Posts Tagged ‘ FTB ’

A critical point for many people

Sep 12th, 2014 6:57 pm | By

This is great. It starts with a powerful, inspirational talk by Dawkins in 2006, that changed a lot of minds about religion and related subjects.

That speech was a critical point for a great many people, spurring them to read TGD and other atheist books, to reevaluate their beliefs and to ask questions they’d not asked before – to seek answers they mightn’t have even known were possible to find. Perspectives were changed, as was the social landscape of the internet, not to mention many “real” communities: homes, towns, perhaps countries.

Now, the blogger says, Dawkins needs that kind of experience himself.

First, he needs to talk to educated people about what comprises “real” feminism and stop assaulting this

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

That critical posture that is to some degree instrinsically male

Sep 12th, 2014 4:53 pm | By

Well I’ve thought of Sam Harris as both sexist and smug right from the beginning, i.e. when The End of Faith came out. But one can think of people that way and still be startled when they demonstrate it with underlining and italics and asterisks and ALL CAPS.

Michelle Boorstein interviewed him for a CFI-DC event the other day. At the end she asks him a question we’re well familiar with.

I also asked Harris at the event why the vast majority of atheists — and many of those who buy his books — are male, a topic which has prompted some to raise questions of sexism in the atheist community. Harris’ answer was both silly and then provocative.


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

Are all reports of sexual predation false?

Sep 12th, 2014 4:04 pm | By

Another ploy is to say it’s all just smears. Never mind the several people reporting their own experiences, never mind the fact that Randi corroborated that there have been several reports, never mind that sexual predation isn’t actually as rare or astonishing as Bigfoot or Nessie – never mind all that, just say it’s smears.

EllenBeth Wachs ‏@BlameEllenBeth
@sjzara @michaelshermer I am so disgusted and fed up with smear campaigns. The only people that should be shunned are them.

@SIN_Notung @toxicpath @sjzara They just want MS shunned, period. I pick him over the #FTBullies

So the same applies to all those people – a lot more men than women, I believe – who have reported they were raped or … Read the rest

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

The REAL Rape Culture

Sep 12th, 2014 1:14 pm | By

Stephanie has a screen grab of another helpful Dawkins tweet, this time one that he deleted. Too far even for him?

It’s just great having our putative Leader of Atheism making sneery jokes about rape, isn’t it. It’s like having Fred Phelps as our spokesdude.

It’s also great having him decide what kind of feminism is the good kind and what is the other thing. He helps out that way in reply to a concerned fan warning him of feminist outrage.

With a certain kind of feminist, of course. Not with feminists who truly respect women instead of patronising them as victims.

So the right kind of feminist is one who does not think there is any kind of disadvantage … Read the rest

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

Annals of dismissive contempt

Sep 12th, 2014 11:46 am | By

Oh, god, here we go. Again.

Richard Dawkins subtweets about the Oppenheimer article:

“Officer, it’s not my fault I was drunk driving. You see, somebody got me drunk.”

Let’s see, now, what was published a few hours before that tweet? Oh yes…Mark Oppenheimer’s article.

…one of the biggest draws [at TAM] was Michael Shermer, a swaggering historian of science who, after an earlier career as an ultra-long-distance bicyclist, founded Skeptic magazine.

He now contributes columns to Scientific American, speaks all over the world, and writes popular books like Why People Believe Weird Things, which are just what you should give to a friend who needs to be deprogrammed from a belief in fundamentalist Christianity, alien abduction, or

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Hardly an exception

Sep 11th, 2014 8:04 pm | By

This has now been published. Mark Oppenheimer asks Will misogyny bring down the atheist movement?

Yet Shermer remains a leader in freethought — arguably the leader. And in his attitudes, he is hardly an exception. Hitchens, the best-selling author of God Is Not Great, who died in 2011, wrote a notorious Vanity Fair article called “Why Women Aren’t Funny.” Richard Dawkins, another author whose books have brought atheism to the masses, has alienated many women — and men — by belittling accusations of sexism in the movement; he seems to go out of his way to antagonize feminists generally, and just this past July 29 hetweeted, “Date rape is bad. Stranger rape at knifepoint is worse. If

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D’Souza and his background

Sep 11th, 2014 6:11 pm | By

Ken at Popehat finds my and others’ reaction to Michael Shermer’s letter requesting lenient sentencing for Dinesh D’Souza depressing.

