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Sam to Be at SF Conv. OCT 6 2006
Posted: 05 September 2006 04:59 AM   [ Ignore ]  
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Sam Harris will make an appearance at the 29th Annual Freedom From Religion Foundation convention in San Francisco next month, where he'll be signing his new book Letter to a Christian Nation.

http://ffrf.org/events/images/sam_harris.jpg


Dates: October 6-8, 2006 (Sam is set for the 6th)
Location: Holiday Inn Golden Gateway, 1500 Van Ness, San Francisco
Website: http://ffrf.org/events/2006/
Convention Schedule: http://ffrf.org/events/2006/schedule.php
Non-Member Registration Cost: $75 (ouch!)


Other speakers include:

~ Keynote speaker will be Julia Sweeney, performing her profound and profoundly funny monolog, "Letting Go of God", a tour de force and "tour de memory," relating Julia's "beautiful loss of faith story" of going from Catholic to atheist.

~ Michelle Goldberg, author of Kingdom Coming: The Rise of Christian Nationalism, covers the threat of the ascendancy of the religious right.

~ Dr. Richard Sloan, professor of behavioral medicine at Columbia University Medical Center, will speak on his major new book, Blind Faith, critiquing prayer and religion studies, to be released this fall.

~ Mikey Weinstein, commanding headlines for his bold lawsuit against the US Air Force and military proselytizing, and author of the new book With God on Our Side

~ (the amazingly brave) Wafa Sultan, who many of you will have seen in that video confrontation on AlJazeera TV.


The site lists several others, as well. Looks like Friday and Saturday are the biggies—Sam on Friday night and Julia on Saturday night.


http://ffrf.org/events/images/julia_sweeney.jpg
Julia Sweeney

http://ffrf.org/events/images/michelle_goldberg.jpg
Michele Goldberg

http://ffrf.org/events/images/richard_sloan.jpg
Richard Sloan

http://ffrf.org/events/images/wafa_sultan.jpg
Wafa Sultan

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Posted: 05 September 2006 11:54 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]  
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I wanna gooooooooooooooo…......................  :cry:

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Posted: 05 September 2006 11:58 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]  
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I don’t mean to be superficial but if you do go to this convention can you tell these guys to get a little sun. Their publicity shots look like a line up to some zombie movie. Tell Richard to lay off the caffeine and to get some sleep or he may just frighten non believers back to theism

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Posted: 05 September 2006 12:02 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]  
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I don’t mean to be superficial

Of course you do…but I don’t think you can help it.

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http://powerlessnolonger.com

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Posted: 05 September 2006 12:04 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]  
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[quote author=“hampsteadpete”]

I don’t mean to be superficial

Of course you do…but I don’t think you can help it.

You got me i meant to be superficial but you have to admit if george romero was looking for actors he could find the mother lode on oct 6th in SF

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Posted: 05 September 2006 12:33 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]  
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[quote author=“frankr”][quote author=“hampsteadpete”]

I don’t mean to be superficial

Of course you do…but I don’t think you can help it.

You got me i meant to be superficial but you have to admit if george romero was looking for actors he could find the mother lode on oct 6th in SF

Good one Frankr. You are so correct. None of them look healthy, except Sam, who still looks like he starred in Something About Mary.

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Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. Matt 11:28-29

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Posted: 05 September 2006 03:35 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]  
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[quote author=“frankr”]. . .you have to admit if george romero was looking for actors he could find the mother lode on oct 6th in SF. . .

[quote author=“Champ”]Good one Frankr. You are so correct. None of them look healthy, except Sam, who still looks like he starred in Something About Mary.

Such stunning displays of intellect! Such pertinent arguments!

How very strange of you to make fun of the color of someone’s skin. Are your glasses even on, boys? Ms. Sultan, for one, is downright caramel-colored. The rest are likely not trusting in God to protect them from melanomas, and instead rely on the very human invention of SPF protection, otherwise known as a condom for the body’s largest organ: the skin. But you wouldn’t know anything about condoms, of course.

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Posted: 05 September 2006 04:32 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]  
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I’m suprised these scholars are able to manage any blood flow at all considering their field of study. If they could only bring themselves to believe just one little story book tale maybe they’d get some color.

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Posted: 07 September 2006 05:09 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]  
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Yes, Richard Sloan looks freaky. Didn’t have enough sleep in the last week? But all the ladies look fine, especially Wafa Sultan. Full of calm, confidence and energy if you watched her video. The way she dismissed that mullah was a delight to watch.

