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Speech at the National Day of Reason Event - Comments

Kasterfin's Avatar Comment 1 by Kasterfin

Great speech, Todd!

Wed, 01 Jun 2011 16:43:13 UTC | #632999

ZenDruid's Avatar Comment 2 by ZenDruid

Excellent content and smoothly delivered. [iirc, the second point was an issue with Todd's American Humanists speech]

Well done!

Wed, 01 Jun 2011 18:05:39 UTC | #633015

Stafford Gordon's Avatar Comment 3 by Stafford Gordon

He's certainly improved his delivery.

Wed, 01 Jun 2011 18:51:23 UTC | #633024

HardNosedSkeptic's Avatar Comment 4 by HardNosedSkeptic

That was a good speech by Todd. I admired the way he dealt with those hecklers.

I think it’s nice to see young people taking up leading roles in the freedom from religion movement. No disrespect to Richard and Christopher Hitchens, but people like Todd Stiefel are the future aren’t they?

Wed, 01 Jun 2011 19:09:05 UTC | #633028

jel's Avatar Comment 5 by jel

@HardNosedSkeptic I agree. I don't think even Richard would argue with you (but I could be wrong). What Richard, Christopher, Sam and Dan have done is raise this subject high in the public sphere and it must not, under any circumstances, be allowed to fade away. Religion needs to be confronted on a continual basis from now on and people like Todd, PZ, MirandaCeleste, Greta Christina, Paula Kirby, etc. are the next wave are just the people to do it.

Wed, 01 Jun 2011 19:43:23 UTC | #633038

Michael Austin's Avatar Comment 6 by Michael Austin

The vimeo link is broken. Anyone have youtube?

Wed, 01 Jun 2011 20:25:35 UTC | #633048

AtheistEgbert's Avatar Comment 7 by AtheistEgbert

Todd Stiefel is a good speaker. Shame about the poor turn out though.

But I want to point out something important among atheists: some have weaker voices than others, but their voice is equal. We should be cautious in allowing the better speakers to dominate events, allow others to speak up, include their voices, even if they're quiet or shy or awkward.

Thanks

Wed, 01 Jun 2011 20:41:17 UTC | #633052

huzonfurst's Avatar Comment 8 by huzonfurst

I'm applauding over here!

Wed, 01 Jun 2011 20:56:19 UTC | #633054

Todd Stiefel's Avatar Comment 9 by Todd Stiefel

Hi folks, we don't have the video on Youtube (it passes the ten minute limit for free videos). The vimeo link has been giving people some problems with certain browsers. If you have issues with it, just try a different browser.

Also, you can't tell from the video, but we actually had a pretty good turnout. The Triangle Freethought Society (based in Raleigh, NC) got the state capitol grounds, exactly where the fundamentalists usually have their day of prayer. They had to move elsewhere. We had a similar turnout to what they had last year for their prayer day. We had 170 people at our peak and a total of around 350 over the course of the 90 minute event. We have videos of the other great speeches from that day here: http://vimeo.com/search/videos/search:triangle%20freethought/st/8e268103

Todd

Wed, 01 Jun 2011 21:38:48 UTC | #633057

sanban's Avatar Comment 10 by sanban

Comment 11 by AtheistEgbert : But I want to point out something important among atheists: some have weaker voices than others, but their voice is equal.

What does that mean?

We should be cautious in allowing the better speakers to dominate events, allow others to speak up, include their voices, even if they're quiet or shy or awkward.

Why? Surely anyone would want the best speakers to speak at their event! Just as they'd want the most talented artist and the most skilled technician and the most brilliant scientist to do what they do best. Why applaud mediocrity or worse?

Wed, 01 Jun 2011 23:27:11 UTC | #633072

AtheistEgbert's Avatar Comment 11 by AtheistEgbert

Comment 14 by sanban :

Why? Surely anyone would want the best speakers to speak at their event! Just as they'd want the most talented artist and the most skilled technician and the most brilliant scientist to do what they do best. Why applaud mediocrity or worse?

For obvious reasons, it's called equality. Your analogy fails when it comes to freedom of speech.

Thu, 02 Jun 2011 11:32:37 UTC | #633193

SomersetJohn's Avatar Comment 12 by SomersetJohn

Comment 14 by sanban :

Why? Surely anyone would want the best speakers to speak at their event! Just as they'd want the most talented artist and the most skilled technician and the most brilliant scientist to do what they do best. Why applaud mediocrity or worse?

I understand where AtheistEgbert is coming from.

Someone might well have an idea of great value yet be unable to express that idea. Should the message be ignored because the medium of delivery is flawed. How many people could hold a conversation with Stephen Hawking, given his restriction in delivery, yet who would deny the power of his message.

Ability to communicate, while of great value, does not guarantee value of content, One only has to listen to William Lane Craig to fully understand that.

Also, I doubt that AE is asking for poor speakers to headline at speaking gigs, more like asking that we do not immediately dismiss someone because of the delivery and completely ignore the message.

