All entries by this author

No shelter for you

Jul 30th, 2014 8:29 am | By

Golly, now there’s a new twist on dear old gender segregation – in Israel, a “men only” bomb shelter.

While people all around Israel have spent the past two weeks scrambling for cover during rocket attacks, it seems that in some places, only men’s lives are considered worth protecting. In the Ashdod rabbinate building, the bomb shelter has a sign on it reading “For men only,” and women who happened to be in the rabbinate during recent raids were not allowed into the bomb shelter.

Thus reports MK Stav Shaffir, whose staffer happened to be at the rabbinate this week when all this was taking place.

Orit, an Ashdod resident who was also in the rabbinate this week with her

Read the rest

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)



How apt

Jul 30th, 2014 6:46 am | By

Via RH Reality Check.

 … Read the rest

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)



The doctor died

Jul 29th, 2014 5:41 pm | By

Very bad news: the doctor who was leading Sierra Leone’s fight against the worst outbreak on record has died from the virus.

The death of Sheik Umar Khan, who was credited with treating more than 100 patients, follows the deaths of dozens of local health workers and the infection of two US medics in neighbouring Liberia.

Ebola is believed to have killed 672 people in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone since the outbreak began in February, according to the World Health Organisation. The contagious disease has no known cure. Symptoms include vomiting, diarrhoea and internal and external bleeding.

Khan, 39, hailed as a “national hero” by the health ministry, had been moved to a treatment ward run by the

Read the rest

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)



Guest post: Funny thing about the ‘Let there be no compulsion in religion’ verse

Jul 29th, 2014 4:46 pm | By

Originally a comment and another comment by Marwa Berro (who will be blogging here under her real name starting August 1!) of Between a Veil and a Dark Place on A Muslim woman is not allowed to marry a non-Muslim.

Funny thing about the ‘Let there be no compulsion in religion’ verse. It is almost always (quite conveniently) quoted out of context. It actually means the exact opposite, that you can’t be internally compelled to see the one and only Truth, but you sure as hell can be punished for being evil enough to refuse to see it. The rest of the verse and the one following it:

[ 2:256] Let there be no compulsion in religion: Truth stands … Read the rest

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)



Punished by angels from dusk to dawn

Jul 29th, 2014 11:29 am | By

Sara Khan of Inspire has an eloquent piece at the Telegraph on the Trojan Horse affair and its implications for Muslims who are not fans of bigotry and hatred. Sara of course is one such Muslim.

One of the most shocking findings, from both Birmingham City Council’s report and from the Government’s own investigation into the Trojan Horse affair, was the incredulous hate peddling promoted to young children by fundamentalist Muslims who attempted to infiltrate a number of schools. Children had been told not to listen to Christians because they were “all liars”; and how they were “lucky to be Muslims and not ignorant like Christians and Jews.” Schools put up posters warning children that if they didn’t pray they

Read the rest

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)



Logic and rhetoric

Jul 29th, 2014 10:49 am | By

My cosigner (it’s kind of like the Declaration of Independence – we are Signers) Richard Dawkins has been tweeting about the logic of saying X is not as bad as Y. The logic is that saying X is not as bad as Y is not the same thing as saying X is good. Quite right; it’s not. A mouthful of curdled milk is not as bad as a mouthful of shit, but that doesn’t mean a mouthful of curdled milk is good.

 · 11h

X is bad. Y is worse. If you think that’s an endorsement of X, go away and don’t come back until you’ve learned how to think logically.

Mild pedophilia is bad. Violent

Read the rest

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)



Not getting it

Jul 28th, 2014 4:00 pm | By

Not getting it.

There are of course people not getting it. Lots of them.

There’s Phil Giordana for instance, on Dan Fincke’s public FB post on the statement.

No, sadly. it will be another excuse for the mob to do as they please and cast away any semblance of rationality or honesty. Don’t accommodate the online SJWs.

Don’t accommodate the people who give a shit about social justice issues? But there’s no need to “accommodate” us. I carefully excluded any such need from the statement. So I wondered what the hell he meant.

