This site is not maintained. Click here for the new website of Richard Dawkins.

← Great video added - Please add your photos! - Discussion thread for the Reason Rally

Great video added - Please add your photos! - Discussion thread for the Reason Rally - Comments

OperaticAtheist's Avatar Comment 1 by OperaticAtheist

I have to say that I absolutely loved the Reason Rally. Everyone who spoke was so inspiring, whether their speeches were serious or hilarious. I was surprised and elated to see people of ALL ages at the rally. It's also amazing how many people showed up, and despite the rain, how many stayed for the full eight hours! Today, I may be both sore from standing and sick from the weather, but being there was totally worth it. To be honest, yesterday was one of the best days of my life. It was amazing to be able to stand with thousands who shared the same goal that I do. It felt as though everyone there was part of one big family. I think one of my favorite aspects of the rally was the freedom we all had to be so forward with our opinions without the fear of being looked down upon for having them. It's very unfortunate that in today's world, many look upon atheists as some sort of soul-sucking demons. On the contrary, we're very fortunate to live in a time where atheism is not only becoming more recognized and accepted, but it's becoming more powerful, and throughout the next few years, I'm sure it will only become stronger. :)

Mon, 26 Mar 2012 03:13:11 UTC | #930487

Sample's Avatar Comment 2 by Sample

Just a quick note from the Marriott Hotel in Bethesda,

The Reason Rally was wonderful. There were dozens of speakers gifted with a range of styles to express all that is right with reason and all that is wrong with faith.

Team Dawkins shone despite the occasional rain and wind. I've never seen Dr. Cornwell speak before but nobody matched her anger and contempt for inequality on the stage that day. Three cheers to her.

Mike

Mon, 26 Mar 2012 03:38:11 UTC | #930490

Sittingduck's Avatar Comment 3 by Sittingduck

I really wish I could have attended. It sounds like it came off very well. I would very much like to see Richard In person but I can't seem to get my calander aligned with the professor's engagements. I was contemplating driving from Chicago but could't budget the time.

Are there plans to post any videos for the geographically challanged?

Mon, 26 Mar 2012 03:39:14 UTC | #930491

Katy Cordeth's Avatar Comment 4 by Katy Cordeth

I wasn't able to attend because of work commitments, although after reading OperaticAtheist's comment, I'm kicking myself that I didn't take a sick day.

I was just wondering, did the Westboro Baptist morons show up, and if they did, what was their special "message" for Richard and did they get to deliver it?

Mon, 26 Mar 2012 04:12:53 UTC | #930494

dunstar's Avatar Comment 5 by dunstar

Unfortunately I wasn't able to attend since none of the greyhound buses were confirmed in Canada. Perhaps next time.

Mon, 26 Mar 2012 05:38:08 UTC | #930505

debonnesnouvelles's Avatar Comment 6 by debonnesnouvelles

I posted youtube clips of Reason Rally speeches here. There's also a nice half hour pastice of the day. Sad I didn't get to watch James Randy - if someone has the footage, maybe you could share it? Also Elisabeth Cornwell and Sean Faircloth haven't yet appeared on youtube, if anyone's got that.

I watched the Reason Rally live online thanks to the links that drumdaddy posted here on various articles. Grazie mille, drumdaddy!!! You guys were great! What a fantastically big crowd you turned out to be! I got the feeling that you were a conglomeration of really nice people. Which I would expect, of course, but many critics of the secular movement would not. There were sometimes breaks in the video, but when it was Richard's turn, the transmission worked perfectly. What a treat to share the excitement of the moment from another continent.

I wouldn't mind hearing from attendees how many you think you were that day. And also how many people opposing the Reason Rally you encountered there - youtube has a flux of clips, but I wonder if that's someone's agenda to make it look like there was lots more protest than there was? And how did the evening end? Did everybody just go home afterwards or did people stay around for impromptu Reason Rally festivities?

Thumbs up to all American secularists and atheists!

And may I sneak in off topic:

Happy Birthday, Richard!

