My new baby dragon

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It finally happened. At 9:09am Nov 18, 2013, Austin Hardin Torres came into the world. He was a bit early, but still weighs 5#11oz. Baby and mother are doing great. Just a couple more hours of keeping him regulated and he’ll be in mommas arms.

His big brother and sister are jumping up and down for grandpa to bring them here to the hospital. They are excited to meet their new baby brother.

Becoming a parent is awesome and scary at the same time. Sometimes we wish there was a manual. Sometimes we are afraid we are going to do things wrong. I guess those feelings never really go away.

The biggest thing that my wife and I have learned in recent years is that they are each individuals. Our job is to guide them in making good sound and moral decisions and judgements. From there, they need to learn how to think on their own.

If they want advice, of course we are there to talk to them.
But I want them to know that no matter what they chose to do and become, we will never cease to love and support them.

So far my wife and I are quite happy with the outcome and how our children think about the world around them. I wish I was taught how think and how to express my own feelings at such an early age, instead of what I should be thinking.

Its a proud day for me as I see my third child into the world. Welcome Son!

Skepticon 6 Day 2

It was very difficult to get up and around this morning as the day started out grey, cloudy and rainy. But Seth Andrews and Aron Ra were going to be speaking first thing, so we got up and got our coffee.

As we walked up to the convention center, we could hear someone squawking out of a mega-phone/ loud speaker type thing. I knew immediately it was some dude, preaching hell fire and damnation rubbish. As we walked closer he was going on about the brainwashing of universities. How they were teaching the lies of evolution. He also wailed on about how the fool says in his heart there is no god. As I held the door open for my wife, a lady said welcome and handed me a piece of paper. I said thanks and politely accepted. I glanced at it and sure enough it read something about accepting christ. So I then politely threw it away.

We were a bit late for Seths talk. But what we did hear was nice and encouraging. Atheists, non-believers and skeptics surely have a reputation for being obnoxious, rude, immoral, etc. But as Seths talk was about and what I for the most part witnessed so far at the convention, the person yelling at us just outside the convention doors was a great deal more rude and obnoxious.

Yes, I acknowledge that there is a certain number of non-believers that can be obscene and insulting to believers. But I believe I am witnessing before my eyes a group of skeptics that I can relate to in a more mature and rational way. And this is what Seths talk was about. The love and respect for humanity. It was awesome.

Next up was another of my hero’s, Aron Ra. I am amazed at how much is known about the fossil records. Here again, I admit that a lot of what he talked about, I don’t completely understand. But I do get the gist of the evolutionary records and science. I understand that the data puts the nail on the coffin of creationism. Yes, I don’t grasp most of it now, but look forward to continuing to learn about it. It is fascinating. Its not that evolution is so difficult to understand, its that there is so much information, its going to take time for me to take it in.

The next highlight of the day for me was getting to see Richard Carrier. The room was nearly full for his presentation. He talked about good and bad philosophy. Again, a lot of information about a discipline that I have looked very little into. But it was really cool seeing how good philosophy comes about. Just more stuff I look forward to studying up on.

Richards talk was the last one before dinner. So after it was over, about 1000 people were making their way out of the auditorium. It was very slow going and my wife made the comment, “man, this is like leaving church.” I had to laugh because it was true. We used to go to a mega-church and it is always slow walking out of the building.

We didn’t make it back to any more presentations after dinner. My wife needed some rest as her pregnancy was getting the best of her. So we just relaxed in the room and talked about the day. Its been awesome getting the opportunity to experience Skepticon with her. Having conversations about religion, evolution, science and raising our kids in it all has been good for us.

Skepticon 6 Day 1.1

So the day is done. My wife and I are back in the room relaxing. Actually, she is asleep and I’m here pondering the day. The first day for me to ever attend any type of freethinker, skeptical or atheist event. I do have to say, I felt right at home with so many like minded people. It was great to be around everyone and listen to the presentations about thoughts and ideas about the the world around us. Ideas that pretty much are in line with how I think and believe to be true about our world. I haven’t branched out to what I think of the universe so much yet.

So after lunch we listened to Darrel Ray speak on secular counseling. I understand this topic all to well as I have experienced a christian counselor first hand as a skeptic on my way to unbelief. It was very difficult and I eventually had to quit.

After Darrel Ray, we watched Seth Andrews of The Thinking Atheist do a live broadcast. I was glad he made it through it as he has been feeling under the weather over the past week. Even though he didn’t feel well, it was still a great show. Well done Seth. I even got to shake his hand afterwards. I feel like “that guy” with some of my podcasting hero’s. But really I’m just thankful for the voice he puts out there about atheism and the manner in which he does. Very inspiring.

Next was another podcast that really was there for me at the beginning of my de-conversion journey just a year and a half ago, Dogma Debate. I can’t tell you how much David Smalley and the show, in all of its evolved states has helped me. I really feel they were there with me and helped me in so many ways. Maybe some that aren’t 4th listeners wouldn’t understand, but the rest of us do. I only wish Aron was part of it today. Not sure why he was missing.

Dogma Debate

Dogma Debate at Skepticon 6

I got to see two of my all time favorite podcasts live then PZ Myers was up. My wife was really pumped to see his presentation as she has recently talked to a family member about the topic of PZ’s talk, The Cambrian Explosion.

So, I am still quite new to a lot of these topics, especially ones of evolution, fossils and historical evidence. The Cambrian Explosion is something I’ve only heard about in the past few weeks. So I really know nothing about it. Until tonight. I admit that I didn’t follow most of PZ’s presentation, but still took mental notes and questions. I later asked my wife about it on the way to our room. She cleared things up for me and it all makes much more sense. I may post more on this topic in the future.

After PZ’s talk, my wife began to have contractions again and be in a bit of pain. We had called her doctor back home earlier in the day about it. He told her it was nothing to worry about according to the symptoms she was describing. But she was hurting and feeling tired, so we decided to call it a night and went back to the room.

I really hated that we missed Shelley Segal’s performance. My wife is an awesome jazz singer and guitar player. I think she would have enjoyed it. But she was really wiped. Maybe next time!

We are just so glad to be here though. It is great to experience this with my wife. This ride to where we are today has been quite something. Just a few years ago, I never would have imagined we would be attending an atheist convention and not church. It is really crazy how much closer all of this has brought us. It is really exciting. Looking forward to another great day tomorrow.

Skepticon 6 Day 1

Its a cool rainy day. But we are pretty excited about attending our first skeptical, free thought and atheist convention.

So far we’ve attended David Fitzgeralds film festival meeting and one workshop. They were ok.

Now my 8 month pregnant wife is having crazy contractions that are a bit painful. So kind of nervous about that.

Going to have lunch and see how shes feeling afterwards.