Imagine No Religion 4, final thoughts

So that was a really fun weekend, with some great talks (along with a couple duds). A couple of final points:

Only a handful of us from the CFI/Skeptics in the Pub crowd came from Vancouver. There was a number of people from the BC Humanists, but they skewed older and white. This might explain why there just wasn’t as much chemistry and connection as previous years. There used to be active Twitter conversations going on throughout the talks, with people near and far, but this year the #inr4 hashtag was almost empty! A few people (including me) posted a few choice lines and assorted tweets but with so little back and forth there didn’t seem to be much point.

Also, I think I was primed to tune out the anti-religion talk (like Jerry Coyne’s talk), which at this point is really old hat. Fortunately there wasn’t that much of it, and a lot of what there was, was damn entertaining (Seth Andrews, I’m looking at you)—though it felt to the Dying With Dignity talk focused too much on bad religionists and less on the compassionate and ethical issues. Even though it’s definitely justified, and there’s still a lot of evolving we need to do as a society.

Which leads me to secular activism. It’s easy for me, living in enlightened Vancouver, to want to focus only on the Look-at-Saturn’s-rings, Laugh-at-the-cheesy-Xian-rock stuff, but there’s big chunks of the country right south of us, and even parts of this country, where freedom from religion is a serious and ongoing issue. Plus, it never hurts to brush up on the basics of logic and fallacies and being able to spell “nonoverlapping magisteria” in Scrabble.

So you know what? It’s all good. I wasn’t really feeling it this year, partly due to the aforementioned lack of Twitter conversations, but that might be a one-off. Will definitely go again next year.

Coming up: photos from the road trip!