Notes and Comment Blog

Our short and pithy observations on the passing scene as it relates to the mission of Butterflies and Wheels. Woolly-headed or razor-sharp comments in the media, anti-rationalist rhetoric in books or magazines or overheard on the bus, it’s all grist to our mill. And sometimes we will hold forth on the basis of no inspiration at all beyond what happens to occur to us.

Name that fruit

Nov 8th, 2012 5:20 pm | By

The Reading University Atheist, Humanist and Secularist Society yesterday received an “official warning” from the Student Union, which will be on record until the end of spring term provided they “watch their behavior” – which presumably means they name no more fruits “Mohammed,” neither pears nor grapes nor papayas.

Oh yeah?



Ayatollah Khomeini

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

Whatever objects they could find

Nov 8th, 2012 1:06 pm | By

Women are such bitches. When they are firefighters, what they do is, they work along with their colleagues to put out fires. How bitchy is that!

Firefighters on Wednesday, responded to burning garbage receptacles in Meah Shearim. When some of the locals realized one of the firefighters was a woman, they began pelting her with whatever objects they could find. She was injured in her back lightly after being struck with a bottle.

Serves her right. Bitch.

The very first comment there sees this clearly.

There is no shortage of men capable of firefighting. Women are unnecesary and it is untznius for them to do it.

Exactly! Nobody needs women to put out no stinkin fires, and they need to stay indoors so that real people can get on with things.



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

The church covers up

Nov 8th, 2012 12:53 pm | By

In Australia a Detective Chief Inspector in NSW has written a letter to the Premier. He’s been a cop for 35 years.

Having spent most of those years at the coal face I have seen the worst society can dredge up, particularly the evil of paedophilia within the Catholic Church.

That’s noteworthy, isn’t it – the worst he’s seen is within an institution that is supposed to stand for the ultimate in Goodness.

Often the church knows but does nothing other than protect the paedophile and its own reputation. It certainly doesn’t report abuse as revealed by the current Victorian inquiry.

I can testify from my own experience that the church covers up, silences victims, hinders police investigations, alerts offenders, destroys evidence and moves priests to protect the good name of the church. None of that stops at the Victorian border.

Read that carefully. Pretend you’ve never heard about this before. The church silences victims, hinders police investigations, alerts offenders, destroys evidence.

Maybe after a few more decades and a few thousand more letters like that, something will be done.

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

If he only smiles

Nov 8th, 2012 11:20 am | By

A guest post at Skepchick by Laura Stone, a blogger at Hey, Don’t Judge Me, about her son and high school bullying. He’s attempted suicide three times because of it.

I’ve heard that I’m a terrible mother for leaving my child in a situation where he’s being brutalized. That he needs to pull himself up by his bootstraps and beat the hell out of his attackers. That he needs more Jesus in his life. That if he only smiles back at the bullies, why, their hearts will grow three sizes that day and they’ll all be BFFs.

Because a soft answer turneth away wrath…

Except of course when it doesn’t. Except when the bullies are bullying because it is fun for them and they are not about to stop it. Real, dedicated bullies get real pleasure out of their chosen hobby. It’s a mistake to overlook that.

…my son is an atheist (see: logic) and happens to be gay. Getting good with Jesus, prayer circles, etc., none of that works since he’s seen as The Enemy. He is gay, you can’t pray that away (not to mention that he doesn’t believe in prayer anyway), so he fails on both counts for the “compassionate” Christians, reinforcing his Enemy status. His attackers are all active, vocal Christians–-mostly the Southern Evangelical sort–-so that goes back to that logic loop of his.

Pick any one of those three traits, and in his attackers’ minds it’s the reason for his “undesirable” qualities. He’s gay because he’s an atheist. He’s an atheist because he’s gay. He’s a gay atheist because he’s “retarded.” These are all things that have actually been said to him.

That’s profoundly interesting to me. I see religion as a kind of bullying, but normally a covert, disguised, dressed up kind. It’s fascinating that high school theists, with their undeveloped frontal cortices, make it completely literal and undisguised.

What does affect your children is your hate. Your intolerance. Your snide comments at the dinner table about how “that one isn’t giving his parents grandchildren.” Your limp-wristed, high-voiced impression of the teenage boy that loves fashion, not footballs. The dirty face you make at the young woman that prefers overalls and short hair to tight dresses and ornate accessories. Every time you use the phrase “short bus.” Each instance of you grabbing your bag tighter as a black man walks towards you on the street or a person of Middle Eastern descent gets in line at the airport.

