Friday, August 19, 2011

Appearing in Fargo

I'm now confirmed as one of the featured speakers at the Fargo, North Dakota "Project 42 Conference" (click that link for all conceivable details), sponsored by the Red River Freethinkers, this September 23-25, with a Friday movie event, a Saturday series of talks (followed by a local debate and meetup that night), and a Sunday panel and activist seminar. I'll be joined by PZ Myers, Robert Price, Michael Shermer, and Richard Haynes (executive director of AtheistNexus and co-host of AtheistNews). I haven't chosen a topic yet, but it will be something fun (possibly a redux of my Rapture Day talk, since Camping's revised prediction of the end is again looming...just a month after Fargo!). I'll be joining the panel as well (an exchange and Q&A on how we got to the philosophical positions we now hold). And I hope to be selling and signing my books throughout

It's a real convention, so it costs to get in, but the prices are reasonable as conventions go. Students get a good rate. And a lunch is included. It's being held at the Ramada Suites and Convention Center in Fargo. It aims to provide a much-needed opportunity for upper midwesterners to meet their fellow godless (you know, folk in all those big empty states up in the middle there that everyone sadly forgets the name of).

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Skepticon IV

For all you Midwes- tern godless out there, Skepticon IV is just months away. PZ and I are grandfathered in, so we'll definitely be speaking, along with many other awesome folk. Once again this irreverent ride is brought to you by the MSU Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, and as always, in Springfield, Missouri.

The venue this time will be the Gillioz Theatre. Officially from Friday to Sun- day this November 18th to 20th (2011), but no events are yet planned for Friday (there is an excur- sion planned that day for the Strafford Creation Museum, but so far it will probably just be a mill-about-and-get-acquainted day, but something could still get on the schedule for Friday night). For everything you need to know (and to register) see their official website at (which will be updated with more details over time as everything gets finalized).

It's free, but that  doesn't mean you're guaranteed to get a seat. Registration has already begun, and could fill up this year, so if you plan to go, register now rather than later! (Also, they need donations to keep this grand event free, and continuing into future years, so if you can spare anything and want to help out, visit the donation page on their website.)

For how amazing the event is, see my past blogs: Skepticon III, Skepticon II, and the original Skepticon. This year the speaker roster includes some new people and some folk from last year: 

No word yet on what everyone's topics will be, but mine will be on Bayes' Theorem. That's right, I'll be teaching you math, bitches! Don't worry, I promise it will be at least mildly fun.

Monday, August 08, 2011

September Course

This September (in just a few weeks) I will be visiting lecturer at CFI's online campus, teaching their one-month intro course The Real Origins of Christianity alongside Dr. John Shook (we co-taught the last course, on naturalism). Anyone can attend and receive a certificate of completion (though only students at UB receive college credit). It is all online and all flextime (you can work at any time of day or week).

Course description: This course examines the historical origins of the Christian religion from a secular and skeptical perspective. Course topics include the origins and composition of the New Testament; the sociological, cultural, and religious context and how they caused early Christian beliefs; discerning the historical, mythical and theological Jesus; and explaining early belief in his resurrection. It aims to give students a basic primer on the issue of early Christian origins and how to understand what happened without relying on dogma or the supernatural.

Students will be able to interact with both of us on a near-daily basis in professional-quality forum discussions of lectures and reading materials (or you can just listen in, although participation is required for a completion certificate). There are required readings but no grades, tests, or papers (we assess your level of participation and comprehension from your interactions with us each week). My book Not the Impossible Faith is the required course text (print, kindle, or PDF). Tuition is $60 ($50 for Friends of the Center, and only $10 for college students). To learn more, or register, visit the CFI course page: The Real Origins of Christianity (SCI 233).