Mon, 26 Mar 2012 07:31:54 UTC | #930517

debonnesnouvelles's Avatar Comment 7 by debonnesnouvelles

Mon, 26 Mar 2012 10:35:37 UTC | #930529

LaurieB's Avatar Comment 8 by LaurieB

Great day. It feels like I've been on an Atheist pilgrimage :-)

A question for those who were in attendance: What do you think of the whole military segment? I was in about the third row (not counting the VIP section) and when the military guy was telling us to stand up and pledge allegiance and repeat various oaths, this whole segment did not go over well at all. Everyone I could see said the pledge, but when he "ordered" us to repeat after him some sort of military oaths there was dead silence and I looked as far around as I could see and everyone in sight was silent and with expressions of disapproval. That segment of the rally was very awkward and uncomfortable from my perspective. Please, let's not have this forceful oath taking ever again.

Mon, 26 Mar 2012 12:31:00 UTC | #930538

Sample's Avatar Comment 9 by Sample

Just reached 10,000' as we are on route back home from the Reason Rally (as well as the related conventions/activities).

I am still trying to assemble my thoughts about the entire weekend. The Rally has an ap where each speaker/act can be rated.

That said, the one aspect I have no problem commenting about were the faith-based objectors assembled rather loosely throughout the grounds. They contributed much less to my overall experience than I anticipated which was a mild surprise. Their presence was just about as real as the presence of a so-called omnipresent deity. Any free thinking attendee would have had to have made an effort to find them. I'm not sure what that means either (just yet).

Sean Faircloth is an excellent advocate for atheism. His communication and motivational skills are well suited for such venues. He was one of the few who chose to approach this rally with concrete steps to further the cause. And of those few, his organized and polished outline as well as delivery was not bested. Congratulations to him.

I was very proud to witness Prof. Dawkins, a non-US citizen, having the opportunity to stand on stage and direct his comments not only to those assembled on the National Mall, but also to have him facing the Capitol. I experienced a sense of vicarious accomplishment as he too, most assuredly, must have not let such a view/concept evade his perception. Thank you Prof. Dawkins!

Mike (and Rachel)

Mon, 26 Mar 2012 12:59:33 UTC | #930543

farmerjulia64's Avatar Comment 10 by farmerjulia64

I was there, but I missed Lawrence Krauss. Are there any videos of his speech posted anywhere? I must say, I was SO GLAD to be a part of the history making event- just wish I could have stayed for the convention.... maybe next year....

Mon, 26 Mar 2012 13:42:52 UTC | #930552

AtheistEgbert's Avatar Comment 11 by AtheistEgbert

We need a manifesto for freethinkers. Baggini has written a manifesto for 'moderate heathens' which you can find here. and Sean Faircloth has his ten point vision for secularism you can find here.

Let's all try and find a political consensus based on reason, and then work from there.

Mon, 26 Mar 2012 13:43:20 UTC | #930553

the_lever's Avatar Comment 12 by the_lever

Here's my video of the Reason Rally, there was a decent turnout considering the rain and all.

In the video, there are crazy people arguing at the end.

It was awesome to be there, hopefully it'll turn into an annual event.

http://youtu.be/y2QEjZwg1BQ

Mon, 26 Mar 2012 14:16:14 UTC | #930557

Quine's Avatar Comment 13 by Quine

Right now at the conference, Taslima Nasrin, is delivering a terrific and moving denouncement of Islam.

Mon, 26 Mar 2012 15:40:14 UTC | #930568

Lena522's Avatar Comment 14 by Lena522

I really enjoyed the Reason Rally, despite the rain! I hope that something like this can occur annually especially for those that were unable to make it to this one...! It was an experience that I'll never forget, seeing all the different groups of people there was astounding. There wasn't one race, color, or gender. Even the turnout of protesters wasn't overwhelming. I mildly feared that this event would turn into just a platform to debate the protesters, I'm glad that wasn't what happened!

Mon, 26 Mar 2012 16:16:07 UTC | #930570

Steve Zara's Avatar Comment 15 by Steve Zara

I'm still really not posting, as working hard on writing, but I was so pleased to see the success of this rally, and Richard's strident (for it was!) speed was wonderful!

Also, it's his birthday! Happy birthday, Richard. May your life grow ever more full of success and influence, as it clearly is doing.