Now, when we look at out ideological adversaries I wonder why all teleevangelists look apoplectic and most Catholic priests obese even before obesity surfaced as the global health problem.

Thomas Orr

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Posted: 30 September 2006 08:57 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]  
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Northern Cali peeps, this one’s coming right up—Friday night, in the City by the Bay wink. Hope to see ya there.

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Posted: 06 October 2006 11:35 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]  
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Heading into the city now. . . I’ll post a little convention report when I get back, which I think will be Sunday. Anyone who shows up for Sam’s book signing and would like to say hi, I am, firstly, female :D, longish auburn hair and will be in jeans and a short black jacket. Maybe the better marker is my fringed tan leather handbag with big red roses embroidered on it wink. Hope to see you there!

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Posted: 06 October 2006 05:48 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]  
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[quote author=“Mia”]Heading into the city now. . . I’ll post a little convention report when I get back, which I think will be Sunday. Anyone who shows up for Sam’s book signing and would like to say hi, I am, firstly, female :D, longish auburn hair and will be in jeans and a short black jacket. Maybe the better marker is my fringed tan leather handbag with big red roses embroidered on it wink. Hope to see you there!

Sucks that I am over 12,000 miles away…sigh :cry: ...if Sam if speaking will there be an audio file we can download?

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Get with it. Millions of galaxies of hundreds of millions of stars, and a speck on one in a blink. That’s us, lost in space. The cop, you, me… Who notices?
-Vincent

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Posted: 07 October 2006 05:46 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]  
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I attended Friday night and even got the high priveledge of sitting next to the esteemed Mia!  Matt was supposed to show up but did not make it (hope what ailed you improves!).  Mia is a superb conversationalist.  We should all be so fortunate to eat a plate of french fries with her some day!

Friday night was a treat.  Dr. Sloan presented a sketch of his latest book and Sam Harris delivered a few excellent observations about the climate surrounding Letter to a Christian Nation.  The book signing was great.  Sam was very congenial and said that he does read this forum as time permits him, however, with Phd work and a book tour…

I was glad I went.  Sam addressed quite well the argument theists use that Religion Just Works For Them.

Uh.  Ahem.  I have to warn you that Mia might try to fabricate some wild tale about me here.  Do not believe a word that Mia says about me… she might try to tell this forum that I came up short handed for cash at the parking toll… do not listen to her.  She might even try to say that I jumped out of my truck and ran to an ATM to get cash thereby leaving her stuck in line behind me.  Far fetched! uh. Kind of.

And especially do not believe her when she tries to tell you that since I just switched banks this week, my ATM card did not work and so she ended up having to pay my toll fare.

It’s all….......... oh okay.  It’s true.  **hangs head in shame**

Noggin

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Posted: 07 October 2006 05:49 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]  
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Dang it!  I did it again!

I have got to rewire my brain and remember to log in before I post.  What the hell…  Why am I forgetting to log in lately?  Basically, if you do not log in and you try to post, the forum will let you but will spit out your post as authored by “Guest”.

I am Noggin and I wrote and endorse the preceding message!

Noggin

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Posted: 07 October 2006 08:15 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]  
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I need…............the audio files for that Friday…....please!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Get with it. Millions of galaxies of hundreds of millions of stars, and a speck on one in a blink. That’s us, lost in space. The cop, you, me… Who notices?
-Vincent

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Posted: 08 October 2006 04:55 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]  
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[quote author=“Noggin”]It’s all….......... oh okay.  It’s true.  **hangs head in shame**

For pete’s sake, you are such a guy  :?. Let it be known across the land that I’ve now had to swear to Noggin that I’ll make him buy me a chai latte and a piece of cherry pie next time there’s a gathering, just so he can get this ‘need to pay’ thing out of his system. It was pretty funny that he dashed off to the atm with the truck still in line, though :D. Fortunately no other atheists were desperate to leave the parking garage at the very same moment, so I just sat in my Rubicon, shaking my head and giggling. Men are such goofballs sometimes.


Okay. . . on to a report. This was my first convention—or the first centered on anything other than beads or sci-fi, I should say—and my impressions were mixed, more involving the crowd itself, not the speakers.

