Richard Dawkins accepted my invitation!
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Author:  Chris OConnor [ Fri Apr 18, 2003 1:57 am ]
Post subject:  Richard Dawkins accepted my invitation!


You should all be pleased to learn that Richard Dawkins accepted my invitation to be our guest in the BookTalk chat room after we complete the reading of his "Unweaving the Rainbow." We will need to accomodate the time difference between England and the Eastern US (where most of us are located). Stay tuned for the exact date and time. I'll discuss this with him over the weekend provided I get the chance.


Edited by: Chris OConnor  at: 4/18/03 1:59:23 am

Author:  arcAngle [ Fri Apr 18, 2003 9:38 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Richard Dawkins accepted my invitation!

That is so exciting!

Thanks Chris.


***edited to act my age***

Edited by: arcAngle at: 4/18/03 10:34:58 am

Author:  ZachSylvanus [ Sat Apr 19, 2003 4:36 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Richard Dawkins accepted my invitation!

That is exceptionally good news.

Knowing this, I will try and see if any members of the McGill Skeptics society would be interested in reading and discussing the book with us, or just stopping by for the chat.

It's extra members to have at the chat, and extra possible members to lure in with a most delicious carrot!

Author:  Chris OConnor [ Sun Apr 20, 2003 3:40 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Richard Dawkins accepted my invitation!


Please don't invite anyone to the chat if they aren't going to read the book and participate on the boards. If this were someone different I would encourage you to spread the word, but in this case I can't fathom needing to fill empty seats in the chat room. I would really appreciate you spreading the word though, but just keep in mind that this chat is for people who have read the book. We can only have a total of 25 people in the chat room and we don't want to have seats occupied by people who don't even know what the book is about. Quite frankly...I'm not about to waste Dawkins time like that. My idea is to NOT tell people about the chat details any time soon. Lets try to get more readers. The chat room will fill up if we have enough readers.

Next Thursday in the chat room I'll tell you about the conference. Dawkins talk was incredible - I'm going to have to get a copy of "A Devil's Chaplain" and I strongly suggest you do too. James Randi and Michael Shermer were also excellent. Its after 4am and I just got home from the convention for the day. Several of us sat around drinking and talking all night...including Reggie aka "Infidel Guy." I'm soooo tired. My sentences here are probably nonsensical.

Tomorrow I'm going on some sort of dinner cruise with a group of people - including Dawkins. For some reason I feel somewhat shy around Dawkins. I've admired him for so long that it almost doesn't seem real to be able to talk to him. With your love of science you would have been on the edge of your seat listening to him talk. Only Sagan ever stirred me emotionally like this.

Now that I think about it...I bet my experience with Stephen Jay Gould has left me less than comfortable initiating a discussion with Dawkins. Gould was brilliant, but a complete asshole in my opinion. Dawkins is nothing like Gould and is a perfect gentlemen. And MUCH better at public speaking/lecturing than Gould. I won't say any more on this subject on this thread. I am reading a book comparing and contrasting Dawkins and Goulds versions of evolution.

Next year it would be so nice to get a group of us from BookTalk to attend this convention together. I'm very serious about this. Perhaps if we all plan it out long enough in advance many of us will be able to fit it into our lives.

Ok, I'm going to bed. I don't want to miss Reggies talk tomorrow morning. He'll be working on 4 hours of sleep so this should be interesting. We're going to have Reggie as our guest soon too. He is a very cool person and I'm glad I've been able to spend some time with him this weekend. Night.


Author:  Chris OConnor [ Sun Apr 20, 2003 4:06 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Richard Dawkins accepted my invitation!

Ok, before I go to bed I'll add something. At one point or another I've told you all how I have always admired Carl Sagan. I guess "admire" is putting it mildly. Well James Randi made a comment that almost had me in tears. The context isn't important, but let it suffice to say that James Randi told us of how something happened one day and out of habit he turned to pick up the phone to call Carl Sagan to share it with him. This is after Carl died.

This reminds me of the day I saw "Contact" in the theater. I was doing everything I could to hold back tears as the movie came to the ending. Those of you who shared a deep admiration and respect for Carl will understand this emotional response. It was as close to a religious experience as a heathen bastard like myself will ever experience. SETI was his project and locating ETI his dream, so watching this movie is like seeing through his eyes.

So the movie ends and before the credits roll the screen goes black...and these words appeared:

for Carl

Well I was already overwhelmed with emotion at the time so this sent me over the edge. What a tremendous loss. As if I wasn't already an emotional basket case...this is what the man whispered to his wife in the row behind me:

who is Carl?

I can't tell you how incredible it was for me to hear these words. How could anyone make it to middle age without being exposed to Carl Sagan? How could someone who is so damn important to so many of us not even exist in some peoples minds? Argghhh! Don't they know? Don't they know what they're missing? I wanted to turn around so bad - and teach these people. Nobody should see a movie as profound as Contact and walk away not understanding who Carl was or just how significant Carl's contribution was to this world. But as I said...I was already choked up with emotion and I decided to just sit there for the next 10 minutes with a very good friend of mine who was experiencing the exact same emotional flood as me. I swear - 10 minutes and then we walked out and didn't talk to each other for many minutes. We were speechless.

Anyway...I'm rambling as it approaches 5am. Science is my passion and here I am selling houses for a living. I live vicariously through those scientists who had the foresight and courage to follow their dreams. BookTalk is my small contribution to the freethinker world, but after this conference I'm going to start exploring ways I can do more.


Author:  cinnamon321 [ Mon Apr 21, 2003 4:43 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Richard Dawkins accepted my invitation!

YAAAAAAYYYYY! Thank you, thank you, thank you. :) We got Dawkins. I will definately read that book. Double yaaaaayyyy for Chris! (Cheers for his hard work!) Hope the dinner cruise goes well and enjoy your time with Dawkins and the others. *giant smile*

Author:  Chris OConnor [ Mon Apr 21, 2003 10:12 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Richard Dawkins accepted my invitation!

I'll have to make a post about the whole conference soon. The weekend ended way too quickly to be honest. It was so nice to be around like-minded people, that I am feeling rather down now that I've returned to "reality." Next year the conference will not be in Florida, but it would be fantastic for a group of BookTalk members to make the trip together.


Author:  Timothy Schoonover [ Mon Apr 21, 2003 11:15 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Richard Dawkins accepted my invitation!


We all appreciate your hard work. It's amazing to see how far Booktalk has come, especially looking back to the PPTFE days. I'm finishing up my last week of school and then I will dive into Unweaving the Rainbow.

Author:  Chris OConnor [ Mon Apr 21, 2003 11:45 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Richard Dawkins accepted my invitation!


Excellent. I started reading the book this afternoon. After listening to Dawkins talk this weekend on his "A Devil's Chaplan" I may tackle both books concurrently. I have a feeling you would have really enjoyed this conference.


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