Mon, 26 Mar 2012 16:33:19 UTC | #930572

xmaseveeve's Avatar Comment 16 by xmaseveeve

Comment 11 Egbert,

''We need a manifesto for freethinkers.''

(I think that's a contradiction in terms.) Could that be anything but devisive, by definition? Remember the Chartists.

''Let's all try and find a political consensus based on reason, and then work from there.''

I can't see your political consensus as being possible among freethinkers. I'd say all children need a real education (a drawing out) and there should be one law for all, regardless of faith or lack of it. That would achieve our aims and embrace all politics.

Mon, 26 Mar 2012 16:48:01 UTC | #930574

xmaseveeve's Avatar Comment 17 by xmaseveeve

Steve Zara, get back to your book! So glad to hear you're writing. All the best! (I'm totally blocked.) Keep plugging away.

Mon, 26 Mar 2012 16:52:04 UTC | #930575

Steve Zara's Avatar Comment 18 by Steve Zara

Dammit... I mean 'speech', not 'speed'! Anyway, back to work.

Mon, 26 Mar 2012 17:47:59 UTC | #930585

Viveca's Avatar Comment 19 by Viveca

Comment 11 by AtheistEgbert :

We need a manifesto for freethinkers. Baggini has written a manifesto for 'moderate heathens' which you can find here. and Sean Faircloth has his ten point vision for secularism you can find here. Let's all try and find a political consensus based on reason, and then work from there.

The practical problem, as I tried to make clear elsewhere, is political. It's not theological. In the UK at any rate, most people and most of the political class, though they are not themselves religious, have political reasons, not theological ones, for supporting the status quo.

Most of the "left" doesn't want to do or say anything that will upset the non-white "victims" of history and global capitalism. So pointing out to these lefties the errors and sins of religion will have almost no effect. Most of the "right" supports the status quo because they are gradualists, because they fear that little people will run amok if deprived of their sky-daddy, and because they see no obvious economic benifits, and some possible economic disadvantages, if religion is significantly diminished.

The point i'm making is that one would think that among so-called atheists/ agnostics/ secularists/ progressives etc, that it would be axiomatic that, whatever else may be disputed, all parties could agree that religion should NOT enjoy any special privilege, in law and in civil society, over other points of view. But as soon as one proposes this ostensibly innocuous baseline for consensus, one is quickly abandoned by most of one's comrades, who, when push comes to shove, really don't want religious privilege to come to an end. Very many people of this type regularly contribute to this very website, pretending to themselves and others that they oppose religious privilege and exceptionalism, while conveniently finding excuses to affirm the status quo in one form or another. So what i'm saying should come as a surprise to no one.

Mon, 26 Mar 2012 19:10:18 UTC | #930600

AtheistEgbert's Avatar Comment 20 by AtheistEgbert

xmaseveeve

(I think that's a contradiction in terms.)

Not at all. I think any freethinker is a reason-based freethinker, and a reasoned based political consensus could easily be established, without necessarily being radical.

I can't see your political consensus as being possible among freethinkers. I'd say all children need a real education (a drawing out) and there should be one law for all, regardless of faith or lack of it. That would achieve our aims and embrace all politics.

I too would like to see real education, and one law for all. Why can't those be seen as naturally reasonable goals to achieve?

What I'm trying to say is that politics hasn't progressed very much because it hasn't been as reason based as it should have been. Politics in practice has been largely message or narrative based, and those messages and narratives have been incoherent and contradictory.

Viveca

In the UK at any rate, most people and most of the political class, though they are not themselves religious, have political reasons, not theological ones, for supporting the status quo.

And I'm not disagreeing with you. However, what I'm trying to say is that politics has not, and is still not very reasonable. This leaves the door open for religion and religious privilege to suddenly sweep into power and threaten to destroy our liberties.

All I'm suggesting is that we promote a new message ourselves, to put reason back in politics. The horrifying message we're getting from our prime minister and the chairman of the conservatives is putting religion back into politics, and that is a complete disaster.

We can stop this growing insanity, if we loudly come to a simple political consensus. A healthy democracy is dependent on rational voting. But politics has grown incredibly lazy and business orientated, where public relations and the media tell us how to vote based on whatever narrative they wish to spin. If we want to stop the religious from gaining power, like the very real power grabbing they're doing in the middle-east as well as America, then we need to start loudly and vocally criticizing politicians and the media without fear of offending their insane religious beliefs and their insane ideologies.

