Feb 19 2013

The Amazing Meeting coming up again


I had dinner with the Amazing Randi this weekend — see, I have proof! — and I was reminded what a pleasant and entertaining fellow he is. I also remembered that this is the time of year when they announce their annual fundraising event, The Amazing Meeting, to be held in Las Vegas on 11-14 July.

They have a couple of excellent speakers this year. Susan Jacoby is their keynote speaker (you can also see her at Women in Secularism), and evolutionary biology is well-represented by Jerry Coyne and Massimo Pigliucci — it would be great if they talked about biology, but it would also be worth seeing to have Coyne address the ‘scientific’ skeptics with his arguments about the incompatibility of science and religion, or for the two of them to butt heads over science and philosophy.

I’ll have to miss it again. I’m mostly staying right here in Minnesota through July and August, playing the game of administrator of our undergraduate research program. Jebus, I’m getting responsible in my old age.


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  1. 1

    Has anyone else been regularly redirected to the mobile version of FTB while not on a mobile device? For me it happens across the site and seemingly at random, and has been doing so for a month or two.

  2. 2
    Eamon Knight

    @1: Yep, apparently randomly, about one in 10 times, I think only on my home PC.

  3. 3
    NateHevens, resident SOOPER-GENIUS... apparently...

    Just wanna say that it was fun meeting and talking to you PZ. Also, have you told your students about our planet Florida, and how the air is warm enough to expose skin to it safely? :D

    It’s all together too bad that the only Creationists decided to skip the talks and proselytize just outside, mostly to the children…

  4. 4

    Chelydra, yep – that happens to me too, across various blogs. Super annoying.

  5. 5
    NateHevens, resident SOOPER-GENIUS... apparently...

    Ooh! Check out Google’s doodle today! It’s in honor of Copernicus’s 540th birthday…

  6. 6

    Chelydra @1
    Yes, it’s been happening to me for a couple of months now. I used to try the “View full site” link at the bottom, but it does nothing. Now I just click around the site until the mobile version gives up and goes away.

  7. 7
    throwaway, never proofreads, every post a gamble

    I really would love to have my first edition hardcovers of Freethinkers and AoAU signed by Jacoby. They were instrumental in my deconversion therapy and a life-raft during the irrational naughties. I hope I get the chance before I ever see David Barton, who I fear will have had the displeasure of the attempt at having those two non-fictions crammed through his ears. I’d much prefer she sign pristine, non-sewage-soaked pages.

  8. 8

    Chelydra – it’s been happening to me too, about 1 in 15 times or so.

  9. 9
    Steve LaBonne

    I’ve seen that as well, and meanwhile I generally can’t get it to serve the mobile site to my phone went I want it to. There are definitely some issues there.

  10. 10

    Random mobile site for me too. Only seems to happen on an individual blog post, not on a blog or the main list of blogs. I can usually get out of it by going back to the blog page and clicking through again to the post.

  11. 11
    Josh, Official SpokesGay

    Chelydra–it happens all the flippin’ time. Can’t seem to get anyone at FtB to acknowledge that they know it’s a problem.

  12. 12

    Has Randi ever talked about his days showing Diane Arbus the world of magic?

  13. 13

    Photo full of win!

    @1 – is that what that is? I just thought the .css wasn’t loading right.. I refresh a few times then if it still looks bad I just give up and read it anyways. I don’t use mobile devices.

  14. 14

    I won’t be there either, but I think it would be overwhelmingly awesome if Jerry were to give a talk about the incompatibility of science and religion. He’s got that argument down pat (and, more importantly, he’s right!) and no one can argue against him without strawmanning his position. I’ve never been to TAM, but from what I’ve read there are an awful lot of crybaby “skeptic-but-religious” types heavily invested in keeping all religions closed to scientific scrutiny as well as plenty of secular skeptics who think that they are the arbiters of what is open to skeptical inquiry and what is not (it seems that an inordinate number of Barbara Drescher’s blog posts focus on telling others that they’re not doing skepticism right, especially with regards to religion). Jerry makes some of the best arguments contra the “religion isn’t within the purview of scientific skepticism” arguments. I’d love to hear the reaction of the “skeptic buts” of TAM to him.

  15. 15

    I know that Massimo Pigliucci has come in for some criticism as perhaps being not critical enough of religion, and I gave up his book, “Nonsense on Stilts” because it wasn’t doing anything for me, but his latest, “Answers for Aristotle,” is excellent. It’s written at a very popular level (I like his coinage of “sci-phi” as the intersection of science and philosophy–where the two disciplines can help inform each other), and I think it fills a need. I was frankly embarrassed when I saw the usually redoubtable Lawrence Krauss slip badly in trying to explain how science that tells us that animals feel pain makes it morally repugnant for us to inflict pain on animals. There was a middle–philosophically oriented–step there that he failed to take, and some greater familiarity with philosophical concepts related to ethics and epistemology could have helped him out. Pigliucci’s “Answers” is a fine step toward filling a gap.

    Which is by way of saying, I might have to try to go now. Jacoby, Pigliucci and Coyne are all very worthwhile thinkers.

  16. 16

    Too bad we won’t be seeing you again at TAM this year, PZ. I was especially looking forward to seeing you having awkward encounters in the corridors with Shermer, Radford, Grothe, or other speakers that you’ll have castigated between now and then.

  17. 17
    John Morales


    pedantik, I find your wishful thinking funny.

    (Whyever do you imagine there’d be awkwardness?
    Whence your perception that the castigation goes in but one direction?)

  18. 18
    Ubi Dubium

    I probably will be there this year (had to miss last year). Maybe I’ll get a chance to castigate somone in PZ’s honor!

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