Random AsidesReligion

Save the Date, Nonbelievers! (Plus something for the West Coast)

From April 20th to the 22nd, the Humanist Chaplaincy at Harvard is throwing a big fat conference to celebrate 30 years of nonbelief! If you’re anywhere near New England/the East Coast/the United States/Earth, you should make plans to be there (and let me know!). Salman Rushdie, E.O. Wilson, Steven Pinker, Lori Lipman Brown, and lots of other freethinkers will be in attendance. Plus, a Skepdude calendar model, Bryan Pesta, will be getting special mention for running the largest group of atheists and agnostics on Myspace! It’s only $99 to register for the whole weekend (that includes food, cheapos!), and it’s even less expensive if you’re a student and/or a member of the Secular Student Alliance. Click here to register.

If you want to go but aren’t sure you can swing the cash for a hotel room, please post as such below or email me and perhaps some peeps can share.


I nearly forgot to mention this one for the West Coast skepchick crowd: you simply must go see Jennifer Ouellette give a talk at CalTech as part of the Skeptic lecture series. Jennifer is engaging, funny, intellectually curious, and gorgeous. What more could you ask for? She’ll be discussing the Buffyverse on March 11. Check out Jennifer’s fabulous blog, Cocktail Party Physics!

Rebecca Watson

Rebecca is a writer, speaker, YouTube personality, and unrepentant science nerd. In addition to founding and continuing to run Skepchick, she hosts Quiz-o-Tron, a monthly science-themed quiz show and podcast that pits comedians against nerds. There is an asteroid named in her honor. Twitter @rebeccawatson Mastodon mstdn.social/@rebeccawatson Instagram @actuallyrebeccawatson TikTok @actuallyrebeccawatson YouTube @rebeccawatson BlueSky @rebeccawatson.bsky.social

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  1. Hooray! This sounds awesome! I must invite friends!

    Any information about day rates? I think some of the folks I'd invite might not be able to afford $100 or won't be available for all three days, etc.

  2. I'll be returning from a wto week trip to Japan the week before. I couldn't possibly afford to go to the US again until somewhere closer to the end of this year.

    However, Skeptics in the Pub I can do. Perhaps even as soon as this summer.

    I'll definitely make a big fuss about that when I can swing it, to make sure as many people as possible show up when I'm there 8)

  3. I'll be there along with some MIT Humanists/Agnostics/Atheists.

    Only $29 if you're a student and a member of the SSA!

  4. Rats. Another fun event I get to miss while I’m here being ruled by Britannia. Leaving Boston for London has proven quite the complicated and disappointing decision!

  5. Ooh. If I meet Salman Rushdie, then I’m only two degrees of separation from Thomas Pynchon! (At the moment, my closest approach goes through my old Electromagnetism professor, Peter Fisher, who was a student of Richard Feynman, whose daughter Michelle published a book of her father’s correspondence via the New York literary agent Melanie Jackson, Pynchon’s wife. And because everybody in Huntsville older than a certain age seems to have stories about Wernher von Braun, I’m only three notches from JFK, Isaac Asimov and, disturbingly, Hitler. Small world!)

    Best of all, it’s within walking distance.

  6. Aw, sorry to hear Expatria, but that’ll teach you to ever leave Boston. EVER.

    And Blake, I guess that means I’ll see you there. Awesome! Also, apparently I have the same distance to Pynchon as you, going through Murray Gell-Mann to Feynman, etc.

  7. Ah, Humanism – Atheism for wimps.

    “There may be no god, but we still want a belief system dammit.” They can’t even all agree on what Humanism is.

    Expatria, don’t despair – join the National Secular Society, start a chapter of your own and invite some kick ass speakers! Also try Skeptics in the Pub

  8. Hmm. Well, I’m not much of a pub-goer, but if you folks make it to London for one of those meetings I’d try to get out to it and have a few sodas or something. I’m too much of a homebody, so it’d do me good to get out.

  9. Not much of a pub-goer? What exactly do you do with your time over here? Everyone knows us English are a nation of binge drinkers.

    Best pub meeting I ever went to was in Dublin, it was a literery pub crawl; two actors gave us a tour of all the favorite drinking places of Behan, Beckett, et al. and gave readings at each place. Fantastic.

  10. I remember reading about Jeniffer Oulette's talk and thinking it sounded pretty darn interesting. But alas, I live a bit far …

  11. For anyone interested in coming to the Harvard conference, the Secular Student Alliance is offering members $100 and $200 travel grants to alleviate the cost of the trip! You can find out more at http://www.secularstudents.org. If you sign up for the eNewsletter on the website, you’ll get more information on the conference, travel grants, activist training, and all other goodness in the next couple weeks!

    — Hemant

  12. The ban is different in Belgium though. Any drinking establishment that has a liquor license (and is allowed to sells anything heavier than beer or wine, or in other words, stuff above 15% alcohol) is not required to be non-smoking.

    Everything else (including restaurants with a liquor license) is by default non-smoking, or it has to have a separate non-smoking section, physically separated (or the smoking section sufficiently ventilated) so it is essentially smoke-free.

    In other words, you can still smoke in clubs and bars, but most of the typical youth clubs and other hangout places for teenagers are now non-smoking, as are the bar areas in sport clubs and such.

  13. For those who dislike pubs, the atmosphere should be getting better in english ones this July when their indoor smoking ban comes into effect. Judging by experience in Ireland and Scotland it will take a few weeks to readjust when you start noticing that some pubs smell for different reasons than smoke…

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