The original page for the 30th Convention of American Atheists is below.
Click here for photos from the event.
The 30th Annual National Convention
Of AMERICAN ATHEISTS
April 9-11, 2004 -- San Diego, Calif.
Online registration is over. You can still register at the door on either
Print and pass out our one-page (Adobe Acrobat) flyers:
Link to this page!
Help make the convention a success by spreading the word. Pick a graphic or Flash
link, or a simple text link will do.
The 2004 Convention will be held at the luxurious Shelter
Pointe Hotel and
Marina on Shelter Island. This is a world-class resort tucked away on
the tip of Shelter Island in beautiful San Diego Bay. Downtown is just a
few short minutes away by car. Shelter Island includes two giant swimming
pools and Jacuzzis, fitness club, private beach and volleyball courts with
bicycle and court rentals, water sports, boat rentals, plenty of jogging paths
and nearby championship golfing in San Diego and La Jolla! There's also a
picnic and barbecue area, full service waterfront restaurant, and AJ's Lounge.
A Great Vacation Get-Away
The weather is just right at this time of year in San Diego, a perfect break
for those of you living in those cold "snowbelt" areas! Warm-up, play, learn
and spend time with your fellow Atheists in one of the great vacation spots on
the West Coast! Before and after the convention (with our special room rates),
you, friends and family can experience the fantastic attractions in and around
one of the premier tourism destinations in the country!
* The San Diego Visitors
Bureau web site is your place to start on the web. Gets maps, a list of
area attractions and discount coupons. Find out about the culture, cuisine
and shopping in and around San Diego!
* Balboa Park is one
of the many "must see" attractions in the region. There are over 15 world-class
museums here including the natural history museum, art museum and the Reuben
Fleet Planetarium. The Inez Grant Memorial Rose Garden is one of the major
such sites in the country. There are a variety of wonderful restaurants,
sculpture gardens, and so much more!
* A drive north are other destination spots, including
Legoland (yes, there is
such a place, and kids 2-12 love it!) and Universal Studios.
* Closer in and around San Diego, you can visit
Sea World, a 150-acre
marine life park featuring Shamu, new attractions, aquatic shows, incredible
marine habitats and aquariums, and the new Pirates 4-D program.
* The San Diego Zoo
is one of the most incredible such facilities in the country. Here, over 4,000
rare and endangered birds, mammals and reptiles are protected, along with 6,500
varieties of exotic plants. See the Giant Pandas, the Polar Bear Plunge and the
Ituri Forest! The Zoo's Wild Animal Park is in Escondido, and includes a
2,200-acre exotic animal and botanical reserve.
* If you love science and particularly astronomy, one of the great historical
telescopes of our era -- the 200-Hale telescope -- is the centerpiece at
Mt. Palomar Observatory.
Operated by the California Institute of Technology, Palomar is open to the public
during the day with self-guided tours, museum and a gift shop.
Special Convention and Vacation Rate
As usual, American Atheists has arranged for a special Convention rate that
allows you to make a "mini-vacation" and save money by arriving early and/or
leaving late. Many of our members use the Convention weekend as an anchor for
their annual vacations!
Deluxe Single/Double: $99/night
Jr. Suites: $149/night
1-Bedroom Suites: $189/night
You must make reservations directly with the resort by calling 1-800-566-2524.
Be sure to identify yourself as being with the American Atheists convention so
you may qualify for the special per day room rate. The above rates do not
include the 10.5% state and local taxes. Registration cut-off date for this
special convention rate is March 8, 2020. Reservations made after that date
will be accepted only on an availability basis and only available hotel rates
will then apply. We urge you to call now while space is available!
Other Lodging Options
San Diego Concierge
can be very helpful in obtaining lodging in the San Diego area. Their toll-free phone
number is 1-800-979-9091.
There is free shuttle service to the Shelter Pointe Resort from major
transportation providers including the San Diego International Airport and AMTRAK.
Prior to or upon your arrival, just contact the hotel at 619-221-8000.
