PZ Myers, Leslie Cannold, Chris Stedman – The Road Less Traveled Fringe Event

I’m going to see if I can get more information about what they’ll be talking about precisely – but here’s the details and tickets are going fast! Do get one if you’re around after the Global Atheist convention!

Can believers and atheists work together for the common good? Join Chris Stedman, PZ Myers & Leslie Cannold in conversation with Meredith Doig. An oficial fringe event of the 2012 Global Atheist Convention.

Monday, April 16, 2012 – 6:00pm until 8:00pm
Elisabeth Murdoch, University of Melbourne
Tickets: Standard $22, Students $12
Order online: http://roadlesstraveled.eventbrite.com/

It’s on the Monday AFTER the Global Atheist Convention, and if you’re unable to afford the event – especially if you are a student – this is a fantastic way of getting to see three presenters (with the MC Meredith Doig, who was at the 2010 GAC) with lots of discussion and interaction. With PZ and Chris and Leslie – for two hours! This is a real bargain, quite frankly!

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  • http://freethoughtblogs.com/butterfliesandwheels/ Ophelia Benson

    Cool, but the airfare from Seattle adds a bit more!

    • G

      Didn’ you do the UK already this year Ophelia? You’re doing TAM too and other events so you can’t have everything.

      More Australians should be doing events in the US — USA has more than enough that you get to go to when there’s only one here for us. :p Support all women like Leslie and Meredith who don’t get a chance otherwise.

      • Kylie Sturgess

        I don’t think Ophelia Benson was being jealous or pushy, G. It’s just a long way to travel for an event? Australians have a slightly different take on travel, I’ve always found.

        There should be more opportunities for people to present and build up their skills; one of the things that the Freethought University Alliance gives is the chance for up-and-coming atheists to practice and work on presenting skills within colleges and universities in their local regions. I’d like to see more women and minorities who have appeared in blogs and other mediums appear at conferences and the networking allowed by an event like a GAC provides that kind of opportunity. Who knows, at the next GAC there may be fresh faces on the stage who will eclipse the likes of Dawkins?

  • https://twitter.com/#!/dreadpiratemick Mick

    Sadly, I’ll be back in Canberra (and back to work) on the sixteenth. Otherwise I’d definitely be in attendance. It looks to be a fascinating discussion, with each of the speakers bringing a different perspective.

  • http://furiouspurpose.me rorschach

    Can believers and atheists work together for the common good?

    Maybe there would be a point to this discussion beyond milking money if we could first define “common good”. And since that definition will undoubtedly vary between believers and atheists, I really don’t quite see the point, since the answer seems to be an obvious “No, what are you even talking about ?”.

    • Kylie Sturgess

      That’s a dismissive attitude one might take if you don’t think there’s such a thing as Secularism, but since there are examples of common causes that people (regardless of faith) do work together on – it’s clearly something that does deserve discussing. It’s up to the three presenters to work it out and see how well they reason, which is an educational experience – and considering who is up on the stage, bound to be interesting as well.

      To claim that it’s about fundraising (AT THAT PRICE??) is not only baseless but indicates that you can always Just. Not. Go. if you’re that inclined.

      I certainly see it as a bargain and done with student attendees and low prices to be inclusive of them in mind.

    • https://twitter.com/#!/dreadpiratemick Mick

      Maybe there would be a point to this discussion beyond milking money if we could first define “common good”.

      Surely one of the great things about (and, perhaps, the very point of) putting four very clever people on a stage together is so that they can discuss and debate and sort out this sort of detail for themselves.

      • Kylie Sturgess

        It may also help provide food for thought for the people who may be undecided or willing to see if their minds can be changed on the matter.

        We’re in Australia.

        How often are you going to get PZ Myers, Chris Stedman and Leslie Cannold and Meredith Doig on the same stage together? I’ve not even seen Myers and Stedman together on stage before, and I know they have different views for a start. I’d like to hear Leslie Cannold’s contribution as well, as she definitely has some strong opinions and someone I like hearing on Q&A.

        • http://kriswager.blogspot.com Kristjan Wager

          Saying that PZ Myers and Stedman have different views is putting it mildly.

  • Lewis

    I think that it’s a good thing to have a panel discussion on after all Stedman had a bunch of claims a while back about atheism and people didn’t always agree. I want to hear what he has to say in person to someone like PZ or even Cannold who identifies as agnostic.


    While some atheists seem to relish and even encourage it, this internal strife is, for many of us, exhausting. As someone who is regularly targeted with false critiques by fellow atheist activists — most frequently that I believe that religious beliefs should be immune from criticism, a claim I countered in this post, or that I am an apologist for religion, for which no evidence has ever been provided — I can attest firsthand that the debate over how atheists should approach religion is perhaps the most contentious conversation in the atheist movement. It is a frequent cause of disagreement, and the disagreements it inspires are very often vitriolic and personal.

    In short: Christina hit the nail on the head. The source of the infighting in the atheist movement is, in fact, what Christina identified in her post — there are competing and often contradictory goals among self-identified “atheist activists.”