There were lots of smiles and greetings between strangers, plenty of sweet, friendly folk there, but I could not help but be aware of those who were either loud by way of mouth, or loud by way of slogans emblazoned on chests, hats or whatever. For example, rather than God pins, there were some wearing one with a big red slash across the word God. Then there were those who felt they needed to sum up what they presumed was the whole room’s uniform political leanings with some (again loud) derogatory political outburst. . . in spite of the fact that I sensed a range of positions held by the attendees. I must say I found myself embarrassed for those who felt they needed to try so hard. I realize slogans on pins and shirts are designed to relay an important point, but I guess I don’t have that slogan-shrieking, bra-burning impulse, or something. Besides, we get into that “Hey, you’re preaching to the choir, dude” problem :D. At one point I made myself laugh realizing that the blatant ones would be the atheist equivalent of the first nudists to whip out and wave around their private parts on a nude beach—they’re manic about announcing themselves, wanting to be the most blatant atheist they can possibly be, apparently. Sheesh.

Adding to that, I do not find folk songs that diss religion particularly clever, much less entertaining. Honestly? That aspect was completely lame and even more cringe-inspiring than the pins, t-shirts and outbursts, because they came from the organizers themselves.  Then again, I wasn’t cut out for Jesus conventions or political rallies, either, so maybe I’m just equally unsuited to all team-centric functions. I think I was expecting more emphasis on positives, possibilities, and the opportunity to just enjoy each other in a setting that is virtually guaranteed to not offend our sensibilities. A sort of sunny vacation from the foggy theist landscape, if you will. I encountered a lot of warmth in one-on-one chats (and only a couple letches, thankfully—less than in church, I must say), especially when discussing our lives outside this issue of religion. I imagine the same is true of Christian conventioneers—some will just enjoy the people, while others will be mouthing off, thrusting a fist in the air or shouting amen at every opportunity. Bombastic people show up pretty much anywhere, I’m here to testify rolleyes, although they by no means held a candle to their Christian counterparts at the average mega-church Sunday service.


Listening to reason-based chat, whether it was in the audience or up at the podium, I was reminded why—at least in my opinion—groups founded on a lack  of religion will always operate with far less fanfare, hyped-up enthusiasm, manipulation and cunning than do the groups who fight daily to maintain faith in the supernatural, or those whose goal it is to seduce others into myth belief. The freethinker group has already effectively ‘achieved’ its goal, at least at the personal level—they’re already at their destination, free thought, while the believers are always reaching towards theirs: the miraculous afterlife. They’ve been taught to crave the brass ring, whatever they imagine that to be, and the attainment of the ring lies beyond this world. They’re drawn to the charisma of those who promise they can lead them to it, while those in the faith-free community don’t get similarly worked up over other-worldly prizes. We’re rather content with the prizes we can have right here on Earth, no miracles needed. Except the miracle of getting people to stop warring over whose deity rules the roost, and what it demands from us.


My favorite part of the weekend (aside from sharing fries and non-stop yakking with the just-as-wonderful-as you’d-imagine Noggin :D) was listening to Julia Sweeney’s candid monologue. She emerged from her childhood, dazed and bewildered, from the same goofy upbringing I did—Catholicism—where the Bible is presented piecemeal, and you’re left with your Christian friends (of many various stripes) to fill in the enormous plotholes that the nuns and priests are unable or unwilling to expound upon in any useful way (just like frankr, basically). The Church is the absolute Queen of the Cherrypickers, leaving all burning questions (pun intended) to faith, and Julia reminded me of that so vividly. I related very much to the crooked path she followed towards clearing her mind of all that contradictory muck over a period of years. It was a great one-woman show.

She mentioned her exploration of Buddhism, too, how it became sadly clear to her that the premises in many branches of that practice are as self-punishing as the OT-based religions are. We seem determined to assume the worst of ourselves—north, south, east or west in the world—and to do it in tightly organized, ritualistic groups. Julia made any number of scathingly accurate observations about faith that I’ll have to get to in another post.

Sam’s presentation was a pleasure, as expected, and he had to deal with a loooooong line of signature-seekers and admirers afterwards. What Noggin failed to mention to you is that once we had approached him at the table, and I introduced us by our forum names, he immediately looked up at Mike and said he definitely knew the name Noggin LOL. It was cool to hear that, and to know that he peeks in from time to time. Sam very graciously signed our books (paraphrasing: “So, that’s two g’s in Noggin, right?”, asked Sam, as he scribbled—heehee :D) and then he shook our hands.

Afterwards, I spent some time bending Noggin’s ear before finally releasing him to his long drive home. I stayed in the City, since I was attending the next day.

For those who were interested in getting a recording of the speeches, I saw no sound technicians of any sort there. It was relatively low-tech overall, even casual. There was no special stage lighting, either. You might try calling or emailing the Freedom From Religion offices, though, since they would certainly know if recordings exist. Phone numbers and emails are on the site referenced in the first post. Julia also had a new DVD (or CD? I forget) available there for the first time.


.

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