Reason Rally/American Atheists Conference [Index Post]

The weekend of March 24th 2012, a disputed number of thousands of people gathered in DC for the Reason Rally -- a pro-secular extravaganza on the National Mall.  Many of us stuck around through the weekend to attend the American Atheists National Conference.  The posts collected below were inspired by events at one or both of these events.Now You See Me, Now I... What? -- Ok, technically A Week (the come out as atheist on facebook week) occurred before the Reason Rally, but the problem of wh … [Read more...]

Fixing my Fights

The most surreal part of attending the Reason Rally and the American Atheists conference happened during a conversation with a fellow attendee when he told me I might know him better by his pseudonym. It turned out that he was a commenter who had gone after me pretty aggressively as an accommodationist during my stint guestblogging at Daylight Atheism.It's hard, when interacting online, to imagine your interlocutors as real people (and in this case, even the efforts I had made were misguided … [Read more...]

Reason Rally Wrap-Up

Since it's been two weeks since the event, I'm collapsing some of my other experiences at the Reason Rally into a few brief thoughts:What do we want? ______ When do we want it? Now!The Reason Rally, to the best of my knowledge, didn't have a public policy ask. We weren't gathered in DC to demand anything from Congress or the President. So I had some of the same mixed feelings that I had about A Week. For the attendees who are already out, what comes next?Some of the stories of … [Read more...]

Sin isn’t Newtonian

(Part two of two on the apologetics offered by missionaries outside the Reason Rally)In my second discussion outside the Reason Rally,  a pair of tag-teaming Christians were trying to bootstrap from my belief in immaterial laws of logic or morality to evidence for an immaterial God.  They must have thought they were handed a trump card when I admitted I find the doctrine of Original Sin to have an intuitive resonance. Humans have a tendency toward disorder, and the cruelties we commit wa … [Read more...]

Evangelicals Pitching Skepticism?

(Part one of two on the apologetics offered by missionaries outside the Reason Rally)I was about an hour late to the Reason Rally because I couldn't resist stopping to talk to the Christian evangelists who were ringing the rally. The conversations probably went on longer than was productive (I'm bad at taking my own advice about walking away from arguments), but I thought there were some interesting tactics on display.The biggest surprise? I heard more pitches for radical skepticism from … [Read more...]

Though this be Contempt, Yet there is Method in it

The Reason Rally didn't have a clear 'ask.' We weren't calling on Congress to pass a particular piece of legislation or demanding a timeline for reform. As a result, news media has a lot of latitude to frame the message of the rally. And most of them took their cue from one of the best known speakers: Richard Dawkins.USA Today's headline was Richard Dawkins to atheist rally: 'Show contempt' for faith.  They didn't include a block quote from him, but offered this summary of his … [Read more...]