San Diego International Airport
As usual, the American Atheist Convention features a stimulating and informative
line-up of speakers addresses a variety of topics of crucial interest to
Atheists and other nonbelievers...
is President of American Atheists. She has served with the organization for over
two decades, and since 1994 has co-hosted "The Atheist Viewpoint" television
program carried on dozens of cable systems throughout the nation and on the
Last year, Ms. Johnson served as Chairperson of the Godless American March on
Washington (GAMOW) Task Force, which organized the first national gathering of
diverse Atheist, Freethought and Secular Humanist groups in Washington, D.C.
Her call for our nonbeliever community to "work together on the basis of
mutual respect" struck a chord with thousands of nonbelievers throughout the
Ellen Johnson is a frequent media guest on national and regional programs.
She received her Masters Degree in Political Science from the prestigious New
School for Social Research and is a second-generation Atheist.
EDDIE TABASH, Attorney and First Amendment political activist. Mr. Tabash
is a Constitutional and civil rights attorney from California who will speak on
"ATHEISTS ENGAGING THE POLITICAL PROCESS: How to Effectively Support and
Mr. Tabash has emerged as a key force in raising political awareness throughout
America's diverse community of nonbelievers. He serves on the Platform Committee
and State Central Committee of the California Democratic Party.
ALEXANDER WAUGH, Novelist and music critic. Born in 1963, Alexander Waugh
comes from a line of distinguished writers and thinkers. He is the grandson
of the popular distinguished British writer Evelyn Arthur St. John Waugh
(1903-1966, author of Brideshead Revisted, Decline and Fall and
A Handful of Dust., and the son of columnist Auberon Waught and novelist
Alexander Waugh read Music at Manchester University, and became Chief Opera
Critic for the "Mail on Sunday" newspaper and the London Evening Stardard.
He is a renowned authority on music and has written several books including Classical
Music: A New Way of Listening, a delightful work that has been translated into
14 languages. His recent book is Time -- Its Origins, Its Enigma, Its
History published by Carroll & Graf of New York. In this seminal work, Waugh
explores the origins of our idea of time beginning (perhaps) with the Big Bang
through the writings of Zeno, Gailileo, Newton, Caesar, Einstein and others.
Alexander Waugh is also a publisher, a cartoonist and illustrator, and he
composed the music for the award-winning stage hit, "Bon Voyage!"
Mr. Waugh will be speaking on his latest work, God. We are pleased to also
host a book signing for this distinguished author following his lecture.
DEBRA OLSON is the grandaughter of the late California
Governor Culbert L. Olson (1938-1942). She graduated from UCLA Magna cum Lauda
with degrees in Business and Political Science. In addition to a career in
real estate and development, she has continued her family's legacy of political
activism and is involved in the Kucinich for President Campaign. In addition,
she has been involved in philanthropic and social justice movements, active in
the Children's Global Village; and served as Co-Chair of the Women's International
Advisory Committee. Today, Ms. Olson also develops strategies for grassroots
advocacy organizations, and advises groups on everything from voter participation
to fundraising and coalition building.
Another family relation with deep roots in progressive politics was Debra Olson's
Great Grandmother, Deliah King Olson, one of the first Suffragette leaders in the
AROUP CHATTERJEE is the author of the critically acclaimed book
The Final Verdict which probes the life and sordid legacy of Mother Teresa.
Mr. Chatterjee was born in Calcutta, India; his father was an attorney, Atheist,
and involved in politics. After studying medicine and two years of hospital
practice, he moved to the United Kingdom in 1985 where he pursued graduate studies,
married and started a family. It was here, and not in India, where he first
began seeing western media coverage and celebrity-fascination with Mother Teresa.
An intellectual who had taken up the Western Enlightenment weltanshauung -- and
skeptical, then tired of the uncritical adulation of the Catholic nun -- Aroup
Chatterjee began investigating. He finished the first draft of
The Final Verdict but publishers repeated slammed the doors. Macmillan
UK signed, but then withdrew from the contract. The book was finally published
from Kolkata (as Calcutta has been officially renamed).
