I drove home this weekend in support of my good friend JT and Skepticon.
Awesome, awesome weekend.
Sadly, I missed all the lectures on Friday. John didn't get out of school until 6, then we had a 4.5 hour drive. So we rolled in a bit late. However, much fun was had by all. Super Smash Bros on an N-64 at my "sister's" house made up for any of the missed information.
There was a bit of a debate about the message of Skepticon this year and I think the surrounding media did a terrible job of reporting what Skepticon is.
Most of the "reporting" I saw done titled it as an ATHEIST meeting. (Those godless, amoral, baby-eating atheists)
No, no, no amateurs.
I think by looking at the title you can kinda get the hint this was a SKEPTICs meeting.
Skepticism is an approach to accepting, rejecting, or suspending judgment on new information that requires the new information to be well supported by evidence. (wikipedia)If you just so happen to feel that there's not enough evidence for the existence of certain gods... Well, then, so be it, but being a Skeptic does not automatically make one an Atheist or Agnostic or a jelly-filled doughnut.
Its like algebra. All A's are B's but does that make all B's A's? Maybe, maybe not.
Actually, no. Definitely not.
(Uh-oh, the rant-train is heating up!)
I will admit, looking at the published schedule you get the feeling this is a gods bashing event.
Presentations like, "Are Christians Delusional?", and "The Evaporating Jesus."
There are also things like, "Confrontation vs. Accommodation", and "Coming out Skeptical"
One of my favorites (Not submitted in time for publication in the schedule) was "How to ruin Christmas for everyone" it talked about Santa and other Christmas myths. (Like Krampus. You crazy Germans.)
Here's the part where I draw a giant target on my back and let you take aim.
I, unlike everyone else in the world, like to be right. I like to be right all of the time. I attempt to live an evidence-based life. I like to formulate hypothesis, collect data, and test things before I make a decision. I try to do this as often as reasonably possible. This is how I run, why I eat what I do, buy certain devices and electronics, arrange my furniture, the list can go on. However, I know that I am not stagnate, homeostasis is a fluid continuum. What is considered "correct" one day might have a better understanding in a few years. (See, solar system)
Ever hear how something was "scientifically proved"? I HATE this phrase. Hate it with a mad, burning passion. Someone who uses this phrase, has a very poor understanding of what science is. (It is a verb too, btw.) Science doesn't PROVE anything. Science shows correlation, science gives reasonable assumptions, science allows for positive extrapolations. It doesn't PROVE things.
Math PROVES things. (That's why science has theories and math has proofs.)
So, there were several talks about religion at this "skeptics" meeting. There were also talks about UFOs, Haunted Houses, Evolution, Moral values. But, you're right. If you want to get down to the basis of everything. It was about beliefs. Because beliefs matter. They're the only reason anyone decides anything. Because they either believe it or they don't.
Why do skeptics obsess over religion the way they do? Because it permeates our society in ways that are simply unbelievable. People will reject obvious data in favor of religious beliefs. (Blood transfusion anyone?) I don't mean to play the emotion card but children die with simple medical conditions because of their parents beliefs. We are at war because of religious beliefs.
Augh, I cannot express my frustrations accurately enough.
If you have proof as to why you act a certain way then great, lets have it. If you don't, go find some. If you don't want to find any then don't expect me to believe you. I'm not going to stop you from whatever it is you want to do, but you can't control me without good evidence. I don't live my life without good evidence.
So why have I said all this? So the people who love me and might end up crying/having a fit because I attended an ATHEIST convention will realize, beliefs matter and they should be tested so you can know if you're right.
If you're wrong, you can change it.
Ps. I also saw James Randi. It was epic.