    …The implication of Christina’s claim is that criticizing religious beliefs is a top priority for many atheist activists, and that those who do not prioritize it should allow that it is an important element of atheist activism as a movement. But I have concerns with the idea that the atheist movement is currently doing this well — or that it is truly “atheist activism.”

    • Stacy

      Lewis, thanks for that link. I found Stedman’s HuffPo article enlightening. And by “enlightening” I mean, “now I know why so many people don’t like that guy.”

      In it, Stedman cherry-picked some rather inflammatory statements by PZ, Al Stefanelli, and JT Eberhard, and said:

      None of these are reasonable critiques of any specific Islamic beliefs. They are broad generalizations and they do nothing to further the discourse on ethics

      I clicked on the links he provided, and read the comments in their proper context–and came away wondering whether Stedman’s dishonest or just blinded by his own anti-gnu bias.

      One was a deliberately somewhat hyperbolic statement aimed at Islamists who issued death threats to a cartoonist; one was a statement about the horrors that can happen when people take the precepts of Islam literally (plucked from a post that emphasizes that most Muslims don’t do that); and one pointed out that Mohammed fucked a nine year old girl and some of his followers therefore feel justified in taking child brides, and took apologists to task for being more interested in not hurting believers’ feelings than in loudly and unambiguously saying, that’s terrible.

      I thought the articles Stedman cited did just fine, in their several ways, if not “furthering the discourse on ethics” (whatever that means exactly), at least taking clear stands on moral issues. Not sure Stedman contributed anything at all to the discourse, though, beyond “tut-tut, that’s not a nice thing to say.”

      • Kylie Sturgess

        And with that, I think we can GUARANTEE a very, very interesting and unmissable event when it comes to hearing what they can say to each other’s faces on the Monday night!

        • Stacy

          lol! There Will Be Blood Some Very Interesting Disagreement!

        • Josh Slocum

          And with that, I think we can GUARANTEE a very, very interesting and unmissable event when it comes to hearing what they can say to each other’s faces on the Monday night!

          Sure, if you’re interested in “unmissable” events regardless of whether the guests are bullshitters. And Stedman is a bullshitter of the lowest order. You do know this, right?

  • http://furiouspurpose.me rorschach

    Surely one of the great things about (and, perhaps, the very point of) putting four very clever people on a stage together is so that they can discuss and debate and sort out this sort of detail for themselves.

    PZ doesn’t ask for a speaker fee ever, and I doubt that Leslie Cannold does, don’t know about Stedman. These are matters that we deem important and relevant, so why not make it free for people to actually go and hear them ? That’s all I’m asking really.

  • http://furiouspurpose.me rorschach

    Fair enough…I’m working that day, which in itself will be an interesting challenge, so I won’t be able to make it. I agree, should be a fun discussion.

    • Lewis

      so I won’t be able to make it.

      So all that complaining about ‘I want something for free’ is for free? Thanks a bunch.

      I used to help run a reading club for free. That was until people complained about having to buy the books to read, about having to chip in with snacks if they went to other people’s houses to talk about the books, about having their homes occassionally host the club and then even about having to get the library to get the books if they didn’t want to pay for them – - and then about how they didn’t want to use the library for a small fee just to help them out. There’s still a Meetup group that complains that no one ever runs the bookclub anymroe.

      People who have no idea what goes into running an event, who don’t run events and don’t support local groups should either get some perspective or man up and do without anything.

      • Kylie Sturgess

        I HAVE AN UPDATE. Thank you to the event organisers for getting in touch with me.

        The cost helps pay for extending PZ Myers’ flights (as he would have gone home after the GAC otherwise) and to host the others’ appearance. Anyone else can just talk to the hosts on the link that was given.

  • Josh Slocum

    Who invited Stedman, and why?

  • http://furiouspurpose.me rorschach

    Who invited Stedman, and why?

    This is what I’m saying. It’s about the controversy, not the issues. And that’ll be 22 bucks, thank you. Why else invite Stedman.

    So all that complaining about ‘I want something for free’ is for free? Thanks a bunch.

    Are you stupid or willfully obtuse ? Actually, that might be a false dichotomy.

    • Kylie Sturgess

      You already said that you won’t be going and that you’re not interested in finding out more information… Got anything else to offer to this discussion or not?

  • Kylie Sturgess

    People are clearly getting overly emotional about this and I’m not keen on having people abuse others as demonstrated. I’m taking a step back and people can find their own information in future, thanks.

  • BB

    Rock Beyond Belief is free in the USA and has a huge lineup but without supporters they’ll have troubles.
    http://freethoughtblogs.com/rockbeyondbelief/2012/03/25/msnbcs-excellent-coverage-of-the-upcoming-foxhole-atheist-festival/

    But all of that fails if we have a low attendance.
    If nobody shows up, then the military will feel justified in their earlier ‘broom closet’ treatment of forcing us into a tiny movie theater. It will effectively set us back another decade.

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