I’m Part of FreethoughtBlogs’ FTBConscience!

I’ll be appearing on the “Atheism and Grief” panel at FTBConscience this Sunday, July 21 at 4 p.m. Central time.

Other speakers will include Rebecca Hensler, founder of Grief Beyond Belief, plus Greta Christina and Nicome Taylor.

Here’s the entire convention schedule, and here’s the page detailing just my panel.

I’d volunteered to be on the panel regarding the future of atheism, hoping to talk about Beta Culture, but there were already plenty of panelists included there.

Hope to see you there!

New Site Layout (Plus Brain-Stealing Radiation)

No doubt you’ve noticed the different appearance here, and on Freethought Blogs generally. The Hidden Masters of FTB are upgrading the design, as well as making changes such as a hypnotic opinion generator that will steal your mind and turn you into a willing minion of the World Atheist Conspiracy.

I’m not totally convinced I like the new typeface. Certain other bloggers are tweaking their CSS to render posts in other fonts, and I might do the same after things shake out. Some bugs are being worked out behind the scenes, and I don’t want to fiddle until that all settles down.

Meanwhile, you are getting very sleepy. After today, you will think and do only what I tell you. Continue reading “New Site Layout (Plus Brain-Stealing Radiation)”

The Passing of a Loved One

Greta Christina recently lost her father.

My father died on October 1, 2012, at the age of 79.

My dad, like me, was an atheist. And when you’re an atheist and a non-believer, and the people you love die, you don’t get to tell yourself that they aren’t really dead. You don’t get to tell yourself that you’re going to see them again someday, in some hypothetical post-death existence that somehow both is and is not life. You have to accept that death is really permanent, and really final.

This may be surprising to many believers… but atheist ways of dealing with death and grief are not actually dire, or hopeless, or without consolation. I’ve been surprised, in fact, at how comforting my humanism and my naturalism have been during my grief.

Go over there and read it. It’s that rarest of obits, one from an atheist. Illuminating, uncompromising, and very, very touching.

Talking to John Loftus

Former FtBer John Loftus of Debunking Christianity has a post up today titled Ed Brayton, PZ Myers, and Freethought Bloggers, Listen to Me.

John is absolutely welcome to his opinions, but as some large part of what he said is a whack at FtB, and as I disagree with it, I answered him in the comments, and I echo it here.


Freethought Blogs blogger here, specifically the Blue Collar Atheist.

Quoting you: “I know you have a herd mentality and have a strong tendency not to listen to outsiders …” Continue reading “Talking to John Loftus”

Celebrate, We Must. Yes.

PZ sits on the Tentacled Throne

According to the Wikipedia article on PZ Myers, “Pharyngula.org was started on June 19, 2002.”

Surely that means there will be some sort of celebration — on or about June 19, 2012 — in honor of a full DECADE of delightful and curmudgeonly atheist blogging? (Few will remember that PZ’s entire first year was devoted mostly to talk of squid sex.)

I’m thinking backyard barbecue. Liquor should be involved.

What Will YOU Do When the Angry Voices Come?

One of the most riveting quotes from the Reason Rally stage was this one:

I will continue my fight until I die.

That was said by author/speaker/activist Taslima Nasrin.

Unlike most of us, who might say such things in the naive, comfortable bravado of our safe and secure lives, Nasrin has been under threat of death, under sentence of death by Islamic decree since 1993.

In her case, as I mentioned in Rusted Pickup at the Senior Prom, her statement is a fully-conscious admission of the possibility of murder.

As I also said in that post, I am in awe of such courage. I mean, I have my little adventures, parasailing and cliffside hiking and such, and they scare me, but nothing in my life comes anywhere close to this.

She is an avatar of courage that is both fantastically admirable and, in its example, personally demanding. Her entire life grabs you by the lapels and says “What will YOU do when the angry voices come?

Most of us will sit back and shut up. A very, very few of us will stand in place, look death in the eye, and demand change.

Taslima Nasrin, this incredible human being, is  joining FreethoughtBlogs under the banner No Country for Women.

Welcome, Taslima!

For all of us here, and for all of you reading, the bar is raised.

Greta Christina has a new book!

What Ed said.

And DarkSyde.

And Greg Laden.

And Greta herself!

Why Are You Atheists So Angry? 99 Things That Piss Off the Godless, by Greta Christina, is out on Kindle!

Greta will also be publishing the Nook and Smashmouth versions in the near-future (think hours). The physical edition will be out in April.

There is a very good reason why every time I go to type (fellow FtB blogger) Greta Christina’s name, my fingers first insist on typing, instead of “Greta,”  “GREAT.”

I kid you not, this is something you’re gonna want to BUY and READ.

Reason Rally Update

Reason Rally plane tickets in hand!

I live about 8 hours drive time from DC, so I was going to drive down on March 23, but I have to work fairly late that day, so I decided to fly down on Saturday morning, March 24.

Tentative plan is to meet up with a few other friends near the statue of Joseph Henry on the grassy quadrangle side of Smithsonian Castle (which is pretty close to the RR stage area), although I may end up getting there after the start of the Rally. Argh.

Originally, the time of the Rally was given as 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and I was expecting to show up at the after-event event at a nearby restaurant (Hemant Mehta has the details), but now Rally hours appear to be 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The restaurant after-event meeting is receiving the first 150 people between 5:30 and 6 p.m., so if I stay till the end of the Rally, I can’t get to the restaurant thingie.

Besides which, I’m staying in Baltimore that night, and the last MARC commuter train leaves Union Station at 7-ish.

Well, crap. I guess I’m gonna be forced to just enjoy the Rally.


Madison Avenue Jesus

Man, the ads we get here at FtB. My understanding is that the service that places these things gets progressively better at targeting them to the reader audience over time. I continue to hope that’s true. If the whole thing works on nothing but keywords, and if atheist bloggers frequently mention worship and God and Jesus – in the making of jokes if nothing else – then readers here will have to grin and bear a LOT of ads that should rightly be targeted at the goddy. We’re like a Jewish site that deals with Holocaust issues getting ads from skinhead clubs because the words “swastika” and “Hitler” come up frequently.   Continue reading “Madison Avenue Jesus”