Mr. Chatterjees's exhaustive work blows the media gloss off the life and deeds
of Mother Teresa. We will host a book signing for the author at the Convention.
is the Director of the American Atheist Press, and Editor of the quarterly
American Atheist Magazine. Mr. Zindler is an internationally renowned science
writer and linguist, with an expertise in over two dozen contemporary and
ancient languages. He is a former professor of biology and geology.
Frank Zindler is a member of the American Association for the Advancement of
Science (AAAS), the American Chemical Society and the American Schools of
Oriental Research. He is also a member and participant in the Jesus Seminar,
a global community of scholars probing the early history of Christianity.
Mr. Zindler will be speaking on "NOAH'S SECOND FLOOD: Religious Domination in
the Media and the Great Disinformation Inundation." He explores how America's
broadcast, electronic and print media have been flooded with disinformation on
a myriad of topics all manufactured by religious propagandists. The truths
of history and science are being swamped by a rising sea of noisome religious
revisionism. What can skeptics and others who are guided by the scientific
method do about it?
TIM SLAGLE is a nationally famous entertainer whose politically-charged style
of comedy has appeared on MTV, C-SPAN, Showtime and other media outlets. You may
know him from his boisterous, witty and controversial delivery at the Libertarian
Party National Convention in Washington, DC where he burned an American flag
while producing a copy of the Bill of Rights. "It wasn't the real flag, only
forty-nine stars. Rather than amend the constitution to protect the flag, I
though I'd just amend the flag to protect the Constitution!"
Tim tells us that he arrived in Chicago in 1986, pulled up a barstool and
proceeded to mess up his hair. In the period since arriving in the Windy City,
his hair has gone from normal to shaved, from jet black to two-toned, from
brush-cut to dread locks."
"If we were really serious about saving the earth, each and every one of us
would be perfectly willing to spend the rest of our lives without cars, toilet
paper or underarm deodorant; and I'd rather be dead. Who wants to live like
is a rapper, humorist, and, yes, an Atheist who brings his edge
brand of humor to our Convention! We've had classical, pop .. and now rap.
Charlie Boy's latest CD, Da Fearless Weirdo has been released to critical
acclaim. He touches on a reality that most rappers have ignored. Blending
harsh humor, poignant jokes and expressive rhymes (Is he the next Nelly?), it has
been described as one of the funniest rap albums in the history of the genre.
Dave Kong describes "Weirdo" as having "solid musical underpinning," and
"the coolest rap CD I have ever heard."
DMITRY SUBBOTIN is a graduate in Historical Studies from Moscow State
Pedagogical University in Russia. He is one of the founder of ATOM, the Moscow
Atheistic Society and creator of its publication Novy Bezbojnik, or New
Mr. Subbotin is presently an assistan editor of the Atheist educational
magazine, Scepsis, and also works on the group's web site on the internet. He will
discuss the challenges and opportunities facing Atheists and secularists
today in Russia. He is joined in his visit to our Convention by Alexei Vyazovsky,
also from ATOM.
CONRAD GOERINGER is Editor of AANEWS and a frequent contributor to The
American Atheist Magazine and the Newsletter. He is a former antiquarian
book dealer and investigativereporter. His articles on organized crime,
international politics, First Amendment concerns and cultural and scientific
issues have appeared in such diverse publications as "Schism, " "New Times" and
"Sky & Telescope."
Mr. Goeringer will speak on "Searching for Frances Farmer, the Lost Atheist."
For years, he has relentlessly pursued the story of Frances Farmer, the famous
30s and 40s-era actress who starred in such stage-and-screen hits as "Come and
Get It!," "Golden Boy," and "Son of Fury." But while popularly acknowledged as
a Hollywood beauty queen and celebrity, Farmer had a parallel life as an
heretic, radical political activist, crusader for peace and social justice
and an intellectual. At age 16 she shocked and outraged much of the nation
with a controversial Atheistic essay.
As she rose to stardom, Farmer never abandoned her political principles and
role as an advocate for victims of the Spanish
Civil War, for strikers and the working men and women of America including the
disposessed farm laborers of California. She ran afoul of the law, spent
years in an oppressive mental institute where, some say, she was subjected to
inhumane experimental treatment, perhaps a lobotomy, and the loss of her rights.
