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Posted: 13 April 2008 09:41 AM   [ Ignore ]  
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Dave’s (1st) annual conference on tricky matters of religion and thought has been scheduled for Saturday, April 26, beginning somewhere around 2 p.m. When it will end is anyone’s guess, but I’m hoping bloodshed will not be the primary cause.

This conference—a subdued party, actually—will be held at my house in Sonoma County, California. Future conferences may need to be held in a hotel suite if the number of participants grows significantly.

One or two spaces remain for anyone who might want to attend, so e-mail me if you’re interested.

Thanks, burt, for getting the ball rolling.

Dave

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Posted: 15 April 2008 06:26 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]  
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2,407 miles.

I would be there in spirit if we believed in those sorts of things.

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Delude responsibly.

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Posted: 17 April 2008 09:32 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]  
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homunculus - 13 April 2008 01:41 PM

Dave’s (1st) annual conference on tricky matters of religion and thought has been scheduled for Saturday, April 26, beginning somewhere around 2 p.m. When it will end is anyone’s guess, but I’m hoping bloodshed will not be the primary cause.

Thanks, burt, for getting the ball rolling.

Dave

Thank you for the invite Dave I already have that weekend bussy but keep me posted and I will be the next one.
Javier

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“Life is the COEXISTENCE of opposites values”
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“In the beginning Man created God according to his own image and understanding. Over the years as Men understanding of morality, violence and tolerance evolves, so evolves our understanding of a Loving God”.

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Posted: 26 April 2008 06:50 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]  
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I hope you guys are having a good time

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“Life is the COEXISTENCE of opposites values”
Love is Forgiveness
Peace is Tolerance
“In the beginning Man created God according to his own image and understanding. Over the years as Men understanding of morality, violence and tolerance evolves, so evolves our understanding of a Loving God”.

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Posted: 28 April 2008 06:20 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]  
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Thanks, mammooth and Nhoj. I had fun. I hope to see you next time. Someone mentioned that future get-togethers could be regional: maybe one in New York, another in Ohio, and so on. Someone else said that now that a few of us have tried eye-to-eye conversation (Bruce, Isocratic, Sander and me) without engaging in physical confrontation, others might be less leery about putting together more such get-togethers. I’ll try to remember to announce another one next year, and see if anyone shows.

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Philosophy may in no way interfere with the actual use of language; it can in the end only describe it. For it cannot give it any foundations either. It leaves everything as it is.
Ludwig Wittgenstein

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Posted: 28 April 2008 10:18 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]  
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[quote author=“homunculus”] Someone else said that now that a few of us have tried eye-to-eye conversation (Bruce, Isocratic, Sander and me) without engaging in physical confrontation, others might be less leery about putting together more such get-togethers.

Well, actually, Sander threatened to sacrifice me, Isocratic Infidel attempted to bite my neck, and homunculus plied me with food and wine in an attempt to subdue me. So, there are some dangers involved in these meetings.  grin Just kidding - had a great time. I am happy to report that unbelievers and believers can meet together, be civilized (somewhat) and have good conversation. Perhaps this can be a precedent.  H has some pics that I hope he will post.

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Posted: 28 April 2008 01:06 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]  
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Actually, I DID bite your neck Bruce… didn’t you have a strange craving for raw meat at about 8 am?  cheese As I recall, from the unofficial “minutes” I insisted we not take: we decided not to impale you because it would’ve been too messy, and it turns out, you’re one of the “good guys” on this nuttily spinning planet arbitrarily called earth.  Glad you had a safe flight home. Say hello to the wife, kids and grandkids. You’re a good sport Bruce, to have joined this small (somewhat) civilized band of “atheists.”  Hope to see you again sometime.

Thanks again Dave, for your hospitality and all the blankets… sheesh it got nippy while nippin’
Maybe we should give these kinds of get-togethers titles, like FreeThinkFests or People Who Like to Meet Other People Parties… or not. It definitely was good conversation and good company…

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Posted: 28 April 2008 04:16 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]  
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Here are my thoughts on this very first and memorable gathering of Sam Harris forum residents.

I came to this event feeling mostly excited but I did have a small sense of hesitation.
I imagined a scenario where I would sit silently with a fake grin on my face, feeling like Joey Tribbiani, while my comrades would debate vigorously about quantum physics, Mayan culture and the meaning of obscure French postmodern cinema.

