it. I have learned that feminism is not about equality (or else it’d be called equalism) and is actually a kind of matriarchal nazism that wishes to reverse the gender roles, set up special rights for women that make them a higher class and subjugate men to a servant role.
    It’s also more insidious and Orwellian than communism or christianity ever were and has a greater potential membership. Feminists use equality as a cover to infiltrate institutions and rewrite the meanings of words to confer a notion of feminine superiority on children of the future.
    I’ve learned that atheists everywhere would agree with most of the thrusts of A+ by default as it is, but the inclusion of feminism makes the agenda to divide and conquer clear. Feminism seeks to ride the rising tide of new atheism into the limelight. With so potent a figurehead as PZ, its influence could well spread faster than ever.
    This is sad because Feminism is really a religion and it confuses many people as to why PZ cannot see it for what it is.
    His problem is probably his siding with Rebecca Watson, who wields powers not unlike that of a Bene Gesserit Witch (the other FTB females have not yet elevated, but as acolytes their collective will can augment the power of Watson in the meantime).
    Through them the “great upheaval” can be completed. Free Thought Blogs (Orwellian naming, it is about the enslavement of thought) is really a staging ground for what feminists hope will be the next phase of society. We can expect more false flag conflagrations along the lines of elevators and sexual harassment policies to curry more favour. Atheism plus isn’t “plus” it’s “+” only, because that is the shape the arrowhead leaves in the heart of a man when the amazon fires it.

    It’s complicated. But there’s a new version of Zeitgeist being cut together right now that explains it all apparently.

  85. 85
    niftyatheist, perpetually threadrupt

    dgrassett – I used to live in the Hamilton area and you can drive from there to Cincinnati in approx 8 hours. Go through Winsdsor not Buffalo. Then straight don I-75

  86. 86
    niftyatheist, perpetually threadrupt

    Damn. typos. Must. preview.

  87. 87
    niftyatheist, perpetually threadrupt

    ( sees frightening screed above by MUZ)

    and, I’m gone. Sorry Horde. The waves of hate have really taken a toll on me. Can’t handle even small, pathetic, whining doses anymore.

  88. 88
    morgan ?! epitheting a metaphor

    Muz, you are joking, right? Geez I hope so. If not, you are paranoid and pathetic and you need help. You have no familiarity with a reality-based life.

  89. 89
    chrisv

    @jade hawk

    “Hawaii = not accessible by train; unacceptable.”

    Unless, of course, the train is run by Delta.

  90. 90
    joed

    @39 PZ Myers

    The idea of “undebate” may really be the ticket!

    Also, “What about bringing teenagers in to plan the social part of it all?”
    Seems teens these days are way ahead of me in many social issue areas. But, one must be very sure that parents of said teens are ok with allowing their children access to different ways of seeing the world. Social issues readily bleed into political issues, some say there is no way to separate them.
    Don’t want a bunch of irate atheist parents pissed off that their kids were “used”.
    This is nothing more than a heads-up. Probably not even necessary but…

  91. 91
    Jadehawk

    muz was being sarcastic, for everyone’s information.

  92. 92
    Jadehawk

    teens aren’t kids. and plenty of teens are legal adults, and thus don’t have a legal guardian :-p

  93. 93
    sisu

    muz was being sarcastic, for everyone’s information.

    ok, thanks – that wasn’t at all clear to me.

    And, I love the idea of a FTB un-conference and would do my best to be there!

  94. 94
    Surly Amy

    I’d love to see a FTB event! And as a representative of the evil Skepchick feminazi mafia, I’d like to offer my support and assistance in this endeavor.

  95. 95
    Randomfactor

    “Bakersfield is nice this time of year.” Said nobody, never.

    But I second a West-Coasty thing. Although there ARE a number of nice conferences here–PZ spoke at one of them two years ago, behind the Orange Curtain.

  96. 96
    thunk: y'all know ageism is a thing?

    Morgan:

    Remote islands, while often beautiful, are often very out of the way for large meetings.

  97. 97
    David Marjanović

    Okay, but atheism doesn’t follow solely from science theory or science, unless you expand that to include a whole bunch of philosophy which isn’t entirely and strictly scientific (as generally understood), because not every question requires scientific methodology for an answer.

    No evidence, no belief.

    That’s science theory.

    Look at this: it’s science theory, too.