D’Souza’s attorneys are asking the court to exercise its discretion to go below the Guidelines and impose a non-custodial sentence — not to send him to jail, in other words. That’s not even a little surprising. I would do the same thing. So would any competent defense attorney. Given D’Souza’s lack of record and his background, it’s a reasonable and achievable goal. It’s no sure thing, but many judges would do it. (If anything D’Souza’s privileges work against him on this issue — the “rich and famous people shouldn’t get special treatment” narrative will be powerful. With some judges he’d have

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Ambiguity absent

Sep 11th, 2014 5:43 pm | By

PZ had a slightly different take (from Michael Shermer’s) on being invited to debate with Dinesh D’Souza.

It’s short and to the point.

Strangely, I just got two requests for participation in discussions: one from an Intelligent Design creationist apologist, Jason Rennie, and another to join in a debate this weekend from Dinesh D’Souza. I just thought I’d test whether these guys actually pay attention to what I write by putting the answer here.


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A what blogger?

Sep 11th, 2014 1:59 pm | By

What exactly is a “rage blogger”? I see the epithet thrown around a lot, but it’s almost always by people who are raging about the putative “rage bloggers,” so I can never get a good handle on exactly what they mean by the label.

PZ has the same problem with some “rage blogger” accusations by Barbara Drescher, a former employee of the James Randi Foundation.

What’s it all about, with this passive-aggressive veiled insinuation that someone is ‘lining their pockets’ and ‘puffing up their egos’? It turns out that she’s a bit peevish because Phil Plait wrote a nice post praising Amy Roth’s activism, specifically her art installation, “A Woman’s Room Online”, which illustrates the harassment women receive

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

For additional savings

Sep 11th, 2014 1:37 pm | By

Clever Walmart – it’s imposed a new “dress code” on its workers associates workers that the workers have to pay for themselves and guess where they can buy the clothes – why, right there at Walmart! How convenient, right?

They have until September 29 to purchase clothes that adhere to Walmart’s new dress code of white or blue collared shirts and khaki or black bottoms. Simone suggests employees shop for their new uniforms at, you guessed it, Walmart. She cheerfully reminds workers to apply their 10 percent associate discount “for additional savings.”

Such a brilliant scheme for moving product – force the employees to buy it!

Making Change at Walmart, a campaign anchored by the United Food & Commercial Workers

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

Michael has known Dinesh for two decades

Sep 11th, 2014 12:33 pm | By

Hey guess what – it turns out that Twitter isn’t some magically unreal part of the real world where nothing you say actually means anything or can come back to bite you in the ass. Behold the case of Dinesh D’Souza.

Offering a chilling reminder to the world that the first rule of Twitter is to never tweet, federal prosecutors on Wednesday rejected conservative filmmaker and campaign finance fraudster Dinesh D’Souza’s plea for a reduced sentence, and pointed to his recent behavior online — particularly his insinuations that his prosecution is politically motivated — as evidence that his claim to be “ashamed and contrite” was insincere.

No fair! Of course he’s not going to be ashamed and contrite when … Read the rest

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The New York Democrat did not name the offenders

Sep 11th, 2014 11:23 am | By

Well this is an ugly item: Ashe Schow at the Washington Examiner passive-aggressively trashing Kirsten Gillibrand for talking about harassment without naming names.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand has introduced bills to combat sexual assault on college campuses and in the military. An important emphasis of her legislation has been to encourage the victims of these crimes to come forward and report them.

But when it comes to sexual harassment in her own life, the New York senator sings a different tune.

Gillibrand disclosed in her new book, Off the Sidelines, that she has often been sexually harassed in the U.S. Senate. She said that one male colleague called her “porky,” and another told her not to lose weight

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

Reach for the sky, then pour out the tea

Sep 10th, 2014 5:50 pm | By

Another piece about gender-policing. A little girl goes to school with an Avengers backpack with four Avenger guys on it, avenging. A little boy asks her if it’s her brother’s backpack.

Back-to-school shopping is one of those moments in which the power of consumer-culture to shape our ideas about gender springs into focus. As parents, with or without our kids’ input, we make choices that shape their entry into new social contexts. We tell them what is “normal.” We set them up to fit in or stand out. And the choices, for parents and children alike, can be overwhelming.

This year, my daughter got an Avengers’ backpack featuring four male superheroes. There was no option with Black Widow, the

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

Butterflies or tractors?

