FtBConscience 3 schedule

Friday 23rd January 2015

  • Opening Remarks and Welcome: Debbie Goddard

    by Debbie Goddard

    Debbie Goddard gets things off and running with a welcome to attendees of the 3rd FtBConscience digital conference.

    At 5:00pm to 5:30pm, Friday 23rd January

  • Treating the Brain: Skeptics Talk Therapy and Therapists

    by Niki M, James Croft, Hiba Krisht, Mitch Hayden and Misha Greenbaum

    There are a lot of myths and misunderstandings in popular culture about what therapists do and how they work. Listen to a group of skeptics talk about their varied experiences finding and working with therapists and psychiatrists. We will talk about (among other things) good experiences and bad experiences, how to find good, affordable therapists, how to recognize signs that a particular therapist may be a good or bad fit, how the experience of being in therapy differs from depictions of it in popular culture, and how different therapists can differ from each other.

    At 5:30pm to 7:00pm, Friday 23rd January

  • Kumbay-Ahh-Ahh-Ahhh!!!: Building a Community Around Shared Sexual Interests

    by Neil Wehneman, Wes Fenza, Trina Gardinier and Karen Hill

    There are plenty of national organizations that will help you build up a community around secularism, knitting, or a variety of other shared interests. But what about a shared interest in, say, polyamory or kink? Having sex be an explicit part of your community introduces both challenges and benefits. Our panelists will share their years of experience building and running successful communities where sex is a significant part of what brings them together.

    At 7:00pm to 8:00pm, Friday 23rd January

  • SW: Abortion 101

    by Niki M

    For such a contentious issue, exactly how abortions are performed is still shrouded in mystery to the general public. This has the unfortunate consequence of allowing misinformation to spread. This presentation aims to give a basic overview of 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and medicine abortions and the myths surrounding each. CONTENT WARNING for depictions of fetal remains.

    At 8:00pm to 9:00pm, Friday 23rd January

  • Asexual Spectrum Atheists

    by Tristin, Cerberus, Elizabeth and Erin

    An asexual is someone who doesn’t experience sexual attraction. While it’s a simple definition, we will correct common assumptions, and explain the the asexual spectrum through our personal experiences. We will discuss obstacles faced by asexual-spectrum folk and why it’s important to be aware of it and talk about it. And completely unique to this panel, we’ll discuss the good and the bad of how our experiences intersect with atheism and skepticism. This is especially important considering that the asexual community is predominantly non-religious right now. Speakers: Tristan, Cerberus, Elizabeth, Erin.

    At 9:00pm to 10:30pm, Friday 23rd January

Saturday 24th January 2015

  • Understanding Ex-Muslims

    by Sakeena Almulhida, Heina Dadabhoy and Kaveh Mousavi

    Ex-Muslims hail from different cultures, and just like Muslims they certainly cannot be considered a monolith. But there are still common themes that distinguish the experience of ex-Muslims from those who leave other religions. This inevitably leads to some misconceptions and faulty assumptions on both sides. Sometimes the ex-Muslims do not feel the welcoming embrace of the atheist community; they feel exiled from their own cultures and misunderstood among people who share their new identity. The aim of this panel is to discuss the roots and the causes of these misunderstandings, and to provide a space for ex-Muslims to express themselves and to try and make others in the atheist movement to see religion and the struggle of those who leave it from the point of view of ex-Muslims.

    At 9:00am to 10:00am, Saturday 24th January

  • The Psychology of Trolls

    by Stephanie Zvan, Jason Thibeault, Tauriq Moosa and Valerie Aurora

    Much has been made recently of trolling on the internet, and how it betrays the trolls' sociopathy. Is there any truth in that? Why do trolls troll, otherwise? What traits do they have in common, and what tactics do they use as a result?

    At 10:00am to 11:00am, Saturday 24th January

  • Secular Symbiosis: Cooperation Between Student and Community Secular Groups

    by Kelley Freeman and Gordon Maples

    Gordon & Kelley will go over successful models of campus-community group interaction, as well as things to avoid.

    At 11:00am to 12:00pm, Saturday 24th January

  • Why Are Secular Students Awesome, and How Can Non-students be Involved?

    by Cara Zelaya

    Cara will highlight the wide range of amazing things that secular students accomplish within their communities. Whether through the creation of social clubs, community service, or pushing for policy reform students do incredible things every day!

    At 12:00pm to 1:00pm, Saturday 24th January

  • Become a Secular Safe Zone Ally

    by Pete Zupan

    Secular Safe Zone allies have the potential to make a huge difference in a young person’s life. We may be role models for others and empower them to speak against prejudice in their own lives. Secular Safe Zone allies will work with young people through one of the most difficult problems they'll ever face during one of the most difficult times in their lives. Being a Secular Safe Zone ally is an enormous responsibility with great potential to make a difference.

