Calm down, Canadians!

I mixed up my dates in a recent post, so here’s a clarification on precisely when I wll be in Calgary and Edmonton.

Sunday, 25 January, I’ll be at the University of Calgary, talking about science education and creationism.

Monday, 26 January, I’ll be at the University of Alberta for a debate with Kirk Durston. For even further confusion, unfortunately, that site says the debate is tonight — that’s not going to happen. It’s next week.

These are open to the public. There will be festivities somewhere around them, I’m sure.

People are also asking about the Ohio event in February. It’s still at the state where none of the details are worked out, and I’ll post those as soon as I know them.


  1. DrNathaniel says

    But but but…. what about us Canadian ex-patriots who lived in Alberta but now work in Columbus? I’m so confused.

  2. J-Dog says

    If Denyse O’Leary shows up, please laugh at her for me, and thank her for all her stoopid posts in the past, and for all her stoopid future posts also. And remember, Denyse is to writing what Sarah Palin is to talkin’

  3. says

    What’s the closest you’ll be getting to Boston?

    If Denyse O’Leary shows up, please laugh at her for me, and thank her for all her stoopid posts in the past, and for all her stoopid future posts also.

    I must confess that I’ve had a soft spot for Denyse O’Leary ever since she called me an ill-tempered illiterate. I mean, awww, ain’t it cute?

  4. BobC says

    Arguing that a God does exist is Kirk Durston, national director of the New Scholars Society and PhD. candidate at the University of Guelph

    You could ask Durston if he also believes in the Easter Bunny. A belief in a magic god fairy is equally childish.

  5. Bueller_007 says

    Oh God. Thanks, ERV. I was actually willing to give Durston the benefit of the doubt and treat him as a “respectable” theist until you just pointed out that he was a creationist.

    I’ll be in your corner at the Edmonton “debate”, PZ. I’ll see if I can mention it in my systematics & genetics classes as well. It’ll probably pass if I can say it’ll be an evolution vs. ID debate. Is that primarily what it’s going to boil down to?

  6. Erik S. says

    I’ll be there for your talk in Calgary. Unfortunately, it looks like you’re just going to miss the glorious weather that the FSM has blessed us with lately.

  7. Brian says

    I’ll definitely be attending the UofA debate. 2rd year Religious Studies undergrad, so I can even say it’s relevant to my program. I guess this is one of the perks of attending a semi-prominent University (as Canadian ones go); I never thought I’d actually be able to attend a Pharyngufest!

  8. Nick says

    Calgarian Pharyngulites sound off! We should treat our dear guest to some our hospitality, our conversation, and our real canadian beer. I recommend Kilkenney’s in Brentwood, since it has big tables, and is fairly close to the University.

  9. says

    Thank you for soothing my frazzled nerves on the dates – now we can set up our babysitting schedule! I’m looking forward to the talk, though the debate up at Edmonton (the “Gateway to the North”) sounds even more exciting :)

    Yes, you’re going to miss our weirdly glorious weather. If’n you folks down there do Fahrenheit, it’s a high of 61 today, but it won’t be by the time you arrive – *sigh*.

    Any chance you’ll be making fun of Cochrane’s Mitford Middle School’s creationism-included “Christian program”? :)

  10. CW says

    If Denyse O’Leary shows up

    Is that like “You’re from Canada? Do you know Joe Smith?” Denyse O’Liary lives almost thirty five hundred miles from PZ’s destination. She’s closer to El Paso than she is to Calgary.

    *mutter* *grumble*

  11. icefarmer says

    Great to have clarification on when you are coming to Calgary, PZ.

    Nick, for beer @ Kilkenny could work. I’m always a fan of Brewsters this time of year as well. There are lots of places in the vicinity. Or we could stay local and go to the Den on campus (I still miss the old Den and gruesome as it was). Or we could always pick somewhere close to where PZ will be staying.

  12. says

    U of Calgary is pretty much the most Conservative campus in Canada, so watch your back. If you see Tom Flanagan, punch him in the mouth, and tell him its payback for ruining Canada with Stephen Harper.

  13. says

    Wouldn’t miss it for the world, PZ! I’m bringing some friends too.

    Nick… I think a Kilkenny’s outing afterward would be just what the doctor ordered.

  14. bckcntry says

    Anybody want to carpool from the East Kootenays (Kimberley) to the Calgary talk? I have 4 available seats.

  15. Jim Baerg says

    I live within easy walking distance of both the U of C campus & Kilkenny’s pub, so that Kilkenny’s pub afterward sounds good to me.

  16. Brian D says

    As I understand it, the U of A Campus for Christ (the group who picked Kirk Durston) wouldn’t define “God” in this debate as the Christian god, but rather (IIRC) “an interventionary personal being who created the universe”.