Don’t accommodate the online SJWs? So people should keep on with death threats, rape threats, attacks on people’s appearance, age, race, sex, size, haircut; photoshopping people

Read the rest

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)



Reasoning with people who want to spike the heads of their adversaries

Jul 28th, 2014 11:14 am | By

Nadette De Visser at the Daily Beast reports on a recent demonstration in The Hague (Den Haag):

“Death to the Jews” chanted the crowd waving the black flags of the Islamic State, or ISIS as it used to be known. They were looking for new supporters for their cause, the creation of a worldwide caliphate answering to the man who now calls himself Ibrahim: a zealot too radical even for Al Qaeda who has stormed through Syria and Iraq carrying out mass executions, crucifying rivals, beheading enemies. But these marchers were not in Syria or Iraq; they were in The Hague in The Netherlands. And their message was one tailored to the disaffected young descendants of Muslim immigrants in Europe.

Read the rest

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)



If Chuck Norris

Jul 28th, 2014 10:19 am | By

Well, that makes a nice summary of everything I fear and hate.

If I were elected president I would Tattoo an American flag with the words, “In God we trust,” on the forehead of every atheist.” – Chuck Norris

It’s got it all – sadism, compulsory nationalism, compulsory theism, total ignorance of US history, even recent history, and bigotry toward atheists. Ok not quite all, there’s no gay-bashing or feminist-bashing, but it’s almost all.… Read the rest

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)



Not Diogenes

Jul 28th, 2014 9:12 am | By

Mark Senior continues to be eager to let everyone know that he’s not going to pay any attention to any statements on the merits of disagreeing without being abusive about it. Hell no! Nobody tells Mark Senior not to act like an asshole!! Mark Senior will act like an asshole as much as he wants to, thank you very much!!!

Description: a tweet sent by Mark Senior to Richard Dawkins and to me with a photoshop of PZ with a clown’s read nose and, underneath, a putative quotation from Diogenes of Sinope saying “that which cannot withstand criticism or mockery is false.” The attribution is a lie, of course – if you Google the phrase the only results are … Read the rest

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)



Hey Christina Hoff Sommers

Jul 27th, 2014 3:17 pm | By

Christina Hoff Sommers seems to be getting more unpleasant – or maybe just more active on Twitter, or maybe just retweeted by more people I happen to see. At any rate I find her increasingly unpleasant. I saw one tweet of hers this morning that was so obnoxious I replied to it.

Christina H. Sommers ‏@CHSommers 4h
Hey feminists, will you stop making recklessly false claims like/ “Women own only 1% of world’s property.”http://m.theatlantic.com/sexes/archive/2013/03/women-own-1-of-world-property-a-feminist-myth-that-wont-die/273840/ …

Ophelia Benson ‏@OpheliaBenson
.@CHSommers Hey Christina Hoff Sommers, will you stop bashing “feminists”?

Someone replied to me and Sommers favorited her reply. Of course she did. I replied back. Sommers won’t be favoriting that. (Nor will Paul Elam, who chimed in.)

Vandy Beth Glenn

Read the rest

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)



What have you got against flamingoes anyway?

Jul 27th, 2014 10:35 am | By

Latsot (Look at the state of that) lists some of the tropes, in a comment at oolon’s place. Quoted with permission.

It would be too depressing to describe all the ‘arguments’ against rape culture I’ve seen, but it might be fun to list some of the tropes. For an especially masochistic definition of ‘fun’. Some of these you’ve already mentioned.

1. Women all the time be faking accusations
2. Being falsely accused of rape is worse than being raped
3. Someone you admire once accused someone of rape so accusing people of rape is always bad (never quite understood this one)
4. You SJW types say you should always believe the victim no matter what (rather than

Read the rest

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)



In a material world of blind indifference

Jul 27th, 2014 10:08 am | By

One rather peculiar response from a reverend:

@CLGrossman @RichardDawkins @OpheliaBenson Well said but why/ How? In a material world of blind indifference who decides what is is “civil”[?]

