All entries by this author

How can anyone possibly not want a baby?

Mar 15th, 2014 12:48 pm | By

Amanda Marcotte did an eloquent post on the isue of “secular” anti-abortion arguments yesterday. No, she doesn’t buy it either.

So, the atheist/skeptic community is in an uproar on the subject of abortion, and since that’s kind of my jam, I figured I should weigh in. The question isn’t whether or not legal abortion is moral—outside a few kooks, nearly all non-believers are pro-choice—but whether or not those anti-abortion kooks should be indulged and given the privilege of having everyone treat their shit arguments like they have value in free-wheeling discourse, or if they should be shunned on the grounds of being shit arguments the same way anti-gay or overtly racist arguments are shunned.

I find the

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Now Friends on Facebook

Mar 15th, 2014 11:38 am | By

Let’s take a look at Kelsey Hazzard, the founder and president of Secular Pro-Life. (She and Hemant are now Friends on Facebook. You can say that in a James Earl Jones voice if you want to.)

Kelsey Hazzard is the founder and president of Secular Pro-Life. She is a graduate of the University of Virginia School of Law and a legal fellow at Americans United for Life. She is also the author of the pro-life novella “Cultivating Weeds.”

Ok then let’s take a look at Americans United for Life.

Americans United for Life, the nation’s premier pro-life legal team, works through the law and legislative process to one end: Achieving comprehensive legal protection for human life from

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Argumentum ad horrorem

Mar 15th, 2014 11:11 am | By

More from the wonderful people at “Secular” “Pro-Life.”

“If abortion advocates were so secure in their position, in knowing that their stance is right and just, then why would they feel so threatened by pro-life displays? Why feel the need to censor pro-life information from getting out there if there’s no truth to it? It’s the million dollar question with an answer we’ll never get, because it exposes the utter frailty of the pro-abortion movement. Pro-lifers have truth and science on our side. Abortion advocates can’t fight against that, and they know it — so all they can do is try to shut us down.”

The quoted passage and the picture are from a piece at Live Action News, another … Read the rest

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Post the whole sentence, cheaters

Mar 14th, 2014 5:41 pm | By

Oh ffs.

Secular Pro-Life

“Slowly but steadily, it seems more and more pro-choicers acknowledge this point.

It is possible to give ‘human being’ a precise meaning. We can use it as equivalent to ‘member of the species Homo sapiens’. Whether a being is a member of a given species is something that can be determined scientifically, by an examination of the nature of the chromosomes in the cells of living organisms. In this sense there is no doubt that from the first moments of its existence an embryo conceived from human sperm and eggs is a human being.”

Peter Singer (pro-choice philosopher), Practical Ethics

Of course we acknowledge it. A human embryo is of the human species. The issue is … Read the rest

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Pro-babies

Mar 14th, 2014 5:20 pm | By

I’m trawling through Secular Pro-Life’s Facebook page. Look, if they’re going to be the boss of us now, we need to know a little more about them.

They want us to know they like baaaaaybeeeeeeeeez. They want us to know that so that we’ll feel guilty for being such baby-hating bad heartless evil people. So they let us know they donate diapers, and they show us photos of baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaybeeeeeeeeeeeeez.

Now, don’t you feel rotten?… Read the rest

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The hyenas are prowling

Mar 14th, 2014 5:03 pm | By

Good job, Hemant.

Kristine Kruszelnicki of course is the “secular” anti-abortion rights person who wrote that guest post at Friendly Atheist.

 

Kristine Kruszelnicki shared a link

Justin Vacula just wrote to congratulate me on being PZ Myer’s “Witch of the Week”. I get to be trashed on PZ’s blog for the second time. Yay! (Free publicity at least?)
http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2014/03/12/an-atheist-can-be-pro-life-only-by-lying-about-the-science/

Of course he did. He is worried about disunity among the atheists.… Read the rest

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The most vulnerable members

Mar 14th, 2014 1:25 pm | By

I’m looking into “Secular Pro-Life” now, having not done so before. They are repulsive. Their rhetoric is religious in its exaggeration and its coerciveness.

Like:

For five years, Secular Pro-Life has united people of every faith and no faith to fight for the most vulnerable members of our human family.

That’s religious bullying via sentimentalism. “Vulnerable members of our human family” is religious language for a developing fetus.

I’m sure they think they’re secular, I’m sure they aren’t officially religious, but their rhetoric is saturated in religiion, whether they’re aware of it or not.