Mon, 26 Mar 2012 20:11:46 UTC | #930608

xmaseveeve's Avatar Comment 21 by xmaseveeve

Comment 20, Egbert,

''I too would like to see real education, and one law for all. Why can't those be seen as naturally reasonable goals to achieve?''

They are, but your word 'manifesto' suggested (at least, to me) more than two goals. I think secularists' aims all boil down to education and laws.

''We can stop this growing insanity, if we loudly come to a simple political consensus.''

Yes, because if it's not simple, there cannot be consensus. I know that 'one law for all' includes education, but this part is so important that it has to be explicit, allowing no compromises. Religious belief is a personal matter and it does not belong in schools, councils or courtrooms.

You can't destroy religious delusions with rational argument, by unpicking the cognitive tapestries. There can be no 'reasoning' people out of faith, because reason also works through narrative. Yes, we must fight for the voice of reason, but also, as witnesses for the prosecution in the case against Unreason, we must provide a better narrative.

Progress is our narraive, and some girls in Pakistan and Afghanistan, previously denied an education because of religion, can now grow up to be doctors and even find a cure for cancer. The people of the Dark Ages can't compete with that, and they bloody know it. Tennessee is denying education and holding us all back. They can't take back the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge. Unanimous verdict in favour of free thinking, one day, I hope!

Mon, 26 Mar 2012 21:13:25 UTC | #930617

ArmaanBiggan's Avatar Comment 22 by ArmaanBiggan

Happy Birthday Professor Dawkins

Mon, 26 Mar 2012 21:15:05 UTC | #930618

PERSON's Avatar Comment 23 by PERSON

Most of the "left" doesn't want to do or say anything that will upset the non-white "victims" of history and global capitalism. So pointing out to these lefties the errors and sins of religion will have almost no effect. Most of the "right" supports the status quo because they are gradualists, because they fear that little people will run amok if deprived of their sky-daddy, and because they see no obvious economic benefits, and some possible economic disadvantages, if religion is significantly diminished.

I'd say that's unfair to left and right. Leftist thought is in large part concerned about all victims (not "victims") of history, capitalism (global or otherwise) and other systems of oppression such as aristocratic entitlement and its modern equivalents. This includes white men. Pointing out the unequal treatment some groups receive is no more persecution of white males than insistence on secularism is persecution of religion. This is exactly the argument that needs to be made to the left to bring them back to their core values and away from obsession with identity politics, cultural relativism and similar bad ideas. There is nothing inherent in this kind of view that mandates a free pass for religion. That is something that has been carefully nurtured over decades. It has not always existed, and can be reversed.

The right, specifically ordinary conservatives, tend only to be gradualist insofar as they don't notice the changes. I think you are also mixing two groups: the elite and ordinary supporters of right-wing views. There are factions of the inner party in the US have an odd reverse neomarxist view that the people need to be systematically suppressed through religion, or they'll revolt, overrun the ruling classes and take over. It's strange in that it's never really happened. Certain groups have been eliminated, at most, but an equivalent class has always come along and taken on their role, often those from the old ruling class who escaped or happened to be in opposition within that class. And the people of those countries never stopped being religious, even when coerced to. I think it's less of a fear that religion will be lost, than its form will change, and control through it will be reduced. I guess that's what the PoMos were trying, though seemingly failed, to do, perhaps because it's an ill-founded idea. I'm not sure.

However, I think there are elite right-wingers who see the systems of media control, advertising, control of resources, property law, union busting, the option to call on the police and military, disorder suppression technology and so on as sufficient.

I'm perhaps not convincing myself here. I was going to say that they want effective, well-educated workers. Well, maybe they do want a few of those. But they don't need that from the general US population. They have the Chinese, etc governments' oppressed subjects to work for them. There seem to be very few elite right-wingers who can or will stand up to the financial and class-peer pressure to move work overseas. None seem to advocate in any meaningful way for trade restrictions to countries with bad labour laws. Not that I've ever heard or seen.

