Posts Tagged ‘ FTB ’

Right on target?

Aug 7th, 2014 12:50 pm | By

One point about Kimberly Winston’s article about Dawkins and Twitter and peace accords – I was surprised by what Daniel Dennett said.

Of course, Dawkins still has legions of supporters. Among his biggest is Dennett, one of his fellow “Four Horsemen” and a philosopher at Tufts University.

“I thought Richard’s responses were right on target. If some radical feminists (and others) think that all rape is equally bad, do they think it is not quite as bad as murder? If so, are THEY condoning rape?  And if they think rape and murder are always equally bad, they really have lost their bearings and do not deserve our attention. Richard has been immensely important.”

Note the “if”. Well yes, if, … Read the rest

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Reporting on the deep rifts

Aug 7th, 2014 11:04 am | By

A couple of days ago I talked to Kimberly Winston of Religion News Service about the joint statement with Richard Dawkins and about his recent adventures on Twitter. Her article is now posted.

So now I can tell you that that’s what prompted yesterday’s farewell to Dear Muslima.

Dawkins declined to be interviewed, and a representative for his foundation said a statement he made on its website would be his final word on the subject.

Yet the current dust-up may have served as a wake-up call. On Wednesday (Aug. 6), presented with criticisms collected for this story, Dawkins added to an existing post on his foundation’s website.

“There should be no rivalry in victimhood,” the addendum to the post

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ISIS has always worn its love for sectarianism on its sleeve

Aug 7th, 2014 10:03 am | By

Maajid Nawaz has a piece at CNN on ISIS’s ongoing attempt at genocide in Iraq.

ISIS has always worn its love for sectarianism on its sleeve, and its vicious hatred for Yazidis has been no mystery. Repeatedly, disturbing videos have been circulated on social media depicting Yazidis held in tiny cells being cruelly taunted by ISIS prison guards. On top of this, “IS” propagandists have continuously warned of their intention to execute or enslave the adherents of this ancient Zoroastrian-linked religion, whom they view as “devil worshippers” on account of their revering a fallen angel.

So they won’t be fretting about all those Yazidis dying of heat and thirst on Mount Sinjar, will they.

While most fled to refugee

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Willing to work for scraps to better our beautiful country

Aug 6th, 2014 5:40 pm | By

A thing I have seen.

Edited to add: it’s not really by Ray Comfort; it’s a fake. The same kind of fake as the ones I’ve been objecting to when they’re attributed to Richard Dawkins or Jessica Valenti lately.

On fazebukeRead the rest

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40,000 Iraqis dying of heat and thirst on Mount Sinjar

Aug 6th, 2014 4:24 pm | By

The Telegraph reports on a horror.

Tens of thousands of members of Iraqi religious minority groups driven from their homes for fear of the jihadist group Islamic State are dying of thirst and heat on a desert mountainside in the north of the country, according to the United Nations and human rights groups.

Some 40 children have already died from the heat and dehydration, the UN children’s organisation Unicef says, while upwards of 40,000 more are sheltering in the bare mountains, without food or water or access to supplies. It says 25,000 children may be stranded.

Hundreds of adults, particularly men but also women and children, are already feared to have been killed or abducted by the group, which now

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Thank you for taking the time to report something

Aug 6th, 2014 3:48 pm | By

It’s social media day on Slate; they also have a piece about how crappy Facebook is at doing anything about bullying and harassment…except that they don’t put it that harshly, and they should.

A woman in Texas is suing them for doing nothing whatsoever about a report she sent them that someone was posting fake porn pictures of her. Yeah that sounds like Facebook. I suppose they sent her that form letter that says “we saw your report, your reports help us make Facebook safe and welcoming, we’re ignoring your report, we have no reason in fact we didn’t even look at it even though we just said we did, have a nice day.”

Facebook (which I have advised

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Good-bye Dear Muslima

Aug 6th, 2014 10:48 am | By

Richard D has a new post on the issue of comparisons and rankings. He makes the very reasonable point that it cuts both ways – saying Problem X is comparatively minor can be bad, and saying Problem X is horrific can be bad. Then he says something that made me lean right forward until I almost bumped into the screen. The last two paragraphs:

But let’s think about it. Who exactly is doing the belittling here?