That’s not peculiar for a reverend*, of course, but it’s peculiar in itself.

Who decides? Human beings decide. We decide because we’re the ones affected. We decide because we want various things. We want to be able to have reasonable conversations. We want to be able to talk without fistfights or insults or taunts. We want at least a minimal baseline of peace and co-operation.

That’s who decides. The people who have a stake decide. That’s true even in a material world of blind indifference. The material world is blindly indifferent … Read the rest

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)



Haw haw

Jul 26th, 2014 2:17 pm | By

Not everyone is board, but we knew that.

Read the rest

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)



Joint statement by Ophelia Benson and Richard Dawkins

Jul 26th, 2014 12:02 pm | By

Joint statement by Ophelia Benson and Richard Dawkins

It’s not news that allies can’t always agree on everything. People who rely on reason rather than dogma to think about the world are bound to disagree about some things.

Disagreement is inevitable, but bullying and harassment are not. If we want secularism and atheism to gain respect, we have to be able to disagree with each other without trying to destroy each other.

In other words we have to be able to manage disagreement ethically, like reasonable adults, as opposed to brawling like enraged children who need a nap. It should go without saying, but this means no death threats, rape threats, attacks on people’s appearance, age, race, sex, size, haircut; … Read the rest

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)



Decks

Jul 26th, 2014 10:37 am | By

Have a friendly set of caricatures, for purposes of comparison. Crispian Jago’s deck of “Skeptic” cards from 2011. (Some of the people in the deck don’t fit the category very well – Dennett, Aaronovitch, Grayling, Hitchens, Peter Singer, Andrew Copson – they’re not primarily skeptics, not professional Skeptics.)

The caricatures are done by Neil Davies.

Here’s Anthony Grayling:

H/t Catherine Xanthë… Read the rest

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)



Crucified in the main square

Jul 25th, 2014 3:41 pm | By

ISIS have also been using crucifixion as a punishment. What history wonks they are.

A man has survived being crucified by Isis in Syria, after the jihadists raided his village and nailed him to a cross for eight hours.

The unnamed man from Al-Bab, near the border with Turkey, was crucified as a punishment, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

He managed to survive the ordeal.

But eight others who received the same punishment did not survive. The men, from Deir Hafer in the east of Aleppo province, were subjected to the same treatment and crucified “in the main square of the village, where their bodies will remain for three days”, the Britain-based monitor said.

It’s a very … Read the rest

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)



Good idea

Jul 25th, 2014 3:19 pm | By

From Blue Nation Review:

Read the rest

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)



So close

Jul 25th, 2014 12:50 pm | By

Greta has a terrific post on the question of what will you accept in an ally before you decide that’s not an ally after all.

I’ve been thinking about that a lot this week, as you’ve seen, and also as you haven’t seen, because I’ve been doing it out of sight.

Here’s a crucial bit of Greta’s post along with my response posted there and on Facebook:

In many instances, of course we can agree about some things while disagreeing about others, and agreeing when someone says (X) doesn’t automatically mean you agree when they say ( Y ). But when someone crosses a clear line into vile and unacceptable behavior, the community needs to make it clear that this

Read the rest

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)



A Muslim woman is not allowed to marry a non-Muslim

Jul 25th, 2014 11:55 am | By

But there is one good thing: Meriam Ibrahim and her family are safe, out of Sudan.

Meriam Yahia Ibrahim Ishag flew to Rome with her family after more than a month in the US embassy in Khartoum.

There was global condemnation when she was sentenced to hang for apostasy by a Sudanese court.

Mrs Ibrahim’s father is Muslim so according to Sudan’s version of Islamic law she is also Muslim and cannot convert.

She was raised by her Christian mother and says she has never been Muslim.

Welcoming her at the airport, Italy’s Prime Minister Matteo Renzi said: “Today is a day of celebration.”

Then she went to meet with the pope, which doesn’t sound like fun to me, … Read the rest

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)