Thursday, October 18, 2012

Ottawa Atheist/Humanist/Secular Event

The Ottawa Centre for Inquiry is hosting Eschaton 2012: Celebrating Reason at the End of the World, a 'weekend gathering of scientists, philosophers, authors, academics, skeptics, rationalists, humanists, atheists, and freethinkers, where you can see presentations and join discussions on science, skepticism, gender issues, theocracy vs secularism, godless ethics, parenting beyond belief. Featured speakers include blogger PZ Myers, author Ophelia Benson, philosopher Chris DiCarlo, science education activist Eugenie Scott, and many others.'

Check out the full  programme here. The line-up of confirmed speakers (including yours truly) is here. I must say, I am looking forward to hopefully meeting in person Ophelia Benson, one of the contributors to our 50 Voices of Disbelief.

I am part of the panel on 'Godless Ethics and Godless Communities'. My offering on the day will be this:

Myths about Atheist Values

In our forthcoming book ’50 Great Myths About Atheism’ (Wiley-Blackwell 2013) Russell Blackford and I analyze a variety of commonplace myths about atheism. I will discuss four such myths that are relevant to the panel topic, namely: ‘Without God there is no morality’, ‘Atheists are moral relativists’, ‘Atheism robs life of meaning and purpose,’ and ‘Atheists deny the sanctity of human life.’ These myths are a good selection for the panel, because they look at the question of whether we need a higher authority to ground ethics, whether – in the absence of such an authority – we are bound to create secular societies bereft of any stable values, and whether that would lead to our lives becoming meaningless and vacuous. In light of recent Canadian debates about the pro’s and con’s of introducing abortion legislation it seems apt to ask finally whether atheists really callously deny the sanctity of human life. 

Hope to see you there!


  1. Ophelia BensonOctober 27, 2012

    Oh hey, Udo, thanks - I'm looking forward to meeting you too!

  2. Of course atheists don't have values. Haven't you read Richard Joyce's work (note here I choose a leading contemporary metaethicist)? Thats why they go around killing unborn children with little or no regard to their victims.

  3. Teresa, you would not be that internet troll like creature posting repeatedly statements conflating fetuses with children?


Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.

Certainty is not a defensible standard for policy making in the context of assisted dying

I mentioned in a Bioethics editorial a while ago that new frontiers are opening in the assisted dying debate. As an increasing number of...