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Global Atheist Convention 2018: who will speak?

February 28, 2017

I saw yesterday that the website for the Global Atheist Convention is announcing a brand new 2018 convention. The 2018 Global Atheist Convention: reason to hope. It will be held in Melbourne, Australia from February 9-11.

The title is intriguing: reason to hope. I’m not entirely sure what atheists have to share about hope, because ultimately atheism is a hopeless philosophy i.e. there is no individual, personal hope beyond my death. This is obviously a moot point because many atheists do claim to have hope (and this convention will obviously deal with that topic). So I am intrigued as to exactly what is the ‘hope’ spoken of here.

I thoroughly enjoyed the 2012 Global Atheist Convention. I am wondering who will speak at the 2018 convention?

Who would you like to see?

Personally I hope that the remaining three horsemen (Dawkins, Dennett and Harris) come. I wonder if Matt Dillahunty will get an invite? (Or others from the Unholy Trinity?) Personally I hope that he does.

Other well known atheists? Lawrence Krauss? PZ Myers? Dan Barker?

What about local speakers? Peter Singer, Jason Ball, Kylie Sturgess?

Which women will speak?

Will there be a comedy night like last time?

What issues will be addressed as the speakers provide reasons to hope?

I can’t wait for more details to be announced. It is sure to be a fascinating and stimulating convention.

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From → Comment

8 Comments
  1. G’day Rob, it’s been a while.
    So many posts I’ve missed commenting on, and while this one is barely worth the effort, I’m here now, so…

    “…ultimately atheism is a hopeless philosophy…”
    This is old ground – so old that it shouldn’t have to be re-trod. But atheism isn’t a philosophy at all. It is just a lack of belief.

    “…i.e. there is no individual, personal hope beyond my death.”
    This remark is ambiguous.

    You might mean that once a person dies, they no longer have the experience of hoping. And while that’s true, it is also meaningless, since it’s a truth that applies to everyone (not just atheists).

    You could mean that atheists are only concerned about people and events that occur within their own lifetimes, and have no concerns about anything that might happen after they die. This is so evidently false that it should warrant no further discussion.

    I suspect that what you really mean is that atheists don’t have any hope for their own existence (eg., as some kind of transcendental or ectoplasmic consciousness) after they die. In which case, you’re right. But then you’d be taking a triviality of atheist (lack of) belief and distorting it to imply wrongly that atheists have no hope for anything at all – viz. the comment above about hope in general (such as quality of life for one’s children and later descendants, the ecological survival of the planet, the future of humanity, etc.).

    Maybe your intention is none of these things, in which case you might choose to clarify.
    Regardless, while the intention might have been to make a statement that appears somewhat provocative, the actual result is a statement that just looks unintelligent.

    • Paul!! Great to hear from you. It’s been a bit quiet from me as well so thanks for commenting. I certainly don’t want to appear unintelligent. I suppose the comment on lack of hope was meant to be somewhat provocative, but it is also borne out of my own personal experience. I.e. when I have contemplated atheism, I feel the force of the sense you describe about not surviving death. I feel that there is nothing to ‘hope for’ after I die.

      As we have discussed before, I do contend that the atheistic belief (or non belief) in god(s) does entail further implications (one being destiny), but there is no need to rehash that discussion here.

      I am still intrigued by the types of ‘hope’ atheists possess. Of course we all have hope for this world, but my point was more in the sense of ‘ultimate’ hope. Because no matter what we hope for, within an atheist/humanist/no god framework, I.e. this is all there is, whatever I hope for will ultimately come to nothing. It’s like building sandcastles or snowmen, it lasts for a while, but will ultimately come to nothing.

      So this is the sense in which I speak of hope.

      I ‘hope’ this makes some sense?

      Will you be coming to the GAC 2018? Are there speakers you would like to hear? Which speaker would convince you to make the trip? Hope to see you in Melbourne sometime!!