My son is autistic, atheist, and gay, and your assumption that he is one or all of those things because he’s “retarded” or “doesn’t have Jesus” is a continuing lesson in hatred that you’re teaching your children. And you have got to stop using the R-word word as an insult. Wow, does it make you look stupid and mean. My son isn’t looking for “special” treatment or “special” attention. He gets it because it’s the result of nice little Christian boys that jam his head in the toilet at school to “clean him” of his sins, and that’s just the stuff they do that I can print here. Trust me when I say he would really prefer to not get that kind of “special” attention ever again in his life.

You may be wondering where this high school is. It’s in Texas.


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


Nov 7th, 2012 5:04 pm | By

If girls of 16 are being raped, then the thing to do is, lower the age of marriage so that they can be raped by their husbands instead of by anybody who happens along.

For a full ten days after she was abducted and raped by a group of
 men, the teenager told no-one, terrified by the men’s threats 
and their claim that they would distribute photographs they had
 taken during the attack.

When she did eventually tell her mother,
 things got even worse; her father, a gardener, unable to bear the
 trauma of what had happened to his daughter and the indignity of such
 photographs being passed around, swallowed pesticide.

In the following days, police arrested and charged seven men, all 
members of a higher caste. But the response to what took place by 
certain elements of society – a suggestion that the age of marriage
 should be be lowered to reduce rapes, and that such attacks were 
triggered by eating ‘Western’ fast-food – sparked both a wave of
 anger and a debate about India’s attitudes towards women that has
 gripped the country

Oh well, it’s not so bad. Marry young and don’t eat fast food – surely a girl shouldn’t aspire to anything more than that.


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

Destiny’s child

Nov 7th, 2012 11:14 am | By

The parents who murdered their 15-year-old daughter Anusha by dousing her with acid explain their side of the story.

In the latest twist to a saga that has created outrage across South Asia, where acid attacks are common, the parents of the 15-year-old girl gave an interview in which they justified their actions. They said their elder daughter had previously brought “dishonour” to their family and that they would not tolerate it again.

Ah well that changes everything.

Speaking from his cell to the BBC, Mr Zafar said: “There was a boy who came by on a motorcycle. She turned to look at him twice. I told her before not to do that – it’s wrong. People talk about us because our older daughter was the same way.”

She turned to look at a boy? She turned to look at a boy, and for that her parents threw acid on her?

The mind tries to grasp it, and fails.

Anusha’s mother said her daughter had pleaded with her and said her glance at the passing boy had been nothing more than an accident. “She said, ‘I didn’t do it on purpose, I won’t do it again’,” said the mother. “By then I had thrown the acid. It was her destiny to die this way.”

Oh is that right. Too bad it wasn’t her destiny to be born to parents who would actually love her and protect her like normal human beings. You horrible fucks.


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

52 to 48

Nov 7th, 2012 10:26 am | By

It’s close, still too close to call for sure definite, but it’s going the right way so…I’m optimistic. Referendum 74 legalizing same-sex marriage in Washington state is currently at 52-48 in favor.

Election parties in Seattle spilled out into the streets in the Capitol Hill neighborhood, where police closed off several blocks for an outdoor election celebration of President Barack Obama’s re-election, and where more than 1,000 people were dancing and chanting “74, 74, 74.”

The measure was losing in 31 of the state’s 39 counties. But it had its strongest lead – 65 percent of the vote – in King County, the state’s largest county and home to Seattle.

State Sen. Ed Murray, a Democratic gay lawmaker from Seattle who sponsored the marriage law that passed the Legislature, said he felt confident that Washington state’s numbers would hold.

“We’re almost there, and we should celebrate,” he said.

Also Maine, Maryland, Minnesota partial.
Meanwhile, Maine’s measure passed Tuesday night with 54 percent of the vote. The measure that passed in Maryland matched Washington state’s lead of 52-48 percent. In Minnesota, voters rejected a proposed constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage in their state. Gay marriage remains illegal under Minnesota state law.
And we’re the first state to legalize recreational marijuana use! I’m so proud.

Legalization could help bring in hundreds of millions of dollars a year in pot taxes, reduce small-time pot-related arrests and give supporters a chance to show whether decriminalization is a viable strategy in the war on drugs.

