SSA Conference a Success August 10, 2009

SSA Conference a Success

This post is by Jesse Galef

I’m taking today off work after having been on the road for nine of the past ten days. For you, that just means I have the time to write up a quick post about the Secular Student Alliance Conference!

Highlights of the trip:

  • Seeing 50 people turn out to hear my new boss, Sean Faircloth, speak in Cincinnati. I had expected closer to 20, so the crowd was exciting.
  • Visiting the Creation Museum. I was stunned that they made no secret about their hostility toward human reason.
    Sorry this picture is a bit blurry, but smoke would rise from my camera every time I used flash. No joke. I need a new camera.
  • Having my lobbying training workshop go well. I’ve never given this particular presentation, but I’m hoping to get more practice.
  • Looking around the room and seeing the current leaders of the movement, and then reflecting on the fact that I was sitting with the future leaders as well.
  • Meeting various internet personalities in person. I’d met Hemant before, but not Ashley (healthyaddict), Jen (BlagHag), or PZ Myers (Pharyngula). If I’m missing some, let me know! I know a lot of the students have blogs, and I would love to see what everyone else thought of the conference.
  • Going out drinking with the fellow conference-goers. I feel so at home in a dive bar discussing morality while finishing off the fourth pitcher of beer.
  • Sleeping in dorms again. It’s a sparse, Spartan existence.
  • Listening to Sean give a passionate speech and seeing the students fired up. Some even gave him a standing ovation.
  • Hearing Dan Barker (of FFRF) talk about how lucky he is to be one of the few “professional atheists” in the country – and realizing that I’m one, too.
  • PZ Myers’ talk. More on it later, but when you get a positive shout-out from PZ Myers – by name, no less – it’s strangely satisfying.Galef_PZ_500x324
  • More drinking and partying. I enjoyed talking to PZ about his family and his background in computer programming. I have never been more willing to share my Cap’n Morgan than when it’s PZ asking.
  • Going back to the dorms at 2:30 AM – and hearing later that my boss was out later than I was. Way to make me feel lame, Sean.

I had a blast and encourage everyone to sign up for conferences like this.

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • It was great to finally meet you! I feel both amazing and lame that PZ and Sean both stayed up later than me and outdrank me.

  • “The whole foundation of Christianity is based on the idea that intellectualism is the work of the Devil. Remember the apple on the tree? Okay, it was the Tree of Knowledge. “You eat this apple, you’re going to be as smart as God. We can’t have that.”
    — Frank Zappa

  • Daniel H.

    I don’t know if this clarification will make much difference to you, but I do want to point out that “they made no secret about their hostility toward human reason” is a misreading of what’s going on. The Christian position is not that reason is bad and something to be hostile towards. The sign you posted a picture of is about “the elevation of human reason above God’s Word”. Christians think reason is good, we simply recognize that as we are fallen and fallible, the proper use of reason is to understand the word of God, not to set ourselves up as judge over it. That is a big difference, and I hope you’ll be more careful with your wording in the future.

    And Power Pop, I don’t know who Frank Zappa is, but if that is an accurate quote he seems to be both a terrible exegete and terrible historian.

  • Daniel H.

    PS, Sorry Hemant, I just realized you weren’t the one who posted this. So, apply my post to Jesse Galef.

  • Jon R

    Thank you for sharing the Captain. It was great meeting you and everyone else that was there.

  • schism

    You might be interested to know that God is not pleased with your defiling of His holy museum.

  • Zar

    Peter H:

    The Christian position is not that reason is bad and something to be hostile towards.

    O RLY:

    Reason is the Devil’s greatest whore; by nature and manner of being she is a noxious whore; she is a prostitute, the Devil’s appointed whore; whore eaten by scab and leprosy who ought to be trodden under foot and destroyed, she and her wisdom… Throw dung in her face to make her ugly. She is and she ought to be drowned in baptism… She would deserve, the wretch, to be banished to the filthiest place in the house, to the closets.

    -—Martin Luther, Works, Erlangen Edition v. 16, pp. 142-148.

    At any rate, Hemant didn’t say that Christians are hostile to reason, but that the folks who run the Creationist Museum are hostile to reason.

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