Monday, 15 March 2010

Global Atheist Convention 2010

The Rise of Atheism The dust is settling after Australia’s biggest ever gathering of atheists and the godless delegates are making their godless way home.

The convention was a great opportunity to meet a bunch of people I’ve only known via Twitter and Facebook. It’s wonderful having conversations not restricted to 140 characters at a time.

Organisers managed to avoid divine wrath (and, as Sue-Ann Post said, dodged a PR bullet by not being scheduled during last week’s apocalyptic storm). Protests were limited to a couple of ragged creationists out the front complaining that Dawkins won’t debate them.

It’s like complaining that Michael Schumacher refuses to race against The Wiggles in their Big Red Car.

Media coverage this morning ranged from the excellent and informative (in The Australian) to the snippy and biased (Barney Zwartz in The Age … why do they get him to write this stuff?), and if you’re keen for a blow-by-blow you can check out the #atheistcon hashtag on Twitter.

Highlights for me were Taslima Nasrin’s incredibly moving story about her exile from India when her government decided the rights of Muslim extremists mattered more than her freedom of speech.

Also great were PZ Myers on the inevitable conflicts between science and religion, and Dan Barker talking about his move from evangelical Christian preacher to prominent atheist activist.

All in all a fabulous time was had by all. And me, I’m taking away a definite mood of optimism for a bright and secular future.


Sam Sejavka said...

Great to see you there, Matt.

Yes, Barney Zwartz ... leaping on Dawkins' 'Pope Nazi' quip. Unforgivable misrepresentation. I think Dawkins just couldn't remember the guy's name and let the 'nazi' just pop out as a bit of mischief.

Dave ~ said...

I want a 'Pope Nazi' t-shirt.

Schumacher v Wiggles = giggles.

Anonymous said...

"Complaining that Dawkins won’t debate them [creationists].

It’s like complaining that Michael Schumacher refuses to race against The Wiggles in their Big Red Car."

Pure comedy gold! A very good comparison. I'm keeping a copy of that in my quotes collection (with acknowledgement to you of course).

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

Really good post for cleaning out the cobwebs :). Now someone mentioned something about all the complaints about Atheistcon being about hurt feelings someone could you know comment on that :)