      Rob

      • I’m not likely to attend GAC2018, unfortunately. Criticising religious beliefs is, for me, a rather minor distraction or hobby only, and not something I could justify the expense or time of interstate travel to pursue…! But, it is a year away. Things could change, I suppose.

        On the subject of ‘hope’, it seems you are using a single word to describe an extremely large set of human wishes. And in doing so, not only have you made no adequate distinction between religious and non-religious wishes, but you also highlight, inadvertently, the incongruity of having any kind of ‘hope’ of a spiritual nature.

        I’ll try to explain. One the one hand, we have this: “…when I have contemplated atheism […] I feel that there is nothing to ‘hope for’ after I die.” And all that tells me is that you are looking forward to your personality or consciousness persisting after your physical body dies. While I will always be perplexed by the belief that such an experience can have any kind of resemblance to what we know of as consciousness, it is no less a trite, or vain ‘hope’ of the selfish variety that everyone experiences every day. Examples: I hope I see my mother when I die; I hope I don’t miss my bus; I hope heaven really is eternal everlasting bliss; I hope this milk hasn’t gone off…
        Some of these hopes might be on a grander scale than others, but they all amount to a similar type of wishful thinking about future events over which you have limited or no control. Furthermore, if the future result of an event is perfectly known, then that result is no longer a ‘hope’, but rather a piece of knowledge.

        But you also make reference to some kind of “‘ultimate’ hope”, and although this might be at the extreme end of the continuum described above it is somewhat different in nature. Atheists do not share any sense of a singular, ultimate hope – and this is actually far more rational than your religious reflexes might initially cope with. Many atheists may share a general hope for the ongoing flourishing of humanity, a hope that in the future we might evolve into a species able to shed itself of superstition, extreme conflict, and other flaws and limitations. Individual atheists might embellish such general hopes with more specific ones, such as their own descendants playing productive roles in the progression of various positive ideals.

        In contrast, the religious sense of ‘ultimate hope’ makes no sense at all. The good (or elect) among us are destined to everlasting bliss, and the rest of us get something else, presumably less nice, but also everlasting. Regardless, for the non-living (in the earth-bound sense), time is transcended and the notion of a future has no meaning. In this context, hope is not only irrelevant, it is also incoherent.

  2. Hi Robert, if you are attending the earlier event Cosmic Shambles LIVE or would be interested in doing so, can you get in touch with my email given in comments? It’d be great to get a review of the event on your blog.

  3. Yes, I was really keen to go, but unfortunately it is the start of the holidays and I won’t be around as I’ll be travelling. Mind you, I am VERY keen to go to the convention and will certainly be posting reviews and comments on the blog.

  4. m. khokon permalink

    AN ATHEIST HAS NOTHING TO SAY EXCEPTINFECTION OF EVOLUTION THEORY………..
    EVOLUTION THEORY FALLEN SHORT

    Latest thinking comfirm Evolution is invalid or false .SOMETHING over writes Time. (Destiny)
    “I am in your individuality but you do not observe” ( sura dahriyat.Quran 51:21) EVOLUTION is An attempt to change humen thinking in wrong direction based on Time. Humen or Water (h2o) is not product of Time, Time will not change water (h2o). Atomic and molecular weight of all elements or compounds will remain same on earth or distant planets in universe. There is SOMETHING permanent in universe.
    Evolution Theory succumb in concept of Time. Time is relative standard…..(Einstein). In reality Time does not Exist. Time is illusion or 4th Dimension. What will be definite proof that Evolution Theory is invalid or False….?? It is water H2O … In billion years Water H2O remained unaffected by Time…… Water H2O is not a product of Time..Whooooo created water ??No Water, no life, No evolution, No natural selection..Water is a phenomena out of time, a rule over nature. When Time fails Evolution fails. An instant knock out of whole Evolution theory, so called Darwinism.