Suppose I had said what my critics apparently wanted me to say, namely that my experience in the squash court was among the worst things that ever happened to me? I could imagine the following explosive retort from another pedophile victim: “WHAT? You

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What this approach fails to recognize

Aug 6th, 2014 10:25 am | By

Amanda Hess at Slate points out what a terrible, non-existent job Twitter does of preventing users from harassing people.

When CNBC invited Twitter users to ask questions of Twitter CEO Dick Costolo last month, thousands of people chimed in with queries like, “Why is reporting spam easy, but reporting death and rape threats hard?” and “Why are rape threats not a violation of your ToS?” According to CNBC, more than 28 percent of the 8,464 questions submitted to the network concerned harassment and abuse on Twitter. But when Costolo appeared on CNBC’s Closing Bell, he didn’t address the problem of online threats. 

Sure enough, that sounds exactly like Twitter. It never does address the problem Read the rest

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Terrifying

Aug 6th, 2014 9:21 am | By

A photo Taslima just posted on Twitter, saying “Why wouldn’t Bangladesh boats sink?”

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Women do most of the farming

Aug 6th, 2014 8:50 am | By

Women do most of the farming in developing countries, but they don’t own the means of production. The Guardian reports on a UN FAO report.

In many households men control the production and marketing of crops as well as household finances. The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) says that if women had the same access to these resources as men they could increase agricultural yields by 20-30%, enough to lift between 100 and 150 million people out of hunger.

Our report, Women’s empowerment pathways: roadblocks and successes found we need to consider the following points.

Context-specific action plans

In order to empower women economically, the underlying causes of income inequalities must be addressed. Due to the immense variation

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Guest post: Under any rationale, no matter how flimsy

Aug 5th, 2014 4:50 pm | By

Originally a comment by newenlightenment on In a fair world he would get it.

They ruined her a while back: Kissinger was at Hirsi Ali and Niall Ferguson’s wedding. (Admittedly by his invitation, not hers.) Particularly galling when you consider that Christopher Hitchens was on his deathbed at the time, had been a close friend and defender of Hirsi Ali, and his greatest work was in exposing Kissinger’s war crimes to the world. Hirsi Ali’s actions are a total betrayal, not only of human rights, but of basic human decency.

Hirsi Ali also claimed that the welfare state was responsible for the murder of Theo Van Gogh, since ‘the killer was on welfare, if he had had to look … Read the rest

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Simply Reckless

Aug 5th, 2014 4:38 pm | By

Let’s take a look at the American Enterprise Institute. Let’s see what SourceWatch has to say.

Controversies and Claims

Minimum Wage Hikes “Simply Reckless”

AEI scholars caution against legislation raising the minimum wage “for the sake of low-wage workers,” claiming that mandating a higher wage increases the cost of employment and will therefore leave fewer jobs. In one article, AEI resident scholar Michael R. Strain called Seattle’s initiative to increase the city’s wage requirements “simply reckless.”[16]

Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform “Disastrously Wrong Response”

AEI has spoken out against the financial system regulations created under the Dodd-Frank Act. In an article, AEI scholar Peter J. Wallison claimed that the 2008 financial crisis, which led to the legislation, “was not caused by

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Londoners and near-byers

Aug 5th, 2014 2:41 pm | By

Don’t forget this, people in London and vicinity – and Edinburgh and Stockholm if you’re up for making a trip at the last minute – Bernard Hurley’s talk on “How to Make Enemies and Alienate People – the Philosophy of Offensive and Inappropriate Language.”

It’s at the Exmouth Arms, 1 Starcross Street, NW1 2HR London.

The growth of social media has given an unprecedented opportunity for those who wish to gratuitously offend to actually do so but it has also given an opportunity for those who wish to take offence at mere criticism to express such offence. It’s clear that someone who uses offensive language is doing more than just conveying information, but what exactly are they doing? The job

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The downfall of a skeptoid

Aug 5th, 2014 11:47 am | By

Rebecca tells us that Brian Dunning has been sentenced at last – 15 months in the slammer.

This is great news for the skeptic community at large, since it may be a long enough sentence for Dunning to fade from memory and stop publicly representing the very people who are supposedly trying to stop people from defrauding others.

It’s not a good look, is it, having a big Name skeptic turn out to have been committing fraud on a large scale.

