Workshops & Panels

"Debating Christianity" Workshop

Matt Dillahunty and JT Eberhard have agreed to do a reprise of their "Debating Dynamics" workshop, which was hugely popular at the 2015 American Atheists' convention in Memphis.  Matt will surely be using skills taught in this workshop while debating APSU's Phillip Christie on Sunday, March 19 (the day after NaNoCon) in Clarksville, TN.  Don't miss it!

Matt Dillahunty

JT Eberhard

"Exodus" Movie on Black Non-Believers: Producers' Panel

Black non-believers in the Bible Belt tell their personal experiences leaving the church, interviewed in the "Exodus" documentary about this growing trend. Special screening of the 7-minute sizzle reel of the upcoming movie "Exodus", followed by panel Q&A with the producers.

Producer/Director: David Person           Executive Producer: Chuck Miller

Mandisa Thomas
Consulting Producer
(panel moderator)

DEBATE: "Is Intelligent Design the best causal explanation for the origin and diversity of life?"

NaNoCon is proud to present a 50 minute debate by two members of our community:
Aaron Anderson - Christian, network systems engineer, Intelligent Design advocate
Bryan Gitschlag - Vanderbilt biology grad student, theory of evolution advocate
Each will present a workshop on their position in the first workshop slot, then they will link up for this debate in the second time slot. NaNoCon welcomes this event with the intent of promoting dialogue and rigorous scientific scrutiny. It is important to understand the arguments and fallacies of this pivotal issue, which will undoubtedly be an issue of heated political contention, not only in Tennessee, the state that hosted the original "Scopes Monkey Trial", but at a national level as well.

Aaron Anderson

Aaron Anderson

Bryan Gitschlag

Bryan Gitschlag

Podcast-Palooza! Panel

Learn how to plan, host, produce, and post your own podcast from the experts! Learn the hurdles and challenges of creating and maintaining a podcast in the secular world as our panelists share their experiences and perspective.

Chris Watson
"The Podunk

Cass Midgley
"Everyone's Agnostic"

LGBTQ In The Bible Belt: Panel Discussion


Carla Lewis

Carla Lewis
Military Veteran

Staying Sane in an Insane World


Two secular therapists will address secular self-care, how to find a therapist who is a good fit, what you can expect from therapy, and how to handle those difficult conversations about being a "none."

Brynda Quinn

Brynda Quinn, PhD



All workshops last 45 minutes. Most workshops will be presented twice, back to back. This gives participants the opportunity to attend their top two picks!

(Check out the Welcome packet with more information on workshop locations and what occurs during each session.)

Sonica Li

Achieving Fulfillment By Living Your Values

with Sonica Li, of Sunday Assembly Atlanta

Fulfillment is not something you acquire after you’ve achieved the right goals, nor is it the exclusive domain of those who dedicate their lives to a god or religious faith. Fulfillment is a state of being that you can access in any moment of your life by living your values, moment by moment.

Leaving the Faith to Focus on the Family

by the Cullimore family, of Chibi Kodama

When transitioning out of religion to the life of a "none" life can get confusing. Moving from the limitations of faith to free thought and exploration can feel like walking naked in a big city. How do you talk to the little ones? How do you we learn to be okay with saying "I don't know the answer to that?" Join the Cullimore family for a discussion on non-belief and family life. You'll even get to hear from the kids!

Alt-Atheism: The Alt-Right & the Atheist Community

by Casper Rigsby, Atheist Republic publisher

The Alt-Right has become a real force in the US with this past election, due in part to some within the atheist community who pander to them and even fuel their growth. In this workshop Casper Rigsby will discuss those atheists, how they've helped legitimize the alt-right, and what we can do to fight back against them. Let's discuss how we can help make America decent again!

Bryan Gitschlag

Approaching Science with a Critical Mind

by Bryan Gitschlag, Vanderbilt biologist

The risk of adopting a belief for bad reasons exists regardless of whether a person is religious. Adding to this risk is the technical and sometimes intimidating nature of scientific literature, which can make it difficult to exercise rational skepticism on issues that concern science. This workshop is intended to inspire and equip people to be critical thinkers whenever engaging on such topics, by providing an introductory overview of several of them.

Aaron Anderson

Intelligent Design – None Of The Above

by Aaron Anderson, Christian, Intelligent Design advocate

Regarding Intelligent Design (ID), Michael Shermer checks the “god of the gaps” box, Jerry Coyne selects “synonym for scientific creationism,” Barbara Forrest chooses “Trojan horse,” and Richard Dawkins marks them all and writes in “wicked, stupid and insane” as a bonus.  This workshop aims to bypass the caricatures and deliver a serious exposition of ID’s limited claims.

In addition to laying the groundwork for the NaNoCon debate that follows, this workshop will give attendees a genuine target when debating creationists and strengthen their critical thinking skills as they consider the merits of an alternative view.  As Thomas Nagel advises, even if one is not drawn to design as an explanation, the problems ID “pose for the orthodox scientific consensus should be taken seriously.”

Beth West

Hedonistic Comedy Hour!

by "Beth West," improv activist from Atlanta

When individual values and beliefs clash in days to day social situations, it can make for awkward situations, and thus hilarious storytelling.  Come learn elements from improv and standup comedy to get in touch with what your personal moral compass (or lack thereof) says about how you communicate in the world with people who have grown up in a different walk of life.
This is an interactive workshop where people will exaggerate personal stories based on what's important to them. Depending on the group that shows up, we'll entertain each other while simultaneously building community. All attendees are expected to participate, nobody should come just to watch. No performance will occur. No previous performance experience necessary.
Cliff Fiedler

Current Issues Involved in Separation of Church and State

by Cliff Fiedler, from Americans United

An interactive discussion of issues currently at the intersection of religion and politics. Topics will include, but not be limited to: school vouchers, women's rights, bathroom bills and the Muslim ban.