(Part 1 of 2 on the Imagine No Religion 7 Conference)
When I invited world-renown atheist writer and scientist Richard Dawkins to visit me at the Pro-Life Humanists display table, I’ll admit I didn’t really expect he’d show up! But a conversation with Richard Dawkins about abortion was just one of the many highlights of this conference!
The Imagine No Religion conference, held June 2-4 2017 in Toronto, Ontario, began for me like most atheist conferences. One after another people stopped by the table to read the display pannels and to inquire about the secular case against abortion. Some stopped just a few moments to grab some literature or giggle over the pro-life condoms. Others stayed upwards of an hour to engage in civil and thoughtful dialogue, with several admitting they would have to give my position some more consideration.
Location of our display table varies from event to event, but I couldn’t have asked for better at this one! Immediately across the hall from the first conference room doors, there was no way anyone could enter or leave the hall without walking past the table all weekend long. At meal-time, buffet-style food trays were set up down the middle of the hall, which further ensured I could greet nearly every conference attendee individually as they waited in line for the food ahead.
Among those who frequently passed by the table, often stopping to banter or to point someone in the direction of our “thwart don’t abort” condoms, was renown physicist and writer Lawrence Krauss. Lawrence and I have built a friendly rapport over the course of our repeat encounters at several conferences. He’s still in favour of abortion (for now?) but he’s a huge fan of our condoms. He told me his new pickup line is “Hey baby, wanna thwart?” lol!
And ever the comedian, Lawrence even gave a nod to our condom slogan when he autographed my copy of A Universe From Nothing:
If you can’t read it, it says “To not make something from nothing, thwart it!” At least he’s admitting that a fetus is something? 🙂
Not everyone liked our condoms, however. Although I never discovered who the displeased individual was, someone took it upon themselves to tear the labels off a dozen or so of the condoms. It was surprising and disappointing to encounter the mild vandalism upon returning to the table, especially since most people were gracious and open to dialogue at this event. I wish the individual had taken the time to make their thoughts known. Perhaps they only like condoms when they’re given out by people who support “thwart” AND “abort”?
But on a brighter note, I (finally!) got to make a face-to-face connection with Seth Andrews, host of The Thinking Atheist podcast. We’d previously discussed over email his interest in tackling abortion on his show sometime, but now that we’ve met in-person we’ve moved closer to making that happen. He said he’s interested in having me join him on the show when he deals with abortion, and he’s anticipating perhaps making it happen within the next few months… So stay tuned folks!
And now what about my conversation with Richard Dawkins? It’s a story that deserves its own entry! Check back tomorrow!