Meanwhile, this case had brought to light an actual skeptical activist who appears to be smart, hilarious, and actually effective at stopping frauds: Assistant United States Attorney David R. Callaway. In the government’s sentencing recommendation to the court last

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Religious freedom functions like a giant get-out-of-reality-free card

Aug 5th, 2014 11:20 am | By

Katha Pollitt at The Nation says pleasingly harsh things about the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

RFRA, which required laws infringing on religious convictions to meet the “strict scrutiny” test, was overkill. There were other ways to protect Native Americans’ right to use peyote in religious ceremonies. The church could have asked the State Legislature for an exemption; after all, during Prohibition, the Catholic Church was allowed to use wine in the Mass. Or—but now I’m really dreaming—workers could have been given legal protection from losing their jobs for minor lawbreaking outside the workplace. I mean, peyote! Come on. But no, for some reason, there had to be a sweeping, feel-good, come-to-Jesus moment uniting left and right.

“The power of

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You can’t “own it” if it’s not yours to begin with

Aug 5th, 2014 10:24 am | By

David Futrelle points out another example of this horrible illegitimate trick of making up nasty quotations and attributing them to The Enemy.

A Voice for Men’s “social media director” Janet Bloomfield is proving to be quite the innovator in the world of public relations. You may recall her cheeky approach to publicizing the recent AVFM conference, which involved awarding herself “whore points” for calling critics of AVFM “whores.”

Now she’s moved on to straight-up libel, making up fake quotes in order to make feminist writer Jessica Valenti look bad, and then bragging about it on her blog.

That. No. That’s wrong; that’s a bad, dishonest, unfair, shitty thing to do.

This whole sordid episode began several days ago when Valenti,

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In a fair world he would get it

Aug 5th, 2014 9:30 am | By

Oh, no. Salon reports:

During an interview published on Friday by Israel HaYom, the Sheldon Adelson-backed Israeli daily, public intellectual and author Ayan Hirsi Ali claimed that Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu should be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for waging the ongoing military campaign by the IDF against Hamas militants in Gaza.

Asked whom she admired, Ali — who once called Islam a “nihilistic cult of death” — included Netanyahu on a list featuring her husband, Harvard professor Niall Ferguson, as well as former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and Princeton professor Bernard Lewis. Ali said she admired Netanyahu “[b]ecause he is under so much pressure, from so many sources, and yet he does what is best

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A substantial weakening of Catholic identity

Aug 4th, 2014 6:09 pm | By

Another squalid rant from the people behind “The Sycamore Project,” whose one and only concern in life appears to be making everything more and more and more Catholic.

The Vagina Monologues controversy was an unmistakable signal that something fundamental had changed within the University.

In a series of open letters several distinguished faculty members have cited the faculty’s determined support of the play, together with Father Jenkins’ consequent change of mind, as evidence of a substantial weakening of Catholic identity.

It is not only the radical clash of the play with Catholic teaching and culture that is implicated, but also the absence of any evident engagement by the University with the Church’s central document on academic freedom in a Catholic

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At last!

Aug 4th, 2014 5:53 pm | By

Oh look! Hiba is here at last! We’ve been waiting for months and months. (It was because the redesign took time, and it made no sense to do the work of adding new blogs only to have to re-do them soon after. It wasn’t any other kind of reason.)

And hello, readers! I’m excited and delighted to be a new Freethought Blogger! Too many wonderful writers I’m too excited to work alongside to count, especially the ex-Muslims. May I say how wonderful and wise it is that the secular community is expanding to give space to valuable ex-Muslim voices. It’s been a long journey to get here. For those of you who know me from the original Between A Veil

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Saving the soul of Notre Dame

Aug 4th, 2014 4:16 pm | By

Wo. There’s a thing called Project Sycamore. Its project is to rescue Notre Dame University from the dreaded

brace yourselves

secularism.

It explains about the project in more detail on the secularization page.

The University should not compromise its academic aspirations in its efforts to maintain its Catholic identity.

Notre Dame Faculty Senate
April 9, 2008

The fading of the Catholic presence on the Notre Dame faculty is the most important issue bearing on the increasing secularization of the school.

Accordingly, we discuss it in detail elsewhere on this web site, where we list the most important sources upon which we base our analysis. Here, we provide a brief overview:

History demonstrates that the secularization of a religious

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