AAI Conference thoughts

Hambydammit
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AAI Conference thoughts

I was one of the first of the Rational Responders to arrive at the conference. Rich Rodriguez and I attended the auction on thursday night, where we filmed both Dennet and Hitchens doing the blasphemy challenge. To be honest, we were both a bit star struck for a while. We were sitting at a table with a couple of other early arrivals, and while we were talking, Richard Dawkins strolled right by. He was just milling about, and checking out the items up for auction, but it was really funny to watch the effect that it had on our table. Suddenly, the conversation became very disjointed, and everyone was glancing over their shoulder, trying not to be that guy, but gawking anyway.

After a couple of hours, it became obvious to us that these guys may be celebrities, but they really are basically ordinary, approachable people. For much of the evening, Dennett, Dawkins, Hitchens, and Ayaan Hirsi Ali were pretty much available to anyone who wanted to get an autograph, or ask them a quick question. Hitchens was particularly available, as he was conveniently located next to the bar.

Friday night was thrilling. All of the speakers were fantastic. There was something bigger about Friday, though, and it's what I consider to be the most exciting element of the whole conference. Sam Harris made a rather controversial speech. Both of his main points were contrary to the mainstream atheist trends right now, and he admitted up front that his ideas would probably not be well received. The beautiful thing about it, though, was that after the speeches, when many of us were gathered in the hotel bar, lots of people did disagree with him, but the sentiment seemed to be disagreement over minutia, and agreement that despite minor quibbles, the purpose of everyone at the conference was agreed upon.

This might seem like a small thing, but it's not. Atheists are notoriously hard to organize, and once you have them all together in one place, it's even harder to get them to agree on a single point. After all, freethinking encourages independent ideas. Certainly there is a lot of impetus to organize now, with the current political climate, but it seemed like there was something bigger. It seemed like there was general agreement that the time to stand idly by and let theists demand respect for their ridiculous beliefs has come to an end, regardless of politics. I personally heard at least a dozen stories of people who have come to realize just how much harm religion does individually -- how it breaks up families, represses normal desires, and causes all sorts of cognitive dissonance and personal stress. I talked to Republicans, Democrats, Libertarians, Independents, and Socialists. There were retired people, college students, professors, lawyers, artists, and just about any other kind of profession you can think of. This was not a group of stodgy intellectuals. These were ordinary people who have become tired of living in the dark ages. Many have travelled to other parts of the world, and have seen that society can function perfectly well without the belief that god is necessary for morals.

I'll definitely be making the trip next year. I feel energized and motivated, and I think pretty much everyone who attended this year feels the same. Apart from being a bit understaffed and not having enough available tickets, it was a roaring success.

 

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

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Susan
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It sounds absolutely

It sounds absolutely wonderful.

 

Did Rambo Kitty go along with you?

 


Yellow_Number_Five
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Susan wrote: It sounds

Susan wrote:

It sounds absolutely wonderful.

 

Did Rambo Kitty go along with you?

 

 

Yep, actually hamby is here with us right now, cooking us all a kick ass dinner

 

 

I am against religion because it teaches us to be satisfied with not understanding the world. - Richard Dawkins

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Gizmo
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What did he make?

What did he make?


Hambydammit
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Fried catfish soft tacos

Fried catfish soft tacos with radicchio, arugula, tomatoes, jalapenos, red onions, and fresh aioli.

Home style potatoes pan fried in olive oil, cayenne, paprika, and sea salt.

Yuengling Smiling

 

 

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

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Yellow_Number_Five
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Honestly, one of the best

Honestly, one of the best meals I've had in a long time. Mr.Hambey has talent Smiling


Susan
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Hambydammit wrote: Home

Hambydammit wrote:

Home style potatoes pan fried in olive oil, cayenne, paprika, and sea salt.

Yuengling Smiling

 

Those potatoes sound scrumptious! 

Do you just season them to taste with cayenne, paprika and sea salt or are there specific measurements?

 

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Hambydammit
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I just winged the

I just winged the measurements, although it's roughly 2:2:1 Salt, Paprika, Cayenne.

