FtBCon4: call for proposals

We’re going to have another FtBCon on 22-24 January 2016, and we’re beginning to assemble a program. Your friendly bloggers here have some plans and ideas, but one of the virtues of having a conference entirely online, besides the fact that you all get to watch, no matter where you are, is that we can open it up to suggestions for talks and panels from you, the readership. If you are interested in putting your face and voice online, talking about freethought, science, social justice, video games, whatever, we have an online form for you to fill out. It’s easy!

A few important points: only fill out the form if you want to host a session. Don’t nominate others: you might want to hear Neil deGrasse Tyson (so would I), but we don’t need you telling us that you want us to draft him to speak. If Neil deGrasse Tyson wants to address our little con, on the other hand, he should fill out the form. We’ll probably accept his proposal.

You can propose talks, where you all by your lonesome talk at your computer’s camera, or panels, where you get together a small group (keep it to 4 or fewer, please: big groups don’t work well) and have a round table discussion. It’s all good. Again, don’t tell us you want to host a panel and ask us to fill up all the seats: you find your co-panelists first.

This form is for proposals. They won’t automatically be accepted. Make it enticing so we want to accept it.

Do tell us when you’d be available that weekend, and when you’d prefer to have the panel. We also love to have people outside US time zones participate, so it’s great when we’ve got panels/talks at times convenient for Europe or Australia.

Trolls: don’t bother. Submissions from this form will not be displayed publicly — we’ll just screen them first, and we’re quick on the delete key. If you think you can lie your way into getting on the schedule and then switch topics on us at the last minute…won’t work. All talks and panels will be sponsored by an FtB member, who will be able to pull the plug on you. So don’t waste your time or ours.

FtBCon chat rules

We’re taking advantage of the Pharyngula IRC chat room to provide a venue for free-flowing discussion of FtBCon panels this weekend — it’s a bit faster and more interactive than just leaving comments on YouTube videos (which is a bit like throwing jewels into a cesspit, anyway). But I should let you know that the IRC channel does have a Code of Conduct, and a large number of moderators to enforce it. Read and obey.

#FtBCon! Tomorrow!

The FreethoughtBlogs online conference starts up tomorrow at 5pm CST with an introduction by the fabulous Debbie Goddard, followed by a fabulous line-up of fabulous speakers that doesn’t stop until 8pm Sunday. I’m going to be a desk-chair-potato most of the weekend, writing up stuff, preparing for a talk, composing an exam, that sort of thing, so this is going to be perfect — I’m going to clear a spot off on my desk, prop up the iPad there, and stream all the talks to entertain and educate me through my drudgery.

That’s one of the nice things about this online con. I can stay comfortably at home, get work done at the same time, and also, if I miss anything good, it will be preserved forever on youtube, so I can watch it on my time. You should flick on through. Check out the schedule, there’s guaranteed to be something you’ll find interesting.

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FtBCon postponed

A few of our organizers had collisions with their schedule, so we’re putting off FtBCon for a few months. I’m partly at fault, so blame me — I just got back from the UK, had a week to get everything together, and then looked at my calendar and saw that the date was scheduled right on top of our field experience for incoming biology students. Yeah, I was going to somehow manage an online conference requiring a couple of days of connectivity while shepherding a horde of first year college students around Lake Itasca.

A few others had similar problems with the timing — the end of August turns out to be very awkward for many of us, with academics and students facing other transitions — but I’ll let you all say it’s entirely my fault.

We do have a great lineup in readiness, and it will be even better given a few more months to develop, so none of this is a problem with the speakers, but is entirely due to the distractions that depleted our collection of available organizers.

Coming up on FtBCon 2

I’ll be hosting a session on Spiritual Abuse at FtBCon 2 at 9am. I’m just convening the event: the real work will be done by Vyckie Garrison, Ania Bula, Jamila Bey, and Heina Dadabhoy, who will be talking about…

What is spiritual abuse? What distinguishes “spiritual” abuse from regular forms of physical, emotional, and mental abuse?

In spiritual abuse, a person’s faith and ideas about God, the supernatural, and the afterlife, get intermingled and entwined with relational and behavioral choices so that the situation is not only about the way a person thinks, acts, and relates – it is primarily about the condition of your soul.

FtBCon 2: Aron Ra, John Wilkins, and me

Important tidbits: John Wilkins, unemployed philosopher, would love to come to the States and talk, so if you have money to fly in an Australian, and you enjoy what he had to say, you know who to talk to.

Also important: The audio book of The Happy Atheist is in the works, and rather than boring ol’ me doing the reading, it shall be spoken in the deep and imposing voice of Aron Ra. Look for it!

Good stuff on FtBCon 2

Social justice, women of color, right now on FtBCon2. Coming up in 15 minutes is Ken White of Popehat talking about sexual harassment and the law, then at 3 Aron Ra, John Wilkins, and I will be duking it out for your eyeballs against the atheism and accessibility panel. Decisions, decisions.