We’re up all bright and shiny this morning, after partying until 1am last night with celebrities: Amanda Marcotte and Rachel Swirsky stopped by, along with milling hordes of people who burned through our party supplies a little faster (OK, a lot faster) than we expected. We’re making a grocery store run this morning.
Then at 12:30, we’re showing people how to do a simple alcohol extraction of DNA from fresh fruit. At 3:30, I’m off to the Edina room to answer science questions.
Working scientists take time away from their undersea labs and volcano lairs to answer your science questions! Panelists: PZ Myers, Gwen “Bug Girl” Pearson, Steven Theiss, Rachael Acks, Raychelle Burks
At 5, it’s Science vs. Religion in Dystopia, in Atrium 4.
Authors like Philip Pullman, C.S. Lewis and J.R.R Tolkien have often pitted religion against science, blatantly or through symbolism. How do these authors tilt their respective playing fields? How do their dystopian portrayals of the “other side” compare? Panelists: PZ Myers, Heina Dadabhoy, Emily Finke, Jairus Durnett, Cassandra Phoenix
Then, at 8pm, the party begins once again! I missed you there last night, I hope you can make it now.
Today is the opening day of Convergence. Yesterday, we got all our stuff moved in, today we get it organized and pretty.
What I’m doing today: this afternoon at 2 Mary and I will be in the Sandbox showing kids how to identify bones in owl pellets. It will be disgusting and fun.
At 5pm in Plaza 1 I’ll be on a panel that is optimistic: “Technology won’t destroy us.”
Paranoid predictions about the technological downfall of mankind abound in media, but technology has also made human lives immeasurably better. We’ll talk about more realistic portrayals of tech, science, and human improvement. Panelists: Renate Fiora, PZ Myers, Heina Dadabhoy, Dan Berliner, Jason Thibeault
I’ll do my best to bring everyone down.
Then at 8pm, we open our party room (228) to the world. We’ll be there until 1am, talking and drinking and shaking our fists at god or whatever it is we atheists do.
Come on out!
He’s at it again, as Phil Plait notes in a post that says all the smart things.
And now another attack piece on St. Louis has been posted on the far-right-wing Breitbart site, saying she has become immune from criticism because she’s black.
Yes, you read that right. And that’s not all. In a sentence so tone deaf I’d swear it’s parody, the author, Milo Yiannopoulos, writes*:
St Louis is responsible for the sacking of Sir Tim Hunt, a Nobel prize-winning biochemist who became the target of an online lynch mob after his comments about women in science were taken out of context.
Yes, again, you read that right. You might ignore the obviously incorrect statements in that one sentence (Hunt wasn’t sacked, he was asked to resign from an honorary position; and as we’ve seen his comments were not taken out of context), but it’s much harder to ignore that, in an article attacking a woman because she’s black, Yiannopoulos used the phrase “lynch mob.”
We’re in a bit of a tizzy around here — Convergence starts on Thursday, and since we have a Freethoughtblogs party room at the event, Mary and I are actually heading out to Bloomington tomorrow, to start putting it all together. It’s a big job — we have to spill-proof a hotel room, move in lots of special furniture (like a bar!), put up flyers, register, decorate, etc., etc., etc. And then during the con, I’m doing 8 panels/demos (I have sensibly cut down from previous years, when I’ve done as many as 15, which was exhausting).
Amanda Marcotte’s article on the opposition to marriage equality is very good. It’s always been strange to hear their arguments — I couldn’t believe they were so stupid to think that seeing gay men getting married would destroy heterosexual marriages. And they’re not! They’re just afraid to come right out and say what really frightens them.
I’m not happy with this kind of speculation.
If South'd won Civil War? Slaves would've soon been freed anyway, South would now be banana republic, & North the greatest civilisation ever
— Richard Dawkins (@RichardDawkins) June 29, 2015
If South’d won Civil War? Slaves would’ve soon been freed anyway, South would now be banana republic, & North the greatest civilisation ever
And it was intended as a compliment?
@nicebretly No, such a thought never entered my head. My tweet was intended as a compliment to all that is best in America.
— Richard Dawkins (@RichardDawkins) June 30, 2015
No, such a thought never entered my head. My tweet was intended as a compliment to all that is best in America.
No, it isn’t. It’s an ahistorical mess.