Orlando: …Not unlike dart-throwing chimpanzees

 Orlando

H/t: Ophelia Benson @ butterfliesandwheels Freethought syndicated blogs

 January 18, 2012 at 3:13 pm  Ophelia Benson

Oh hey, I’m excited now – Jessica Ahlquist is a speaker at the Moving Secularism Forward conference – which is exciting for Me Me Me because so am I. Yip!

The annual joint conference of CFI and the Council for Secular Humanism takes place March 1–4 at the Hyatt Regency in Orlando, FL and includes presentations from Daniel Dennett, Jamila Bey, PZ Myers, Ophelia Benson, David Silverman, Ronald A. Lindsay, and more.

Jessica Ahlquist croppedNew speaker announced: Jessica Ahlquist! Jessica, ourvolunteer high school coordinator, just won the case against her public high school’s display of a prayer banner. She’s participating in a Saturday morning session on “Outreach and Advocacy Strategies” moderated by campus organizer Debbie Goddard.

It’s fun having teenage heroes. Makes a person feel optimistic.

6 Responses to “Orlando”
  1. Great.

    session on “Outreach and Advocacy Strategies” moderated by campus organizer Debbie Goddard.

    Music to my ears.

  2. Fin says:

    She deserves the world’s largest and most enthusiastic high five, make sure you deliver.

  3. christopher moyer says:

    Just posting to say I love this.

  4. Well Fin I wouldn’t want to knock her down. :- )

  5. Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    Will there be any disabled people on the panel? If not, why not?

    Will there any working-class disadvantaged people on the panel. If not, why not?

  6. Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    Will there be any disabled people on the panel? If not, why not?

    Will there any working-class disadvantaged people on the panel. If not, why not?

  7. I was wondering if there will be any folk from less advantaged backgrounds and those with disabilities playing an active part in the four day conference?

  8. […] SC (Salty Current), OM says: January 18, 2012 at 3:23 pm […]

    As you can see from the fifth comment it looked as if I was putting the kibosh on what was otherwise seen as a very exciting conversation. It was not my intention to be any kind of kill-joy. I was just thinking of a hero of Ophelia’s of not so long ago, who was one James Smith. A  person seen getting things done – justice-wise for Magdalen Laundry survivors. I too was reminded of Paddy Doyle, who is an ardent devoted activist for wheelchair users. Paddy takes every opportunity to ask various global organisations questions about rampant discrimination of every sort and the Moving Secularism Forward conference  organisers and panellists should also not be afraid to answer questions of this ilk. If Bruce Springsteen is good enough to be challenged by Paddy Doyle on wheelchair users and the way they are treated as second-class citizens – so too, in my opinion, should the line of ‘celebrity’ atheists and their organisers.
    As a person who comes from a very disadvantaged background (not by lineage, but by circumstances arising out of my birth) and the times that were in it, when I grew in Holy Roman Catholic & Apostolic Ireland – I too, would like to have answers. I have been on the periphery of the atheist/sceptic community for a very long time now and since the accommodationist debacle have become very disturbed and disenchanted at what I see going on amongst a lot of those who profess to want to change the mindset of the world. I do not have the skills needed to verbalise thoughts properly (and neither do the majority of those who grew up in industrial *school* settings) but we still had the temerity to stand up and be counted and change the mindset of Ireland. So a lot of atheists, some secularists, sceptics and some philosophers who appear to snub our ilk because we appear semi-illiterate to them — in all probability because of our lack of education, are wrong to do so to vulnerable people.
    It seems too that the experts don’t have all the answers, not according to an article written by Charlie Fell anyway, where he addresses some very interesting questions by Philip Tetlock, in the Irish Times on the 6th January 2012.
  9.  Forecasters not unlike dart-throwing chimpanzees.
  10. ….[T]etlock’s authoritative study spanned more than a decade and encompassed 284 experts “giving 27,450 judgments of the future”.

    He concluded that the experts would have been beaten by “a dart-throwing chimpanzee”.

    The bottom line is that professionals in all walks of life – and not just the investment world – have an inflated view of their abilities.

    Of course, this is to be expected: after all, should an individual actually think otherwise, one could reasonably ask such a person why they would even consider continuing to practise in their chosen field of expertise.

    However, high levels of overconfidence have been shown to be dangerous, where “the more famous the expert, the worse he did”.

    So-called experts typically suffer from the illusion of knowledge – the more facts that an expert has available to them, the more information they have to enlist to support their opinions.

    Further, experts usually place too much emphasis on information that supports their opinions and downplay the facts that support an altogether different conclusion.

    As the political scientist Harold Laski observed in 1930, “Expertise . . . breeds an inability to accept new views.”

    The case against expert opinion is overwhelming but, as Scott Armstrong, an expert on forecasting notes:

    “No matter how much evidence exists that seers do not exist, suckers will pay for the existence of seers.”

    Investors would do well to remember that sell-side predictions can damage your financial health.

