Small world

Surly Amy has a nice post about the women in secularism conference (cue squawks from agonized bores with facetious cod-Edwardian advice for zee laydeez). She’s made Surly-Ramics necklaces for people who donate to a scholarship fund to send students to the conference.

It is important that we lend our support to conferences like this groundbreaking event so that we can pave the way for future events while encouraging future leaders in the movement to stand up and be counted. I support women in secularism and I hope you will too.

I think that’s true. I think that’s true even if you accept the contemptuous premise that all the speakers at the conference were invited solely because they have the korrekt genitalia. I don’t accept that premise, of course; I think Susan Jacoby and Margaret Downey and the rest [bracketing me, of course] have more than that; but if I did, I would still think it was true that we should lend our support to conferences like this. I’ll tell you why. It’s because just representation, by itself, does something important, and lack of representation does too, but in the opposite direction. It has to do with that business of encouraging future leaders. It has to do with stereotype threat, with give me the colored doll, with implicit associations.

On another note: while reading the post I noticed something I hadn’t known, which is that Skepchick is international, and there’s a Swedish Skepchick. Swedish! There’s a post up right now advertising a debate between Christer Sturmark and a guy called Marcus Birro. Google translate reveals that the Swedish Skepchick blogger considers Birro a bullshitter. But small world, hey, I know Christer Sturmark! Isn’t life funny.

I’ve been seeing a lot of excitement about the conference, here and there. I’m thinking it’s going to be pretty good fun.


  1. Dave Ricks says

    I registered to attend, for a few reasons:

    1) Because the topics are interesting in themselves (and I wish anyone who would naysay the conference would include the topics in the argument),

    2) Because of the reasons Ophelia Benson linked above (which relate to Greta Christina’s classic argument about getting it right early, as I’ve seen her argument in writing and video).

    3) Because at the end of the Reason Rally (as Greta Christina described it, a life-changing experience), I talked with the CFI conference organizer Lauren Becker (about other topics), and I’ll be happy to see more of how she works with people firsthand (versus me shaking my fist at something wrong on the Internet).

    4) Because I get to be in the same room to absorb the intellectual styles of Susan Jacoby and Ophelia Benson (and I’m sure others at the conference are great too, but I feel like Wynton Marsalis said about someone saying they like all kinds of music, “How do you find the time?”).

    5) Because the conference is one block from my office (small world — your mileage may vary).

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