    At 1:00pm to 2:00pm, Saturday 24th January

  • Identifying and Addressing Christian Privilege in Intersectional Spaces

    by Lyz Liddell

    Christian privilege in America is often denied, seldom addressed, and can undermine diversity when it comes to worldview. Participants in this session will explore manifestations and effects of Christian privilege, particularly in intersectional environments - whether an interfaith program, service projects, social justice work, or other collaborative endeavors. This workshop will identify ways to address that privilege to create a more welcoming environment for all.

    At 2:00pm to 3:00pm, Saturday 24th January

  • Kinky Sex: Learning the Ropes (See What We Did There?)

    by Neil Wehneman, Heina Dadabhoy, Irregular Panda, Trina Gardinier and Dan Williams

    “Kinky” is a term that gets thrown around a lot, but what does it actually mean? Learn the basics of power exchange, fetishes, and all the different ways you can relate with others and/or have sex (but might not have imagined before!) We’ll also talk about ways to get involved in the kink scene, and how kink intersects with other matters of sexuality such as polyamory and being queer.

    At 3:00pm to 4:00pm, Saturday 24th January

  • People of Color Beyond Faith and Moving Social Justice Forward

    by Donald Wright, Raina Rhoades, Kay Vee and Jennifer Taylor

    Panelists will speak about the need for social justice and intersectionality in the secular community. The topics will range from anti-racism and the myth of colorblindness to community activism. In the process they'll give an overview of the "Moving Social Justice" Conference sponsored by the Black Skeptics' People of Color Beyond Faith network last year.


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    At 3:00pm to 4:00pm, Saturday 24th January

  • Student Advocacy and Why Students Need to be Involved in Politics

    by Dan Pemberton and Cara Zelaya

    Cara and Dan will illustrate the how and the why of political activism, and how to make allies out of your state representatives, city council members, and school administrators.

    At 3:00pm to 4:00pm, Saturday 24th January

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    At 4:00pm to 5:00pm, Saturday 24th January

  • The Little People Argument: The Difference between Respect and Forbearance, and Why It Matters

    by Sastra

    Are atheists who criticize religion and argue against the existence of God being intolerant of other views and insensitive to those who hold them? As long as the religious are not extremists, why not exercise compassion and agree to live and let live? In this talk, Sastra discusses some of the reasons why this seemingly sympathetic and pragmatic approach may contain some hidden pitfalls, both for atheists and believers.

    At 4:00pm to 5:00pm, Saturday 24th January

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    At 5:00pm to 6:00pm, Saturday 24th January

  • SW: How to Stay Positive in a Negative Online Environment

    by Monette Richards, Amy Davis Roth, Stephanie Zvan, Lauren Lane and Radium Yttrium

    Strife and harassment in our movements aren't going away anytime soon, but we still have work to do. How do we keep from letting the negativity control our lives? How do we find the will to make good things happen when people are constantly trying to stop us?

    At 5:00pm to 6:00pm, Saturday 24th January

  • Secular Cults

    by Russell Glasser, Adam Lee, Karen Stollznow, Vyckie D. Garrison and Angie Jackson

    Not all cults are religious. Attributes of a cult include traits such as: unquestioning commitment to one or more leaders, who are considered unaccountable to any authorities; punishment of dissent; mind-altering practices such as meditation and chanting; and deceptive recruitment practices. Many organizations that are not overtly religious still exhibit many of these traits. In this panel we will discuss some examples of this phenomenon, such as the Amway and other multi-level businesses, the self-help movement, and some homeschooling organizations.

    At 5:30pm to 7:00pm, Saturday 24th January

  • Evidence-Based Feminism 2

    by HJ Hornbeck

    HJ Hornbeck continues to put feminism’s claims under science’s microscope, this time by examining the concept of “rape culture,” with some detours through sexual assault, consent, and European Union credit card processing directives. Watching his previous talk is optional, but recommended. Also: there will be a transcript.

    At 7:00pm to 8:00pm, Saturday 24th January

  • The Humanism of Star Trek

    by Scott Lohman

    Gene Roddenberry was a Humanist, and his television show, "Star Trek," featured many Humanist elements. Scott Lohman, former president of the Humanists of Minnesota, will be your tour guide into the Humanism of Star Trek. Even if you aren't a fan of TOS (The Original Series), Scott will be exploring what it is about science fiction which allows it to explore more taboo ideas in popular culture than other genres.