Fortunately this didn’t happen and I was pleased to learn that my inability to, for example, appreciate Faulkner wasn’t caused by a rapidly declining ability to reason. Rather, the consensus was that “The Sound and the Fury” was just pretentious crap.

The first thing that I noticed was how much alike we all are and how easy it was to transition from electronic to real-life conversation.

Most of our discussions weren’t about religion and when they were the heathens and Bruce found it easy to muster enough courtesy to keep the arguments from descending to the level of combat.
For all you believers this may be encouraging if you are contemplating to join the next SH get-together.

The entire day went by without anyone getting hurt, physically or otherwise, with the exception of a small incident that occurred around 1.30 AM when Bruce, emboldened by some of Sonoma’s finest grapes, insisted on performing a healing/prayer session to cure us of our atheism.
We had to resort to some good-old ultra-violence and so we tied him to a chair and beat him.
Homunculus then played “Stuck in the middle with you” by Stealers Wheel and I did my finest Michael Madsen impression to date.
Sorry about the ear Bruce.

Besides that it was all pleasantness and good times.

I very much enjoyed the company of our gracious host and the fine folks who traveled great distances to be there.

I am still thinking about the format of a possible repeat of this event.
I have noticed that limited funds are a common restriction for attendance to events like these, so any future ones will have to be non-fancy and local. Perhaps we can designate an annual Sam Day and organize a few events simultaneously; something like a West Coast and East Coast a Mid West and a Southern event.

The biggest and most obvious concern is safety.
This is a public forum and an open invitation to these events can attract uninvited and unpleasant people. I won’t name any names (Jack Shooter) but the successful organization of a gathering will require a few organizers and some serious PM’ing.

I may start a separate thread about the idea of a National Sam Day and see what you all think of it.
If there is enough interest and good suggestions I will put some more thought into this.

Thanks again to H for making this all happen, to Isocratic Infidel for being the witty and charming center of the party and to Bruce for being the best humored and most agreeable believer I have ever met.

[ Edited: 28 April 2008 04:56 PM by Lapin Diabolique]
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Posted: 28 April 2008 05:16 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]  
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I have blotted the event described by Sander out of my mind - it is apparently locked tightly in the recesses of my subconscious, ready to manifest itself in some lunacy at a later time.  My recollection (which is prone to spontaneous alteration) tells me that I had a good time, and my body memories concur. I will state one positive thing about each person I met at the gathering (there are many to choose from) to give you a flavor of the event:

1) Homunculus, our host, is a true humanitarian. He opens his home to kids with (how shall I put this) “problems.” We met two of them at the party, and I can see how they would benefit from the environment of openness and humanity that H has calmly created. My hat would be off to him, if I wore one.

2) Isocratic Infidel was the life of the party.  Very witty and funny, she kept us guessing and laughing. She is a former stand-up comic, and does some great impressions. Pretty good looking, too.

3) Sander has class. He was well-dressed, well-mannered, and well-spoken.  (However, I went to bed early, and don’t know what he did after that.)  His European roots should serve him well in our often crass and classless American society.

Everyone was very enjoyable. I wish I could have met a few more of you.

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Posted: 28 April 2008 08:31 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]  
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Bruce Burleson - 28 April 2008 09:16 PM

. . .
Everyone was very enjoyable. I wish I could have met a few more of you.

I agree with your astute assessment of everyone, Bruce, and hope that I actually fit your kind description.

As for you, I can’t imagine a more perfect guest. It was terrific talking and arguing with you. I hope I didn’t become too ornery, but if I did, I trust that you understand and forgive.

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Philosophy may in no way interfere with the actual use of language; it can in the end only describe it. For it cannot give it any foundations either. It leaves everything as it is.
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Posted: 28 April 2008 10:02 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]  
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Aw shucks fellas… but as I recall, Sander was the catalyst for this shin-dig and the center of the party… you were the one sitting in the middle!  cheese I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that it was Sander who did much of the work in putting this slouching toward personal communication together. If anything, I was Sander’s side-kick who’s eye darts reigned me in from being too much of a smart ass and breaching that ‘somewhat’ marker in civilized conversation—it really was quite a hoot. But then, remember, I’m easily amused…He was a delightful road trip companion and I never feared for my safety at any point.  There is the image of Sander standing at the end of the gate in his black suit, cool shades and Italian, leather, square-tipped shoes holding a sign saying INFIDEL, forever burned onto an axon in my hippocampus.