The sales won’t start until state officials make rules to govern the legal weed industry.

The legal weed industry – that makes me laugh.

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

CSICON frolics

Nov 7th, 2012 10:02 am | By

Pictures are still coming in from CSICON in Nashville a couple of weeks ago. Skeptical Inquirer just posted an album of over 200 pics on Facebook, all taken by Brian Engler. You can tell everybody was having way too much fun.

The pics from the costume competition are very droll. This is one of my favorites -


Stef McGraw as the binder full of women.

Bye bye Mittens! Go away and never say another word.

Photo by Brian Engler.

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


Nov 6th, 2012 7:00 pm | By

Elizabeth Warren. Yesssssssssssssssssss!

Wut? PBS is saying all the polls are closed except Alaska and a few Rocky Mountain states. The west coast states aren’t still open? Well Washington has mail-only voting now, so the polls were never open. I hope California polls don’t close at 7.

Joe Donnelly in Indiana, not the “rape=pregnancy is God’s will” guy, Mourdock. It’s annoying that we have to pronounce Mourdock as if it were Murdoch. It’s not Murdoch.

No, California closes at 8. What are they talking about?

Rahm Emanuel is smiling.

Last time the news people knew the result well before 8 PT. I wonder if they know now.

It pays to check Paul Fidalgo.

RT @mdedora: Florida’s Amendment 8, Which Would Allow Taxpayer Money to Go to Churches, Is Defeated

Amendment 8 defeated in Florida. Not even close.

Claire McCaskill beats Todd Akin. TODD AKIN.

The pro-rape candidates are not doing well this year.

Hurry up, Ohio.

Ohio, Ohio, Ohio.

Axelrod says it’s all going according to plan.

Paul Fidalgo is in Twitter jail for tweeting so lot. He’s @PaulinJail for now.

They make it look suspensey, but they don’t mention California.

“If the president wins Florida it is over.”

The Romney camp is glum, PBS says.

I look forward to opening a window and hearing Queen Anne yelling and cheering. That’s my neighborhood, by the way, not a neighbor.

Seven minutes to west coast poll closing, when they’ll announce.

Ok maybe they don’t know yet.

RT @billmaher: Mitt to his underwear: “Magic my ass!!”

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

With a piece of wood

Nov 6th, 2012 5:03 pm | By

The BBC reports a horrible case of child abuse ending with a seven-year-old boy beaten to death with a piece of wood.

His mother, Sara Ege, 33, denies beating Yaseen Ali Ege to death at their home in Pontcanna, Cardiff, in July 2010 and setting fire to his body…The jury was shown a piece of wood which the prosecution claims was used by Mrs Ege to hit her son “like a dog”.

Mrs Ege covered her ears as jurors heard the 999 call she made saying that there was a fire in the home and that her son was still upstairs…It was first thought that the boy had died in the fire and that his death was a tragic accident, the jury heard.

But a post mortem examination revealed he had died several hours before the blaze, of multiple injuries caused by being hit by a blunt instrument.

Sare Ege admitted she been hitting Yassen with a stick, in her own words, “like a dog,” for three months before the fire, the court heard…Mrs Ege admitted pouring lighter fuel over her son’s body, the jury was told, saying “I know he was gone but I was just trying to protect myself”.

Oh, well then.

How horrendous. Three months of being beaten with a stick…and in the end being killed that way. By his own mother.

But the BBC report never says why. Did he disobey? Wet the bed? Talk back?

To find out why, you have to read the Telegraph.

In a video recording of her interview with police, Mrs Ege told them: “I was trying to teach him the Koran.

“I was getting more and more frustrated. If he didn’t read it properly I would be very angry — I would hit him.

“We had a high target. I wanted him to learn 35 pages in three months.

“I promised him a new bike if he could do it. But Yaseen wasn’t very good — after a year of practice he had only learnt a chapter.”

The court heard Mrs Ege, 32, a university graduate, and her husband, Yousuf, had enrolled Yaseen in advanced classes at their local mosque.

They wanted him to become a hafiz — an Islamic term for someone who memorises the Koran.

I think it’s appalling that the BBC kept that a secret. It must have been trying to be “sensitive” toward its Muslim readers, but think about it – what about the children of its Muslim readers? Why not be sensitive toward them too? Why not tell the truth of this hideous event by way of warning other parents?





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

What’s that big blue thing in the sky?