  98. 98
    Mattir, Another One With Boltcutters

    Yes please. And yes to the teens. I and the Spawns would participate with enthusiasm, especially after I was scolded by a slymepitter and told that child welfare professionals should remove the Spawns from my care because I said that they’d benefitted greatly from reading Pharyngula and participating in the meatspace Horde gatherings,

    Apparently this makes me a Very Bad Mother™. I was very proud of myself.

  99. 99
    Naked Bunny with a Whip

    Thanks to my venturing into the wider internet and video games communities lately I have learned many enlightening things about [feminism].

    Rebecca Watson, who wields powers not unlike that of a Bene Gesserit Witch

    Too subtle, I guess.

  100. 100
    katansi

    This came up on the local to me atheist group because we’re in Boulder. Despite proximity, I couldn’t go to this because it was so expensive. It was mentioned in a thread about how churches do community building and I stated that they do almost nothing in a way that you’d want to model the community after (fantasy and shared bigotry being the big ones) but they do get this right. Churches make their message accessible to everyone who’s willing to walk in. It would have been wonderful to go to this but it wasn’t possible. No cons are possible for me because of ticket cost but unlike say Comicon, this isn’t something just for fun, it’s also for education and community.

    I understand that many churches have centuries of tax evasion, theft and tithes to build on and so they can run on donation alone. But with that, if you are going to make a convention, please consider making it accessibly priced or a limited number of sliding scale tickets or something. I get that you would like to and deserve to be paid for your talks, as would other speakers. I get that it is expensive to get space to hold the talks. I get that hotel and travel is expensive. However, when something’s priced out of reach for someone who lives in the same area there’s a problem. Along the lines of social justice, it would be a public service if these things were accessible to people like me. I didn’t find a sliding scale and even the student price, which I qualified for, was still just too much. I can’t even imagine being able to pay a full price like what was listed.

  101. 101
    yacman1

    The concern I have is that it seems folks want to expand the atheist movement to encompass a variety of liberal issues. But what bugs me is that I’m afraid that in trying to supposedly create a “big tent” of folks interested in an expanding atheist movement, that we might actually be creating a liberal monster that excludes any potential conservative atheists. This feeds on the fact that atheists also tend to be social liberals. But I would argue that atheism should be apolitical. In other words you could be a gay-hating, anti-feminist (read: prick) and still believe there is no evidence of a deity.

  102. 102
    PZ Myers

    Are these the preserve of atheist+, or may others including those who do not identify as atheists, join in?

    Why do people have this idea that atheism+ is exclusive, and no other group is allowed to share their ideas?

    I’ve already pointed out that secular humanism does many of the same things, and in a lot of ways, is farther along than atheism.

    Christianity does charity; does that mean they have a patent and no one else can give to the poor?

  103. 103
    badweasel

    Hold it next the the Crand Canyon to see which is the deeper rift.

    /hurr.

    In seriousness why an FTB con? Why not an Atheism+ one instead? Surely its the message of the latter that is more important to spread. And it is more inclusive and would perhaps be inclusive enough to tempt other like-minded secularists rather than a more exclusive one centered on a single blog site.

  104. 104
    Anthony K

    In other words you could be a gay-hating, anti-feminist (read: prick) and still believe there is no evidence of a deity.

    No, clearly the fact that some atheists have chosen to publicly align themselves with progressive politics will cause all those other atheists to spontaneously start believing in the Tooth Fairy.

  105. 105
    Ray, rude-ass yankee

    Glad you’re back PZ! I like the idea of a FTB con.

    a3kr0n@72,
    Damn that’s cool, if I had that kind of toy I’d never get off the computer!

  106. 106
    Julien Rousseau

    No, clearly the fact that some atheists have chosen to publicly align themselves with progressive politics will cause all those other atheists to spontaneously start believing in the Tooth Fairy.

    Ha ha! You see, those atheists could already be believing in the tooth fairy, because atheism is about not believing in god, nit’s not about not believing in the tooth fairy.

    So there, consider yourself put in your place Mr Atheism+.
    Signed: the collective of dictionary atheists.

    (/sarcasm)

  107. 107
    nohellbelowus

    Why do people have this idea that atheism+ is exclusive, and no other group is allowed to share their ideas?

    I think somebody was Carrier-ing on about it recently and may have been egregiously misinterpreted.

    Can you imagine.

  108. 108
    consciousness razor

    No evidence, no belief.

