Global Atheist Convention - Melbourne 2010

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Re: Global Atheist Convention - Melbourne 2010

#301  Postby Witticism » Mar 16, 2010 10:16 am

Made of Stars wrote:Hi Witt! :cheers:

All the best to Mrs Witt too. (goes looking for non-alcoholic smilie...)

:dance: :dance: :dance:

Ta!

Poor Mrs W ... was doing the technicolour yawn this morning. :whine:

We had a great time but was pretty exhausting for her.

ginckgo wrote:
Just saw this comment (referring to Richard comparing Fielding to a worm):

Not a big fan of stupidity personally, but I greatly prefer it to misplaced intellectual arrogance.


Seriously? He'd preference an idiot over someone who is intelligent, but who he thinks talks down at him? Tall poppy syndrome on steroids. Fuck, I hate the anti-intellectual undercurrents in this country.

I'd prefer intellectual arrogance over stupidity any day of the week.

  1. At least you can have a seemingly intellectual discourse with them
  2. Intellectuals sit higher atop their high horse and thus have further to fall when you happen to point out the errors of their ways :lol:
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Re: Global Atheist Convention - Melbourne 2010

#302  Postby Faithfree » Mar 16, 2010 4:56 pm

kazzaqld wrote:
Antipotheosis wrote:


Don't forget Max Wallace's The Purple Economy: Supernatural Charities, Tax and the State - that one sold out within 20 minutes of Wallace's talk ending (and my pointing out its unavailability in Bookstores, LOL!) - and then when more copies came in on Sunday they sold out again!


Ah that explains why we couldn't find it - 20 minutes, eh - wow!!!

I wanted to buy "The Purple Economy" too, but also missed out. One of my fellow Perthites got one; maybe I ask nicely I could borrow it. :think:
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Re: Global Atheist Convention - Melbourne 2010

#303  Postby Goldenmane » Mar 16, 2010 4:58 pm

Faithfree wrote:
kazzaqld wrote:
Antipotheosis wrote:


Don't forget Max Wallace's The Purple Economy: Supernatural Charities, Tax and the State - that one sold out within 20 minutes of Wallace's talk ending (and my pointing out its unavailability in Bookstores, LOL!) - and then when more copies came in on Sunday they sold out again!


Ah that explains why we couldn't find it - 20 minutes, eh - wow!!!

I wanted to buy "The Purple Economy" too, but also missed out. One of my fellow Perthites got one; maybe I ask nicely I could borrow it. :think:


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Re: Australian Atheist Convention, Melbourne 12-14 March

#304  Postby podblack » Mar 16, 2010 9:47 pm

xrayzed wrote:For that matter you did an exceptionally good job as co-MC.

On the downside from the con: I missed your talk! It was the only talk over the entire conference I missed. My excuse is that I was stuck in the incomprehensibly slow check-out book queue and for AC Grayling to sign one of his books for me.

(Digression: the only two criticisms I have of the conference from an organisational POV is that the book selling could have been more efficient (more space, more people processing orders) and the silly red lanyard/blue lanyard seating division which made no sense to anybody I've spoken to.)

I'll be picking up a copy of the DVD, so I'll be able to check it out then.


Thank you so much! :) I even went to classes to help myself build up the confidence to be an MC, so I'm glad it was liked. Working with Stuart was wonderful and I was very fortunate to work with the crew we had. Volunteers rock!! :)

Don't worry about missing my talk - I think that every journalist missed mine and Robyn Williams (more's the shame for them, Williams is a science communication legend!) and I hope to redo it, improve and present it at the forthcoming TAM Australia with the co-researcher (and wonderfully charismatic) Dr Martin Bridgstock. :)

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Re: Global Atheist Convention - Melbourne 2010

#305  Postby Made of Stars » Mar 16, 2010 10:41 pm

What PZ Myers is up to (from Pharyngula):

And tomorrow afternoon, Thursday, I'm going to try and drop in on the University of Melbourne Secular Society's dissection of creationism and specifically of Ray Comfort's bad introduction to the Origin. That's at 1:00 in Theatre 4, the Alan Gilbert Building.