They reported on their tabling at the 2012 American Atheists convention. (Yes. Sigh.)

Kelsey: One elderly woman looked me in the eye and said

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Invisible because incorporated

Mar 14th, 2014 12:26 pm | By

Another review of Rebecca Goldstein’s Plato at the Googleplex, this time at NPR, by Marcelo Gleiser.

(Don’t forget, she’s a speaker at Women in Secularism 3, a mere two months from now.)

The man who gave us philosophy as we know it is back, walking among us, going to TV talk shows, visiting Google’s headquarters in Mountain View, Calif., having his brain examined by a naïve reductionist neuroscientist, engaging with our current struggles.

For this we must thank Rebecca Newberger Goldstein’s inventiveness and intellectual courage. Her bookPlato at the Googleplex: Why Philosophy Won’t Go Away, has just been published to rave reviews by people such as philosopher Colin McGinn. Goldstein’s goal is clear: to show

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Preconditions

Mar 14th, 2014 11:40 am | By

James Croft has a new entrant in the #UpForDebate who gets to talk about abortion rights how many decades do we have to keep discussing whether women get to have bodily autonomy wars.

A couple of years ago he took part in such a debate, and realized while it was in process that it was basically a sham and he shouldn’t have agreed to do it. It was not a pleasant moment.

What I had failed to realize, despite my weeks of preparation, is that my ability and willingness to enter into a space of “debate” around the issue of abortion is a manifestation of privilege. What you are wiling to debate – what is effectively “up for discussion” –

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Actual people with personalities, characters, wishes

Mar 14th, 2014 9:57 am | By

A striking thing that Gilliel said in a comment on Greta’s post Having a Reasonable Debate About Abortion yesterday:

And here’s another thing that’s been driving my blood pressure up and I will bold the beginning so that people

READ THIS:

I have been pregnant three times which resulted in two kids. My first pregnancy turned Wahoonie-shaped around week ten and I needed an abortion (which is never counted as an abortion-abortion, but as a reasonable medical intervention because reasons. Probably because I suffered enough since I actually wanted to be pregnant very much). I had two wonderful kids afterwards.

To act as if the death of that embryo was somewhat comparable to one of my children, actual people

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Up for debate 3

Mar 13th, 2014 6:17 pm | By

Is Genocide always such a bad idea? #UpForDebate

Why not punish serious crimes by flaying people? #UpForDebate

Let’s totally rethink our position on torture. #UpForDebate

How about euthanasia for disabled people? That would save a few bucks. #UpForDebate

Immigrants. Shouldn’t we just enslave them? It was their idea to come here, after all. #UpForDebate

The US should invade Iceland. It’s just lying there, begging for it. #UpForDebate

We need serious tax reform. No tax at all on people with incomes over $200,000. Let everyone else pay for it. #UpForDebate

Dentists should be allowed to torture every 11th patient, just for laughs. #UpForDebate… Read the rest

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Another conception of rights

Mar 13th, 2014 4:57 pm | By

Our new blogger Kaveh Mousavi mentioned in a conversation the infuriating “arguments” he gets from fellow Iranians about the hijab. What are they? He listed them.

The first one: I say, I believe a woman should be able to have a choice in the matter of her own dress. They say, but, what if your own mother and your own sister chose to go on the street without the proper dressing code? This argument is repeated in all manners of sexual liberty, including porn. They are then genuinely amazed that I’m not convinced by this. They genuinely think that I would NEVER even consider letting my own relatives go out in the streets not covered up.

The second one is

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More up for debate

Mar 13th, 2014 1:32 pm | By

Everything should be up for debate, right? It’s the hallmark of an open society. Nothing should be off the table – that way tyranny lies.

So. Why shouldn’t bigger stronger people just take what they want when they can get away with it? #UpForDebate

Why shouldn’t bigger countries invade smaller countries and take all their wealth? #UpForDebate

Why shouldn’t rich people work poor people to death? There are always more poor people. #UpForDebate

Why shouldn’t companies make their workers operate in whatever conditions happen to occur? Why bother with safety regulations? If some workers die, others will take their place. #UpForDebate

Why shouldn’t companies sell whatever product they can? It’s the customer’s job to figure out if the products are … Read the rest

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Up for debate

Mar 13th, 2014 1:00 pm | By

It’s a hashtag – #UpForDebate. A few random samples -

Maybe #atheists aren’t fit parents. We should remove their children. #UpForDebate#atheistdudebros

#UpForDebate You knew there was a chance that you would get carjacked. Now just relax and enjoy the ride.