    Not all beliefs are about what there is or how it can be explained. Is that not the case, or are you not taking that kind of belief into account here, or what? But this is way off-topic, so it should probably move to the thunderdome.

  109. 109
    Patricia, OM

    Feminism is really a religion.

    Try again.

  110. 110
    hyperdeath

    PZ Myers:

    Why do people have this idea that atheism+ is exclusive, and no other group is allowed to share their ideas?

    I’m beginning to think that the official motto should be changed from “Atheism Plus: Agree with us or we’ll kill you“, to something less forthright. It’s giving people the wrong impression.

  111. 111
    Setár, Elvenkitty

    There’s no conferences in Vancouver, hold the FTB-con here! We could invite some creationists from Abbotsford. Or some people from Trinity Western University to come tell us why being gay is bad.

  112. 112
    SpriteSuzi

    Please, if this happens, try to live stream. I’m on the wrong side of the planet – airfare to Cincinnati would be in the neighborhood of $4-5000!

  113. 113
    tim rowledge, Ersatz Haderach

    Let’s try a stupid example to illustrate; posit an A+r movement – atheism, feminism, anti-racism, scepticism, social justice, environmentalism and red hair.
    Is anyone going to argue that people without red hair are now suddenly prevented from simply being A+ supporters?

    Will A+ prove to have a future? Who knows, let’s wait a few years and see. Maybe there will turn out to be a huge number of people that are atheist but cannot support … oh, say environmentalism for some reason. They are completely free to build their own common-interest community and maybe it would win out in the darwinian battle-cages of the Great Meme War.

    And per PZ –

    Christianity does charity; does that mean they have a patent and no one else can give to the poor?

    They certainly do a good impression of believing that.

  114. 114
    Flewellyn

    yacman1 @101:

    But what bugs me is that I’m afraid that in trying to supposedly create a “big tent” of folks interested in an expanding atheist movement, that we might actually be creating a liberal monster that excludes any potential conservative atheists.

    That is a feature, not a bug. Modern American conservatism is not compatible with proper skepticism anyway, as it runs counter to the facts. In fact, it positively flees from them.

  115. 115
    ftfkdad

    Just got back from the convention picnic – good showing. Some of the bloggers attended as well. Thanks for a great talk Prof. Myers, definitely one of the highlights. Having teenagers plan and be a part of such an event would be awesome (I was there with my 3 kids, you kindly allowed my son to have his photo taken with you). They would really enjoy a portion of such an event being for kids, perhaps even by kids. Another parent (Debzilla) suggested that it would have been awesome if there was a forum that perhaps Jessica Ahlquist could have led to talk with kids about what they are facing in their own school. Thought this was a great idea. This is the first such convention I have been to, the whole family loved it!

  116. 116
    niftyatheist, perpetually threadrupt

    muz was being sarcastic, for everyone’s information.

    Bah! So much recent ugliness (not just here) has made me hypersensitive. My fault. Sorry Muz.

  117. 117
    Setár, Elvenkitty

    yacman1 #101:

    But what bugs me is that I’m afraid that in trying to supposedly create a “big tent” of folks interested in an expanding atheist movement, that we might actually be creating a liberal monster that excludes any potential conservative atheists.

    Why is it that whenever we have these discussions, someone — who usually turns out to be conservative, as has happened on the Atheism+ forums — has to start moaning in abstract terms about ‘big tents’ and ‘excluding conservatives’ when it is even suggested that the rational, evidence-based solution might just happen to fall in line with liberal politics?

    Instead of claiming ‘liberal’ and ‘conservative’ as identities and musing on in abstract terms, why don’t we have the goddamn discussion? And why is it always conservatives who want to moan in these abstract terms rather than subject their ideology to discussion?

  118. 118
    MG Myers

    As long as we’re talking about possible FTB events–

    Be sure to save next year’s CONvergence (Minnesota science fiction and fantasy convention) date – July 4-7, 2013 in Bloomington, MN!

    For those who might have missed the posts, FTB and the Skepchicks collaborated on many science and skeptic educational panels, and threw parties in adjoining rooms for three nights last July. Since the events were so successful and incredibly fun, we are hoping to participate again this coming year.

    (I agree with previous commenters on the importance of conference accessibility. We’ll have to do some brainstorming to figure out solutions.)

  119. 119
    Eamon Knight

    Timing and finances allowing, spouse & I would totally be at a FTB con, with bells on.

