Saturday, May 21, 2011

Surprising? Nope.

Well, here it is, midnight PST, making it past seven PM in New Zealand, yet it looks like Harold Camping's apocalypse is at least an hour late.

It's amusing that after two thousand years of failed predictions, people are still expecting the Jewish Zombie Apocalypse (you know, Jesus returning to the Earth). Harold Camping was able to put together an advertising campaign with over three million dollars in donated cash. Three million dollars that could have gone to something important, like (as Jesus commanded) feeding the hungry or clothing the poor. It's disheartening to see such large numbers of people willing to waste their lives and huge amounts of resources in the vain attempt to warn people of imaginary dangers, especially when we risk catastrophe from real perils like climate change, pollution, disease, reliance on non-renewable resources, etc.

Attempting to get people to worry about the consequences of tossing out a few bits of plastic becomes that much more difficult when they're terrified that hidden demons or dragons are chomping at the bit, waiting for the signal that will free them to unleash waves of disease, suffering, and death upon the entire populace of the Earth, save for an invariably small number of "true believers" who will be magically protected from the apocalypse.

People have such short memories that they cannot recall the hundreds, if not thousands, of failed predictions regarding the apocalypse. What will it take to convince humankind to abandon superstition pushed by con men and begin to recognize the real problems that we face as a species on this planet?

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

In which I increase my Nerd Cred

I managed to run of to Kamloops on Saturday to catch PZ Myers in the final talk of the Imagine No Religion conference hosted by the Kamloops Centre For Rational Thought and Center For Inquiry Okanagan.

While there I managed to snag a few photos:

PZ was dressed up to enjoy the err... warm-ish late spring weather. He's much less tentacled and fiery in person than he appears on Pharyngula.

Jen McCreight of Blag Hag was showing her preparedness for the after-party.

I even managed to obtain proof that God exists! Mr. Deity (aka Brian Keith Dalton) was very pleasant, and not at all as temperamental an immortal as I was expecting.

I also met the president of the Center For Inquiry Okanagan, and was invited to check out their post-rapture party, and was informed that they'll soon be hosting a talk by a scientific ghost hunter. That could be interesting. (Spoiler alert: he hasn't found any evidence of spiritual activity yet!)

Even though I missed almost all of the conference, I got a chance to chat with a handful of participants for a short while, meeting skeptics from Edmonton, southern BC, and even Philadelphia. I'll definitely try to make the next organized meeting in the area.

I'll also bring a better camera than the crappy one built into my Blackberry.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Of all the stupid...

Damn it! Due to my inability to read dates on a website, I missed PZ Myers giving a talk over in Kamloops last night!

I wonder if I can sneak into his talk tonight at 7PM? Unfortunately, there isn't a phone number I can call to check, and I don't think I'm going to risk driving two hours to be turned away at the door.