I'm spending my weekend in Canberra, and I will be giving a talk to Skeptics in the Pub at 12:00 on Saturday, in King O'Malley's Irish Pub, 131 City Walk. I haven't quite decided what I'll be talking about yet, though — I'll probably sort that out on the plane on Friday.
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Re: Global Atheist Convention - Melbourne 2010

#306  Postby starr » Mar 16, 2010 10:43 pm

Made of Stars wrote:What PZ Myers is up to (from Pharyngula):

And tomorrow afternoon, Thursday, I'm going to try and drop in on the University of Melbourne Secular Society's dissection of creationism and specifically of Ray Comfort's bad introduction to the Origin. That's at 1:00 in Theatre 4, the Alan Gilbert Building.

I'm spending my weekend in Canberra, and I will be giving a talk to Skeptics in the Pub at 12:00 on Saturday, in King O'Malley's Irish Pub, 131 City Walk. I haven't quite decided what I'll be talking about yet, though — I'll probably sort that out on the plane on Friday.


Oh cool! I didn't know about that. I'll have to go and see him in Canberra. :cheers: :cheers:
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Re: Australian Atheist Convention, Melbourne 12-14 March

#307  Postby Made of Stars » Mar 16, 2010 10:45 pm

podblack wrote:Don't worry about missing my talk...

I too missed it (the siren call of the book queue...). :(

Look forward to hearing it at TAM. :cheers:

Edit: @ starr :hugs:
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Re: Global Atheist Convention - Melbourne 2010

#308  Postby ginckgo » Mar 16, 2010 11:49 pm

Catherine Deveny has a nice summary of the Con, as opposed to all the BS that's being written by people who weren't even there. I like how she finishes:

And yes, atheists have killed, tortured, lied and stolen - never in the name of atheism, but because they're bad.

Jews, Muslims, Christians and atheists are generally moral people. But that's not because they're Jews, Muslims, Christians or atheist. It's because they're people.

I do hate. I hate religion taking credit for most people's innate goodness.
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Re: Global Atheist Convention - Melbourne 2010

#309  Postby Vikki » Mar 16, 2010 11:53 pm

ginckgo wrote:I like how she finishes:

And yes, atheists have killed, tortured, lied and stolen - never in the name of atheism, but because they're bad.

Jews, Muslims, Christians and atheists are generally moral people. But that's not because they're Jews, Muslims, Christians or atheist. It's because they're people.

I do hate. I hate religion taking credit for most people's innate goodness.


Yes, I loved that last line so much I tweeted it with a link. :thumbup:
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Re: Australian Atheist Convention, Melbourne 12-14 March

#310  Postby xrayzed » Mar 17, 2010 12:20 am

podblack wrote:Thank you so much! :) I even went to classes to help myself build up the confidence to be an MC, so I'm glad it was liked. Working with Stuart was wonderful and I was very fortunate to work with the crew we had. Volunteers rock!! :)

I never would have guessed this was your first stint as MC, and I've been to a lot of conferences. I don't know how much is due to the classes, and how much due to your natural abilities, but it worked.

The volunteers were great. It's a hard slog, and they did their jobs superbly and generally with good humour. Generally. ;)

Don't worry about missing my talk - I think that every journalist missed mine and Robyn Williams (more's the shame for them, Williams is a science communication legend!) and I hope to redo it, improve and present it at the forthcoming TAM Australia with the co-researcher (and wonderfully charismatic) Dr Martin Bridgstock. :)
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Re: Global Atheist Convention - Melbourne 2010

#311  Postby DanDare » Mar 17, 2010 4:59 am

I've been mulling over the "atheism" part of the conference. The conference emphasised secularism, rationalism, empiricism, human rights, cooperation with religious people as "just people", women's rights, evolution and on and on. Yet no matter how hard I try I can't satisfactorily remove "atheism" as a factor in all this. I might write a longer blog piece about this after I have thought some more. :scratch:

Great meeting y'all at the conference. The "socialising amongst atheists" part was probably the only thing that directly hinged on us being atheists. :)

And yes, there was a groan went up when Richard got the god botherer question, but two important points: 1) The groan was because she was asking about "DNA" when it was obvious she didn't even have a high school understanding of chemistry and 2) Richard quieted the audience and tried to make something of an answer that would be of use to everyone else.
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Re: Australian Atheist Convention, Melbourne 12-14 March

#312  Postby Faithfree » Mar 17, 2010 2:36 pm

xrayzed wrote:
podblack wrote:
Don't worry about missing my talk - I think that every journalist missed mine and Robyn Williams (more's the shame for them, Williams is a science communication legend!) and I hope to redo it, improve and present it at the forthcoming TAM Australia with the co-researcher (and wonderfully charismatic) Dr Martin Bridgstock. :)
When and where?