    @32 re American customs:
    On my way to the Reason Rally/AA Convention, the exchange went something like this:
    Agent: Why are you going to DC?
    Me: To attend a convention.
    Agent: What convention?
    Me (deep breath): American Atheists.
    Agent: Atheists? Is that like, a religion, or more like not having a religion?
    Me: About problems caused by religion, and how in some places they treat atheists the way they used to treat blacks.
    Agent: Well, good. I suppose that’s what I think, I guess I’m an atheist. [hands back passport] Have a nice trip!

  120. 120
    Alexandra (née Audley)

    Flewellyn:

    Modern American conservatism is not compatible with proper skepticism anyway, as it runs counter to the facts. In fact, it positively flees from them.

    “Counter to the facts” is putting it lightly. “Lying every time they open their goddamn mouths” is more like it.

    For instance, everyone’s favorite conservative poster boy Paul Ryan was caught lying about his time finishing a marathon. Why the fuck would one even bother with that kind of shit?

    http://news.runnersworld.com/2012/08/31/paul-ryan-says-hes-run-sub-300-marathon/

    Also, let’s consider how conservatives view social justice causes and try not to laugh.

  121. 121
    Setár, Elvenkitty

    I agree with previous commenters on the importance of conference accessibility. We’ll have to do some brainstorming to figure out solutions.

    The mention of CONvergence made me realize another potential accessibility issue: actual social awkwardness. You know, the kind that makes people become terrified and unable to do anything except kind of stand there, trying to listen or pay attention to something, not the kind that makes people think it’s a good idea to proposition speakers in elevators at 4 AM.

    When I was at INR2 in Kamloops, it took me a long time to become really comfortable because I literally did not know anyone and the opening reception was just overwhelming with the sheer amount of people and crowds and conversations. There should be quieter gathering spaces set aside as well, for people who aren’t as comfortable in large groups to talk and enjoy the social aspect within their capabilities (or just sort of ‘recharge’ from having to deal with the large groups) — especially when we’re dealing with something like CONvergence which is both skepticism and geekdom.

  122. 122
    Markita Lynda—threadrupt

    Sorry you had a bad flight, PZ. It never occurred to me that an airline could sell tickets for the wrong plane!

    I thought Air Canada had the luggage-losing concession.

    One thing that works nicely at conferences when you don’t want lectures is to have a room full of tables with signs announcing different topics. Each table has a volunteer topic leader. The attendees come in and pick a table with a topic that interests them. Discussion ensues. Every 10 – 15 minutes, attendees switch tables. Thus in an hour or so they get four interesting conversations.

  123. 123
    Setár, Elvenkitty

    Audley #120:

    Also, let’s consider how conservatives view social justice causes and try not to laugh.

    Which is probably why they’re more interested in bloviating about “acceptance” and assuming an equal footing, than they are about subjecting their ideology to discussion and working out whether Randroidism is really the “science” they claim it to be.

    Fuck, the only opposition I got to “abolish tuition and give students housing and stipends, and for that matter pay grad students” was “EXPENSIVE! BIG NUMBERS! MONEY! SCARY!” and the usual neoliberal arm-waving about any expansion to the social service that doesn’t benefit some 1%-owned multinational.

  124. 124
    chigau (違う)

    Muz

    Rebecca Watson, who wields powers not unlike that of a Bene Gesserit Witch

    :) :) :)
    I really, really think Rebecca should look into this.

  125. 125
    didgen

    I would certainly try to attend, it would be great if it were in the Pacific northwest. I would try to get over my horror of traveling to new places though.

  126. 126
    Setár, Elvenkitty

    Oh, wait. Sorry, I missed something else in #123: the conservative in question was claiming that my proposal was an upward transfer of wealth. Because poor people never ever want to go to college, it’s too good for their kind, I guess.

    I never got an answer on how the GI Bill is an “upward transfer of wealth”, if anyone is wondering, but that might be because at that point ‘Tis stepped in with some of his purebred teal deer to settle the discussion.

  127. 127
    didgen

    @Muz,
    That was really funny.

  128. 128
    vaiyt

    Muz: Try adding more dogwhistles and MRA jargon next time, for the truly authentic style.

  129. 129
    Patricia, OM

    Setar – Do you mean something like a “come sit by me” bench? There are lots of folks here I would feel safe sitting by, but I would only recognize PZ.

