Free chinwag featuring two atheists this Wednesday in Madison, and other FFRF events

On Wednesday I’m doing three gigs in Madison, two viewable in real time, one of those attendable in person, and one for later.

  1. First, there will be a free event at the FFRF’s new headquarters in Madison, Wisconsin: a conversation between Dan Barker and me. We had a great chat in Texas not that long ago, and I expect this one will be fun, too. The FFRF’s notice:

Jerry Coyne, professor of evolution & ecology at the University of Chicago, will discuss his books Faith vs. Fact and Why Evolution is True at 7:00 PM, Wednesday, March 14th at Freethought Hall in downtown Madison. Coyne was the recipient of FFRF’s Emperor Has No Clothes award for plain speaking on religion in 2011. He will be joined by FFRF’s co-president Dan Barker as they explore science and the incompatibility of fact and faith. Books from both authors will be available for purchase and signing at this event. Hot beverages and light snacks will be furnished. This event is free and open to FFRF members, family and friends.

Dan has a new book out on free will, which is both determinist and compatibilist, and I hope we have some back and forth on that, too.  At any rate, if you’re in the area, do stop by. And if you want a book signed and make a cat noise (like ‘meow’ or ‘hiss’), I’ll draw a cat in your book. I will be wearing cowboy boots.

2. On Wednesday at noon you can see me, Dan, and Annie Laurie on the FFRF’s “Ask An Atheist” show, broadcast live on their Facebook page. You can submit questions during the show, or email them to the FFRF. It will also be put up later on YouTube.

3. I’ll be taping a video show, also with Dan and Annie Laurie, for the new “Freethought Matters” series. That isn’t open to the public, but will also be on YouTube later.


  1. Posted March 12, 2018 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

    Could you maybe suggest to Dan that whenever he’s on FOX or whatever to talk about church-state separation, he resist the temptation to bash the bible for being nasty & depraved?

    It’s not germane to the argument and only turns off potential allies.

    • W.T. Effingham
      Posted March 12, 2018 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

      To some audiences it might work better to speak of separation of Mosque and State.😬

    • Posted March 13, 2018 at 8:31 am | Permalink

      I can’t tell Dan what to say. Why don’t you write the FFRF and tell him yourself?

      • Posted March 13, 2018 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

        I’ve commented about this at their blog.

  2. Posted March 12, 2018 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

    Wish I lived in Madison.

  3. GBJames
    Posted March 12, 2018 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

    Wish I could make it, but the work-world will keep me 70 miles to the east. Sounds like an interesting chat.

  4. alexandra Moffat
    Posted March 12, 2018 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

    Sounds marvelous – wish Ilived close enough to attend. Might the conversation be taped. Or CSpan??

  5. Posted March 12, 2018 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

    I love these letters and vignettes.

    • Posted March 12, 2018 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

      I don’t like these letters and vignettes at all, but at least the picture they surround is good.

    • Posted March 12, 2018 at 10:32 pm | Permalink

      I spot four instances of optical magnetism that could’ve easily been avoided. But otherwise, a clever composition.

  6. Posted March 12, 2018 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

    If possible, please let us know when the YouTube videos become available.

  7. Posted March 12, 2018 at 7:44 pm | Permalink

    I looked at the link for Dan Barker’s new book on free will, and I’m not sure he’s a compatibilist. He might be a “semi-compatibilist” who affirms moral responsibility but denies free will – if you can believe the comments on Amazon. But maybe you can’t.

    Apparently Barker also mentions the “sum over histories” approach to quantum mechanics, which as explained here, highlights the time-symmetric nature of fundamental physics. Which is a key reason why real physics plus determinism doesn’t threaten free will, even though intuitive physics does. So, maybe he’s worth a closer look.

  8. Liz
    Posted March 13, 2018 at 9:05 am | Permalink

    “‘He will be joined by FFRF’s co-president Dan Barker as they explore science and the incompatibility of fact and faith.'”

    This sounds very interesting. I have my own views on this also. Would be so good if I could make it but I’ll have to see on youtube if it goes up.

  9. peepuk
    Posted March 15, 2018 at 6:18 am | Permalink

    Dan Barker seems to use circular reasoning to create the illusion that we have moral responsibility:

    Because we judge behavior therefore we have moral responsibility.

    The general form is:

    Because we perceive X we have X.

    Funny enough he doesn’t follow the same reasoning with regard to free will.

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