Sydney, 26-28 November 2010. Should be fun and I'm seriously thinking of going.
http://www.skeptics.com.au/latest/announcements/australian-skeptics-announce-tamaustralia2010/
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Re: Global Atheist Convention - Melbourne 2010

#313  Postby Macdoc » Mar 17, 2010 3:09 pm

sorry if dup - anyone following PZ Myers on the convention and coverage

this is precious :cheers:

http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2010 ... _media.php
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Re: Global Atheist Convention - Melbourne 2010

#314  Postby Lazar » Mar 17, 2010 3:27 pm

Be interested to get the opinion of folks who attended on Tanya Levin. I read a little bits of her book and felt it was a little overly :waah: . Was she any good in person and did she have anything useful to say?
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Re: Global Atheist Convention - Melbourne 2010

#315  Postby Lion IRC » Mar 17, 2010 10:39 pm



Hi Ginckgo,

Thanks for the link.

Since Catherine Deveny mentioned the show “Q and A” and hypocrites…did anyone see her pretentious concern on QANDA for the important matter of Tradition – something most atheists I know aren’t THAT fussed about – namely and specifically, the TRADITIONAL owners of this country?

I was wondering if there was an indigenous “Welcome to Country” for the visiting atheists.

It would be ironic if atheists who spoke at the Convention (like Mr Dawkins who thinks the sacred bones of ancestors are just "specimens") were welcome to promote their ideology. A dull and lifeless ideology which, among other things;

*Rejects the existence of the “soul” and would regard Aboriginal “sacred sites” as superstitious mythology. (Yes, some atheists do actually snigger and make jokes about such things)

*Preaches empirical science as PROOF that there is no such thing as Dreamtime - the very thing which underpins Aboriginal continuous connection to country.

*Refutes the power of mind over matter as illogical and primitive voodooism – Maybe Ms Deveny thinks Gadaicha (pointing the bone) would make a good comedy skit.

*Advocates the supremacy of science and technology (enlightenment they call it) over that primitive Paleolithic way of life which (by the way) managed to make it 40,000 years without polluting the air, spewing filth into the ocean, clearing trees, melting ice bergs, endangering and eradicating whole species of animals just so we can all have mobile phones and 6 foot plasma screen TV’s to sit and stare at documentaries about the billion dollar projects science loves such as space travel and Hadron particle colliders or movies like Avatar where “primitive” people “collide” with the advanced, high-tech “civilization whose only “religion” is money


I realise the so-called “New Atheism” fills a need for counter-culture, pseudo intellectuals to flock together and pretend they are so much smarter than us. And I know they think we are all so “deluded” for being interested in…”tarot cards, quartz crystals, wicca, feng shui, meditation/prayer, falun gong, native wisdom, dream interpretation, animal sixth sense, religious vegetarianism, Reiki, out of body experiences, the afterlife, placebo effects, Rastafarianism, ancestor worship, religious funeral services, 2 minutes silence on Anzac Day, thinking about God/Allah/Brahma/Vishnu, Collingwood Football Club, astrology, numerology, mental telepathy, black holes, time travel, alien life, dark energy, parallel universes….(No wait! Are some of those OK according to atheists? I’m not sure. They make their own rules. Truth is stranger than fiction. Cosmology. etc.) When you invite yourself into our living rooms and critique our lives and values don’t be surprised when you find we will stick together.

Just remember, Ms Deveny, when a bunch of atheists get together and make fun of "the rest of us" – you are picking a pretty big fight. I notice many of the guest speakers at the New Atheism Convention like to poke fun at a very small slice of “religion” and Christian leaders like George Pell make cheap targets for New Atheist bullies. But the “superstitions” you attack and ridicule comprise a very BIG target indeed and they have been around for a very long time. When the hunter religions of the Paleolithic age encountered the rise of agriculture, religion didn’t die. When the high tech Mesopotamian city states rose up Neolithic farmers moved to the city where they had brand new Ziggurats and temples. When the Renaissance came, temples just got bigger and became Cathedrals. Religious art evolved from cave walls to priceless paintings hanging in galleries like Palais du Louvre.