    If life is an accident Then every incident happening in this world will demand an accident. Even existance of a piece of Bullshit cannot be confirmed without a Bull…So from where two cars will come to cause an Accident. What will be definite proof that life is not an accident, Just throw a bag of rice mixed with vinegar in a dark warm place, within 48 hours you will see bag of rice turned into full of life, ( worms) Throw it again if it happens again then this incident ( life ) is not an accident, example is silly but it points out a big mistake in evolution history. ..life is not an Accident but conditional (Confirmed)

    H20 ( water) is a permanent condition in nature which caused diversity of life on earth. Scriptures says life is created not evolved from water” And God created every animal from water ” ( Quran 24:45 ) . What will be definite proof that life is created and not evolved ?? It is water H2O. Water suffered no evolution from another source as a product of time thus Water lack co ordination and stability with time to aid a billion years evolutionery process . If water is found in another planet, still water cannot be designated as product of Time, H2O is A permanent law or command written by PEN in nature (destiny) which will contnue to display any where in universe where oxygen and hydrogen is available. If life is an Accident then Life may be found in another planet even that planet is made of copper. For An accident cannot be dependent on another factor like water..if a Pre-condition like water is a requirement for an accident (life) to happen,then this life must be A divine plan.

    Time is not a cause Time is not a real entity or quantity. Time is nooothing.. Null…00.. Nada (void of self). To validate evolution theory you must establish A definition of Time, it is not possible. Did you ever think or ask yourself a question WHAT IS TIME ??? your mind will go blank, Time will create a delusion in your psyco, beacuse Time itself is illusion, In mathematical term time is variable,Relative and unstable .To understand Einstiens space time theory you need to grow wrinkles on your forhead likeEinstein.

    1 Kg, 1 Lbs, 1 Km, 1 Mile, 1 Minute, 1 Hour, 1 Year ,100 Years, Million years, Billion years, Time is a relative standard (Einstein) Water is not a product of time, Atomic and Molecular weight of all elements and componds will remain same unaffected and unchanged by Time until eternity. Even number of smallest praticle electrons and protons, will remain same on this earth or another planet. . TIME FAILED HERE AS ETERNAL CAUSE………. Evolution is invalid or false (confirmed). Natural selection falls within lot of destiny,Time or nature is not aware when an accident will take place , so it is illogical hallucination that a micro cell or life resulted merely from accident will religiously follow billion years evolutionery process in a chaotic envournment of Tsunami. . Natural selection cannot explain why you can be recorded as you, A perfect DNA code will define you as you. Never anyone was born or will born like you, Actual truth is hidden is in your individuality, a perfect definition of One is in you , you cannot be a tree or monky or humen at the same time, every atom and cell is created one and suffer its own destiny.The first prey fallen in net of existance was you (soul). Then “HE” created and coloured universe to welcome you so that you may reflect in you, ” I am in your individuality, but you do not observe”(Sura Dhariyat, 51:21). Natural selection, Mutaion, Evolution will never change individuality in a Species.

    “HE” is not an example if a thing. Billion years mutation or natural selection cannot change individuality in a species. An evolution scientist is not aware they unconsciously incline to sublime reality of nature. If you are infected by evolution theory, there is a cure,Say I belive in God Almighty, My God is eternal not affected by Time

    Astronomy says,universe has a begining (BIGBANG) and this ever expanding universe will end up on a reverse massacre when gravitational point is zero..(.00)…Since universe has a begining and universe has an end there must be CREATOR. An american scientist said give me time and technology I will create A Man. His intention was to claim A God is not necessary to create a Man, in that case is it not true that american scientist will be creator or God of that Robot. So origin cannot be denied.”Looook” Watch out” what Richard Dawkins a british biologist, an evolution scientist saying “Darwin made it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist.”I am my own god. Richard Dawkins is actualy confirming God in his own self like pharooh of anciant Egypt,
    so Existance of God cannot be denied,

    • Thanks for the comment, but it’s unclear how this relates to the Global Atheist Convention. If you can please keep your comments to the topic, it would be much more. Thanks

  5. Philip Wraight permalink

    I, as an Atheist do have hope!, I hope that one day, in the not to distant future, the creatures known as homo sapiens will come to realise, that blind faith in imaginary entities brings nowt but grief!!.

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