Good tidings, fellow literate human. Seth Kurtenbach, here. As an undergraduate, I double-majored in English and philosophy; two humanities disciplines. I am currently in grad school for philosophy, but I'm in the process of transferring to the computer science PhD program. This transition from the humanities to science/engineering has lately had me reflecting on the value of the humanities disciplines. A wise and just eye doctor once while making small-talk mused that grad school must be designed to make one hate his/her discipline. In my experience, this is partially true, as I developed a topsy-turvey love-hate relationship with philosophy. As a soon to be former humanities person, I'd like to note some of the wonderful things about the humanities that I discovered over the course of my studies.
It was my great pleasure to attend the Center for Inquiry's and Council for Secular Humanism's joint 2012 conference, Moving Secularism Forward, which occurred March 1–4 in Orlando, Florida, so that I could represent the secular student group, SHIFT (Secular Humanism, Inquiry and Freethought), I cofounded at the University of Utah in May 2009. Florida was a prime location for the conference, given some of the alarming intrusions by religion into politics there that have been and are occurring this year. The conference consisted of a great lineup of speakers, ranging from the local to the international stage, and fostered a relaxed yet stimulating atmosphere in which attendees could mingle with each other and speakers during intimate and casual social functions and talks. This was my first time attending a conference put on by the Center for Inquiry or the Council for Secular Humanism and I certainly am glad that I had the opportunity to attend this one.
Hey everyone! Sorry we have abandoned the blog for the last week or so. We all packed up and headed to DC for the Reason Rally and the AA National Convention. Then, I took a trip (my first!) to North Carolina for a Dawkins event and for Rock Beyond Belief. I can't wait to do a summary of those events and to get in touch with all of the people that I met, but I'm still catching up and wanted to post a little something here to keep you entertained for a while.
Today will be a first for Music Monday. I am featuring an entire album from the band Cursive and is titled Happy Hollow. It is one of a few concept albums that has to do with secularism, religion, philosophy and all related things that I don't find kitschy. What I mean is that for some reason I don't think the members of Cursive woke up one day and thought, I want to write an album about atheism. Instead I get the sense that the issues that are dealt with on the album happened to be issues they were struggling with while writing the album.
I suppose I ought to preface my remarks here with one simple observation on my part: Never in my life have I ever been to an event this exciting with a crowd so energized. I have been to my fair share of large gatherings, such as sporting events, only to see fairweather fans skip out at the 7th inning stretch or bail at the first sight of rain. There was none of that here. From the opening remarks to the closing ceremonies ~20k atheists cheered, jeered, sang, and danced through the cold and the rain.