Thu, 02 Jun 2011 13:11:18 UTC | #633214

sanban's Avatar Comment 13 by sanban

Of course freedom of speech is important, but that is not at issue here. I admire Stephen Hawking greatly, and no one can deny he is one of the greatest minds of all time, but you are correct in asking who would have the patience to hold a conversation with him. Would you rather hear me bumble on about freedom of speech, or listen (again and again) to Hitch's brilliant Fire! Fire! monologue?

In this case, one is choosing speakers to stand in a public square and speak - I would choose the best orator for the argument.

Thu, 02 Jun 2011 19:36:59 UTC | #633431

SnaevarTor's Avatar Comment 14 by SnaevarTor

Comment 17 by SomersetJohn :

Comment 14 by sanban :

Why? Surely anyone would want the best speakers to speak at their event! Just as they'd want the most talented artist and the most skilled technician and the most brilliant scientist to do what they do best. Why applaud mediocrity or worse?

I understand where AtheistEgbert is coming from.

Someone might well have an idea of great value yet be unable to express that idea. Should the message be ignored because the medium of delivery is flawed. How many people could hold a conversation with Stephen Hawking, given his restriction in delivery, yet who would deny the power of his message.

Ability to communicate, while of great value, does not guarantee value of content, One only has to listen to William Lane Craig to fully understand that.

Also, I doubt that AE is asking for poor speakers to headline at speaking gigs, more like asking that we do not immediately dismiss someone because of the delivery and completely ignore the message.

If you ignore the message on account of its delivery, it is a reflection of your own limited intellect and nothing else. For example, Noam Chomsky may not have the smooth, confident and practiced delivery of the pundits employed by Fox News, but he would destroy all of them in a debate regarding the legitimacy of the Iraq war.

Fri, 03 Jun 2011 01:56:53 UTC | #633553

sanban's Avatar Comment 15 by sanban

If you ignore the message on account of its delivery, it is a reflection of your own limited intellect and nothing else.

I think you're wrong about this. Lots of intelligent people are intolerant of inarticulate argument. I am not usually one of them (I'm not all that bright and sometimes quite tolerant of bumblers like myself), but I don't think less of them for dismissing my poor attempts at expressing (usually someone else's) brilliant argument! I think it's disingenuous and just silly to champion the inarticulate. We admire great rhetoricians not only for the greatness of their ideas, but also for their great delivery.

Fri, 03 Jun 2011 22:00:18 UTC | #633798

Munski's Avatar Comment 16 by Munski

Comment 20 by sanban :

If you ignore the message on account of its delivery, it is a reflection of your own limited intellect and nothing else.

I think you're wrong about this. Lots of intelligent people are intolerant of inarticulate argument. I am not usually one of them (I'm not all that bright and sometimes quite tolerant of bumblers like myself), but I don't think less of them for dismissing my poor attempts at expressing (usually someone else's) brilliant argument! I think it's disingenuous and just silly to champion the inarticulate. We admire great rhetoricians not only for the greatness of their ideas, but also for their great delivery.

Which can be a shame at times, because it does lead to political pundits or rhetoricians that may have bad ideas or bad information, or a lack of, but with a 'great delivery', can put enough of an 'intellectual' spin on it to perhaps not fool many smart people, but can lead to taking complicated subjects and reduce them to almost 'bumper-sticker slogan' policies. Sorting it out isn't too hard if one thinks about the subject matter of anyone's speech, but we are so used to 'cults of personalilty' in our society that people like Limbaugh, Craig, or (gag) Beck and Coultier do become people that pass for intellectual debaters, and a majority of people that do cite them as some form of prophets of wisdom simply because they can turn a phrase can end up putting people in power that do have the ability to not supply funding for ideas that are absolutely brilliant or even necessary for our survival as a species.

It's troublesome, in that it delays our progress as a species, and in a way, it's the equivalent of rewarding those only because they can spin a common thought or mediocre idea with some clever phrase that sounds smart or at least entertaining against a very good idea, and still win. In a way, it's like modern democratic system that puts the power of the vote in the hands of people that will focus solely on rhetoric or 'religion' of a particular policy, and not the actual merits of it, which almost always ends up having to be learned in hindsight.

But, that's what freedom of choice usually gives us. The freedom to have the least brightest decide the future for the majority of us simply because someone can take a folksy tale and spin it into part of their debate on some subject in a way that appeals to people in a way that's more personal, and less lofty or less 'academic' for the majority of people that don't take the time to find out exactly what is at stake in the debate as opposed to who got the applause meter needle bouncing the most.

Unfortunately, it usually means that someone does have to 'pick up the flag' of any particular idea, and head into battle with it even if they aren't the person with the idea or the intellect, but have the quick mind to be able to hold information and distribute it in a way that's pallitable to people that do only think in terms of clever quips . . . because generally, the majority of people that do vote in elections that provide policies need to be given information that appeals to them in a way that they can relate to in the form of consequences that can't be effectively ignored.

Mon, 06 Jun 2011 09:20:22 UTC | #634623