Using published and original archival information not unearthed for decades,
including censored FBI files and other historical resources, Mr. Goeringer
gives us a glimpse of who Frances Farmer really was. Goeringer is working
on a forthcoming book, Frances Farmer: Heretic, Radical, Feminist...
|MEMES: ARE IDEAS SELF REPLICATING?
Featuring Dr. Susan Blackmore and Dr. James W. Polichak
Are ideas (along with persistent habits, skills, theories and stories) self
replicating? Can they be understood as "Memes," entities which seem to exist
for their own survival, much in the manner genetic material operates?
Psychologist Susan Blackmore will debate this topic along with cognitive researcher
James. W. Polichak, Jr. at the 2004 National Convention of American Atheists.
Join us for this stimulating encounter!
SUSAN BLACKMORE is a writer, lecturer and Visiting Lecturer at the University
of the West in England, Bristol. She has a degree in psychology and physiology
from Oxford University, and a background in paranormal studies which she no longer
supports. She is author of numerous papers, studies and books and currently
investigates memes and the theory of memetics, evolutionary theory and consciousness.
DR. JAMES W. POLICHAK, JR. is an attorney specializing in corporate law and
intellectual property issues. Prior to obtaining his J.D. from the University of
Michigan, he was a researcher at State University of New York at Stony Brook,
where he obtained his Ph.D. in experimental psychology. His publications include
"Authoritarian and Threat: A Response Latency Analysis" and articles on memory and
language. He has also written on the subject of memetics, and questions many of
the claims supporting the existence of memes.
THE ANNUAL MEMBER'S DINNER
The social high-point of the Convention is the Annual Member's Banquet.
Here, we award those special people who have distinguished themselves for
contributions to the First Amendment separation of church and state, Atheism,
and American Atheists. The Banquet also includes the yearly Address From the
President, Ellen Johnson.
Served buffet-style, this gathering will take place on Friday evening,
April 9, 2020. The Shelter Pointe Hotel Chefs and Staff are known for their
gourmet menu, and this soiree will be no exception. The menu features a
variety of Tender Greens served with your choice of Dressings; Oriental
Tortellini Salad; Angel Hair Pasta Salad with Smoked Ham; Chicken Tarragon;
Fettucini Alfredo; Seasoned Rice Pilaf, Garlic Mashed Potatoes and fresh
Seasonal Vegetables; freshly baked rolls with butter; Chef's sweet table,
Coffee, decaffeinated coffee and tea.
The Member's Dinner includes talks, presentations and other entertainment.
The $39.95 charge covers gratuity, taxes and other costs.
LIFE AND LEGACY MEMBER'S DINNER
On Saturday evening, April 10, 2020 we host our exclusive dinner for Life
Members and members of the Legacy -- those with the organization for 15 years or
more. State Directors may also attend
this gathering. This is a more intimate event where we honor those Life
Members who have served American Atheists with such distinction, as well
as members of the Legacy Program who make exception contributions to the
American Atheists cause. It will be an excellent opportunity to interact
with the Board Members, Officers, State Directors and other Staff of American
Atheists. The cost is $39.95 per person for this buffet event, and includes
all taxes and gratutity.
Once again, the professional Chefs at the Shelter Pointe present a groumet
selection for our enjoyment. This buffet includes a variety of Tender Greens
served with choice of Dressings; Oriental Tortellini Salad; Angel Hair Pasta
Salad with Smoked Ham; Beef Bourguignonne; Pasta with Pesto Cream Sauce; Seasoned
Rice Pilaf; Herb Roasted Red Potatoes; fresh seasonal Vegetables; Freshly baked
Rolls with Butter; Chef's Sweet Table; Coffee, decaffeinated Coffee and Tea.
And a Sunday Excursion & Buffet Cruise of the San Diego Harbor
and Marine Area on "The California Princess"
Once again, we have chosen a Convention venue that offers a spectacular Sunday
Cruise -- a popular event at so many of other annual gatherings! Remember the
Boston Harbor in 2002, Chicago and the Great Lake in 2003? But no need to
bundle up for this year's bash -- in warm and sunny San Diego, we take off on
ship "California Princess" for two hours of entertainment, gourmet
food and spectacular views on the water.
