4 Feb 2010, Comments (2)

P.Z. Myers is coming to Melbourne!

Author: Helen

Wow, a famous blogger and scientist coming to my town! When I found out last year that Pharyngula blogger P Z Myers would be coming to Melbourne this march for the Global Atheist Convention, I thought it’d be fun to book a few seats and see who might be interested in coming. I thought I might bring my Dad, a determined atheist, as well, although he wouldn’t be physically up to it unless the disabled access was well up to scratch.

Looks like I won’t be going at all, though. The convention’s already sold out, and it’s sold out as an indirect consequence of the Australian government favouring religious events over secular ones (with some notable exceptions, see below.)

Last year, the Parliament of the Worlds Religions received $2 million in funding from the Federal government, plus half a mil from the City Council, while the Atheist convention received nothing from any level of government. Some people (see the Pharyngula thread I linked to in the first paragraph) would say that it’s not the Government’s place to fund any particular event. I could go along with that, except that it seems to be their place to fund religious conferences.

Oh, but, you’ll say, the Victorian State government gives plenty of money to secular events. Yeah, the ones which are elevated to quasi-religions: AFL football celebrations and the Grand Prix, Festival of the Great God Car, which is costing us around $40 – $50 million this year.

I’m glad that the convention sold out, but disappointed to miss out on P.Z. And I’m disappointed that religious events can attract Government sponsorship (while many religions are awash with followers’ money) and a secular event is given the thumbs down. I would expect that in the US, but not here.

Comments (2)

  • Comiserations on missing a seat. How reassuring though, that she is a Sold Out.
    Separation of cults and The State is crucial and as far back as 19thC in Victoria, there were vigorous rows on the subject (see Francis Cusack Russell, Hamilton, Vic.)
    I do however console myself by just knowing that if Voting was subject to an IQ test, we would get the same result as we do without.

  • blue milk says:

    What a good point!

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