I usually add a couple more spices to it, and I usually saute some onions in there as well.   Garlic powder, onion powder, and then at the end, some fresh cracked pepper.  (Don't put pepper in too early.  It burns.)

 

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

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Hambydammit wrote: We were

Hambydammit wrote:

We were sitting at a table with a couple of other early arrivals, and while we were talking, Richard Dawkins strolled right by. He was just milling about, and checking out the items up for auction, but it was really funny to watch the effect that it had on our table. Suddenly, the conversation became very disjointed, and everyone was glancing over their shoulder, trying not to be that guy, but gawking anyway.

I bet you all were like "It's him! The guy from the South Park episode!" Eye-wink


Susan
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Hambydammit wrote: I just

Hambydammit wrote:

I just winged the measurements, although it's roughly 2:2:1 Salt, Paprika, Cayenne.

I usually add a couple more spices to it, and I usually saute some onions in there as well. Garlic powder, onion powder, and then at the end, some fresh cracked pepper. (Don't put pepper in too early. It burns.)

MMMm.

If I offer you the guest room and buy all the groceries, will you come and cook for me like you did for the folks in Philly? 

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It sure was great to meet

It sure was great to meet some RRS people at the AAI Convention.  Yellow #5, thanks for the drinks when we sat with Matthew Chapman at the bar until 2:30 Saturday night.  LeftofLarry, you are awesome, I am so glad I met you.   Brian37, you were a big help, I saw you working.  Brian and Kelly and Rook, an excellent job well done.  Razorcade, I'm so proud of you.  Greydon Square, all I can say is "wow" and I'm glad you spent your birthday with me.

 

The RRS did a fabulous job at the AAI convention and I hope we can do something fun here in Philly, like a show with Greydon... say the word and let's make something happen.

 

Thanks again to the RRS for everything. 


Iruka Naminori
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This is an older thread,

This is an older thread, but it's new to me.  I searched for "Sam Harris" and "AAI" and got several threads, but I have to admit to some bias when I chose Hambydammit's.   

Hambydammit wrote:

 

After a couple of hours, it became obvious to us that these guys may be celebrities, but they really are basically ordinary, approachable people. For much of the evening, Dennett, Dawkins, Hitchens, and Ayaan Hirsi Ali were pretty much available to anyone who wanted to get an autograph, or ask them a quick question. Hitchens was particularly available, as he was conveniently located next to the bar.

Hambydammit wrote:
I personally heard at least a dozen stories of people who have come to realize just how much harm religion does individually -- how it breaks up families, represses normal desires, and causes all sorts of cognitive dissonance and personal stress.

I can attest to this personally.  Religion is the gift that keeps on giving.  You think you've got everything under control, then BOOM!  Religion has you by the short hairs again.  

I've paid a big price for joining the so-called "new atheists."  I lost a friendship several months ago because a nominally Christian friend didn't like an opinion I had.  One lousy opinion.  That's all.

Then I find out my mother is spying on me.  She probably thinks she's doing undercover work for The Lard, Praise-a-lujah!  My relationship with my mother has been terrible ever since I figured out religion is a lie.  It's worse because she's a Faux News watching, Pat Robertson / Jerry Falwell loving, Sean Hannity reading fundamentalist.  She learned to hate from them and she had the audacity to call me "hateful."

Sigh.

The Holey Buybull was right about a few things. 1.  You reap what you sow.  These religious nuts have been pushing and pushing and pushing and pushing for about thirty years now.  We atheists have been nice.  We've tried to be tolerant like good little social liberals, but we've discovered something: Being nice to radicals doesn't work.

Here's one of the other things the Buybull got right:

Luke 12:51
Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division: For from henceforth there shall be five in one house divided, three against two, and two against three. The father shall be divided against the son, and the son against the father; the mother against the daughter, and the daughter against the mother; the mother in law against her daughter in law, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.

 

I didn't want this.  I wanted to keep family out of it. Sad Now I have to figure out what I am going to do with myself for the rest of my life.

Suggestions?

Hamby, did you get any insights on how others have handled family meltdowns?

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