Atheism with a conscience

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Announcing FtBCon 3 rescheduled dates!

We are pleased to announce that FtBCon 3 has been rescheduled to Friday, January 23rd, through Sunday, January 25th, 2015.

On a related note, due to time commitments for all members involved in putting on this virtual conference, we’re going to try to make it annual from here on out, as it seems significantly more manageable than demi-annual.

We hope you’re as excited about this as we are!

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FtBCon 3 Postponed: Please Read

Due to some unexpected circumstances for a few of the FtBCon organizers, we have decided to postpone the conference for a few months. We know that you have kept your schedules open for next weekend and we apologize for this, but it’s the best way to make sure that the conference is as well-organized and fun as we want it to be.

We’re working on setting a new date together with all our panel organizers so that as many of them can participate as possible. We’ll have a date set by next weekend, and the rescheduled conference will probably be between two and five months from now. Look out for the announcement on this blog, our Twitter, and our Facebook page.

Thanks for your help in making FtBCon awesome. We apologize again for having to postpone and hope that you’ll be able to join us for the new date. If you have any questions, let us know.

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How to Moderate a Panel

[This is a cross-post from Almost Diamonds.]

So you’re thinking about running a session for FtBCon, but you haven’t moderated a panel discussion before. Or you ran one, but you didn’t feel that you knew quite how to make it go the way you wanted it to. We’re here to help.

Graphic of call for proposals. All information included in the link above the image.

Moderating a panel discussion, like most complex skills, looks effortless when done by someone with experience. It’s easy to underestimate how much work it is until you’re the person expected to keep things moving, on topic, interesting, and interactive all at once. Here’s a guide to make it easier when you find yourself in that position with no idea what to do. Continue reading

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Tell Us What You Want to See at FtBCon3

[Cross-post from Almost Diamonds]

In case you haven’t already seen the news, July 22 is the deadline to submit your panel proposals for FtBConscience3.

Graphic of call for proposals. All information included in the link above the image.

Don’t want to run a panel but you still have ideas about what you want to see? That’s okay too. While proposals that come with a moderator and participants baked in save us time and energy and are viewed with gratitude, your con runners are happy to do some recruiting for topics you particularly want to see. Continue reading


Submit Your Panel Proposals for #FtBCon by July 22!

[Cross-post from Brute Reason]

FtBCon 3 is fast approaching: August 22-24, 2014. As always, we’re going to have a full weekend of panels, talks, and Cards Against Humanity. This time, we’re going to be more organized about how we plan the sessions, so we’re giving you until July 22 to submit a proposal for a panel or talk.


To submit your proposal, just email ftbconscience[at]gmail.com with a title and description of your panel or talk, potential participants, and any relevant speaking or writing experience you have.

Some anticipated questions:

What sorts of topics do FtBCon sessions cover?

We’re going to have some blog posts up in the next few weeks with suggestions, but basically, anything you see on FtB itself is good material for the conference: atheism, science, philosophy, politics, social justice. If you haven’t seen any previous FtBCon panels, you can see last summer’s here and last winter’s here.

What do I need in order to organize a panel?

You and the other participants need a Google+ account, an internet connection that can handle a Google+ hangout, a webcam, a microphone (usually included with the webcam!), and headphones or earbuds. You don’t have to worry about setting up the hangout yourself or streaming it via YouTube; an FtB host will do that for you. We’ll be testing the Google+ hangouts with all of the participants a week or two before the conference.

Do I have to know exactly what I’ll call the panel or who the participants will be?

No, but you should have some ideas. The more fleshed-out the proposal will be, the more likely we are to accept it. (The past two cons, we had a lot of really vague proposals that we put on the schedule and never really got a good description for, so it was hard to promote them or anticipate what topics would be covered.) You might want to email some potential participants before sending in the proposal.

Do I have to have speaking/writing experience?

Nope! We’re looking for people who can organize an interesting and meaningful discussion or talk. Having speaking or writing experience is a plus, though.

How much time do I have for the panel?

Most FtBCon sessions are 50 minutes each, including Q&A time if you want it. We’ll also have some 80-minute sessions like we did last time.

Can I participate if I need to remain anonymous?

Yes! Make sure that your Google+ account doesn’t use your real name. Google Hangouts include a tool that hides your face with an image of your choice (I like using the troll memes, personally). You can also just turn off the video part of the hangout and do it audio-only. If voice recognition is a concern, you can download software that will distort it.

If you have any other questions, leave them in the comments rather than emailing them (if possible) so that others who may have the same question can see.

I hope to see lots of you in the chatroom and on the panels in August! For updates, please follow our FacebookTwitter, and blog.


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FtBCon 2 Wrap-up!

Hey everyone! We’re done with FtBCon 2. We hope you all had as fantastic a type as we did, and stay tuned for an announcement about the date for FtBCon 3.

Just so you can start reliving the glory immediately, here’s a playlist of all the sessions from the con:

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A Skeptical Look at Sex Ed

Sex education in the United States is in crisis. Many schools are still teaching ineffective, religiously-based abstinence-only sex education, and few states require sex education to be based on science and medicine. Even when comprehensive sex ed is taught, topics like homosexuality and sexual pleasure are left out. Ginny, Benny, and Miri discuss their experience as sex educators, their perspectives on the issues facing sex ed in the United States, and where to go from here.


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