Nov 6th, 2012 1:09 pm | By

Yesterday I took a look at the Scientology building on Fountain Avenue, which is very near the hotel I stayed in on Vermont. Holy shit that place is creepy.


Think the name is big enough?

The building is a former hospital, and it’s massive. The paint job makes it very conspicuous – it’s like a blue Oz.

There are security guards and guardish-looking people with belts festooned with surveillancey equipment all over the place. The street that runs along the east side of the fortress building is named L Ron Hubbard Way. It’s a public street but I felt very…not on public property while I was walking north on it.

It looks like fascism; it looks more like fascism than fascism did. It’s like fascism cartoonishly exaggerated and made visual.

Creepy. creepy. creepy.

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

CFI’s Director of Public Policy

Nov 6th, 2012 11:27 am | By

Amy talked to Michael De Dora about what he does as CFI’s Director of Public Policy and UN rep. It’s good that she did that, because what he does is important, and he does it. (No need for self-mockery about 1st world probs here.)

Many people in the secular community seem unaware of the extremely important work that Michael De Dora and CFI are doing. They are literally on the front lines battling to protect women’s reproductive rights. They are working to ensure the separation of church and state here at home. They tirelessly rage against the oppressors of the world so that all people may eventually have freedom of religion, non religion and freedom of expression. They fight to keep religion out of the classroom and they fight to keep government funding from being funneled from public schools into religious schools. Care about freedom of speech? Then you should care about CFI’s newly launched Campaign for Free Expression.

Huh? What’s that got to do with skepticism?! 

Hey, you know what? Skepticism isn’t all CFI does. How about that.

You probably knew that. I think some people don’t know that though. I mentioned the question I got after my talk, asking why I drag feminism into skepticism, when I hadn’t been talking about skepticism at all. Skepticism is one thing but it’s not the only thing, and CFI isn’t CSI.

Amy’s on it.


Not enough?

Too much social justice and not enough traditional skepticism for ya?

Well, guess what?

They even educate local government on the dangers of alternative medicine and fight to stop tax funding and insurance coverage of risky or unfounded treatments. Oh, and yeah, climate science is on their list too.

See? It’s not the only thing, but it is one thing. Deep breaths, people.

Michael’s on it, CFI is on it, they’re all on it. It’s what they do.

Could you please explain the mission of CFI’s Office of Public Policy and your active role in that policy?

The broad mission of CFI’s Office of Public Policy is to push governing bodies to enact public policies based on secular values, humanist ethical principles, and, where possible, scientific evidence. Essentially, we combine the secular and humanist worldviews, and the scientific worldview, and apply the combined perspective to policy debates. I think that this multi-faceted approach results in some very compelling arguments.

Got that? It’s a multi-faceted approach. Secular values are part of it. Secular values are what my talk was about. I’m allowed to do that.

Free expression is one of those secular values.* CFI’s OPP works to support it.

Most recently our focus has been on protecting and defending the rights to freedom of religion, belief, and expression. Historically, these rights have been fragile, and they have come under widespread attack the last couple months – especially after the release of the Internet video Innocence of Muslims, which caused protests in the Middle East and Northern Africa.

One of our main focuses on this issue has been to shed light on the growing number of cases of people being punished simply for practicing a different, or no religion, or speaking their mind. Perhaps the most prominent case, at least for the secular community, is that of Alexander Aan, the Indonesian fellow who is in jail for posting on Facebook that he is an atheist.

In order bring attention to Aan and others like his, we just launched the Campaign for Free Expression, which seeks to rally broad support for the right to freedom of speech.

In concert with that, we have been working at the United Nations to fight attempts by the leaders of several countries to implement resolutions and agreements that would in effect restrict freedom of expression. And we have been working with the State Department to put diplomatic pressure on countries that do not respect freedom of expression. The idea is that the more social support you build for a position, the more feasible political action becomes.

How do they decide what issues to take on?

We decide which issues are important largely based on our mission. We will jump on an issue if it threatens the separation between church and state, is unethical from a secular humanist perspective, or is either unaligned or even opposed to current science.

Sounds sensible to me.

*No, that doesn’t mean people should call women they dislike fucking cunts, or non-white people they dislike fucking niggers, or Jews they dislike fucking kikes, or gay women they dislike fucking dykes, or gay men they dislike fucking faggots. It means doing so should not be a crime, or punished by the state.**

**Unless it adds up to harassment or incitement. Yes it makes a difference. A playful slap is one thing, a beating is another.