#UpforDebate The healthcare you receive should be dependent on what you’re wearing at the time of injury.

Men work dangerous jobs, which means more injuries & greater cost to employers. They should be paid less to compensate. #UpForDebate

I think if I heard some solid evidence on the positives of dog fighting I could be convinced. #UpForDebate

I can think of a few.

What was so bad about the Vietnam war anyway? Why did … Read the rest

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But then there’s the woo aspect

Mar 13th, 2014 12:48 pm | By

For the sake of completeness though, I’ll point out that David Gorski has pointed out that Murthy has connections to “complementary and alternative medicine.”

What worries me about Dr. Murthy is his connection to so-called “complementary and alternative medicine” (CAM), otherwise known these days as “integrative medicine.” My skeptical antennae started twitching when I saw that Dr. Murthy has been serving on the U.S. Presidential Advisory Council on Prevention, Health Promotion, and Integrative and Public Healthsince 2011, along with Dr. Dean Ornish. (Come to think of it, it’s disturbing that President Obama would have appointed Ornish to such a committee.) Also on the council is Janet R. Kahn, PhD, who is described as a having been a “Faculty Preceptor

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How dare a potential Surgeon General defend public health?

Mar 13th, 2014 12:04 pm | By

Obama’s nominee for Surgeon General is, strange to relate, not a fan of injuries and death caused by guns. What an eccentric view, especially for a Surgeon General. Surely a right-minded SG should think of guns as healthy toys.

MSNBC reports on this surprising medical anomaly.

Obama’s nominee for Surgeon General, Dr. Vivek Murthy, is now facing a difficult confirmation for defending public health by pushing for measures that would reduce gun violence in America.

Last week on a vote of 13-9, Murthy’s nomination passed through the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. But his path forward to full confirmation is now under assault from the National Rifle Association, which penned a letter strongly opposing Murthy as Surgeon General.

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More more more of a guy thing

Mar 12th, 2014 5:21 pm | By

What about “ban bossy”? I’m not sure it was a great idea to choose the word “ban” as part of a meme or hashtag or campaign. But the idea behind it? Well yes. I see more reason every day to think that the culture is just godawful for girls and women; that it’s just saturated in ragey misogyny, contempt, patronizing ideas about some kind of inborn need to be drowned in pink fluff for the first ten years, fear, loathing, disgust, hostility, and dismissal.

Sheryl Sandberg and Anna Maria Chávez talked about it in the WSJ a few days ago.

Behind the negative connotations lie deep-rooted stereotypes about gender. Boys are expected to be assertive, confident and opinionated, while girls

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Plato in a panel discussion at the 92nd Street Y

Mar 12th, 2014 4:29 pm | By

Colin McGinn reviews Rebecca Goldstein’s Plato at the Googleplex in the Wall Street Journal. It’s a pity they chose Colin McGinn of all people, but oh well.

Plato is brought marvelously to life, and, as a welcome corollary, philosophy is vindicated against what Ms. Goldstein aptly labels the “philosophy-jeerers”—those who rashly claim that philosophy has no intellectual substance or future in this scientific era.

Philosophy-jeerers should read some Rebecca Goldstein. Seriously.

“Plato at the Googleplex” consists of chapters of scholarly discussion followed by fictional accounts of Plato appearing in various contemporary venues. Thus we see Plato at Google headquarters on a book tour, Plato in a panel discussion at the 92nd Street Y in Manhattan, Plato as a consultant to

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Don’t break something laughing

Mar 12th, 2014 3:48 pm | By

Via Unearthed Comics via the Facebook page Science-facts – such a funny cartoon. So, so, so funny. The cartoonist is Sara Zimmerman. So, so, so, so funny.

Credit Unearthed Comics

Ya. Hilarious.… Read the rest

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By consistently listening

Mar 12th, 2014 2:55 pm | By

The Onion - Man Who Treats Women With Respect Asked What His Secret Is.

Commenting upon his seemingly effortless ability to interact with all kinds of women, friends of local financial analyst Matt Brownlow, a man who regularly treats members of the opposite sex with respect, reportedly asked the 28-year-old Monday what his secret is. “You just seem to have such a way with women—what’s your trick?” friend Alex Stegman inquired of the considerate man who sustains healthy, meaningful relationships with women by consistently listening to them and not treating them as utilitarian instruments for male gratification.

Hahahahahahahahasob.

 … Read the rest

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