    Also, the campus Debate Club was originally tapped to moderate this, but since they’re only in the debate club to pad their resumes, they refused to touch this debate because the topic was “controversial”. Imagine that. (I think I hear a gong.)

    On a semi-related note, the 26th is also the same day the UofA GSA delivers the final decision on the removal of “God” from our convocation charge (see here). Word on the street is that we’ve got a pass, but we’ll know for certain after the debate.

    I’ll be at the Pharyngufest as best I can. I might even manage to swing down to Calgary for their event, if I can arrange transport. (I’d take bckcntry up on his/her offer, but Edmonton’s a bit out of the way for that route.)

  17. Zan says

    Haah! I second the vote for the Killkenny in Calgary, mainly because it’s perhaps 10 minutes from my home. Buuut, if I had to throw in another place we might want to go, I’d suggest The Unicorn downtown. The hot wings are fantastic.

    Damn, I’ve been fangirling over PZ’s talk for the past few months now, it’s only going to get worse from here on out.

  18. Tony says

    I’ve attended debates with and talks by Kirk Durston.

    I don’t know how familiar you are with him, so here’s some of what I’ve picked up:

    1) Don’t be surprised if he says that god made Churchill’s mother lie in a certain way after having sex, and therefore god created Winston Churchill to fight the Axis during WW2, which means god is good. He never does mention that such reasoning means god is directly responsible for Hitler, as well.

    2) He will bring up the argument that we cannot know god’s intentions. God may allow some small evil here and there to prevent greater evil in the future. He cannot answer the question of why an all-knowing god cannot find a resolution that is free of evil.

    3) He portrays gods actions as fountaining out into a future of possibilities, all of which god takes into account in his decisions. This relates to us not being able to comprehend the mind of god.

    4) He defines god as all-knowing, all-loving, all-good and all-powerful. It’s contradictory, but he’ll cling to it.

    5) He describes god as being separate from time, and thus able to pop in and out wherever, and know the future and past, because they are meaningless to him. Or some nonsense like that.

    6) He has an analogy for absolute morality. He claims that since fish (pike or trout, if I recall correctly) will eat their young, morality is not an evolved trait and must come from a higher source. He does not mention whether the species is a social fish or a solitary fish.

    7) He will attempt to use irreducible complexity to prove intelligent design.

    I can’t find the notes I took on the last lecture he gave, or else I’d have more points.

    however, I hope the 7 above help you prepare. It shouldn’t be hard to blow him out of the water (hell, I could do it, so you should be able to demolish him utterly). Although I’ve heard he can have something of a temper when he’s losing a debate.

    ~ Tony

  19. BobC says

    He defines god as all-knowing, all-loving, all-good and all-powerful.

    Then he must know Mr. God personally. I couldn’t debate such a person without laughing at him and calling him an idiot.

  20. Bueller_007 says

    Watching the Shallit-Durston debate now.

    Without any evidence but personal anecdote, he gives “rabbit resurrection” as an example of a miracle that proves the existence of God.

    The guy is an embarrassment.

  21. gerryfromktown says

    If anyone is interested in listening to another Kirk Durston debate, he debated Adele Mercier at Queen’s University in 2006 on the same question. Also sponsored by Campus for Christ (Canadian campus arm of Campus Crusade for Christ).

    To listen for free on iTunes do the following:

    iTunes Store -> ITunesU -> Queen’s University -> On Campus -> Lectures and Debates ->Debate 2006 – Does God Exist

    Its fairly insipid, God-of-the-gaps stuff. Durston goes on and on about some protein that couldn’t possibly fold without divine intervention … Adele Mercier is a philosopher and does a great job, but not being a biologist meant Durston could spew bafflegab and get away with it.

    Larry Moran at the University of Toronto pretty well nailed Durston here: (Also see the link posted by ERV above).

  22. Coragyps says

    Mykonos Greek Restaurant on North Center in Calgary. I drool like a Pavlovian mutt just typing the words….

  23. J-Dog says

    CW – Calm down hoser… AFAIK, she is allowed to travel anywhere she wants to inside Canada, so it is best PZed is prepared for her grumblings and ramblings.

    Unless you KNOW, or can guarantee that she is stuck in Toronto?

  24. shoshidge says

    I’ll be at the Kilkenny. Not my first choice as their selection of local brew,(or interesting Irish brews), is not great, but it is a good size and in the right location, so it’ll do.
    If we were going downtown, I would’ve suggested either the Rose & Crown or the Wildwood, which both have better food, beer and atmosphere in my opinion.
    I’m looking forward to it.

  25. Scott R says

    Of course Campus for Christ wants to define god as “an interventionary personal being who created the universe”. Surely they don’t want to debate anything like the foolishness that some xians believe:
    “Jesus Christ is God, the living Word, who became flesh through His miraculous conception by the Holy Spirit and His virgin birth. Hence, He is perfect Deity and true humanity united in one person forever.”

