They will return with stories, I’m sure

David Silverman, Amanda Knief, and Dave Muscato are going to be at an American Atheists booth at CPAC, that radical Conservative Political Action Committee meeting all the wingnuts attend.

It’s a cunning trick. If they survive, they know we’re all going to have another reason to attend the convention in Salt Lake City — so that we can take them to a bar and ply them with beverages and get them to tell us all the stories.

Et tu, Chemistry?

Quick, everyone! Get out your Bingo cards!

The International Congress of Quantum Chemistry is going to be held next year, and they announced their preliminary speaker list: it was entirely made up of men. This is not surprising. It’s held by the International Academy of Quantum Molecular Sciences, which is almost entirely made up of men, too.

Notably, there are only four female scientists among the 110 living members of IAQMS, which elects new candidates by internal vote. Ten out of 102 talks during the previous three conference were given by women, and only two female chemists have been awarded medals over the past decade, according to the instigators of the boycott.

I’ve highlighted the bit about how this kind of sexism is perpetuated. It takes a real effort by existing members of the organization to break up bad habits…and it doesn’t sound as if some members are interested, despite the fact that there is an online list of women in quantum chemistry that would make it easy to find interesting women to invite.

Cue the excuses:

Zhigang Shuai, a professor at Tsinghua University in China and chair of this year’s ICQC, wrote a letter to explain that one woman had been among the original invitees, but had not responded

There might be women in our second choices!

many of the people on the original list were obligatory selections

There aren’t any women of obligatory importance in the field.

And then, of course, the Asshat Backlash. Here’s Professor James Kress, complaining about all those people complaining about discrimination on a chemistry listserv.

If you INSIST on discussing this on CCL, the please place an identifying header on all your emails so that those of us who care about SCIENCE, as opposed to trendy whining about supposed “gender inequality” and other fashionable modes of Political Correctness can at least have a hope of filtering out all of the nonsensical content and peruse the SCIENTIFIC content.

Oh, Dr Kress cannot shut up:

Inequality is a fundamental characteristic of any collection of more than one human being, he said, and suggested that if people don’t like the current conferences they should start their own. You’re not entitled to excel. You have to earn it. I guess that’s kind of an old fashioned perspective but it’s certainly mine.

Kress doubled down in a followup email. Given that everyone has unique DNA, it is scientifically certain that no two people will be identical in terms of capabilities, he wrote. ALL SORTS of differences in capabilities exist in Chemistry, Physics, Biology, Math, etc. Those who work harder, overcome their capability deficient and make themselves equal to or better than their colleagues. Hard work is the way to address the capability issue and thus achieve equality.

He’s got his, and by god, he deserved it, and if you aren’t getting invited to speak at conferences, it’s entirely because you are a lazy slacker with female DNA.

So, what conferences have a problem with rampant manly privilege so far? Atheist, skeptic, science fiction, literature, philosophy, technology, and now chemistry? Did I miss any? Yeah, probably. It seems to be all of them.

Surprise! #scio14 is next week!

I don’t know whether to be impressed with my foresight or be dismayed at my memory, but I had a shock this morning: I actually checked my calendar and it said I’m supposed to be in Raleigh, North Carolina next week for the ScienceOnline Together conference. Panic city! And then I checked and discovered that I’d arranged my hotel room and flight ages ago. I must be getting old, but at least I’m compensating by planning ahead. Also, I suppose I could have checked my calendar next week and been totally surprised.

Anyway, it should be fun. Maybe I’ll even post a few things from the event, like every single other attendee. Or not. This is one meeting that does not suffer from a shortage of web attention.

Free CONvergence passes!

Trust me. You don’t want to be in Minnesota in February — only the hardiest and most foolish people can survive it. Minnesota in July, though, is a whole different thing, and I suspect that even a soft, pampered Texan might be able to cope with a visit to the north then.

And 3-6 July, in Bloomington, Minnesota, is where CONvergence takes place, which hosts the annual Skepchickcon science track. You want to come to Minnesota for that.

To help you get there, Surly Amy is giving away convention passes — just follow the link, make a comment, and add the line “ADD MY NAME TO THE HAT”. That’s it. You’re in the drawing for a free convention pass.

Then you just have to show up in Minnesota. In July. Not yet, you’ll regret it if you’re so eager that you show up this early. Wait a few months for us to thaw out.

Another online conference this weekend!

Stephanie just mentioned the People of Color Beyond Faith Online Conference, and I’ve got to second it. Join the YouTube channel for the group to follow it live on Saturday and Sunday, or to watch it at your leisure afterwards.

Please join us for our LIVE Webcasts February 15-16, 2014, Saturday and Sunday!

Please note the times below are listed PST (Pacific Standard Time).

February 15, 2014 (4 panels)

10:00-11:00 am PST Blacks Folks DO Do Atheism

11:30-12:30 am PST Using Social Media for Social Justice Activism

1:00-2:00 pm PST Sex, Sexuality, & Gender Politics

2:30: 3:30 pm PST Black Diasporic Perspective


February 16, 2014 (1 panel)

1:30- 3:00 pm PST Radical Humanist Traditions in Communities of Color

Our Guests will include: Dr. Sikivu Hutchinson, Donald Wright, Dr. Ben Fiore-Walker (Quaker), Minister Meredith Moise, Dr. Chris Cameron, Danielle Monique Whitelow (Blogger), Émelyne Museaux (BFT Host), Bougie Black Girl (Blogger), Mc Brooks (BFT Host), Lauren Lawrence (Educator), Sesali Bowen (Writer at Feministing), Reggie Beloved, and more!

Please tune in both days.

This is a LIVE Youtube event!

Cthulhu’s Minions: Evil Gods for Atheists

After I botched it last night, the Lovecraftians have regrouped and we will be having Cthulhu panel at FtBCon 2. It’s tonight, at 10pm Central (in about 2 hours). Confirmed: Michael Davis, Robert Price, Toren Atkinson, and me. A few others have been invited and might show up. If you’re desperately excited about shambling horrors from the outer darkness and really, really want to join in, email me, maybe I’ll squeeze you in. Also, we might need sacrifices.

And…here we are.

Good stuff on FtBCon 2

Social justice, women of color, right now on FtBCon2. Coming up in 15 minutes is Ken White of Popehat talking about sexual harassment and the law, then at 3 Aron Ra, John Wilkins, and I will be duking it out for your eyeballs against the atheism and accessibility panel. Decisions, decisions.