Posts Tagged bloggers

I totally want to go to this conference!

Greta Christina has released the schedule for the Very Big Atheist Conference of 2011 and it looks AWESOME!

The schedule for the Very Big Atheist Conference of 2011 has been finalized! There are some very exciting sessions planned, and some of your favorite atheist bloggers, writers, and activists will be there — so be sure to get your tickets early!

I mean, just look at the first day’s lineup!

FRIDAY, APRIL 1

Coexist1:00 PM
Why Are Atheists Bothering to Have a Conference to Talk About What They Don’t Believe In?
Concerned Ecumenicalist Interfaith Council
(attendance optional)

Hemant Mehta2:15 PM
Maintaining a Rep as a Good-Natured Teddy Bear While Delivering Lethal Smackdowns to Theists
Hemant Mehta, “Friendly” Atheist

Narwhals3:30 PM
How to Get the Narwhal Song Unstuck From Your Head When PZ Mentions It For the Twentieth Time
Pharyngulite Hordes

Cracker6:00 PM
Reception
Cheese and “Crackers”
Sponsored by PZ Myers

I am soooooo registering! It’s gonna be a blast!

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Can’t we all just get along?

And by “get along”, Mooney et al. mean “do things the way we think they should be done.”

If you’re wondering what I’m babbling about this time, you’re not hanging in the same blogging circle that I am. Lemme explain. No, there is too much. Let me sum up.

Mooney and Kirshenbaum came out with a book,
Unscientific America: How Scientific Illiteracy Threatens our Future, wherein they bemoan the inadequacies of the science community to communicate effectively with the populace and lay the blame on the feet of the “New Atheists” for being too mean, i.e. telling the truth about scientific fact when it contradicts religious dogma.

I haven’t read the book and I’m probably not going to. This isn’t a book review. The book was drawn to my attention because of their direct attacks within it upon PZ Myers and his blog Pharyngula, a very popular pro-science, pro-atheism blog. PZ is known for being quite outspoken about the need to fight back against the growing incursion of religion into the science classroom and the government. He reviewed the book, per Mooney and Kirshenbaum’s request. The review was unfavorable, due primarily to the authors direct personal attacks and general lack of any sort of decent evidence to back up their claims.

So what this all boils down to is that there is a perceived schism in the atheistic community. On one side are the mean, disrespectful and damaging-to-the-cause loudmouth atheists, such as PZ and Richard Dawkins. At least, according to Mooney et al. On the other side are the mealy-mouthed accommodationists who think PZ and his ilk need to STFU and that the absolute worst thing for our cause is to piss off the Xians. At least, according to PZ.

Greg Laden and Lousy Canuck do a much better job covering the argument than I can. Tangled Up In Blue Guy weighs in as well.

So here’s my summary, now that I’ve babbled for a bit. By now you can probably tell which side of the discussion I’m going to come down on.

There has been an upsurge in the number of people willing to speak out on behalf of the godless; people striving to move atheists from the marginalized into the mainstream. People who are tired of being told that they are somehow less than moral, less than human, less than patriotic, because they see through the veil of mysticism that religion has draped over the collective eyes of a large part of the world.

Quite a few of those engaged on the side of godlessness are scientists. They have a large stake in the discussion since one of the primary forces of anti-science come from the sphere of religion. One only has to look at the reports of Xian extremists trying to force their way into boards of education and other public office in the hopes of imposing their theocracy upon the rest of us.

PZ was a big part of my “coming out”. I was never an active theist, more like an apathetic atheist. I just hadn’t felt the need to analyze or clarify my positions. Reading blogs like Pharyngula and seeing the kind of damage that the right-wingers were doing crystallized my thoughts and made me realize the importance of speaking out on behalf of the godless. I am an outspoken, sarcastic, snarky, obnoxious person, so PZ’s approach resonated with me. However, I realize that not everyone is like me (FSM help us if they were!). Not everyone will respond to such direct prodding. That’s where the accomodationists come in. Our movement needs the soft-speakers to hold the hands of those that aren’t quite ready to toss aside their entire world view in one fell swoop. There is absolutely no reason why they can’t be gradually brought into the light (to steal a phrase from the other side).

All that being said, Mooney et al are idiots. Rather than realise that there are multiple paths to reach the same goal (the goal being, not an eradication of religion, but rather the reduction of its prominence in society, especially government, and especially its interference with science), these fuckwits decide that anyone not following what they see as the correct path is not only wrong but is teh enemy, destroying their noble efforts to improve the world through bowing down and stepping aside for the religious fuckwits and not taking them head on.

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The internets get crazier every day

There is all kinds of weird shit out there on teh intertubes. Two girls, one cup. One man, one jar. BTW, if you don’t know what those mean, DO NOT google them. Seriously, you’re better off not knowing. See, you shouldn’t have googled it. I warned you.

