I missed the Global Atheist Convention (GAC) in 2010, being reduced to analysing developments at a distance; online interviewing, raw footage and the like. While I suspect this had benefits, perhaps along the lines of insulating against the crowd-induced amplification of cognitive biases (helping for example, with this), there’s still nothing like reporting from the frontline, right?
I’ve got my dinner gala and gold tickets. Maybe I’ll see you there.
Of course, I’m biased. Or at least as an atheist, I’m about as biased as a cat can be herded.
I am a member of the Atheist Foundation of Australia, which you may suspect pre-disposes me towards positive coverage of the event, so there’s that. But I do expect to have a number of disagreements with people on-stage, beyond the disagreements they’ll have with each other, and my tastes are possibly a little more proletarian than those of most in attendance.
Not to detract from the general thrust of things, I’m also in large part interested in a number of the speakers as writers or academics, rather than just as prominent atheists. I’ve been following a number of them, for various reasons, well before there was this rise of The Atheist Thing. I’ll be taking that baggage with me.
A deliberate effort will be made on my part not to prejudice the performance of Catherine Deveny in the process of any critique. It’s a fair cop; I may not have enjoyed her writing up until this point, but really, I’ve never seen her live before. (And maybe I’ll re-read her writing differently afterward, who knows? Or maybe it’s just one of those irreconcilable Adelaide versus Melbourne things).
Beyond all of this, I wouldn’t mind catching up with a few people I’ve met online if they’re free in Melbourne at the time – maybe some of the left-wonk crowd down that way? Maybe I’ll have to see if Father Bob is up for visitors. I’ll definitely want to pop in to Embiggen Books as well (who at the time of writing have just had a flood, forcing a temporary closure – damn Melbourne).
Then there’s the matter of just looking around town, checking out the local sights and the various fringe events, and sniffing haughtily at the spectacle of South Australia’s neighbouring penal colony. Maybe I’ll even see you there.
Information and tickets here: 2012 Global Atheist Convention.