Apostacon has set the standard for atheist conferences.

In 2008 (and really in 2009 at Skepticon 2), my friends and I conceived of a conference that would become the model for many other groups.  It was Skepticon, and it introduced a slew of new ideas to the conference format.  Forgive me a moment of pride when I say it changed things.

Apostacon is the new conference to change things.  I never thought I’d see another conference whose positive and happy social atmosphere compared to Skepticon’s, but this last weekend I saw just that.  Everything was so professionally run and presented, and the environment was the most enjoyable I’ve ever experienced.  I cannot lavish Sarah Morehead and the sponsoring groups like The Freedom From Religion Foundation and Be Secular with enough praise for this event.

At nights Michaelyn and I spent the evening with friends at the hotel bar where a touring dueling pianos act was performing.  At one point I got pulled on stage to give an impromptu performance of Come Sail Away:

I daresay that even though I was inebriated that I managed to fairly rock the house, despite not being on my full vocal game.

And now, piksharz!

Keep the Christ in Christmas. You stay classy, Kansas.


Michaelyn with Dr. Elizabeth Cornwell. Hawt.


Good times with a pirate wench, Smantha, and Shayrah from The Secular View.


Big table of atheists being silly and rocking out to Piano Man.


Shayrah and Michaelyn: sexy daleks with keytars. Scratch that fantasy off the bucket list…


Devils and daleks, natural allies.


Tyler was a load of fun. Here he can be seen backing dat ass up with Teagan lurking on the left in her footie pajamas.


If given the choice to go to an atheist event or church, ask yourself why god made church so boring by comparison.


SOMA ladies: Smantha, Michaelyn, and Maria.


I went to the costume ball as Super Teemo. I came out of stealth for this photo.


Dalek Michaelyn encounters her arch nemesis: The Doctor! This guy was the most muscular computer geek I’ve ever seen.


Michaelyn with Cas, the sexy piano player.


R2D2 was on top of this truck, so I got a picture.


Click to embiggen. This was the loneliest cloud in the sky. The panorama mode makes it look like two, but it was the only tiny cloud in an entirely blue sky.


Michaelyn and I being totally serious at the VIP lunch.


And here’s a bonus: Jasmine at the PA Atheist/Humanist Conference drew me a Teemo because she liked mah hat.  :)

There was also a baby.  He loved my name badge, though not nearly as much as he loved Michaelyn.

Babeh don’t give no fucks.


  • http://drzach.net Zachary Moore

    What were some specific examples of things that Apostacon did right that other conferences typically don’t?

    • JTEberhard

      I’m uncomfortable with that phrasing. I think of it more as what Apostacon really excelled at. Like two basketball players, one who makes 90% of his free throws and another who makes 95%. You wouldn’t say the former doesn’t do it right, just that the latter takes it to a whole new level.

      And the answer is broad. They left plenty of time for fun. They scheduled time at a water park and found a hotel with an arcade.

      They ran a costume ball that didn’t start at some incredibly late hour. It was as though fun was as big a part as the talks.

      The talks were 30 minutes each with ample break time. That is a good amount.

      Lots of space. I never realized how claustrophobic some conference spaces could be until I was in the expansive lobby at Apostacon.

      No drama. This is important.

      Great speaker lineup of down-to-earth people who made it a point to engage the audience.

      Professional appearance. Everything was run with laser precision, very easy to tell where everything was, handouts were well done, etc.

      There’s more, but I’m into the news. Those are the starting points though.

    • iknklast

      I also liked the fact that there weren’t a lot of debates with sorry debaters on one side that aren’t able to hold their own. Or that don’t stick to topic. I much prefer the speakers to the debates because the other side debaters are often so lame.

      • Michaelyn

        To be fair…there aren’t any great arguments for theists to use (I’m assuming they’re debating the existence of god or morality without god). It sucks to be the debater on the side of theism because they’re wrong.

        • iknklast

          True enough. But I have seen debates where the theists actually made a good show of it; the ones at ReasonFest in 2012 were just horrible. I suppose the students chose them because they impressed the believers when there was no one there to challenge them. The ones in 2013 were much better; they still had bad arguments, but at least they had the presence to deliver them better.

  • RhubarbTheBear

    Cosplay… anthropomorphic fan art… yeah, they’ve taken a few plays from the furry fandom playbook. I can’t overemphasize how much I approve! (Especially if they keep avoiding the drama.)

  • Art_Vandelay

    You rocked that song, JT. So did Michaelyn “exterminate” that baby or what?

  • iknklast

    Go, Nebraska! Sometimes I can actually be proud of my adopted state.

  • RenDP

    You killed it, JT. I was hoping to see you do Lady Saturday night, but then again I love old Styx and I got greedy. This is something I will never, ever forget unless I get dementia. Such a great time at that piano bar!!!

  • RenDP

    Definitely going back next year. I’ll take Apostacon over TAM any day.