It's a different story when it comes to rank-and-file conservatives. They mostly just want the basics: food and drink, a home, enough income to pay their bills, approval from their peers and authorities(*), protection from their fears, a chance at success, punishment for wrongdoers, rewards for those who do good. They can see the need to keep cheap labour out, but only in terms of people coming in, not goods (admittedly that's also tied up with a cultivated hatred of outsiders.) Right wing grass-roots politics is about justification and story-telling. Not examination of facts and the construction of stories to match them, but the construction of stories, and the location of facts to demonstrate them. It's not just a temptation as for the left. It's the essence of the movement. The two are far from symmetric. Religion is very good at facilitating this kind of story-telling and full-time inhabiting of stories, and it has tools at its disposal that allow stories to go beyond reality.

The right-wing sub-population refines stories. When it invents new ones, it only happens as justification for what's already believed. I can't see that they drive right-wing ideas beyond that. They seem to come from the top-down. The US left can be the same, but I think it's at its best, and most effective, when the ideas come out of the situations ordinary people are in. That can't happen in the same way for the right. There are no real situations in a dream-world.

(*) It's sometimes said right-wingers are more keen to work. I don't think this is true. Rather they prefer to be fulfilling the wishes of an authority. That tends to be that they should work. If it was that they sat about all day, or stood on one leg, or whistled dixie, I suspect they'd do that too, if it could be made part of a story about how it was the way righteous people behaved.

Mon, 26 Mar 2012 21:32:34 UTC | #930624

Viveca's Avatar Comment 24 by Viveca

Comment 20 by AtheistEgbert :

Viveca

In the UK at any rate, most people and most of the political class, though they are not themselves religious, have political reasons, not theological ones, for supporting the status quo.

And I'm not disagreeing with you. However, what I'm trying to say is that politics has not, and is still not very reasonable. This leaves the door open for religion and religious privilege to suddenly sweep into power and threaten to destroy our liberties.

All I'm suggesting is that we promote a new message ourselves, to put reason back in politics.

What is politics in our modern age? It is, above all, an aggregated hierarchy reflecting the priorities of the population. To expect politics to be "reasonable" (in the strict sense of that word) is itself the most unreasonable wish.

The situation in the USA seems markedly different from that in the UK. In the US there really are religious idiots who, with a bit of luck, can attain the highest positions of power, supported by a disturbingly high proportion of the population who make much of their supposedly "religious identity". I'd be interested to know, for example, if there were any prominent Republican supporters speaking at the Reason Rally?

But in the UK things are quite different. Religious privilege and exceptionalism is supported here, by ALL the main political parties, not because the religious are numerically significant or remarkably persuasive lobbyists, but because the political parties themselves have their own reasons for promoting religious privilege.

So unless you can persuade this essentially non-religious political class of the benifits (to them!!) of removing religious privilege, you are wasting your time. I share much of your impatience and frustration at the lack of progress, but unless "we" begin to get politically savvy and understand that our main (practical) opponents are the non-religious political classes, "we" will continue, I fear, to fall far short of our aims. Asking people to be "reasonable" isn't going to work politically because most people aren't "reasonable" and because politics has never operated according to such a maxim.

Mon, 26 Mar 2012 22:27:21 UTC | #930638

Viveca's Avatar Comment 25 by Viveca

Comment 23 by PERSON :

Most of the "left" doesn't want to do or say anything that will upset the non-white "victims" of history and global capitalism. So pointing out to these lefties the errors and sins of religion will have almost no effect. Most of the "right" supports the status quo because they are gradualists, because they fear that little people will run amok if deprived of their sky-daddy, and because they see no obvious economic benefits, and some possible economic disadvantages, if religion is significantly diminished.

I'd say that's unfair to left and right. Leftist thought is in large part concerned about all victims (not "victims") of history, capitalism (global or otherwise) and other systems of oppression such as aristocratic entitlement and its modern equivalents. This includes white men. Pointing out the unequal treatment some groups receive is no more persecution of white males than insistence on secularism is persecution of religion. This is exactly the argument that needs to be made to the left to bring them back to their core values and away from obsession with identity politics, cultural relativism and similar bad ideas. There is nothing inherent in this kind of view that mandates a free pass for religion. That is something that has been carefully nurtured over decades. It has not always existed, and can be reversed.