    Oh, those other silly xians! Oops, wait, that’s from here:

    Well at least Kirk Durston himself doesn’t buy that. After all, he works for the New Scholars Society, which takes a much more scientific approach, like this:
    “Jesus Christ is God, the living Word, who became flesh through His miraculous conception by the Holy Spirit and His virgin birth. Hence, He is perfect Deity and true humanity united in one person forever. ”

  26. stewart says

    Nothing too wrong with Kilkenny’s, but its a bit predictable. If you want to stay in the northwest, the Kensington Pub is fine (and not in a strip mall). Better yet, can I suggest Bottlescrew Bill’s, downtown? Excellent beer selection, unique atmosphere, and nothing like a generic Irish pub. Fascinating appetizers and matching t-shirts. I can ferry a couple of people in my car, and transit access is excellent.
    Let’s show PZ what’s unique about Calgary, not what’s inoffensive and generically soothing.

  27. LisaJ says

    Hey PZ, any plans to come to Ottawa ever? It’s a great place to visit! Well, just not right now, with this dang bus strike ruining our lives and all.

  28. Zetetic says

    I’ve been hoping you’d come to Calgary! I definitely intend to be there!

    I only wish I knew some of the other people that were going. Pretty much everyone I know well is an evangelical Christian. And I tend to get shy in large groups of people I don’t know.

  29. Tabby Lavalamp says

    Damn it, it would have to be a friggin’ Monday. That’s the one evening each week I have to be somewhere.

  30. Scott R says

    Zetetic, you’re hangin’ out with the wrong crowd. There are plenty of us infidels around, and I’m sure you’ll meet us at the U of C. It’s heartwarming to see all the discussion about which pubs have the best beer and atmosphere – sounds like fun! It should be noted that CFI Calgary was “born” on Darwin Day 2008, late at night, with many empty bottles of wine and beer on the table.

  31. says

    Someone please please PLEASE get this debate on video and you tube it. If the person who does it has paypal I will even contribute some money towards any costs in doing so.


  32. southern quebec says

    Be careful at customs. The border morons just barred Bill Ayers from visiting Toronto!

  33. Nick says

    @ stewart #40:

    “Let’s show PZ what’s unique about Calgary, not what’s inoffensive and generically soothing.”

    That’s actually a very good point. The thoughts that led me originally to Kilkenney’s were proximity and capacity, but perhaps we do owe our guest a more significant taste of the local flavour.

    Calgarians still following this thread, please email me at so we can come to a consensus and perhaps organize rides for those who need them.

  34. GaryB says

    Hey, PZ, what’s the chance you will be swinging by Regina or Saskatoon?

    Hey, anyone else, how many Pharyngulites are there in Sask, and is there a desire for a Sask based Pharyngufest?

  35. Peter McKellar says

    Have fun in Calgary PZ. I can’t make it, Oz to Calgary is too far and I’ll be working in India anyway. Half my family live there though and I will let them know it is on. Maybe we can send a rep anyway.

  36. Brownian says

    Debate schmebate. Where are we Edmontonians gonna get rowdy after?

    My normal watering hole is The Next Act on Whyte and 104th–it’s relaxed and friendly, but the beer selection isn’t so excellent for those who are persnickety: A few Big Rock, Sleeman’s, Guinness, and Kokanee products–oh, and Keith’s IPA–and a few imports like Stella, Heineken, Pilsner Urquell. The food is mostly pub grub, though the burgers are awesome.)

    Unfortunately, I’m at the centre of the universe for the week (Hi Monado from Toronto!) and only have sporadic email access, so I’ll be happy to join the crowd whatever it decides.

  37. JCE says

    Re: Edmonton stop on the PZ Meyers 2009 World Domination Tour
    1. will there be the traditional world domination tour t-shirt? (this is only slightly facetious as I would actually buy one)
    2. RATT? eeeeeeeeeeeee (unless the food has improved a lot since ugrad… which would not be saying much) There is something to be said for minimizing the debate-to-beer travel time, however.
    3. Chinese New Year, so it’s a tradeoff between PZ and green onion cake… unless someone can bring a toaster :/

  38. Brownian says

    RATT, Hudson’s (the old Library pub, across from the TELUS teaching centre thingy, next to the Mac’s) are both good choices for minimising debate-to-beer travel time (and Hudson’s has good food–or at least the Whyte Ave one does.)

  39. says

    Kirk has some interesting arguments. What I don’t understand is why on earth would you express proteins as bits? What possible use is that? Other than to reincarnate those bad creationist probability arguments.
    Is this debate being taped and put on the internets? That would be amazing. If anyone has any idea, let me know.