  130. 130
    cents

    Remember back when Dawkins et al wanted to have a name for atheists? They came up with “Brights” which of course went over like a lead balloon. I think the A+ gang needs a name as well that wouldn’t necessarily alienate the non-A+ gang. How about the name A+pluses or A+plussers or simply plussers for the cognoscenti?

  131. 131
    a3kr0n

    Ray, @105
    You’re right, I never get off the computer! BTW, the Celtic Skull is done, and I even made a half-assed video of it with cool Celtic music. Well, it’s what popped up when I searched for Celtic at Jamendo…

  132. 132
    Alexandra (née Audley)

    Cents:
    No matter what we do, there will be plenty of doucherockets whining about being alienated. Here’s the thing: they aren’t being alienated, nor do they care if they are– their whole mission is to get us to stop. We could call ourselves A+ers who want to give everyone kittens and cookies!! and we’d still be fighting these battles.

    It’s easier to be faux alienated from a movement than it is to admit that you’re an asshole that only looks out for number one.

  133. 133
    chigau (違う)

    cents #130
    I still like “pansy”.
    http://ffrf.org/legacy/fttoday/1997/june_july97/gaylor.html
    ‘though I know that will never work.

  134. 134
    Tethys

    crossposted PSA from the lounge as I noted Audley in this thread

    Hey all. A+scribe is working on transcribing the three Pharyngula podcasts.

    Everyone who was in them, could we please have permission to transcribe them? I’m not exactly sure who was in each podcast, so if you know one of them doesn’t read the Lounge, can you contact them please?

    trinioler

  135. 135
    vaiyt

    I’m all for alienating the douchebags.

    Dawkins wasn’t afraid to alienate the mealy-mouthed religiot appeasers when he got on the Gnu train. Most atheists aren’t afraid to alienate Jehovah’s Witnesses. I don’t know why A+ is under a special exigence to be inclusive of people who don’t share our most basic goals.

    Rebecca Watson and co. put a shallow line in the sand, and we get a legion of crybabies playing devil’s advocate for the people who aren’t willing to cross it. Sorry, folks, if you can’t even be arsed to treat women as people, then we’re not fucking allies and you can get on with your atheism far away from me.

  136. 136
    satanaugustine

    FTB conference? Definitely!

    Cincinnati? Definitely! Cincinnati is a 5 hour drive and 1 hour flight from 60% of the US population (http://www.cincyusa.com/markets/science/) and a mere 8ish hour drive from Toronto.

    It’s also a really quick drive for at least one FTBlogger (Edwin), a mere two hour (or less) drive from the the SSA headquarters (Columbus), has a few local atheist/skeptic groups, and I think they might even have teens there somewhere.

  137. 137
    Wowbagger, Designated Snarker

    vaiyt wrote:

    Rebecca Watson and co. put a shallow line in the sand, and we get a legion of crybabies playing devil’s advocate for the people who aren’t willing to cross it. Sorry, folks, if you can’t even be arsed to treat women as people, then we’re not fucking allies and you can get on with your atheism far away from me.

    Heh. I’ve heard the situation described many, many ways over the last few months, but this is one of the best.

  138. 138
    kreativekaos

    PZ@ #39 & joed@ #90:

    The idea of an ‘undebate’ is different, challenging, interesting– a winning idea.

    I don’t know if any one but joed has added anything concerning the enlistment/(invitation?)of teenagers in some capacity for said ‘undebate’, but his concerns about parent perceptions and reactions had crossed my mind as well when I read the post.
    (If memory serves, about five years ago my son’s middle school had to get written permission from the parents of eighth graders in English classes for them so attend a screening of ‘The Golden Compass’ primarily because the author, Phillip Pullman, is an open atheist.)

  139. 139
    Alethea Kuiper-Belt
    muz was being sarcastic, for everyone’s information.

    ok, thanks – that wasn’t at all clear to me.

    Once upon a time I would have sneered Oh FFS, you moron, how could the sarcasm not be obvious? I mean, even if the compilaiton of standard cliches wasn’t enough clue, how about that “Bene Gesserit Witch”?

    But now I am sadder and wiser. Poe’s law applies to antifeminism just as well as to religion.

  140. 140
    Alethea Kuiper-Belt

    * compilation. Prayz Tpyos!

  141. 141
    sisu
    muz was being sarcastic, for everyone’s information.

    ok, thanks – that wasn’t at all clear to me.

