Edge was recently in Venice for the 2nd World Conference on the Future of Science which was held on September 20th-23rd 2006, at the Fondazione Giorgio Cini on the Isle of San Giorgio Maggiore.
Daniel C. Dennett, who took on Cardinal Ratzinger in his book Breaking the Spell, had hoped some day to confront him personally on his own turf, but due to a sudden promotion, Ratzinger was unavailable and sent his deputy, Monsignor Sanchez Sorondo, Chancellor of the Vatican. Dennett, was on his game when he delivered the final talk of the conference on “The Domestication of the Wild Memes of Religion” in front of the packed audience. Later, back at Hotel Monaco and Grand Canal, Dennett, Michael Gazzaniga, the Monsignor, among others, were relaxing around the bar, when a posse of Italian paparazzi suddenly stormed through the bar heading to the dock outside. Two speedboat taxis pulled up and deposited Paris Hilton and her entourage on the dock. In one Fellini moment: end of discussion of natural selection, of Charles Darwin, of the Pope, of Daniel C. Dennett. The Edgies went tabloid for the rest of the evening.
Fortunately for Edge readers, Professor Dennett, who bonded with the paparazzi, was there with his digital camera to capture the moment.
More here. Picture on the left shows Paris Hilton Arriving at Hotel Monaco [photo by Daniel C. Dennett].