    H/t Gay Byrne of the Late Late Show.

  11. debbiegoddard says: January 18, 2012 at 9:31 pm

  12. “Diversity in the movement is a concern of mine. Can I ask: what do you consider a less advantaged background”

    I consider people like me to be of a gargantuan diversity, who grew up in adverse circumstances and who received no education, or very little, and who went out into the world at a far younger age than Jessica and had to fight tooth and nail to exist alone, because of lack of writing/verbal skills along with everything else that emanated from living alone without parents. We are still classed as a diverse group by most sceptics, most atheists and most secularists and religious alike, because we do not have the skills required to air our views properly. We are absolutely shunned by them.

  13. I also consider people like Paddy Doyle of God Squad to be part of a diverse group. He is a wheelchair user activist and he certainly will not sit back and let organisations who only pay lip service to people with disabilities. He also grew up in adverse circumstances. He forever challenges the religious, but the atheist community just basically turn a blind eye to him and people like him, because of reasons that I find indecipherable. For example they never support his blog. They couldn’t be bothered to communicate with our kind for love or money. We are past our sell-by-date and not cute enough for people to feel enthusiastic enough.

  14. We live in a country that has a huge young population, so we thoroughly embrace young people like Jessica and hope that she does not go down the path of jeering those who have literacy problems, which is something that some from the sceptic community, who should know better, are prone to so doing. Shunning those from disadvantaged backgrounds should not be on the online or conference agendas of professionals (most especially those who teach young people and who should know better) or anyone professing to wanting answers to the complexities of the same world that we all inhabit.

  15.  Always remember that when you point the finger at those whom you deem to be from the lowest dominant order on Maslow’s list, that there are always three fingers pointing back at you. Nobody in this world is better than the next person. The matter in ones head might be smaller, but there are big goods in little parcels.

What god/Betsy giveth he/she can so take back in a matter of minutes, days or years. Nobody is immune from becoming ‘deranged’. Like a thief in the night she can darken any door. So be warned all you who use that decrepit word in your vocabulary to metaphorically beat up on those whom you feel are beneath you intellectually. (Irrespective of their not-too-thought-out ways of dealing with bullying). Your intellect comes from the matter in your head, and is very very fragile indeed. So don’t use it to play around with because of your grand notions of superiority. Or what appears to be the case from where I’m standing.

  1. Sorry for all the pingbacks. I really don’t know how they got there. There is obviously a glitch in the system.

    9 Responses to “Orlando”

    1. Great.

      session on “Outreach and Advocacy Strategies” moderated by campus organizer Debbie Goddard.

      Music to my ears.

    2. Fin says:

      She deserves the world’s largest and most enthusiastic high five, make sure you deliver.

    3. christopher moyer says:

      Just posting to say I love this.

    4. Well Fin I wouldn’t want to knock her down. :- )

    5. I was wondering if there will be any folk from less advantaged backgrounds and those with disabilies playing an active part in the day’s conference?

    6. […] SC (Salty Current), OM says: January 18, 2012 at 3:23 pm […]

    7. […] SC (Salty Current), OM says: January 18, 2012 at 3:23 pm […]

    8. debbiegoddard says:

      #6 Marie-Therese: If we’re working from the same definitions, then yes! By the way, it’s a full four-day conference. Many of the speakers are listed onhttp://orlandocon.secularhumanism.org/, but they’ll be making live a complete list in the next day or two.

      Diversity in the movement is a concern of mine. Can I ask: what do you consider a less advantaged background?

    9. Mo says:

      debbiegoddard says: January 18, 2012 at 9:31 pm

      “Diversity in the movement is a concern of mine. Can I ask: what do you consider a less advantaged background”

      I consider people like me to be a gargantuan diversity, who grew up in adverse circumstances and who received no education, or very little and who went out into the world at a far younger age than Jessica and had to fight tooth and nail to exist alone, because of lack of writing/verbal skills along with everything else that emanated from living alone without parents. We are still classed as a diverse group by most sceptics, most atheists and most secularists and religious alike, because we do not have the skills required to air our views properly. We are absolutely shunned by them.

      I also consider people like Paddy Doyle of God Squad to be part of a diverse group. He is a wheelchair user activist and he certainly will not sit back and let organisations who only pay lip service to people with disabilities. He also grew up in adverse circumstances. He forever challenges the religious, but the atheist community just basically turns a blind eye to him and people like him, because of reasons that I find indecipherable. For example they never support his blog. They couldn’t be bothered to communicate with our kind for love or money. We are past our sell-by-date and not cute enough for people to feel enthusiastic enough.

      We live in a country that has a huge young population, so we thoroughly embrace young people like Jessica and hope that she does not go down the path of jeering those who have literacy problems, which is something that some from the sceptic community who should know better are prone to so doing. Shunning those from disadvantaged backgrounds should not be on the online or conference agendas of professionals (most especially those who teach young people and who should know better) or anyone professing to wanting answers to the complexities of the same world that we all inhabit.

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