• Stephanie wrote a new post, Richard Dawkins 2016 Reason Rally Speech 4 years, 2 months ago

    Reason Rally 2016 was incredible! Unfortunately, Richard Dawkins couldn’t make it. However, he did send a video! Here it is in its entirety.

    • I’m so spoiled, having spent my entire life in the liberal northeast US. Except for a brief time that I lived in Jesusland Maine, there was never any assumption, explicitly stated or implied, that I went to church.

      However, as a teen I had a pen pal in Granite Shoals, TX. Even though I told her over and over that I was Jewish, she kept asking me about church. Maybe she just didn’t know what a synagogue was (and my family hardly ever went anyway), but looking at her old letters, I see she was raised fundamentalist. But back then it wasn’t obvious to me as I was vaguely aware, at best, of fundamentalism. I still have her letters, in which she talks about going to church and getting close to God. Back then I think that I was puzzled about these statements!

    • And great speech, Richard! 🙂

    • Did this video play at the convention on that Sunday? Why didn’t it play to the whole Reason Rally on Saturday?

    • bonnie
      Thanks for that link.

      Some of those comments state that the Reason Rally was ruined by SJW’s (Social Justice Warriors) / feminists. If that means that some of our best speakers were driven off then this just doesn’t bode well for the next rally. Can we get our shit together by then?

    • I’d be interested to hear how readers of our site react to LaurieB’s observation (Comment #5). Especially people who were either at the Reason Rally or who took a decision to stay away.

    • I really don’t know, Richard. I mean, there are definitely issues with uber political correctness from the Everything’s Bad Club, but I don’t think the guidelines were unreasonable. The only one I took issue with was to ask people what pronouns they use. It should have said, “When in doubt, ask people what their pronouns are” or “If someone corrects you because you used the wrong pronouns, please be respectful and use the pronouns that person is comfortable with.”

    • And Laurie I’m guessing you’re alluding to Thunderf00t’s latest video? I love his science videos, and in some RARE cases I appreciate his social commentary. But in a lot of his social commentary video I think he needs to grow up a little. I did, however, FACEPALM when Kelly Carlin added “if you’re able-bodied” when she said “Please stand up.” And I did laugh when he said that a sign about faith being about belief without seeing was ableist. But otherwise? I don’t know what he was upset about.

    • I went to that Reason Rally not knowing about any of the apparent drama that was going on behind the scenes. I don’t read twitter or any other social media because I hate social drama. I just read a couple of websites, this one and Jerry Coyne’s. So at some point before the rally started, my friend and I noticed that the roster was switching around with some names vanishing off the list. I was aware that there was an event scheduled for Sunday but we couldn’t stay for that. If I had known that it was to be a parallel rally with some of the speakers that I like going to that one and not the main event on Saturday then I would have made arrangements to go to both. But for the whole event to be fractured like this is unacceptable and counter productive.

    • What names vanished? And was there s blog post about it on Jerry Coyne’s blog?

    • InYourFaceNewYorker #8
      Jun 9, 2016 at 1:58 pm

      You mean this one?

      I just watched half of it and got too depressed to finish it.

      The comments I were referring to were on the link that bonnie posted above.

      Much of this political correctness goes right over my head. The most cringeworthy stupid segment IMHO was at about the 10 minute mark in Thunderfoot’s video when we were all asked to hold hands and she starts off with exclaiming on the wonder of human hands. I agree that they are a wonder of evolution but her whole thing was too sappy and happy clappy for me. We just sat back down and ignored that part.

      I had a good time at the rally last Saturday but now as I’m learning about the drama that must have been going on behind the scenes I’m getting pretty pissed off.

    • IYFNY

      I didn’t see any mention of this on Coyne’s blog but haven’t searched specifically for anything.

      I’m now texting with my friend who was with me that day to see why I think there was name shuffling.

    • Alright so on the app that we referred to for the speaker schedule, there were two lists. The two didn’t match up and this gave me the impression that names were being deleted. Between that and the last minute no shows, I couldn’t be sure who was going to come out on the stage next!

    • Yes, that was the video I was talking about. What is this drama you’ve heard about?

      BTW I thought of something funny… when Carlin tells people to hold hands, she should have said, “If you’re neurologically inclined” or something. Otherwise, she’s erasing people on the autism spectrum!

