INR 5 photos

June 8, 2015 • 9:56 am

Here are some photos from the INR 5 meeting and our speakers’ dinner last night. Aron Ra, his head mysteriously floating above the podium: Aron Ra The Unholy Trinity in their last appearance. From left to right: Seth Andrews, Matt Dillahunty, Aron Ra: Unholy trio Seth in cat glasses (they are mine, a present from Melissa Chen; see below). Also shown is a book of cat poetry I was given. Seth cat Peter Boghossian: Peter B. Lawrence Krauss boozing it up right before his onstage conversation with Richard Dawkins (I wouldn’t have the moxie to drink whiskey before going onstage!). The booze didn’t show, though: Lawrence and Richard did a great job. Krauss Richard and Lawrence in conversation; Richard is in his usual impeccable dress (and biologically themed tie); Krauss has foregone his usual red Keds and is wearing the pair of authentic handmade, beaded buckskin moccasins that all of us speakers were given (we had to provide our size beforehand by email; Carolyn Porco accidentally copied it back to everyone by mistake and so I’ll reveal that she’s a size 9): Krauss and Dawkins Faisal Saeed Al-Muttar, secular activist and founder of the Global Secular Humanist Council, in cat glasses (I’m one of the moderators on the GSHC FB page). Faisal cat Richard Dawkins and Robyn Blumner, CEO of the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science: Dawkins Blumner Richard wearing the new tie emblazoned with the Australopithecus sediba fossil, a tie given to him by Melissa Chen (see below). He fell and cut himself badly running for a plane, and so has a big bruise under his eye as well as stitches above it, which were removed by a doctor attending the meeting on the day before this photo. Dawkins and tie Melissa Chen—MIT grad student and one of our co-administrators of the GSHC website—knows no fear, and often dons her Space Girl helmet in protest against NASA cutting the space program. She’s sitting next to a Canadian politician whose name I’ve forgotten. Chen i Melissa’s special “thug life” nails, which represent the fact that she’s been bitten by every animal she’s ever encountered: Chen 2 Chen 3 A Canadian energy drink at the meeting. This cracks me up. It’s “dam good” and sports a maple leaf. O Canada! Beaver buzz Bill Ligertwood, who, with his wife Kathy (see below), is the motiviating force behind the Imagine No Religion conferences. He’s a wonderful guy and, with only a light hand, manages to persuade a diverse array of speakers to come and talk about whatever they want. Bill Left to right: Bill, Harriet Hall, and Kathy. Bill Kathy Harriet Peter Boghossian (second from left) labels this photo the “Four No Free Will Men”, as we’re all diehard determinists. I take some credit for persuading Richard (right). Second from right is Greg Stikeleather, who’s on the board of the Dawkins Foundation and a good friend of Richard. Free will guuys The brave and eloquent Vyckie Garrison: Garrison Professor Ceiling Cat takes the podium: Me lecturing Carolyn Porco (left) and Robyn Blumner: Porco Blumner Robert Price and Seth Andrews. Before them on the table is a statue of Aron Ra: Ra It was a wonderful meeting, as the INR conclaves always are. If you get a chance to go to only one secular meeting, this is the one to go to.

32 thoughts on “INR 5 photos

  1. Cool photos, and what a great lineup!

    Before them on the table is a statue of Aron Ra

    Statue or action figure? 🙂

  2. I was in Vancouver last week for a scientific conference and unfortunately didn’t realize how close it was to the INR5 meeting. If Id realized sooner I’d have stayed a few days more and attended.

  3. This is certainly one I would like to make it to. Only so many resources but a seemingly infinite number of things worth doing.

  4. Thanks for the virtual tour. Fun photos…I appreciate that everyone seems very laid back and happy with many drinks-in-hand.

  5. Great photographs. One questions though, it’s seems you are wearing boots in the picture of Prof Ceiling Cat. What make and model constitutes a properly shod PCC?

  6. Hi Jerry, I think this caption:

    Peter Boghossian (second from right) labels this photo the “Four No Free Will Men”, as we’re all diehard determinists. I take some credit for persuading Richard (right). Second from right is Greg Stikeleather, who’s on the board of the Dawkins Foundation and a good friend of Richard.

    Needs and update. Isn’t Peter second from the left?

  7. “Lawrence Krauss boozing it up right before his onstage conversation with Richard Dawkins (I wouldn’t have the moxie to drink whiskey before going onstage!). The booze didn’t show, though: Lawrence and Richard did a great job.”

    My former postdoctoral mentor could be three sheets to the wind and still give a lucid and entertaining talk at a scientific meeting. I’ve witnessed this on several occasions. How does he manage? It remains a Mystery. o.O

    1. I’d slur and trip. I don’t drink anymore because I take so much migraine medication and alcohol can trigger migraines. So, basically I’m out of practice and have no alcohol tolerance.

      1. Jerry is just fooling – Lawrence was sharing that whiskey with the audience (Crown Royal “Apple” – it was disgusting).

            1. The “apple” part — was it sweet and apple-flavored?

              I have found some of the honey-flavored items to be quite good. (I prefer the honey liqueurs from Portugal; but they are almost impossible to find in my neck of the woods. I like sweets, including Port, Sauternes, sweet liqueurs. Which is funny because I don’t really have a food sweet tooth. I much prefer lassagne to chocolate.)

  8. Thanks for the tour! Is Richard Dawkins really on your team? He may not be a Roman, but he could be from the Judean People’s Front! I’d guess he’s undecided, leaning towards Compatibilism. 😉

  9. I like that beaver energy drink. I’m unfamiliar with energy drinks so I hadn’t seen it before.

  10. Great, looks like a fun meeting!

    … but how can you be a determinist with any serious conviction if the laws of nature don’t look deterministic?

    1. Quantum indeterminacy is irrelevant at macro scales. Overwhelmingly, it manifests as superbly predictable phenomena, such that we can take the most notorious indeterminate phenomenon of all — radioisotope decay — and use it to measure the age of the earth (itself half the age of the Universe) to nearly unbelievable precision. In ironic contrast, it’s the purely deterministic phenomenon, such as the break of a set of billiard balls, that’s the most difficult to predict….

      But, regardless, the key point is that the pattern initially made clear by Newton, that the planets move not because they’re being pushed by supernatural forces but because they’re simply falling downhill along a gradient, has remained the same everywhere else we’ve looked ever since. Basically, “shit rolls downhill” is the alpha and omega of physics.

      b&

      1. It’s not a valid assertion that the world is deterministic because quantum indeterminacy supposedly averages out over macroscopic distances. Two examples –

        While I do not subscribe to the idea that quantum entanglement plays a role in the brain at distances beyond a neuron, I think it is safe to say that the noise that is introduced at electrical junctions in the brain partly inherits its randomness from quantum indeterminacy, and as such will eventually be amplified to have an impact on how we make decisions, what precisely we think and do.

        The same is true for chaotic systems – they are known to amplify arbitrarily small deviations to macroscopic scales. It is precisely there that quantum indeterminacy will not even out but will be blown up to completely change the course of history.

  11. I was lucky enough to attend INR5 … I thought it was amazing. Even my wife enjoyed it.

    And kudos to Jerry who presented his free will presentation with style and humility.

    I managed to say hi to Jerry just after the conference finished and people were leaving. He was talking to a gentleman who was clearly uncomfortable with the idea that he might not have free will. I thought Jerry handle the situation with empathy and grace.

    The weekend I will remember for a long time.

  12. Please remind Prof Dawkins that we need him alive not dead or in a coma. The geneomehas bee very kind to him, he should take care to reciprocate.

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