Thursday, February 01, 2007

When life intrudes...

Not much activity here the last few days. Well, the other guys post pretty rarely anyway, but I've had a number of other obligations on my time so it's been quiet here overall. As for the final TAM report, I will probably post some photos and a quick rundown of the last day shortly. But to be honest, I've been kind of disappointed by the lack of response to the TAM coverage, so I'm wondering if the trouble I went to — running all over town to rent a laptop in the midst of an ice storm, paying the ridiculous surcharge for wifi that didn't even extend to the Riviera's convention center — was worth it. I'm sure it was; those reports resulted in much higher than usual traffic on the days they were posted. But the comments were light to nonexistent, making me wonder if the largest skeptic's conference in the US is something people care all that much about. I mean, they really should. For all the work Randi's doing, the woos and wackos still draw bigger audiences, and we need involved, not apathetic, people on the pro-reason and skepticism side making their voices heard.

Anyway, not to come across all angsty today. But I thought an explanation of why I've had better things to do than blog here over the past week was in order. I imagine I'll get fired up again here soon. Somewhere out there in the world are religionists doing stupid things that deserve a smackdown, and I'll be back here with a big smile on my face and a big stick in my hand.


  1. I don't think the lack of comments is due to lack of interest in your posts. I think it's more that the topic isn't particularly controversial. There's not much to "say" about an event where like-minded people get together and talk about things we all mostly agree with. So, don't interpret the silence too negatively.

  2. Well, there were a couple of "good job" comments, which were nice. Still. A couple. Come on.

    I have noticed this phenomenon on a lot of atheist blogs: that, unless the blog already has a certain celebrity status like Pharyngula and there's already an active commenting community built up, comments tend to be pretty light until some Christian troll turns up and everyone jumps in to feed him. For instance, would possummomma have gotten as much praise and support for her daughter's excellent essay on Christmas if a loathsome Baptist minister hadn't dropped by to attack them? Somehow I doubt it.

    I understand that controversy is interesting and sparks a desire to jump in and start swinging. But I still think atheists ought to feel like we have things we can discuss in depth amongst ourselves, without needing trolls to wake us up out of our complacency. It baffles me that someone could think there's "not much to say" about an event like TAM. How can there be not much to say about skeptics coming together to battle the ignorance and superstition that are poisoning our culture? I came home from TAM feeling fired up to fight the good fight. I tried to convey that feeling in my posts. If other skeptics read my posts and came away thinking, "Hmm, well, not much to say about that," then I must have failed somewhere.

    Smacking down religious trolls can be fun, but it shouldn't be the only thing atheist blogs and comment threads are motivated by.

  3. I understand your point. I guess from your blogs, I got mainly the envious feeling of "Wish I could be there..."

    I don't think there isn't much to say, but I think you pretty much said it in the blogs. I don't know there's much to _add_ is more like it? It sounded like an overall great experience, and I think it was helpful to have someone there to cover it and do a live relay.

    When I read your section about Randi, it reminded me of a letter I wrote to him once when he finally announced that mainstream religion would be fair game for his debunking (rather than the occasional faith healer). I wrote to say what a huge fan I have been all my life, and that I was so pleased to see him doing this). Just like you described, I'd have been a gushing idiot if I'd met Randi in person. He's such a hero of mine--and has been since I can remember.

    When he wrote me back, it was like getting John Lennon's autograph or something. I was just stunned and so excited. I really didn't expect a reply or ask for one. I was just sending in a "way to go!" note.

    I'm sorry you didn't get what you were hoping to achieve in the way of response. But please don't think you're posts were disregarded or not appreciated--even if it wasn't on the level you expected.

    Also, I used to post a lot to on the atheist forum. When I started up with ACA, I thought I must be a real idiot, because it seemed like nobody on the list replied to anything I posted. After finally meeting and speaking to a few people, I was told that if everyone agrees, nobody generally replies. I try to respond to most posts that I find interesting on their list--just so new-comers don't feel unwelcome. But some groups really just aren't that responsive, I've found.

  4. Sorry, deleted the comment in an ill-fated edit attempt. This blogger stuff is new to me.

    Anyway, Tracie said it best. I've been reading TAM reports from several places and the only thing you can say if you weren't there is...

    Goddamnit! I wish I'd been there!

    And the "good job" comments were spot on.

  5. Well, I do appreciate the kind remarks! Thanks for the pep talks, you two.

  6. Was there anything to say about the last day? I know this is very late... perhaps in the comments here?

  7. Don't know if you'll see this, but I'm reading all about TAM 5 from you on 12/31/09 and still enjoying the heck out of it.

    Your writing is entertaining and informative, enabling one to enjoy something they didn't attend.



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