We leave Shelter Pointe via bus at 10:30 AM on Sunday for the brief trip to the
pier. The cruise begins at 11:00 AM, ends at 1:00 PM. The spectacular on-board
buffet includes a grourmet
selection. Choose from a palatial offering of Season Fresh Fruits, Fresh Baked
muffins, Scones, Crescents, Danish and Bagels served with Butter, Whipped
Cream Cheese and Assorted Preserves; Caesar Salad and a variety of other Seasonal
Salads; Delicious Smoked Salmon Lox with Cream Cheese; Minced Red Onions and
Capers; Roasted Red Breakfast Potatoes with Sauteed Onions and Bell Peppers.
All this, plus your transportation and entertainment is only $60 per adult,
$20 for youngsters 12 and younger.
The American Atheists Oral History Project
Recording Your Atheist History For Posterity
One of the goals of the Charles E. Stevens American Atheists Library and
Archives is to provide you with an opportunity to have your oral history
recorded and preserved for posterity. It is important that you leave a
record of what life was like for you, as an Atheist. There is no other such
undertaking of its kind anywhere. Future generations will have the valuable
opportunity to be able to reflect on who the Atheists or our era were, how
they lived -- and in their own words.
At this year's 30th National Convention of American Atheists, Mr. Bart Meltzer
will be videotaping the oral histories of conventioneers. A sign-up sheet
will be available at the registration desk, and appointments for recording
made on a first-come, first-serve basis. A list of questions will be
provided in advance of the taping so that you can prepare your responses.
- Your name
- Your place of birth
- Were you reared in a religious or non-religious home? If religious, what
- Are you a first, second or third generation Atheist?
- What has been the most significant influence on your Atheism?
- What has life been like for you as an Atheist in America?
- In the time remaining for this interview, is there anything you would like
The service is free for members of American Atheists. There is a $10 charge
The oral history recordings will only be made at the annual national
Convention of American Atheists. So join us as we inaugurate this important
new project to preserve the legacy of Atheism!
|Friday, April 9
8:00 - 9:00||State Directors Meeting|
9:00 - 9:15||Welcoming comments by Dave Kong|
9:15 - 10:00||Ellen Johnson, president American Atheists|
10:00 - 10:15||Bart Meltzer introduces State Directors|
10:15 - 10:45||Break|
10:45 - 11:45||Debra Olson speaks about Governor Culbert Olson|
11:45 - 1:30||Lunch|
1:30 - 2:15||A Game For Everyone|
2:15 - 3:15||Alexander Waugh, book signing follows|
3:15 - 3:45||Break|
3:45 - 4:00||Charlie Boy (rapper)|
4:00 - 5:00||Frank Zindler|
7:00 - 11:00||Members Dinner|
9:00 - 10:00||Tim Slagle|
|Saturday, April 10|
8:00 - 9:00||State Directors Meeting|
9:00 - 10:00||Alexey Vyazovskiy, Dmitry Subbotin (Russian Atheists)|
10:00 - 11:00||Conrad Goeringer|
11:00 - 11:30||Break|
11:30 - 12:30||Aroup Chatterjee (The Final Verdict) followed by book signing|
12:30 - 2:00||Lunch|
2:00 - 2:05||Scholarship award announcement - Dave Silverman|
2:05 - 3:00||Eddie Tabash|
3:00 - 3:30||Merrill Lynch (Planned Giving)|
3:30 - 4:00||Break|
4:00 - 5:00||Meme Debate: James Polichak, Susan Blackmore|
6:30 - 7:00||Cocktails|
7:00 - 9:00||Life Members' and Legacy Members' Dinner|
9:00 - 11:00||Movie - To be determined - all welcome|
|Sunday, April 11|
8:00 - 9:00||MAAF Meeting|
9:00 - 10:00||Affiliates Meeting|
10:00||Board Bus to Cruise|
11:00 - 1:00||Buffet Cruise|
2:00||Return to hotel|
3:00||Members Business Meeting|
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