If "Leftist thought is in large part concerned with ALL 'victims' ", as you allege, then it simply wouldn't be necessary to, as you say "bring them back to their core values and away from their obsession with identity politics, cultural relativism and similar bad ideas". You thus appear to be promoting the idea (widespread among many) that the "left" has made an honest and innocent mistake in its recent political choices, but that its heart is still most assuredly in the right place. I've lived too long and seen too much to believe this. Most of the "left" are like most "Christians" - whose thoughts and behaviour bear little or no resemblance to the actual teachings of Jesus; they are happy to vote for political parties who have no intention of removing religious privilege and exceptionalism. So I don't accept that I have been "unfair" to the left (in the UK).

Your subsequent comments on the "right" lead me to suspect that you're principally thinking of the US, where I grant you that things are different. But my highlighted comments were specifically related to the UK, where the "right" is quite different and operates in a very different political culture.

Mon, 26 Mar 2012 23:03:20 UTC | #930643

Rtplogan's Avatar Comment 26 by Rtplogan

Does anyone know if or when the hitchens tribute will be posted from the reason rally?

Apologies if this has already been asked and answered.

Never mind, I found it and others.

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2012/03/26/a-massive-reason-rally-recap-with-videos-and-behind-the-scenes-pictures/

Tue, 27 Mar 2012 00:02:53 UTC | #930654

QuestioningKat's Avatar Comment 27 by QuestioningKat

I was unable to go to the Rally; I wish my job would be in a slow period but it is not. Hopefully, there will be another rally in the future. I suggest that everyone would bring a red umbrella to the next rally in case it of rain. A sea of red umbrellas ( or red "A" unmbrellas) would make a strong visual statement.

Steve, hope your book is going well. I assume it is about deism??

Happy Birthday Richard! Have a nice glass of wine and enjoy!

Tue, 27 Mar 2012 00:20:39 UTC | #930658

AgriculturalAtheist's Avatar Comment 28 by AgriculturalAtheist

Having a reason rally - for which one presumes there will be reasonable and logical arguments advocating it - seems to me redundant if only because it wouldn't make sense to hold the opposite: and UNREASON rally, for then what argument could be made, citing a certain reason and logic, would successfully undermine reason itself? If you were champion of unreason, then you couldn't justify that stance WITH reason - but what would take its place?

Unless of course the reason rally is really against other movements that THINK they are reasonable in their conclusions, but are - at least according to the reason rally - completely wrong.

But then it becomes a matter of simply having the correct information upon which to apply reason. Certainly someone can be completely reasonable given a set of erroneous conclusions. In which case we'd be better off with a "Correct Information Rally" or an Evidence Only Rally." But I guess those names don't have the same ring.

Tue, 27 Mar 2012 05:26:08 UTC | #930692

debonnesnouvelles's Avatar Comment 29 by debonnesnouvelles

Comment 26 by Rtplogan :

..... http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2012/03/26/a-massive-reason-rally-recap-with-videos-and-behind-the-scenes-pictures/

thanks Rtplogan, that link you posted has lots of footage/ articles I hadn't seen. Worth checking out.

Comment 27 by QuestioningKat :

I was unable to go to the Rally; I wish my job would be in a slow period but it is not.....

Don't be too sad, QuestioningKat. Not everyone can take time off work. If for every person that went to the rally there was one who didn't make it, that makes it an even bigger community of people ;-) A reasonable number (hehehe) of people did make it, and that should hopefully be enough to send out a message to the world. If it doesn't make you too wistful, check out the variety of footage on the web - such a celebration, I find it lifts the mood!

Tue, 27 Mar 2012 05:51:12 UTC | #930695

kerosene's Avatar Comment 30 by kerosene

can't remember where i got this Jamie Kilstein video posted by jzella100 as i have soooo many brilliant reason rally windows open -

what a fantastic feeling listening to person after person convincingly ram it home that this hugely embarrassing (and sinister) crap must be removed from our everyday lives

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LsSP6kt2bKk

Tue, 27 Mar 2012 16:34:38 UTC | #930759