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

Torch all the schools

Nov 6th, 2012 10:40 am | By

It’s not just the Taliban that destroys schools, Mohammed Hanif points out.

Last week, a girls’ high school was set ablaze in Pakistan’s second largest city, Lahore. And no, the Taliban were not the culprits. A mob, enraged after allegations of blasphemy against a teacher, carried out the attack. Instead of taking action against them, the police arrested the school’s 77-year-old owner.

The accused teacher, who allegedly committed blasphemy by photocopying the wrong page of a book for homework, is in hiding.

We make fun of ourselves by saying “first world problem” – sometimes when we’re misdirecting our attention or worry, sometimes when we’re addressing an admittedly smaller-than-genocide item. What can ironists in Pakistan say about items like torching a school because a teacher photocopied the wrong page of a book for homework? What can ironists in a country with way too many uneducated religious fanatics say about religious fanatics torching a school for ludicrous religious fanatic reasons that in fact don’t even apply because the alleged “blasphemy” was just a matter of copying the wrong page by accident? “Third world problem” doesn’t quite seem ironic, somehow.

What is conveniently ignored in the debate over Malala is the fact that every 10th child in the world who doesn’t go to school is Pakistani. The Taliban are not the only ones keeping kids out of school. Some fairly secularly minded people think of Pakistan’s children as someone else’s children – not deserving the education that their money buys for their own kids. As such, Pakistan is a booming marketplace for private education. Ask anyone on the street, and they’ll tell you it’s the biggest business in Pakistan.

Hanif doesn’t mention madrassas. There are a lot of them in Pakistan, partly because public education is so neglected. They don’t teach anything - they just train children in rote recitation of the Koran in Arabic. Most of them are very conservative.

Listen to the Taliban, not to their cuddly intellectual friends, and you begin to get a clearer picture. Their apologists in political parties may try to prove that girls’ education is an invention of the  infidels, but the Taliban seem to know what they are talking about. An educated female population is more threatening to them than armies equipped with all-seeing drones. Every girl who crams for a high-school exam, every woman who runs a hospital, and every semi-educated mother who makes sure her daughter gets a better education than she herself received, is a mortal threat to the Taliban’s declared ambition that every little girl who talks about school gets it in the head.

By abdicating its responsibility to educate our children, to protect those who manage to go to school and those who teach them, Pakistan is making it that much easier for the Taliban’s mission to succeed.

A third world problem. Irony is nowhere in sight.

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

Certain people, eh?

Nov 5th, 2012 10:30 am | By

There was one guy who kind of ambushed me after the talk yesterday – by which I mean he came up to me afterward all friendly-like and had his picture taken with me, when actually he’s one of the “faction” there (and it apparently is quite organized) that hates me and all other…you know, Those Women and their Mangina Allies.

He probably got the picture for photoshopping purposes.

I took a quick look at his Facebook page just now (having been enlightened as to who he is and what he was up to) and saw a TAM 2012 album with this in it-

Uhhhh. Thanks a lot, Harriet Hall. I’m glad you think it’s so funny.

The reference is to vaccinations. My bad.

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

Travel report

Nov 5th, 2012 9:27 am | By

You’re longing to hear all about My Trip To LA, right? No? Well you’re going to.

I think the talk went pretty well (she said modestly). I had fun doing it, anyway – I talked about some issues that are interesting to me. You guys contributed because of the discussion last week.

It turned out there were some people there who already had an opinion of me, and not a good one. (Perhaps they think I eat cat food.) There was one rather truculent question, but no rotting fruit, or even decanned cat food.

And we went to lunch after, and I talked to amazing Louise, until she had to go play the Auntie Mame part at a family gathering. Alice and Stacy and I went to Wacko, then the Museum of Jurassic Technology, then t0 meet up again with Amy and Johnny at a thrilling restaurant in the Hollywood hills, where they (Amy and Johnny) treated us all to dinner. Fabulous people.

The truculent question was why do I drag feminism into skepticism, when feminism is an ideology while skepticism is about questioning all the things (including, I think we are to infer, gender equality, but not gender inequality). I said basically that I don’t; my talk was about secularism and equality. As far as I know CFI doesn’t focus solely on skepticism. Then I said that on the other hand, I think it would be (or is) stupid for skepticism to drive women away from skepticism by treating them like crap. Apparently that’s a controversial view. Hmreally? Why?

