I’ve been watching the video of the Pharyngula hangout yesterday. I’ve paused it at 38:45; so far it’s been all about Women in Secularism 2 and a little bit about the upcoming Dublin Empowering Women Through Secularism conference. Interesting conversation, and frustrating to watch, because I intended to participate but first there was a glitch with Google+ and then a Windows update crashed my computer twice so I had to do a restore, which took forever, so I never got there.
Nick Gotts is going to the Dublin conference. That’s good!
There’s a lot of discussion of how very unfortunate it is that the (huge amount of exceptionally) good stuff about the conference has been totally swamped by talk about the one bad part. It’s ironic that the one bad part was the work of the CEO of the organization hosting the conference. No, ironic isn’t quite the right word, is it. Incompetent? Treacherous? Never mind the attendees and speakers for the moment; it’s so unfair to the CFI staff. All their hard work, undermined by their boss, for…for what? I still, honestly, have no idea.
Well, part of this overshadowing is because the videos aren’t out yet. I did try. I did several hooray posts. Jason and Kate liveblogged. But…
Jadehawk pointed out that even the CFI website (I think she means the blog) did this – there’s nothing about the conference except Ron’s three posts. (I think Fidalgo reported on it, but in the daily roundup of news, not in a separate post.) If I’d been on the hangout I would have pointed out that the same is true of the RDF site – all it had about the conference the last time I looked was the same three posts by Ron. That’s a very bizarre choice. The conference really was not about Ron or his posts. It’s very peculiar to post those and nothing else – and by “peculiar” I mean “hostile.”
So how about some positive again. I paused it where I did because it was the end of an enthusiastic discussion of Rebecca Goldstein’s talk – how brilliant it was, how bowled over everyone was by it, how much it mattered. (See what I did there?)
It started because Nick Gotts asked Jadehawk about it – if she shared the enthusiasm he’d seen all around. Yes she certainly did. The idea of “mattering” connects with everything. PZ said it was a good example of why philosophy is good and why we need more of it, and that the “mattering” idea made a lightbulb go on for a lot of people.
Exactly. That’s why I was having that gesture-laden conversation with Dave Silverman: because we were talking about the relevance of mattering to how we talk to and about theists. He was enthusiastic about Goldstein’s talk in the same way everyone else was.
At the time, you see, Goldstein’s talk somewhat blunted the impact of Ron’s talk. It came later the same afternoon, and at the end of the afternoon, so on that day (or that evening), I think, the bad part hadn’t completely overshadowed the good. It was mixed. It was “North Korea” that tipped the balance.