I have a proposition

All atheist conferences should start with Ceremonial Disemboweling of Deranged Creationist Ideas.
At least, that’s how the Kamloop’s Imagine No Religion Conference started. After PZ Myer’s talk on evolution, one person asking a “question” that managed to combine “tolerance means accepting my wrong beliefs,” “if you don’t believe in god why do you keep living because then life is pointless,” and Pascal’s wager into one statement (because it wasn’t really a question). Another creationist crank then persisted to the post-talk mingling, and spent hours debating PZ. And by debating, I mean repeating tired and refuted arguments ad infinitum and changing the subject whenever someone tried to answer his questions.

Poor PZ. Can’t even drink his beer in peace.

But seriously, can all atheist conferences start this way? I’m feeling positively invigorated. It’s a great reminder of why we’re doing what we’re doing – because people are still spewing these noxious ideas into the atmosphere.

Apparently even in Canada. Is there nowhere I can escape to?!


  1. The Artful Nudger says

    Bear in mind, we just elected Mr. Harper and his Neocon cronies to a majority. Canada is LESS of a place to which to escape than before.That being said, I wish I had the time to get out to Kamloops – it sounds like a lot of fun. I don’t suppose you have the actual question recorded anywhere? It sounds like a gem.Also, I’m liking your new time zone. Yay for Blag Hag reading near bedtime!

  2. Olle says

    Where you can escape to? Scandinavia is a good place, I’m personally in favour of Sweden, but Norway and Denmark are nice too.

  3. Azkyroth says

    Doesn’t Scandinavia, or at least Europe in general, have an obnoxious Communitarian undercurrent?

  4. says

    I would like to say that you could escape to areas with higher levels of non-religious belief. The numbers for Japan are likely misleading, as there is a high amount of non-organized religion, folk religions and superstition are still very prominent. In addition, high levels of non-religious belief do not mean high levels of acceptance of evolution. Sorry Jen. I would recommend finding the highest level of belief in evolution by natural selection and setting up camp there. But, then you can’t enjoy your great battles.

  5. bamoyers says

    Jen, don’t try to escape! We need that big sexy brain of yours here in Jesusland to fight the good fight. We’ll be fighting with you!

  6. says

    Canada is not the Utopia many liberal Americans seem to believe it to be. (My husband and I moved to Toronto two months ago for my work). It has its own issues. As much as I love my new job, we are looking forward already to moving back to the States when my work permit expires.

  7. Azkyroth says

    From what I’ve heard from people who’ve been to Japan, that makes perfect sense, as evolution would imply that the Japanese share a common ancestor with non-Japanese.

  8. Michael D says

    OOOOO I know! Antartica! Researcher stations, penguins and shapeshifting aliens would make it a great escape destination I think.

  9. Gsenski says

    I believe the most accurate translation of the Japanese word for non-Japanese is ‘Foreign Devils’ .

  10. Gsenski says

    The republican party plans on starting a war with Antarctica if they get back in the White house. With Antarctica having no standing army, or for that matter, no government, the republicans think they may actually be able to win a war that they start.

  11. Christopher Petroni says

    I know the Conservatives won (again), but didn’t they lose by a narrower margin than before? Didn’t the NDP gain a larger number of seats than they have in recent memory? Isn’t this cause for some hope?

  12. Christopher Petroni says

    That’s why they won’t share the secret of eternal happiness with us.By the way, the Japanese in that Simpsons episode was… not perfect, if I recall. When Bart said, “They are foreign devils,” he used a pronoun specifically for referring to objects, not people. Even when Japanese people are referring very dismissively to someone, they don’t use that particular pronoun.And Bart used the word “gaikokujin,” which is actually a relatively polite way to refer to foreigners. The more dismissive word is the shortened “gaijin,” with which many an English-speaking nerd is familiar.

  13. Hans says

    Because violence against people for their non-violent expressions of belief, no matter how wrong, offensive, or odious, is considerably worse that tolerating those beliefs and refuting them in civil discourse.

  14. Chilco says

    Kamloops atheist get together is winding down Jen gave a great talk so I will now be regular visitor to her blog

  15. says

    Also it stains the rugs something wicked and do you know how much the cleaning deposit costs? Money doesn’t grow on trees and it’s a waste of a good rug!

  16. The Artful Nudger says

    Er… no, they won a majority. The previous two Conservative governments were minorities. They also garnered a marginally larger slice of the popular vote than they did in either of the two preceding elections, and made inroads into urban centres, which never happened before. The NDP now have less influence over the Commons than they did before, because now Harper has no reason at all to listen to them.The NDP also took most of their seats from the BQ (who are ideologically similar to the NDP save for the separatist aspects) and the Liberals, thus producing a more US-like polarization between the Left and the Right in Canada than we’ve ever had before. I wouldn’t call this “hope”, per se. (Except possibly in the context of “I really hope a Conservative majority doesn’t ruin my beloved country too much in the space of the next four and a half years.)Anyway, yes. Athiest conference! (In what may soon be a nation increasingly hostile to such gatherings.)

  17. Eric_RoM says

    Apparently Canadians aren’t familiar with the concept of “cautionary tale”. <|^(

  18. says

    Thanks, it never occurred to me to google something.Given the wide range of definitions a term can have in internet discussions, I was more interested in what he personally meant. More interesting to me than making an assumption from a text book definition.

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