Just now I went out, early while it was still coolish, and went north on Vermont past a bookshop and other nice stuff, then west a bit and back south, past CFI to Barnall Barnsdall Park which is across the street from them (and the Pentecostal church which snuggles up to their east wall). I went up to the top of the hill and was rewarded with a stunning view of the Griffith Park Observatory and the Hollywood sign and all the things to the north and west and a good deal to the south until the smog got too thick.

I like LA.

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

On the ground again

Nov 3rd, 2012 5:55 pm | By

In Los Angeles. I took a group shuttle from the airport and it took FOREVER but that was actually good, because I got a tour.

Gonna go have a bite to eat with STACY and ALICE.

Doesn’t suck to be me.

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


Nov 3rd, 2012 10:31 am | By

I’m at the airport. As usual, I have no earthly reason for saying that, except that I like to.

Larry Williams has to report to the service desk. Larry Williams.

Have a pleasant Saturday.

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

We’ve been using man pens all these years! Blegh!

Nov 3rd, 2012 7:46 am | By

The lady car for ladies, the lady pen for ladies – Ellen DeGeneres has a funny bit on the lady pen.

“And they come in both lady colors: pink and purple.”

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

Food for thought

Nov 3rd, 2012 7:27 am | By

Something to think about…violence against women in Pakistan: 2,713 cases reported in 2012 so far, not in Pakistan, but just in southern Punjab. And those are only the reported ones. Something tells me that not all women subject to violence in Pakistan are able or willing to report it.

These include cases of aas-aaf custom (10) – in which women accused of ‘bringing shame to the family’ take an oath of innocence on the Holy Quran and then walk on burning coals spread over six metres–, abduction and torture after abduction (577), acid attacks (20), burning by throwing kerosene oil and petrol (17), kaala kaali (25), assault after divorce (45), assault by in-laws (100), ‘honour’ killings (112), murder and assault for contracting a marriage with their free will (114), murder (162), victims of panchayat decisions where women were either sold or killed (37), rape (304), assault by police (20), suicide in reaction to family pressure, rape or other forms of violence (444), torture leading to physical or mental disability (489), wani (37), watta satta (25) and cases of gender discrimination and disinheritance (175).

I hadn’t heard of that aas-aaf custom. That’s nice. Very 16th century Europe, where women accused of being witches might be thrown into a pond. If they drowned they were innocent. Yay.

Sometimes the violence is just grumpy neighbors.

Farkhanda, a second year student and a hafiz-i-Quran, had an argument with three women neighbours when she went to their house to collect her dupatta that had fallen into their house.

They said the women accused her of throwing the dupatta into their house on purpose.

They accused her of entering their house with an intention to steal from there. Some neighbours heard them arguing and intervened, police said.

The matter was resolved and Farkhanda returned home, they said.

However, later that night, police said, three youths, Ibrahim, Iqbal and Bilal, relatives of the women Farkhanda earlier had an argument with, went to her house while her family was away and beat her up. Police said they decapitated her with a butcher’s cleaver…

And then after a pause to catch their breath, they chopped off her arms and legs.





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

Just one?

Nov 2nd, 2012 3:57 pm | By

I’m still wondering about this question of what is “religious morality”? Most people seem to think it’s just plain morality that’s (partly or wholly) motivated or endorsed or decorated by religion.

I think that’s completely wrong. That’s not because I think nobody is really motivated by religion. It’s because that’s not enough to make morality religious.

I think morality is secular. I haven’t been able to think of any morality that isn’t secular – any moral content that is religious as opposed to secular.

Can you?

Religions have rules, but they’re not particularly moral. Rules about diet or what to wear or taking a day off to honor a god – those aren’t moral.

Morality applies to what people do to each other, and to animals, and perhaps to the planet. None of that has anything to do with a god or with another (different, non-material) world.

People try to go the other way around, and say the good is what pleases god and therefore morality is religious, but that falls afoul of the Euthyphro dilemma. What if what pleases god is parents dousing their daughters with acid? Then god would be bad! Therefore god would never do that. Ok but then you’re deciding what god is according to what you think is good, so it’s what you think is good that actually counts. See?

Is there anything we think is good that has nothing to do with the secular – nothing to do with humans and their needs or feelings, nothing to do with animals or the earth? If there is anything like that, maybe it’s religious, but I’ll be damned if I can think of anything.

Can you?

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