    Once upon a time I would have sneered Oh FFS, you moron, how could the sarcasm not be obvious? I mean, even if the compilaiton of standard cliches wasn’t enough clue, how about that “Bene Gesserit Witch”?

    But now I am sadder and wiser. Poe’s law applies to antifeminism just as well as to religion.

    Well, that and the fact that it was hidden in that wall o’ text. I originally intended to read it but got as far as

    I have learned that feminism is not about equality (or else it’d be called equalism) and is actually a kind of matriarchal nazism that wishes to reverse the gender roles

    and pretty much checked out. I figured I’d read it all before… why put myself through that again.

  142. 142
    Setár, Elvenkitty

    Patricia #129:

    Setar – Do you mean something like a “come sit by me” bench? There are lots of folks here I would feel safe sitting by, but I would only recognize PZ.

    That would be awesome. And apparently CONvergence has a separate room for people to simply take a break in; it would be awesome if more conferences could adopt something like that.

  143. 143
    Sastra

    Ok, I just got back from Denver myself and have not had time to catch up and read the comments, but thought I’d chime in with support for a FtB convention. Yes. And do it somewhere unexpected, where it would make an impact. Like, oh, say … maybe Sheboygan.

    I haven’t thought much about unconventional ideas for the format, but some sort of interaction(s) with those on “the other side” sound interesting. Possibilities for that include not just creationists and apologists, but advocates for the paranormal and alt med. And if we expand the list to admit climate change deniers, conspiracy mongers, and Ron Paul/Ayn Rand supporters, the chance of someone being damn fool enough to accept your invitation go way up.

    As for the uniform enthusiastic agreement with your suggestions for expanding the atheist movement to include social changes, keep in mind that you were the first speaker for an all-day line up that was strongly focused on 1.)diversity and 2.) students. I’m not saying the Atheist Alliance crowd isn’t normally pretty liberal, of course, but one glance at the Sunday schedule and the general audience would have been prepped to be in an A+ mood — and those who thought the issue was unimportant/wrong-headed would probably have skipped the whole block and done something else. My guess.

  144. 144
    chigau (違う)

    sisu

    why put myself through that again

    ’cause you missed “Rebecca Watson, who wields powers not unlike that of a Bene Gesserit Witch”!
    Put on the hip-waders and wade on in.

  145. 145
    John Phillips, FCD

    Muz said

    Rebecca Watson, who wields powers not unlike that of a Bene Gesserit Witch.

    Sheer poetry Muz, sheer poetry, well played indeed. I think that one line alone is Molly worthy.

  146. 146
    John Phillips, FCD

    vaiyt #135

    word

  147. 147
    magistramarla

    Yes indeed! That is a conference that I would attend.

  148. 148
    magistramarla

    As for the airlines, I’ve always had the best of luck with Southwest Airlines. I’m disabled and I often travel with a wheelchair and/or my German Shepherd service dog. SWA is always accommodating. I get to board early and I get the bulkhead seat so that my hundred pound dog can be at my feet. They are always great about helping me in the airport, and SWA employees have even offered to take my dog on a “potty run” for me.
    No other domestic airline comes near this level of service for the disabled.
    That said, Japan Airlines is the very best that I’ve experienced. On their planes, as well as in the country of Japan as a whole, an older person is treated as an honored guest. A disabled older person is an especially honored guest. I love that culture!

  149. 149
    Cassandrena

    I normally lurk here, but I have to pop up to say the conference sounds like a great idea, and the suggestions to stream lectures/panels would be amazing for us starving grad students who can’t afford to travel.

    On a side note, I love coming to read Pharyngula as a way to relax after class (yeah I know I am weird), so keep up the great work PZ (and keep it up Horde members as well. I have learned much watching you all tear apart bullshit arguments. This lurker appreciates your efforts!)

  150. 150
    smhll

    I was reading the “Ableism thread” on the new A+ forums. There are more accessibility issues on earth and in heaven that I had ever dreamed of. I don’t want to punt on these issues, but it occurs to me that a virtual conference has, perhaps fewer accessibility issues (other than visual and audio issues?) and a not-in-meatspace “event” is much more accessible to people who are financially challenged or far, far away from the chosen location. (We’d still have timezone issues, but some of us get up early and some stay up late, and some do both, so perhaps no one would be left out solely due to longitude.)

    Now, I’m not sure what I mean by “virtual conference”, since a lot of great virtual interaction already happens on blogs and in Google hangouts, but I’m hoping to strike some sparks.

