First: Wow. I had a fantastic time at Eschaton 2012 in Ottawa. Gushy thank-yous to the organizers and volunteers, especially Seanna, Evan and Ania. Kevin Smith, President and Chair of Center For Inquiry Canada, you and your entire organization totally rock. All of you give me hope. (Give me a shout for your next event, and I’ll be there before the echoes die away.)
Also, to my FTB co-bloggers PZ, Crommunist, Natalie and Ophelia, it was especially nice to meet you or see you again. Ian, you are absolutely outrageous in all the best ways and it was very cool to spend time with you. PZ, thank you for existing; everything else is gravy. Eugenie Scott, I know I made no impression at all on you in the minute or so we had together, but I was awed to meet you. Larry Moran, ditto, and thank you for your interesting thoughts. Chris DiCarlo and Mrs. DiCarlo (I’m ashamed to say I didn’t catch your name), I really enjoyed talking to you at the museum, and wish we’d had more time. Lady DiCarlo, you gave me some things to think about, and those are the best kind of conversations.
Regarding things to think about: Natalie, PZ, Ania and Vyckie Garrison, and Ophelia who sat in briefly, I really enjoyed the Gender Issues panel. I’m a stodgy old white guy, but everything you said made sense; some of it was eye- and brain-opening.
All the rest of the people I got to visit with, or who asked me to autograph books, thankyouthankyouthankyou. Don’t ever think I’m so big-time that I don’t treasure every request to sign a book. I really enjoyed the time we had together. Thank you for laughing in all the right places and none of the wrong ones, and especially for your encouraging words on Beta Culture. (Also, encourage your friends to donate to CFI Canada. They’re doing some good stuff, and deserve support.)
Those of you reading this from other parts of the world, here’s something you don’t know about Ottawa: It is rated the second highest quality of living of any large city in the Americas, 14th highest in the world. It’s the second cleanest city in Canada, third cleanest in the world. For several years running, it’s been judged the best community in Canada in which to live. It’s also a damned friendly place. (Ottawans, as I said in my talk, I’m single, and already packed.)
This is an open comment thread. As I said at the conference, please chime in on Beta Culture. I would not only LIKE input, but I NEED it. If the thing is going to happen, it’s only going to be with input — and eventually, effort — from lots and lots of people. I hope to be talking about it a lot in the next year or so, and there should be a book coming out of all this in the not-too-distant future. (Conference organizers, if you think your audience might be interested — just say when. I would love to come give a talk about it.)
A couple of Beta-Culture-associated posts about the Book of Good Living, a good idea that has not gone forward (either because the guy who came up with it hasn’t had the time to devote to it, or is a useless slug who should MAKE the time):