One thing that struck me about all this is the level of trust we all had in each other as human beings. Trust for one’s fellow human being… Wow, what a concept.  Is there anything more beautiful and productive? Each person being who they are and doing their own thing in their own time with respect for the fact that we all want, at the core, is to simply get along… and pursue our own vision of happiness. (There goes my reputation for wit.)

I do hope that more people will want to get together to hang out and engage in (somewhat) civilized conversation at a similar type gathering in the future. (No individuals who are easily offended by perceived offensives need apply.)

Vhat?!  Zander-man? You no like the FreeThinkFest (FTF)  or ‘People Who Like Meeting Other People’ Parties?

Sam Day? C’mon dude… I love ya, but that’s lame. I need input. Which one do the “residents of SHF” like? (Other suggestions welcomed.) So far, it looks like an mpbrockman and his girlfriend would be great addition so someone else can put on a “show” as it were, and a little L and R on the side might be nice… mammooth seems willing to be a main course… some lindajean on top might be good…. as well as the lovely M is for Malapert and Mia… How about you, euc,, ya in for a future shin-dig? tavish? jeanie> are you out there, or did the “come home” ads for the catholic church get to ya? Aaron? arildno? Dee even?  I know Sander would love to parse with Occam’s Razor (warning though, you may both end up with balls for earrings wink ).

Any interested posters, surely should reply. Maybe we can get sam to actually join in the fun.

(For the record, I did not behave like a bonobo, but I did do my impersonation of a baboon… ooo-ooo-ooo-aaa-haa-haa!  For anyone interested: all of these men were utterly complete gentlemen and I had no idea any of them were assessing my looks.  ohh )

P.S.  homonuclus, or “little man in the sperm” your quiet tone camouflages any oneryness you might have thought you expressed…. Tell Devon and Tim hello!

[ Edited: 28 April 2008 10:17 PM by isocratic infidel]
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Posted: 29 April 2008 03:21 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]  
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homunculus - 29 April 2008 12:31 AM
Bruce Burleson - 28 April 2008 09:16 PM

. . .
Everyone was very enjoyable. I wish I could have met a few more of you.

I agree with your astute assessment of everyone, Bruce, and hope that I actually fit your kind description.

As for you, I can’t imagine a more perfect guest. It was terrific talking and arguing with you. I hope I didn’t become too ornery, but if I did, I trust that you understand and forgive.

H, having met you, I can’t imagine that you have ever been ornery at any time in your entire life. You are the epitome of smooth.

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Posted: 29 April 2008 03:23 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]  
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[quote author=“isocratic infidel”] For anyone interested: all of these men were utterly complete gentlemen and I had no idea any of them were assessing my looks. ohh )

Uh, let me let you in on a little secret about men, both gentlemen and not-so-gentlemen ..... oh well, if you don’t know by now…...

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Posted: 29 April 2008 05:42 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]  
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isocratic infidel - 29 April 2008 02:02 AM

. . .
P.S.  homonuclus, or “little man in the sperm” your quiet tone camouflages any oneryness you might have thought you expressed…. Tell Devon and Tim hello!

My only problem with anything was that you all had to leave, though I still feel a little sorry that I needed to assert so much verbal/political correctness, as well. When I first invited everyone, my latest resident was still no where to be seen, at least by me. But emergency placements, unfortunately, seem to be my bread and butter, and I found myself stuck either with cancelling or playing word-choice cop. Thanks for going along with the nonsense.

And, yes, Bruce is right. Men seem compelled to evaluate female charms involuntarily, especially those men who live inside sperm.

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Philosophy may in no way interfere with the actual use of language; it can in the end only describe it. For it cannot give it any foundations either. It leaves everything as it is.
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Posted: 29 April 2008 05:58 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]  
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In retrospect, I simply should have said, ‘Thank-you.’ cool smile

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Posted: 29 April 2008 09:06 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]  
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isocratic infidel - 29 April 2008 02:02 AM

mammooth seems willing to be a main course… some lindajean on top might be good….

Those who eat my body and drink my blood may have eternal life… But I may want to host the next meeting in Miami that way you may enjoy my food and my wine… all welcome… Coñoooo!!!!!

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“Life is the COEXISTENCE of opposites values”
Love is Forgiveness
Peace is Tolerance
“In the beginning Man created God according to his own image and understanding. Over the years as Men understanding of morality, violence and tolerance evolves, so evolves our understanding of a Loving God”.

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