Tuesday, 6 October 2009

The Rise of Atheism

The Rise of AtheismTickets for the 2010 Global Atheist Convention aka The Rise of Atheism, are now on sale!

Get your tickets here, and along with them your chance to meet Richard Dawkins, PZ Myers, Catherine Deveny, Philip Adams, Peter Singer, Robyn Williams and … me!

(I’ll just be hanging around being a fanboy, but still … come up and say hi!)

In an early shot at media coverage, religion columnist Barney Zwartz had a snippy little piece in today's Age, announcing the convention and referring to Dawkins as the “high priest of atheism”.

Barney was clearly less-than-impressed at having to write the story in the first place and was trying to be clever. Unfortunately (for him) he just came across as a grumpy old man in a cardigan unable to see the world beyond his self-imposed religious filter.

Referring to Dawkins as a “high priest” comes from the same school of thought that gave us “atheism is just another religion” and “science can't answer all questions about life therefore this wafer turns into Jesus flesh when the man in the dress spits on it”.

Still, a plug is a plug.

Get your tickets now!


catherineLd said...

i think the excitement is building and can't wait :D

Rob said...

I'll rise to the bait...
a grumpy old man in a cardigan unable to see the world beyond his self-imposed religious filter.

Now I obviously can't imagine you in a cardi, and you're not that old... but if you ever decide to ditch the by-line of "A science groupie and atheist lost in a superstitious world" it might be an otherwise apt description of this blog.

Matt said...

I prefer to think of it as a 'bullshit detector'.
Otherwise, you're more or less right.

Dave ~ said...

Yep, read that piece and was equally as disappointed Matt. But hey, it got the coverage. When science reporting these days sucks worse than the idea of a Hey Hey It's Saturday reunion, we'll take wins where we can.

Am a bit excited about it, so will be there with bells on. Or would that be weird? OK, no bells.

Maybe one or two.

Sean the Blogonaut F.C.D. said...

There were a number of letters written to the age, only two were printed though.

But yes it was a little snippy.

Rob said...

Sorry, but I trhink you guys are being a little bit oversensitive about the article.
I saw little that could be described as snippy, and certainly nothing that showed evidence that "Barney was clearly less-than-impressed at having to write the story in the first place"
Sure, they (and not necessarily Barney, remember journos don't control the headlines) called Dawkins a high priest. ho ho. It's an obvious gag. But knee jerking in this way only enforces the view that he is "revered" by the atheist movement in that exact way.
Skins need to be a little thicker here. Try taking the high ground, otherwise you come off in much the same light as the religious types who cry persecution at the first mention of atheistic freedom.

Sean the Blogonaut F.C.D. said...


Dn't get me wrong I am not raging at it :). The headline was probably written by a sub-editor with to little time/space/imagination on hand.

As to its brevity or snippyness well your probably right it will come down to a matter of perspective, there really wasn't much meat in the article at all.

In the end though I believe it has been a boon for Atheists. Tickets are selling like hotcakes.

To get a feeling for true snippyness you have to check out the comments from Catholic news

Rob said...

I'm sure there is snippiness about. I would expect nothing less. But Matt, being the science groupy that he is, should be aware that evidence is all important. And I saw no evidence in this article to support the (albeit very minor) backlash, nor the tone of this blog piece.

I was thinking, though, that perhaps I should get my own personal blog, so my friends can use the comments to tell me how wrong I am. I'm sure Matt and Dave would both appreciate that. (smiley face)

Dave ~ said...

Rob, I think you're wrong about that.

Matt said...

I've been saying for years you should have your own blog, Rob.
As long as it doesn't affect your Office Tips.

Matt said...

And Dave, I look forward to meeting you at the convention!

Quick Joe Smith said...

Since we've conceded the headline, I would be interested to know which bits of the article you found to be "snippy" because it looks like a pretty dry summary of events to me.

Matt said...

Hi Joe. The heading set the tone, but I'll concede Zwartz probably didn't write that.
The thing that annoyed me most was the first sentence, in which Dawkins was described as an "anti-religion campaigner".
It's an over-simplification of what Dawkins does and deliberately puts a negative spin on his position.
It'd be like (in the US) referring to a Democrat as an anti-Republican instead of a Democrat.

Quick Joe Smith said...

When one is a vocal opponent of religion, and writes books called "The God Delusion" and equating religious faith to the smallpox virus, the label is going to stick.

True, it's not all he does, but it's not an insignificant part of what he does either.

In the end I think it's more or less a moot point: I wouldn't take being labelled as "anti-religious" a criticism or putdown in any way. I'd probably say "Why thank-you."