I have to give my talk naked?

I’ve just seen the ad for the upcoming International Atheist conference. Europe is a little less uptight than the US, I guess.


I’m pretty sure I get to appear fully dressed. Anything else would just kill attendance.

I’m also going to be speaking in Durango, Spain next week — I leave on Monday for IkerGazte, the First Conference For Basque Researchers. I’m going to be talking there about the importance of diversity in science, and strategies for communication and engagement.

In between, I’m going to be giving a toast at my daughter’s wedding. Guess which of the three talks worries me the most?

Anyway, if you add it all up, I’m going to be gone for about two weeks, from the 11th to the 26th, and right now I’m fussing over preparing these talks. I may be a little distracted and occupied for a bit.

If you can’t make it to Spain or Germany (the wedding is private, and you can’t come even if you’re in Colorado), my pal Jen McCreight is speaking at Town Hall in Seattle on Monday. Human evolution…always cool.


  1. chigau (違う) says

    Love the poster!
    A new take on see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil.

  2. leerudolph says

    So is this like the cover of Sgt. Pepper—we’re supposed to figure out who each of the figures represents?

  3. Saad says

    This is a totally inappropriate use of a platform.

    (Have fun in Spain!)

  4. Blondin says

    Reminds me of the time I attended a nude wedding. I came within half an inch of being the best man.

  5. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    I get it!
    It’s a metaphor (I suppose): Religion is Clothing so Atheism is No Clothes.

    That metaphor comes from my addled brain only, take of it what you will, I will explain, now, why I think it appropriate:
    Religion is the clothes one’s mind wears to protect it from the stings of reality pricking it. All those “why…” questions that one can’t immediately answer on one’s own. It’s is convenient and comforting to ‘pull up one’s collar’ by reading a convenient answer in a book that claims to have been written by a big father figure who knows EVERYTHING. Cuz that’s what dad’s are known for, by little children: protection from the weather ( and predators), and always answering questions with pure confidence (regardless of correctness). So to abandon religion is to abandon all forms of “protection”, symbolized by clothing; so Atheism ~= Nude

  6. davidnangle says

    That’s reading a lot into it, slithey tove. Perhaps the graphic designer just mixed up the artwork for the atheist conference and the orgy invitations.

  7. anteprepro says

    If public naked speaking makes you nervous, just imagine the audience in their underwear.

  8. marcoli says

    I think slithey tove might be right. In any case it is an excellent idea, as naked conventions of any sort would attract a lot of attention.

  9. says

    @ anteprepo, #10

    If public naked speaking makes you nervous, just imagine the audience in their underwear.

    Do nervous speakers at nudist conferences try to imagine their audience fully dressed?

  10. blf says

    It’s the after-talk baby barbecue & puppy roast where clothing is not recommended — unless you like wondering around in baby- & puppy-juice and beer-stained clothes, in addition to a baby- & puppy-juice and beer-soaked beard.

  11. Taemon says

    Nah, chigau #1 had it right. The three dudes in the front, covering themselves up, represent the three main monotheistic religions, seeing nothing, hearing nothing, saying nothing. The others are in the same position, but free within themselves.


  12. tmscott says

    Hey PZ,

    You’re just the right age to remember Stan Boreson, of Seattle in the 60’s

  13. says

    Of course I remember Stan! As part of the Scandinavian-American community in Seattle, we were required to watch him.

  14. ospalh says

    @ #9, Giliell:
    Reminds me of the story from Euro 1996 (i think) when it had to be explained to the German soccer team that they had to wear something in the sauna in their hotel in England…

    The OP picture is from this German anti clerical atheistic children’s book.
    The rabbi, the priest and the mufti are the only people in the image that are covering themselves.
    From the text to the image, my translations:

    Rabbis, muftis and priests are, just like us, just “naked apes”. The just see “ghosts“ and walk around in funny clothes.

  15. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says


    I’m pretty sure I get to appear fully dressed. Anything else would just kill attendance.

    Oh I don’t know. I thought the bowler + Grecian Formula gave you a very nice look on the flyer.

  16. says

    Err.. Just imagine everyone in their underwear? I mean, that would work for nude as well right? lol

  17. zibble says

    Wow, Greg Graffin is going to be there? Not to besmirch your own star power, PZ, but it’s pretty awesome that there’s a convention with talky atheist thinkers AND a rock star.

  18. azhael says

    Fuck! Seriously? It’s not that far away from me….i wish i had a car…:(

  19. azhael says

    On second thought…an entire conference in euskera for what seems to be no other reason than jingoism….doesn’t sound good….

  20. F.O. says

    That wouldn’t fly in Italy or Greece, but Germany (and I’d say northern EU countries in general) ARE much less uptight. =)

  21. says

    Which reminds me of an old joke:

    A rabbi, a catholic priest and a Lutheran priest take a walk in the woods together. They come upon a clear pond and since it’s a hot day they decide to go swimming. Now, since they didn’t bring swiming trunks they go swimming naked and then want to dry off in the hot sun.
    Suddenly, three women appear who, by chance, are members of the respective congregations. The three men take off, the catholic and the Lutheran priest covering their private parts, the rabbi covering his face. When they are sure they got away they stop. The catholic and the Lutheran priest are shocked at the rabbi’s behaviour. “Have you no shame? Why did you cover your face and not your private parts?”
    Says the rabbi: “Well, I’m pretty sure that nobody in my synagogue is going to recognise me by looking at my dick.”

  22. Artor says

    Don’t worry, PZ. Just get a bowler hat and some Groucho Mark glasses and you’ll be fine. Maybe you could wear a second pair as a codpiece if you must?

  23. UnknownEric the Apostate says

    Oh man, I’m going to Germany this summer and, as an ugly American, I’m already worried about showing my ass…

    /rim shot

  24. tbtabby says

    The naked clergymen made me think they were trying to compare religion to the emperor who has no clothes.

  25. Owlmirror says

    @Randomfactor, #19:

    Does the book read “The Happy Atheist”?

    I’m pretty sure that’s what “Gottlos Glücklich” means. Or maybe it means that you got to lose a “cluck lich” (ravaging undead chicken), which no doubt makes sense to naturists.

  26. ospalh says

    @tbtabby, #31:
    Yes. The “Gottlos glücklich” book the boy is holding up was “The Emperor’s New Clothes” in the original version in the children’s book.

  27. Don Quijote says

    Not widely known but Durango was the first town to be attacked by the Luftwaffe in the civil war on the 31st March, 1937, about a month before the more well known bombing of Guernica, 26th April, 1937.

  28. birgerjohansson says

    If PZ ever goes to Finland, he should give his talk in the sauna. It is the only environment in which Finn men get talkative.

  29. chigau (違う) says

    birgerjohansson #36
    I just learned that from the latest SATW.