We’re hanging out! Come join us!

We’re starting up soon. If you were hooked up earlier, hang up and rejoin — I had to restart the whole shebang.

And here we are! We had a full house at the end.

I had hoped to get Ophelia Benson (we had technical difficulties there) and Michael Nugent (who is celebrating his birthday, and so had better things to do) online to talk about the Dublin conference coming up, but Michael did send some comments about their plans.

  • The national context in which it will take place is that there are conflicting campaigns in ireland to liberalise and restrict our laws against abortion, and our parliament is preparing to vote on a very restrictive availability of abortion where there is a risk to the life of a pregnant woman. This is the culmination (so far) of three decades of campaigning, and it is only a very small first step in what will still be a lengthy campaign for abortion rights.

  • The international context will cover the different and overlapping issues faced by women in democracies and theocracies around the world, and how we can work together and build alliances to tackle these issues collectively.

  • The conference will be quite structured, in that each session (religious laws, reproductive rights, violence against women, building alliances etc) will have as its focus preparing a contribution on that issue to a Declaration on Empowering Women Through Secularism that will be adopted on the Sunday.

  • Finally, the conference coincides with Dublin’s annual gay pride festival, so it will be a fun weekend to be in ireland!


  1. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Maybe after I get a bluetooth headset/mic for the Redhead to use, so I can borrow it.

  2. oaksterdam says

    Yeah, damn. I was hoping to see O.B. on this one. Nerd, I’m looking for that kickstarter to get you some headphones. I’ll kick in at whatever level gets me actual grog.

  3. David Marjanović says

    I think I was a bit incoherent when I speculated about reasons why such conferences are, as PZ said, mostly attended by old men in Europe, more specifically old men who head atheist/humanist/skeptic organizations. I can think of the following:
    – Atheist conference? Huh? What is there to talk about? Even I didn’t really know when I went to Copenhagen 3 years ago; I mostly went there to meet Pharyngulites. If you’re not aware of all Internet traditions conversations, you probably won’t find out.
    – So, if you don’t think there’s a lot of a point in going, you probably won’t travel 1000 km to a place where you probably don’t even understand the language even if time and money are available. The psychological barrier to traveling that kind of distance is much higher in Europe (excluding Russia!) than in the US.

    In case anyone wonders about my background, it represents this. The artist is Raúl Martín. I bought the poster at an auction at a meeting of the European Association of Vertebrate Palaeontologists a few years ago.

  4. Ogvorbis: ArkRanger of Doom! says

    Invertebrate Palaeontologists are, obviously, in short supply.

    There are, what, 400(?) vertebrate palaeontologists studying dinosaurs, there are only about 600 named species of dinosaur — 2 palaeontologists for every 3 species. However, the invebrate paleaontologists — there are about 400 of them, but there are about 100,000 invertebrate species in the fossil record. So the ratio is about 1 in 250. They are only relatively under represented.

  5. The very model of a modern armchair general says

    Today is Michael Nugent’s birthday? Dammit, I wish I’d known that earlier, I would wished him a happy birthday. He was doing some secularism “street preaching” with some colleagues from Atheist Ireland. Afterwards, we went for sandwiches. It was fun.

  6. David Marjanović says

    We should be press-ganging Dr Marjanović to our cause.

    All I’d find interesting would be large-scale phylogeny… what comes to mind is the recent paper on two new gaps in the origin of arthropods…