Meeting reminders for Minnesota people

This weekend, I’ll be speaking to Minnesota Atheists at the Roseville Library, 2180 Hamline Avenue North, Roseville, on September 15th from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Don’t worry, I won’t babble on for 3 hours (although I probably could), there will be other organizational stuff going on.

In October, it’s time for the gaudy, garish, spectacularly weird Paradigm Symposium, which has just released their schedule of speakers.


I’m talking at 5:45pm on Friday, 18 October. I was disappointed to see that the schedule just lists names; I’d like to know what people are talking about. All I know is the guy before me wrote a book about the Mysteries of the Pyramids, and the guy after me wrote a book about A New Vision of Reality Merging Science, the Spiritual and the Supernatural. I can tell you my title, at least: “An analysis of the evidence for extraterrestrial intervention”.

Nice, neutral wording right? I will have a few words to say about pyramids and spirituality, so I’ll fit right in. It should be fun.

I also notice that of 20 listed speakers, one is a woman. That’s 5%. Not very equal, now is it? And now I’m torn: would I really be doing women a favor by insisting that more of them be given a voice at this event? I’ve written to Scotty Roberts mentioning this uncomfortable fact already.

That’s a very thorough suicide note

Yesterday, Martin Manley turned 60, and killed himself. Before he did so, he left a long, indexed web site with answers to any questions people might ask. He made the decision rationally: he despaired at the state of the world, particularly the violence and bloodshed, and decided that he’d just end it while he was still able to do so. (In case you’re wondering, no, he wasn’t an atheist.)

I have to respect his decision — it was his to make. When I look at his reasons, though, I think…he’s right, there is a lot of misery in the world, and it’s not going to end soon, but there’s also a lot of beauty and promise. I guess personally I’d see that as good enough reason to keep living. It wasn’t enough for him.

Do you know the person behind the tumblr “Creative Pooping”, who goes by the name Dallas Haugh?

If you do, please get in touch with him immediately and get him some help — he’s written what sounds an awful lot like a public suicide note today. Or it could just be a cry of despair. But he needs someone now.

The police in his hometown have been contacted, and I’ve heard one report that they reached him and found him safe. Everyone relax a little bit.

First, baseball. Next…the world!

I’m out at Midway Field with the Minnesota Atheists, and as you can see, we have seized control of the local baseball team.


It’s the start of the fourth inning, and the score is 0-0. I think the problem is that Amanda Knief and Greta Christina are not cheering the team on — they were lured away to the concession stand by the siren call of fried cheese curds.

The atheists must win!


Amongst the debris left over from last night’s late ruckus in my hotel room, I find in my possession many empty wine and beer bottles, a quarter of a fifth of vodka, one set of mysterious keys and a Shelley Segal CD. Look for me at the conference and I’ll return them to you.

Except for the clutter, the room is surprisingly tidy and undamaged. You atheists really have no idea how to trash a hotel room, do you?

Update from Iain Banks

He’s still dying of cancer, but it’s good to see a godless heathen like him still finding happiness in his life.

Discovering the sheer extent and depth of the feelings people have expressed on the message board over the past two weeks has been truly astounding.

I feel treasured, I feel loved, I feel I’ve done more than just pursue the craft I adore and make a living from it, and more than just fulfil the only real ambition I’ve ever had – of becoming a professional writer. I am deeply flattered and touched, and I can’t deny I’ve been made to feel very special indeed. At the same time, though, I’d like to think that it’s like this for every author, to a greater or lesser degree; we’ve each engendered more love out there than we think we have, and it’s only the fact that I’ve been able to pre-announce my own demise that has allowed me to realise my portion of that love in full while I’m still around to appreciate it.

Now I’m thinking…I’ve never met him and I guess I never will now, but I should send him a note of appreciation. We’re all alone in this world except when we’re not, so making the effort to touch another human being is rarely wasted.

(Also…cancer sucks.)