Monday, October 12, 2009

Wow, what a convention

As readers of my blog will know, a number of people from Sarnia traveled to Burbank, California for the Atheist Alliance International Conference "Darwin's Legacy".

The attendance at the conference was well over what they anticipated (PZ Myers' talk was so busy that people were sitting in the aisles, standing along the walls and listening (as much as the could) from just outside the doors of the room).

I have a number of interesting stories to tell and some pictures to show from the event. I haven't had a chance to copy the pictures from my cameras yet and, with having to go back to work tomorrow, I'm sure the next few days will be hectic too.

The AAI convention, this year, was co-sponsored by the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science. With such a sponsorship, a number of the talks were more reason and science focused which made for an educating and enligthening weekend. Carolyn Porco (an atheist*) was one of the speakers - Carolyn was the "real person" behind the character that Jodie Foster played in Carl Sagan's epic Contact.

From the world of podcasts, I had the pleasure of spending a few minutes with Brother Richard (Atheist News)(also of Atheist Nexus) and David Driscoll (American Freethought). Both of these guys were, like most atheists, friendly, well-spoken, articulate, approachable and funny.

Contrary to other conventions I've been to (outside the freethinking/skeptic/atheist movement), the speakers are not put on a pedestal away from the conference attendees. After most speakers had a chance to present, attendees were given an opportunity to ask questions or point out areas where they disagree. Even more amazing is that most of the speakers were around for the full convention and, when they could, would engage in conversations with the rest of us.

In the next couple of weeks, I'll get some of my pictures posted and tell you, more in depth, about my experience at the event.

*An atheist is someone who doesn't believe in gods. Sorry Carolyn.

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