  151. 151
    latsot

    Yes. You should. And you should consider it a fundraiser. I’d be even happier spending good Earth money to attend if I knew there’d be a profit which would be used to do good stuff.

  152. 152
    bortedwards

    Yes to an uncon! I’ll start walking from Australia now…
    But if it truly in the spirit of ‘un’ and actually wanting to make an impact, why not set it as deep in the heart of the bible belt as it an go (again, Australia here, not sure where qualifies and is train/holiday/travel non-delta friendly)? Plenty of exposure, a chance to actually debate rather than mutually back-slap, and everyone is a leader if it’s part outreach.
    And instead of lectures, why not brainstorming sessions with massive white boards, or magnetic poetry type stuff where everyone can chip in, even if there is one scribe.
    Or that game where everyone sits Ina circle and only says one word as the thread goes round. That sounds egalitarian ;)

  153. 153
    Wren, a Tru Hoppist

    I’d just like to point out, that if Cincy were chosen to be the place of the potential FTBcon, that the Cincy Airport is one of the most expensive airports I’ve traveled through. Please consider using other airports (Louisville, Dayton, Columbus, Indianapolis) or Amtrak.

    Bonuses to Cincinnati: The Hofbrauhaus
    I believe that wins every argument.

  154. 154
    gussnarp

    Oh man, the idea of an FTB con in Cincinnati has me seriously excited. I’m not much of a conference kind of person, but if it were right here in Cincinnati, I’d be hard pressed not to attend at least part of it.

    In addition to the Hofbrauhaus, we now have the Christian Moerlein Lagerhouse, which frankly has way better beer (sorry, I’m just not that in to German beer, especially when it just doesn’t seem to come out right in America. You know that stuff’s supposed to have a head on it, don’t you?)

    We also have Graeter’s Ice Cream, which is pretty much the best ice cream anywhere in the world.

    I have one request if you do this, which is that you actually hold it in Cincinnati, not in Kentucky or in one of the surrounding areas, but inside the city limits. It’s the liberal thing to do.

    There is one downside: most of the direct flights in and out are on Delta.

  155. 155
    gussnarp

    Oh, and another point in favor of holding it within the actual city limits: if Jadehawk is taking the train, there’s only one, and it gets in sometime around 4 in the morning. The train station is not exactly in the nicest neighborhood, but it’s in the city and easier to stay in the city than get transport to Kentucky, which seems to be where everyone goes to actually do things like this for some bizarre reason.

  156. 156
    lpetrich

    I checked on Amtrak, and most of its long-distance lines are 1 train/direction/day and some are less: List of Amtrak routes – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, passenger rail | Tumblr However, there are some relatively short routes that are more frequent.

    Northeast Corridor: Boston – Providence – New Haven – New York City – Trenton – Philadelphia – Wilmington – Baltimore – Washington DC – Richmond, with branches to Portland ME, Vermont, upstate New York, Harrisburg PA, and Lynchburg and Newport News, VA

    California: Los Angeles – San Diego, Oakland – Sacramento, Oakland – Stockton – Fresno – Bakersfield

    Pacific Northwest: Seattle – Tacoma – Portland OR – Eugene

    Northern Midwest: Chicago – St. Louis – Kansas City, Chicago – Milwaukee, Chicago – Detroit

    -

    We Americans have fallen so far behind most of the other industralized nations — look at the high-speed-train developments at the eastern and western ends of Eurasia. France, Spain, Italy, China, South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, …

  157. 157
    Nicky2Feet

    YES! PLEASE do a conference and [Insert an even PLEASIER, PLEASE here] do it in Cincinnati!!

  158. 158
    jflcroft

    That was a GREAT talk!

  159. 159
    literaghost

    PZ, the reception in Denver is great news! Let’s hope the enthusiasm is spreading. :)

    I would like to express my support for 1) the entire idea of a FtB un-conference, 2) one that is inexpensive/free, and 3) one that is IN CINCINNATI!!!!!!!! That’s like an hour and a half drive from where I am in Kentucky (which coincidentally gets NOTHING along these lines, unless it’s a brief side-trip to the Creation Museum for some mockery, and then a hasty retreat back north/west/east. I can almost guarantee that a con in Cincinnati would have a heavy attendance from those of us in the southeast/midwest “dead zone.”

    So, like some posters above, I say…… PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE?!?!?!!!??? :D

Comments have been disabled.