Sep 10th, 2014 4:42 pm | By

The quandaries of gender and gender norms and gender policing…Erika Kleinman’s three-year-old daughter wanted her hair cut very short, really short Mom. It took three tries for Kleinman to cut it as short as her daughter wanted it, and she wondered why she found it so difficult.

When I was in the fifth month of my pregnancy with my first child, everyone wanted to know the sex. “Boy or girl?” When I said, “Surprise,” they were openly horrified. “No one is going to know what to get the baby!” Pink or blue? Cupcakes or puppy dogs? Butterflies or tractors? These conversations annoyed me. I have a foot in my spleen and no bladder capacity and you want to know pink

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

When we turn a blind eye

Sep 10th, 2014 3:36 pm | By

The RDF has posted an article by Leo Igwe about Helen Ukpabio’s lawsuit and the wider trend in African Christianity that she is only a small part of.

[T]here is an emerging poisonous trend in African Christianity which if not nipped in the bud risks returning Britain to a growth in practices last widely witnessed in the dark ages. The signs are clear. The recent cases of witchcraft related abuse of children in Black communities can be traced back to the practice of this brand of Christianity. So this must be opposed and those who peddle this religious barbarism and who wish to import or encourage it in the UK must be stopped.

This Africanized Christianity contradicts human rights, and

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Guest post: Football and its character-building properties

Sep 10th, 2014 11:24 am | By

Originally a comment by screechymonkey on Stand by your man.

Note: the comment is quite embedded in the discussion where it was posted, which is usually not ideal for a guest post, but it makes a lot of the general points about why it matters when “role model” celebrity male athletes beat up women, and I want to see them made.

Kevin, for a guy who’s not trying to defend Rice, you’re getting awfully heated about your position here, and not engaging in fair discussion.

For example,

So you are saying there’s a double standard — one for football players and another for the rest of the world. Because “role model”. And because “making an example” of Rice will

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The best disinfectant

Sep 10th, 2014 11:08 am | By

Phil Plait writes about Surly Amy’s art installation at CFI-Los Angeles in Slate today.

For having the temerity to say that women should have equal rights, opportunities, and treatment as men, she gets a tsunami of hatred, venom, death threats, rape threats, and more. It would be enough to break down hardened people, and it has. But not Amy. She manages to not only deal with this horrifying onslaught but also turn it into art.

I mean that literally. With the help of several other atheist and skeptical women, Amy has created an exhibit called A Woman’s Room Online: a free-standing 8×10 foot room that is being installed in the L.A. Center for Inquiry office. It will look superficially much

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Kansas City here she comes

Sep 9th, 2014 4:51 pm | By

Well it sounds like something from the Onion, but the Standard is a real paper. A flight from LA to NY had to make an unscheduled landing in Kansas City in order to boot off a passenger who wouldn’t stop singing Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You.”

Well, yeah. Five hours of that? That would be baaaaaaaaaaaad.

The domestic service from Los Angeles to New York was diverted to Kansas City so marshals could remove the woman from the plane because she kept singing the song repeatedly.

The singing began shortly after the flight took off, but around halfway through it became too much for fellow passengers and staff to bear.

The woman was filmed being escorted from the

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

It’s time to change the outlook

Sep 9th, 2014 4:09 pm | By

The Detroit Free Press reports on the protest in support of Barbara Webb.

More than 100 people attended Sunday’s nearly two-hour rally.

“We value human diversity,” said Amanda Ruud McVety, 29, of Birmingham, a 2002 Marian graduate who helped organize the rally to coincide with morning masses at nearby St. Regis Catholic Church. “It’s time to show that — through actions and through words. It’s time we look at (homosexuals) as equals and not shame them for who they are.”

Another Marian alum, 2001 graduate Rachel Chapman Kopera, started the Facebook page, “I Stand With Barb Webb,” which had more than 3,300 members as of Sunday afternoon. A petition on also asks for Marian administration to support LGBT

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Unfire that pregnant teacher

Sep 9th, 2014 3:23 pm | By

There’s a petition you can sign urging Marian High School to unfire Barbara Webb.

Barb Webb was recently forced to resign as a teacher at Marian High School in Michigan because she is pregnant and starting a family with her female partner. Webb was a well-loved teacher at the school – having been a chemistry teacher and volley ball coach for 9 years. There has been outrage from students, parents and alumni at a school that prides itself in ‘enabling young women to value human diversity and live responsible lives and inspiring its students to ‘Empower, Explore, Excel’

Webb told school officials that she was pregnant and hoped to work out some kind of maternity leave arrangement (or leave of

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