      And yes, we on the spectrum can have a sense of humor about ourselves. So to any Everything’s Bad Club members who are reading this, I do not need to check my privilege here. 😉


      Many of the invited speakers (including those who couldn’t/didn’t make it) would never show up on anyone’s list of influential atheists. And of the people who might appear on that list, I suspect many of those people weren’t speaking at the Rally. (Whether or not they were invited is another question.)

    • Johnny Depp is being accused of domestic abuse. For that reason I’m glad he didn’t come.

      Richard is still recovering from his stroke, or at least has been told not to travel long distances, for now. That’s what he said in an interview anyway. My mother had a brain hemorrhage when she was 47, and after 2 months you’d never know anything had happened. But it took her an entire year before she felt completely like herself again. I suspect Richard’s situation is somewhat similar.

      I can’t speak about the other possible speakers. The blog post doesn’t seem to indicate anything specifically is going on. I just think ThunderF00t is too quick to jump to conclusions and place blame as to why the Rally didn’t meet expectations.

    • Here’s a discussion about the rally from Pharyngula. Read comments 2 and 3 but the whole thread is an indication of the drama that I referred to.

      What failure?

    • Right, that’s what ThunderF00t said in his video, basically, that “SJW”s hijacked it. Now the comments you pointed me to indicate that the other side thinks that “anti-SJWs” hijacked it. But is there evidence that either side is right as to why the Rally wasn’t a massive success?

    • Hi Richard,

      don’t know if you are still following the threat, if you are a couple of things.

      first great speech, I for one could not tell you’d suffered a stroke recently so well don on your recovery, it seems at least from where I’m standing to be going very well.

      Secondly I couldn’t take my eyes of the tree beside you (I assume its a tree trunk) is that tiles it’s been decorated with? Or is it some sort of sculpture? Great idea, I teach art among other things getting some ideas for trees around our school.


      It’s all over the net. The religious are crowing that this rally was a bust. Regardless of the cause, SJW’s, anti-SJW’s or just plain indifference ( herding cats, professor Dawkins? ) we all will have to own this whether we were there or even wanted to be there. When you organize and project numbers as power you better have the numbers.


      For some reason my comment is marked as spam and I could not add this edit. A particularly galling edit for me as I was raised catholic.

    • Neodarwinian #20
      Jun 10, 2016 at 10:38 am

      It’s all over the net. The religious are crowing that this rally was a bust.

      That was quite likely predictable given the nature of “faith-thinking’s preconceptions” and biases!

      Regardless of the cause, SJW’s, anti-SJW’s or just plain indifference

      It is very common for event organisers to over-estimate or underestimate attendance numbers, or for various interested parties to dispute the actual numbers.

      Ray Comfort planned to use the rally as a publicity platform for his fundamentalism, so perhaps it is no surprise the that other ideological groups had the same idea of hi-jacking it to promote their own causes!
      After all, faith-thinking religions and ideologists, usually define “reason” as “verbiage supporting their own cognitive biases”!

      It also probably comes as a “difficult to understand issue” for dogma-slaves, that atheist free thinkers don’t all share identical views!

    • If we judge the rally by the number of attendees then I can’t say that the fundies are wrong. I arrived there at eight in the morning to get a good seat and I didn’t need to do that. By the time it started and right up until noon we were wondering when the surge of people would arrive. I thought that maybe the young people were just sleeping in and would show up around noon but it didn’t happen. It was plain to see that there were facilities set up to accommodate a massive crowd but no crowd of that size showed up.

      What we are trying to figure out now is why there were less than half of the expected people there and what led to this discrepancy. What Richard wants to know (if I have it right) is what effect the SJW and general infighting had on the attendance for that event. If atheist factions have caused such a serious rift in the movement then we have to own that truth and then see if we can close ranks or not. I don’t know if it’s possible. I don’t follow these feuds in detail. I just can’t stand that level of hostility but if this rally is the blatant evidence of how bad the feuds really are then I would say, from the sidelines, it’s damn depressing.

      So I don’t think we should spend any time fussing about the fundies and their gloating. Let them gloat. It doesn’t affect me or us in the long run. Our secular movement is rising and their dark old ideology is falling. If our reason rally was less than what we wished then it’s our duty to figure out honestly why that happened and move on to bigger and better things.

