Everyone knows already why I was off in Melbourne this past week — it was the Global Atheist Conference — but why did I hare off to Canberra for the weekend? It was another conspiracy.
Many years ago, the locus of all things evolutionist on the interwebs was found on Usenet, in a group called talk.origins, where a motley mob of ruthless science proponents regularly mocked and crushed creationists and honed their skills at rhetorical combat. I came out of that particular culture (and, by the way, the commenting rules here, with a policy of limited interference with the substance of people’s comments, grew straight out of talk.origins). Talk.Origins still exists as a discussion group, and evolved into a very useful web site, as well, and many of the regulars who haunted Usenet have since branched out into blogs, suchs as The Panda’s Thumb.
Oddly enough, quite a few of the illustrious and honored masters of talk.origins are Australian. So, as long as I was there in Australia, we had to meet up and share our plans for world domination. It was kind of like a meeting of the Illuminati, only we’re mostly poor academics and civil servants, and our only magic power is our obsession with flooding the internet. Here’s one photo of the group:
They are, from left to right in the back: Cartman (respect our authoritah),
John Wilkins (master of sowing confusion with philosophy),
Chris Ho-Stuart (the milquetoast atheist),
Jim Foley (most definitely a hominid),
PZ Myers (biggest mouth), and
Chris Nedin (biggest Dick (seriously, he showed us the award) (and photos of the real thing) (it’s over a meter long!)). In front is Ian Musgrave (best beard). You should be reading their blogs! Especially if our plans for world domination come to fruition, since you will want a leg up in flattering your masters.
Also, while I was in Canberra, I spoke at a Skeptics in the Pub meeting, which was held in a very classy pub, King O’Malley’s. It was rather interesting in that more people showed up than was convenient (several hundred), and they were sort of draped into all kinds of nooks and crannies. It was also one of those talks where I gave a short introduction (literally, I read the intro to the book I’m working on), and then didn’t get to the rest because we just ended up doing a long Q&A for the rest of our time.
I am not in that picture. I’m somewhere way off screen, hiding from the mob, I think.