Apr 12

American Humanist Association Convention 2011: Richard Dawkins, the SSA and Why I Love the Secular Movement

Richard Dawkins and Ben Conover at AHA 2011

Richard Dawkins and Ben Conover at AHA 2011

I spent the last 4 days across the Charles River in Cambridge, MA at the American Humanist Association Convention. Never have I had such a fantastic time in Boston with other atheists/agnostics/skeptics/humanists discussing how to push the movement forward and partying like crazy!

Thursday started out very well. I went to a breakout session about how to push your own group forward and combining with national organizations to reach new heights. Afterwards I ran into some Facebook acquaintances and made some new friends before I was whisked away to the Undergraduate Philosophy Association meeting at BU.
Friday, I met up with my friend Annie and was allowed to spend a lot of time volunteering with the Secular Student Alliance at their table and with the angel named Suzy at the Richard Dawkins Foundation table. (http://www.secularstudents.org/ ;http://richarddawkins.net/) I met so many fantastic people and had such a good time hanging out with all of them. We traveled around Cambridge to get eats and just look around, and I got the pleasure of hearing Professor Richard Dawkins speak. If you do not know who that is, click on the link above. After hanging out with some great people, I got the opportunity to stay at the hotel with my friend Nick C. and enjoyed the company of new friends and delightful talks. (Shout out to Debbie Goddard of the Center for Inquiry for a great discussion of feminism and the LGBT Movement)
On Saturday all of the students had the privilege of having breakfast with Prof. Dawkins, and when we were just killing time, this occurred:
AHA Convention chess

AHA Convention chess

We set up a chess board out of sugar packets and other condiments. Delightful. After that I worked more with the SSA people (they are the best) and went to talks by J.T. Eberhard, Jason Frye, Bill Baird, and many others. I got to meet so many people from the Secular Coalition of America, the Center for Inquiry, the Harvard Humanist Chaplaincy, Ethical Societies and Cultures, and this list could go on forever. I shook hands with Steven Pinker and saw many other heroes including Bart Ehrman while spending a delightful times with new friends from the SSA and beyond. Once again we had quite a night of hanging out and partying and it was more than dandy.

Sunday we finished up table work and went out all throughout Cambridge once more, spending a lot of time around MIT and on Harvard’s campus. My friends Andy and Felice got tattoos showing their atheism and it was an all around fantastic day. The night ended with a great fiery speech from James Croft of the Harvard Humanist Chaplaincy about how to move Humanism forward. Remarkable man (who we may be doing an interview soon!) and friend.

American Humanist Association Convention 2011 dinner

American Humanist Association Convention 2011 dinner

There is so much I could say about the conference, it was absolutely fantastic. You will be seeing all our new affiliates very shortly on the sidebar and maybe even posts to come. We might add some new contributors to the blog and you WILL be seeing pictures added to this post. Peace and Love.