    At 8:00pm to 9:00pm, Saturday 24th January

  • Secular Asian Community: The Binary Nature of Diversity Discussions

    by Lilandra, Mike Nam, Mai Dao, Michelle Huey, Cindy Cooper, Yau Man Chan, Vic Wang and Marissa Torres Langseth, RN, MSN, ANP

    A panel of Asian freethought community members will discuss successes in making Asians more visible in the community, and the consequences of not building organized and humanist communities, such as the situation in China presently.

    At 9:00pm to 10:30pm, Saturday 24th January

Sunday 25th January 2015

  • The True Version of the False: Can Atheists Argue Over the "True" Version of Religion?

    by Dr. Richard Carrier, Russell Glasser, Dan Fincke, Alex Gabriel and Kaveh Mousavi

    A debate about the issue of "true" religion: some atheists claim that we can say that some versions (like fundementalists) of a religion are the "true" version of those religions becuase of their relative consistency and loyalty to the scriptures, while other atheists bring different reasons to refute this, for example the subjective nature of the religion. This panel is a debate between the proponents of these two positions.

    At 10:00am to 11:00am, Sunday 25th January

  • Building a Better Workshop

    by Stephanie Zvan, BibleName, Valerie Aurora and RJ Redden

    Workshops are showing up at more and more atheist and humanist conferences these days, but what does it take to make them work? How do you go from knowing about the topic to helping other people understand it? How do you find good workshops if you're running a conference?

    At 11:00am to 12:00pm, Sunday 25th January

  • Questioning the Historicity of Jesus: Commentary and Q&A by Dr. Richard Carrier

    by Dr. Richard Carrier

    Dr. Carrier will briefly discuss his new book On the Historicity of Jesus (published by the University of Sheffield), his online course on the topic, and some of the issues of debating the historical existence of Jesus, and then take live Q&A from the audience. Exactly the opposite of a Sunday sermon. On Sunday. At sermon time.

    At 11:00am to 12:00pm, Sunday 25th January

  • Reasonable Relationships: How Does Our Skepticism Influence our Romantic or Non-Romantic Relationships?

    by Franklin Veaux, Chana Messinger and Wes Fenza

    When we form relationships, it’s easy to think that just trusting our feelings is the way to go. This panel discusses how and why to be skeptical about relationships, and goes through some of the common logical fallacies that people make regarding their relationships. We'll discuss how confirmation bias, wishful thinking, the sunk costs fallacy, and regression to the mean can influence our decisions about who to date, how to date, and when to end things.

    At 12:00pm to 1:30pm, Sunday 25th January

  • SW: Block Bot and Other Strategies

    by Raethfall, SJW Vivian, James the red nosed and M. A. Melby

    A brief introduction and history of The Block Bot, a blocking application on twitter, and explanation of the current features. Discussion among Block Bot admins, blockers, and coders about their personal philosophies about blocking, challenges inherent to shared blocking and their answers to some of the common criticisms.

    At 12:00pm to 1:00pm, Sunday 25th January

  • Fundraising for a Secular Cause: Because It Takes Money To Change the World

    by Neil Wehneman, Amy Boyle, Nick Fish, Maria Greene and Harry Shaughnessy

    It takes money to scale an organization up from its seeds as a good idea into a major player with local and/or national impact. Organizing a successful conference entails similar costs. But fundraising is hard, and very few people enjoy asking others for money.

    This panel will show you not only how to ask people for money, but also to understand who you should be asking in the first place! Presenters range from those serving as volunteer fundraisers for a local group, to organizers of highly successful conferences, to professional staff with responsibility for raising a million-dollar budget.

    At 1:00pm to 2:00pm, Sunday 25th January

  • Introduction to Secular Women Work Conference

    by Stephanie Zvan, Monette Richards and Chelsea Du Fresne

    There's a new conference in town (if the town is Minneapolis), and it's not quite like anything else out there. Let the organizers tell you why should attend and why and how you should support the conference even if you can't make it.

    At 2:00pm to 3:00pm, Sunday 25th January

    Coverage link

  • Did You Remember Your (Love) Life Vest? Polyamory in the Deep End

    by Neil Wehneman, Heina Dadabhoy, Irregular Panda, Karen Hill and Wes Fenza

    At FtBCon 2, we provided a panel on the basics of Skeptics Open Up: Polyamory in the Skeptical Community. Now, we return to the subject of polyamory to delve deeper. For this panel, we assume you have basic knowledge of polyamory (and you can gain that from http://ftbcon.wordpress.com/2014... and many other sources).

    There’s more to polyamory than managing jealousy, multiple calendars, and safer sex. How do you decide whether and how to share your status as poly with family, co-workers, and other acquaintances? How do you blend family and finances? How do you explain polyamory to the children in your life? We’ll cover all of this and more from a panel with years of successful (and occasionally unsuccessful) polyamory.

    At 3:00pm to 4:00pm, Sunday 25th January