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  • Category: Toby Cox

Next year’s event will feature headline speakers Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, Sam Harris and Christopher Hitchens (health permitting) and will be held at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre from 13 – 15 April 2012.


“This is the first time that the Four Horsemen have spoken together publicly,” said Atheist Foundation President David Nicholls. “Their best-selling books on atheism earned the group the moniker ‘The Four Horseman of the Anti-Apocalypse’, and fittingly so as they have been instrumental in bringing forth a new enlightenment in the face of growing irrationality, fundamentalism and superstitious thinking around the world.”


The 2010 Global Atheist Convention gave local, interstate and international attendees the opportunity to hear first-rate speakers from a range of fields including science, philosophy, politics, education, stand-up comedy and more.


“Atheism has provided the perfect foundation in which people can come together to celebrate science, reason and secular values in today’s society. With the planet in a state of organised chaos and the menace of religious extremism threatening everyone’s quality of life, this 2012 world-class event will once again provide rational discussion and debate about what can be done to address the issues facing the globe,” said Nicholls.


“The 2012 Global Atheist Convention – ‘A Celebration of Reason’ will also send an important message to Australia’s political institutions that freethinking Australians are a growing force to be reckoned with.”


The conference will be hosted by Kylie Sturgess and Lawrence Leung.


Organisers say the entire line-up for the convention will be released gradually via official social media streams in the lead-up to tickets going on sale, but with a couple of days to go, so far the confirmation of additional speakers includes:


Peter Singer – Renowned ethicist, philosopher, and vegetarian famously known for (among others) his 1975 book, Animal Liberation, has also written about “The Harm That Religion Does”. Describing himself as a follower of Personism, he is one of the speakers high on my list! Can’t wait!


Jason Ball – Not so well known internationally, but easily the spunkiest speaker of the convention, Jason Ball has argued the young atheist’s perspective in the Australian media, appearing on both radio and television programs, including The 7PM Project, A Current Affair, and the ABC News.


Fiona Patten – Australian Sex Party convener and founder, the ASP’s policy platform includes removing tax exemption for religious businesses, replacing school chaplaincy programs with ethics classes, and a call for a Royal Commission into child sex abuse in religious institutions. Fiona Patten is also the CEO of Australia’s national adult industry association, the Eros Association.


Ayaan Hirsi Ali – Somali-born, Ayaan Hirsi Ali grew up in political exile from her homeland, moving from Saudi Arabia to Ethiopia, then Kenya. She grew up a devout muslim and was later married off to a distant Canadian cousin. Fleeing to the Netherlands, she became a MP and focused on defending rights of muslim women. Her willingness to speak out and her abandonment of her faith has made her a target for violence by Islamic extremists – and she now lives with 24/7 security.


Lawrence Krauss – A cosmologist and author, Lawrence Krauss has also appears on radio and television around the world. An internationally known theoretical physicist, who studies amongst other things the early universe.. I think he will be confirming the universe is a little older than the Bible tells us!


Catherine Deveny – An Australian writer, comedian, author and social commentator, Catherine Devney is no stranger around these parts! I remember hearing about her one-woman show selling out at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival in 2010.. And with the title of the show being “God Is Bullshit”, I think she will be a very entertaining addition to the conference.


Other speakers include David Nicholls, Tanya Smith, Dan Barker, Eugenie Scott, PZ Myers, Leslie Cannold and Annie Laurie Gaylor.


I remember the last convention in 2010 sold out well in advance, and I was disappointed to have missed it. I intend on making sure that doesn’t happen again this time!


The Atheist Foundation of Australia expects this event will also sell out very quickly and encourages prospective attendees to purchase their tickets as soon as they go on sale.


See you in Melbourne in April 2012!