    • Aside the argument for theistic, deistic, polytheistic, polydeistic, and other spiritual ideas, I anticipate people who affiliate with their church/religion do so for a number of corporeal social reasons: a family tradition; to enjoy membership with a group and its benefits, such as social networking, business, babysitting, grief counseling, clubs, meeting people, music, etc.; to have structure for matters of moral/civil relevance that idealizes bring order to a greater community; to have ritual for marriage, birth, and death; to feel rooted to something from the past that will carry forward into the future; to enjoy festivals and special ritual that captures the imagination; to appreciate art and well crafted environments and stories; to learn how to read; aside the desire for the supernatural. I’m sure my list is far from complete. Appealing to a believer, of some supernatural dogma, with reason and science, to transition to atheism will likely invoke many unsettled feelings, such as will their continued affiliation with their church be accepted or will their peers reject their presence. How does an atheist replace the corporeal needs that are left empty when there is no meeting house or formal group to satiate a desire to be part of something that includes the past and future, in a nice place, with decent conversation and company? I think it would be easier for people questioning their faith if they had a place to go near their community/dwelling that met their needs, much like a church. Perhaps a nice stone cathedral, with stain glass windows and sculpture, can be built somewhere for atheists, a gift of Dawkins (GOD), and people can joke that GOD built it.

      Maybe at the next Reason Rally a speaker can quickly present an overview of several schematics and estimated costs for the construction of various types of meetings houses (wood, stone, common industrial, as well as formalities of registering as a “religion”, in addition to costs considered typical for equipping a facility to congregate a community, offering starter kits of sorts? When a meeting houses can offer to meet the needs of a congregation, like burials, marriages, group dynamics, etc. I wager people will have a much easier time with the process to question their belief in the supernatural. If you see someone standing in a house that is unsafe, and it’s impossible to reason with the person, to egress from it, before you tear it apart to save the person try building another structure that is safer, that meets their needs in every way save the supernatural tenet.

      Nice cadences in your speech. I chuckled a few times, “knob twiddler” and some other comments.

    • Checking out the comments at the Friendly Atheist’s blog and I saw a video of Bernie Sanders speaking at Liberty University!!!!!


      The unreasonable rally of politics and religion?!?

    • Jeremy

      I chuckled a few times, “knob twiddler” and some other comments.

      Yeah, Richard, watch your potty mouth! 😉

    • Today I woke up with meeting house and cathedral ideas bouncing around in my imagination. A few different structural ideas seem to converge around various unknown social needs, the most basic being a kitchen and large open room for social events. For plans for a more formal structure, my mind keeps superimposing two blue prints combining my observations of a city hall and church. This particular city hall has a basketball court on the third floor with a stage and side rooms at one end of the facility. The church has a first floor facility with a large open area for meetings/dances that faces a small stage flanked by two medium sized rooms with toys and musical instruments, both lead to a large kitchen behind the stage.

      A hypothetical meeting house for an atheist might have a first floor open area with a small stage separating a larger kitchen, while on the second floor a basketball court could be used by local youth/adults for various activities during the week. I often notice that many municipalities lack a place for kids and adults to enjoy simple activities. A venture kitchen would encourage members of a community, with fewer resources, to have access to a facility to explore cost benefits of cooking in bulk, or to maybe explore the art of learning how to sell food items at a farmers market, aside being a soup kitchen and catering for social events. Formal weekly meetings, for a community gathering, could utilize the smaller first floor open area or larger second floor area by placing chairs as needed for guests. This basic design can be augmented or changed to service local/regional community needs, such as opting for a different second floor plan. The structure would embody a focus on matters of the real world: imagination, consciousness, culture, and community with some structured ritual for personal formalities (marriages, death, counseling, education, etc.).

      A Dawkins cathedral could be an impressive structure combining an atrium, natural history museum, research quarters for the staff, library, media room, and a meeting area with gallery … . Renewable design ideas might be employed too, and maybe a green cemetery maintained as a park.

    • Science and reason, do not need promotional rallies, unless they are under attack or need to be promoted to the ignorant who do not see the need for them.

      It follows that Reason Rallies will be organised in countries and places where this need for some sort of crusade exits.

      It is therefore unsurprising that fringe groups of crusaders, will latch on to such major events, where they will take advantage of the available platform to promote partisan and potentially conflicting views.

    • Hes a brilliant speaker,

    • the Reason Rally was just another waste of fossil fuel
      but it’s good to hear Richard back in fighting form