And when the “Age of Reason” arrived and was supposed to replace religion with a utopia of enlightenment and empirical evidence, look what we got instead - Chaos theory. Uncertainty Principles. Quantum Weirdness. A no-boundary universe which appears to us the same in any direction we look – just as if we are at the center. The telescope and the microscope didn’t remove mystery – they gave us more mystery than we could have EVER imagined.

So your religion (non-stamp collecting) which spends so much time telling us there is no such thing as stamps and organises Global Non-Stamp Collector Conventions where you sit around talking about “not collecting imaginary stamps” and how unfair it is that the tax payers of Australia won’t kick in to help pay for a “Convention About Nothing”, is about as useful in providing the Meaning of Life as George Costanza - a character from that other “Show About Nothing” – Seinfeld.

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Re: Global Atheist Convention - Melbourne 2010

#316  Postby MoonLit » Mar 18, 2010 3:18 am

Lion IRC wrote:[
So your religion (non-stamp collecting)


Not a religion. :roll:

which spends so much time telling us there is no such thing as stamps and organises Global Non-Stamp Collector Conventions where you sit around talking about “not collecting imaginary stamps”


More like how religion affects our lives and our countries.

and how unfair it is that the tax payers of Australia won’t kick in to help pay for a “Convention About Nothing”,


Convention about how many atheists there are, how many are de-converting, how religion affects our lives and our countries, and a great way to meet new people, see old friends and make new friends who also reject religion.
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Re: Global Atheist Convention - Melbourne 2010

#317  Postby Lion IRC » Mar 18, 2010 3:30 am

Hi Valden,
.....and I bet Catherine Deveny won't be so vocal about Australian indigenous religion, tradition and spiritual Dreamtime connection to the land in future when she decides to mouth off about "Welcome to Country" ceremonies.
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Re: Global Atheist Convention - Melbourne 2010

#318  Postby Made of Stars » Mar 18, 2010 3:39 am

Lion IRC, if you want to chat about Catherine Deveny's talks outside of the context of the GAC, perhaps you could start a thread in Nontheism?
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Re: Global Atheist Convention - Melbourne 2010

#319  Postby Kiwi » Mar 18, 2010 3:47 am

Lion IRC,
"When the hunter religions of the Paleolithic age encountered the rise of agriculture, religion didn’t die. When the high tech Mesopotamian city states rose up Neolithic farmers moved to the city where they had brand new Ziggurats and temples. When the Renaissance came, temples just got bigger and became Cathedrals."


I will leave it to others to deal with the many errors in your post.

However the above assertion betrays how little you understand the evolution of thought and technology.

The central idea which I encourage you to accept is that religion(s) are primarily social explanatory frameworks. As society evolved, with the discovery of agriculture etc, we ceased using certain tools, or improved the ones we had such as spears with metal tips, as opposed to wooden ones. So as they were no longer required, spears were consigned to museums, along with behaviours such as hunter gathering, replaced by agriculture as you point out. We had no need for wooden spears because we had a better tool.

Science is that better tool than religions to explain the world we find ourselves in, and guess what, it does not, so far, support the existence of one or more deities. This could change, but it appears very unlikely. Certainly for those who care to do the research, there appears to be no REASON to base one's life on myths as opposed to evidence.

I like your idea that
When the Renaissance came, temples just got bigger and became Cathedrals.


Well, we are still in the Renaissance/Enlightenment, so look out for many Cathedrals to become museums.
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Re: Global Atheist Convention - Melbourne 2010

#320  Postby Made of Stars » Mar 18, 2010 5:03 am

Kiwi wrote:Well, we are still in the Renaissance/Enlightenment, so look out for many Cathedrals to become museums.

As evidence, here's what the church that I grew up next door to has become: http://www.uxbridge.org.nz/

It's still performing the community social function, but without the woo and iron age morality.

Now, let's get back to the GAC. Please!
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