Rational Thoughts: Imagine No Religion conference on its way

It’s been a very busy few weeks since the last column and it’s going to be a very exciting spring.

Our atheist bus campaign is finally underway and has created some interest and  controversy.

Hopefully, it will spark some conversation and raise the profile of our group.

We have Gary Bauslaugh delivering a lecture on Thursday, April 21 at 7 p.m. at the Thompson Rivers University Alumni Theatre on the topic of mercy killing and, specifically, the case of Robert Latimer.

Bauslaugh has written a book on the subject — A Story Of Justice and Mercy.

On Saturday, May 7, we are hosting our inaugural conference at the Kamloops Convention Centre.

Imagine No Religion is the theme and we have managed to get some of the finest speakers in North America to take part.

Our keynote speaker is Prof. Paul Zachary (PZ) Myers, an evolutionary biologist from the University of Minnesota at Morris.

Myers will also be speaking at a public forum on Friday, May 6, the topic being Evolution is true! Intelligent design/creationism isn’t!.

If you have any doubts about this statement, you are invited to come and engage with Myers in an open-forum format.

The May 6 forum takes place at the Kamloops Convention Centre and the admission is only $5.

Myers will be delivering our conference keynote address on Saturday, May 7.

We also have Nate Phelps, who will be speaking on his escape from the Westboro Baptist Church and his father, Pastor Fred Phelps, whose congregation often pickets military funerals and gay-pride events while hoisting signs declaring “God Hates Fags”.

Nate Phelps is now an atheist living in Calgary.

Brian Dalton is the producer of the Mr. Deity series available on Youtube or at his website at mrdeity.com.

Dalton has an extensive background in Mormonism, Christianity and Judaism.

He is well-versed in skepticism, science and  critical thinking and is extremely passionate about the importance, and governing role, of reason in our lives and in our society.

Dalton is an award-winning writer, director, editor, composer and producer and has shot, produced and edited video for Disney, Clear Channel, Cap Cities and other Fortune 500 companies.

The Mr. Deity show offers a humorous (if slightly irreverent) look at the day-to-day operations of the universe and the “Big Man” in charge.

It’s a behind-the-scenes look at how Mr. Deity (the god of this universe) and his long-suffering assistant, Larry, grapple with the complications of their new Creation.

Jen McCreight is a biologist living in Seattle who produces the very popular blog bloghag.

She is also responsible for the worldwide phenomenon known as “BoobQuake.”

Her topic is God’s Lady Problem: Breaking up with abusive supernatural beings.

We also have  Christopher diCarlo.

He is a philosopher of science and ethics whose interests in cognitive evolution have taken him into the natural and social sciences.

DiCarlo is also a past visiting research scholar at Harvard University in the Department of Anthropology and the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology.

His topic is The Big Five: Natural and Supernatural Responses to Life’s Biggest Questions.

Also joining us will be Justin Trottier, executive director of the Centre for Inquiry Canada.

Trottier will be speaking on The State of Organized Freethought in Canada.

Stuart Bechman, president of Atheist Alliance International, will be discussing The Enlightenment: Its promise and its failures.

The conference will be capped by a performance by the Funny Honeys, a local stand-up comedy trio.

This promises to be the highlight of the year for our group and for all who attend.

Thus far, we have had more than 100 people register from across Western Canada and the U.S.

Space is limited.

If you want to get in. you should register now online at imaginenoreligionkamloops.com.

Cost of $140 and the fee includes all sessions, plus lunch and dinner.

Bill Ligertwood is director of the Kamloops Centre for Rational Thought, a Canadian Centre for Inquiry affiliate. The centre’s website can be found online here.



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