Wednesday, June 12, 2013

More TAM drama

This article needs the standard disclaimer. The "FreeThoughtBlogs" crowd has sloppily labelled several people as racists, sociopaths and misogynists. They've gone as far as to call for many people to resign, groups and authors to be boycotted on this basis.

Additionally, if one questions their opinions about their accusations, one can find themselves accused of 'hyper-skepticism'.

One may think that "FreeThoughtBlogs" just lets shit fly and land where it may. Facts be damned.

But no! FreeThoughtBlogs cares about the truth!

In a post titled "A misleading claim by a skeptical organization", the following claim is made apparantely by the TAM (The Amazing Meeting, a JREF event) event organizers:
TAM 2013 is actually cheaper than any other skeptic conference when hotel, travel, and meals are factored in. Hotel rates for similar conferences range from $150-200 per night, while our TAM group rates go as low as $45 a night! But the group rates end tomorrow, so book your hotel room right now with JREF’s group code AMA0707!
Apparently this falsehood may not stand, and PZ links to another blog with a breakdown of costs.

PZ & Friends seem to love a competing event, "Skepticon" in Springfield, MO (TAM is hosted in Las Vegas, NV).

Skepticon has free registration.

TAM does not have free registration, but is a generally more accessible place with cheaper hotels.

Let the battle begin.

PZ adds:
On top of that, there are growing numbers of free skeptical conferences that serve different regions - in this area of the upper midwest alone we had the Madison Freethought Festival and SkepTech this past year, all free, so it’s getting easier and easier to find local events that make travel and lodging even cheaper. And most importantly, they build regional talent and communities.
Remember, if you traveled to Washington, DC for "Women in Secularism 2", you're a defender of women's rights.

If you traveled to the American Atheists convention to witness Richard Carrier attempt to channel MLK in his Atheism+ speech, then you're a defender of social justice.

If you're going to Ireland for "Empowering Women in Secularism 2013", you're a truly an awesome human being.

However, now that's time for TAM, it's time to now save those pennies. Perhaps stay home. Think about the economy.

What shallow bullshit.

Quick overview:

  1. The United States is a big place. It is undeniable that TAM is cheaper than other events of its pedigree for many people, especially those on the west coast. Flights alone make this true.
  2. The "Go local" line is a total cop-out and makes a farce of any allegiance to 'skepticism' in this matter
  3. It is painfully obvious this would not be a subject of discussion if FTB wasn't holding a grudge of massive proportions.

It's obvious from PZ's dancing that he is not going to TAM, and does not wish for you to go to TAM either. It's another call for boycott masquerading as skeptical criticism.

There is a line of truth to some of the points made though.

Recall that the standing advice for people thinking about attending SkepchickCon is to save your money and join a local sorority.

Also, don't attend conferences that PZ Myers attends.

You'll save time, money, and sanity. That's a fact.

Then take that money, go to Vegas and have a blast.


  1. "Remember, if you traveled to Washington, DC for "Women in Secularism 2", you're a defender of women's rights."

    Unless one is Justin Vacula, of course. I imagine the slymepitters are also misogynists no matter what they do ....

  2. Rule of thumb: if PZ dislikes a place or organization, that means it's a place where dogma will be challenged and is therefore a true skeptics organization.

  3. Myers et al: Ye dogs, man, get a grip. Dry your tears and see if you can regain a little of the dignity you seem determined to throw away with both hands.

    And what in the world is someone officially "divorced from skepticism" who considers the label of skeptic as "insulting" doing at a skeptic convention anyway? Let's start inviting religious leaders to speak at atheism conventions next, not.