Anyway, this morning I saw probably the weirdest (read “awesomest”) use of the net I have yet seen. It started over at Almost Diamonds. Then it spread. If you’ve got a short attention span, or a really slow internet connection (you’re not still on dialup, are you? If so, please join us in the 21st century) you can get the synopsis at Pharyngula.

Modern-day electronic fairy tale dreams do come true

Modern-day electronic fairy tale dreams do come true

Jason, you’re one lucky dude. Or canuck. Whatever. Congrats!

Jodi, how awesome are you for conceiving and setting up a modern-day romantic adventure across the web.

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Storm Talk

There is an amazing wealth of subjects out there to be geeky about. For a small subset of geeks, asking about the weather isn’t just making small talk; it’s an invitation to launch into a detailed analysis of the “thermodynamic properties of tornadic and nontornadic RFDs.” Um, okay… I’m sure that makes sense to someone out there.

This dude I know named Matt Grzych (don’t even bother trying, it’s pronounced “grish“) has just started a cool little blog called “Storm Talk“. He’s got some sort of sick fascination with spinning clouds, a.k.a. tornadoes. I’m a Florida boy; I love hurricanes, but tornadoes scare the shit out of me. Some sort of left over paranoia from childhood. Anyway, this guy will actually go chasing after tornadoes and the insane storms that produce them. Per his profile, “Rear flank downdrafts continue to interest me… so there may be lots of RFD talk in my blog. ” All right! I’m interested in rear flanks… What’s that? …I’m being told that he’s not referring to boodies. Shoot! And I was all excited to read the papers he’s published on them!

Anyway, head on over and check out the sciency coolness of some bad-ass storms at Storm Talk.

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PZ visits the nation’s wang!

I had a terrific experience last night! No, not that kind of experience. Get your minds out of the gutter 😉 I went to hear PZ Myers speak at Rollins College last night. His talk was on the intersection of science and religion in the classroom. The main thrust of it was that it is imperative that the classroom remain secular; religion has absolutely no place there, especially in the science classroom. He also covered some of his personal experiences of being a militant atheist. Hearing about his being “expelled” from the movie Expelled first hand was great. PZ also offered advice for we atheists in our continuing struggle to retain equal rights as godless citizens of the United States. It was actually quite inspirational. I can’t tell you how uplifting it was to be physically gathered with other freethinkers and engage in intelligent discussions.

Unfortunately we didn’t have any protesters like they did the night before at UCF. But the Dean of the Chapel did raise a stink about PZ’s visit. Apparently he has a problem with blasphemers. He was probably referring to the cracker incident. For the life of me, I can’t figure out why that would bother someone, but some people have weird fetishes. To each their own.

Afterward, we adjourned to Fiddler’s Green and continued the conversation. I was fortunate enough to have been seated directly across from PZ, and so I used the opportunity to totally babble like a complete fanboi discuss deep philisophical topics in a rational manner. I totally impressed him with my erudite manner and thoughtful insights on a number of topics (yeah, right). In reality, it was quite pleasant just to engage in conversation with a “famous” person, chatting about such random topics as the weather in Minnesota, the state of the educational system in the USA and parenthood. I did begin to feel a little old, however, with all the college kids around. I didn’t even get carded 🙁

All in all, it was a fantastic evening of deep thought, lite conversation and drinking cider on draught (damn near impossible to find in regular bars).

Many thanks, PZ, for the inspirational talk and the great conversation.

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Just in time for Squidmas: PZ Myers come to Florida!

I am completely geeking out here. The author of the Pharyngula blog, the communion-wafer descecrating, cracker-gate inciting professor of biology that everyone loves to hate, PZ Myers, is coming to Florida!!!!!!!11!!!1!eleventyone!1

In his words:

I’ll be speaking at the University of Central Florida on Friday, 5 December, at 7pm in Communications Building 101. Afterwards, we tentatively plan to adjourn to the Lazy Moon for refreshments — we can’t be certain because it’s a pizza place in a college town, so we may not be able to squeeze in, depending on how many show up. I’ll post an update if we have to move elsewhere.

On Saturday, 6 December, I’ll be speaking at Rollins College, at 6:30pm in Crummer Hall. I don’t have specific post-babbling plans there, yet, so perhaps someone can suggest something.

I’ve never been to hear a blogger speak before. My geekness is complete. I am totally going to see him.

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Possummamma’s Back!

She (Possummamma, aka Atheist in a minivan) was temporarily off the air due to some particularly nasty shit being spread around, but she’s fought back to the surface! Good on ya’! Apparently hope and change are in the air.

So stop on by and say “welcome back”!

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