Look out, Melbourne…

ImageAnimal-product-free luggage… check.

Gold convention, and Gala Dinner Tickets… check.

Train tickets for the scenic route… check.

Accommodation… check.

Ironing and packing clothes… okay… Innaminute.

That’s it Melbourne – I’m on my way down to sneer at your cafes, point at your soggy chips, and mock your dreary weather.

The Global Atheist Convention is my main objective, that and a few of the fringe events, but I do hope to find a good book exchange or two, and soak in a bit of this and that. I’ll be writing a few journal/essays on the convention (and fringe events), probably on a daily basis, for Ophelia Benson over at Butterflies and Wheels, and I’ll post links as they’re published.

I’m not overly-inclined to live-tweet a live event I’m taking notes on, but I should have my Twitter client turned on at various points to make comment. You can track my feed over here if you’re so inclined.

Possibly, if I can find the time to draft suitable questions, I’ll be able find someone of academic or community standing, amenable to a beer and twenty questions.

I wouldn’t mind catching up with some of the Melburnian wonks I’ve pestered on the blogosphere over the past seven years, if they’re up for it, and if we can find the time. I’m already lucky enough to be meeting and eating with one of their families at the gala dinner, so I won’t get sooky if I don’t get more than that.

The fringe event I’ve committed to is Secular Australia: A 10 Point Plan, featuring Russell Blackford, Meredith Doig and Graham Oppy. It’s on Thursday night at 6:30pm at Embiggen Books. It’s worth mentioning, and I’ve had Russell Blackford emphatically confirm this – this isn’t an atheist-only gig*. Secular theists are more than welcome – they’re wanted.

Don’t worry about my bluster, Melburnians. I come bearing hugs.

~ Bruce

2012 Global Atheist Convention – I’m going, are you?

I missed the Global Atheist Convention (GAC) in 2010, being reduced to analysing developments at a distance; online interviewing, raw footage and the like. While I suspect this had benefits, perhaps along the lines of insulating against the crowd-induced amplification of cognitive biases (helping for example, with this), there’s still nothing like reporting from the frontline, right?

I’ve got my dinner gala and gold tickets. Maybe I’ll see you there.

Of course, I’m biased. Or at least as an atheist, I’m about as biased as a cat can be herded.

I am a member of the Atheist Foundation of Australia, which you may suspect pre-disposes me towards positive coverage of the event, so there’s that. But I do expect to have a number of disagreements with people on-stage, beyond the disagreements they’ll have with each other, and my tastes are possibly a little more proletarian than those of most in attendance.

Not to detract from the general thrust of things, I’m also in large part interested in a number of the speakers as writers or academics, rather than just as prominent atheists. I’ve been following a number of them, for various reasons, well before there was this rise of The Atheist Thing. I’ll be taking that baggage with me.

A deliberate effort will be made on my part not to prejudice the performance of Catherine Deveny in the process of any critique. It’s a fair cop; I may not have enjoyed her writing up until this point, but really, I’ve never seen her live before. (And maybe I’ll re-read her writing differently afterward, who knows? Or maybe it’s just one of those irreconcilable Adelaide versus Melbourne things).

Beyond all of this, I wouldn’t mind catching up with a few people I’ve met online if they’re free in Melbourne at the time – maybe some of the left-wonk crowd down that way? Maybe I’ll have to see if Father Bob is up for visitors. I’ll definitely want to pop in to Embiggen Books as well (who at the time of writing have just had a flood, forcing a temporary closure – damn Melbourne).

Then there’s the matter of just looking around town, checking out the local sights and the various fringe events, and sniffing haughtily at the spectacle of South Australia’s neighbouring penal colony. Maybe I’ll even see you there.

~ Bruce

Information and tickets here: 2012 Global Atheist Convention.

Rob Smith: New Atheists ruin Home Economics curriculum

I’m going to head back to more subterranean parts of the blogosphere for the time being, down with the gnomes who tinker with the cogs and daemons that keep things working on the surface. This blog however, will continue in my absence for at least one post.

Rob Smith has returned!

I haven’t seen Rob for a few months, and he hasn’t submitted a post to Thinkers’ Podium since 2009, apparently due to personal/spiritual reasons (which he tells me he’ll blog about in future).

If I wasn’t so preoccupied I’d be writing something about Michael Ruse’s latest, wisest effulgence yet. (Why does effulgence, being such a nice word, conjure imagery of extruded effluent?)

Rob has agreed to write something on the topic, in a manner he promises, will be different to what I may expect. A curious promise.

Enough of my blather, here he is.

New Atheists ruin Home Economics  curriculum

By

Rob Smith

Continue reading “Rob Smith: New Atheists ruin Home Economics curriculum”