Posts Tagged ‘ FTB ’

Atheist Ireland at the Constitutional Convention

Nov 4th, 2013 12:07 pm | By

Michael Nugent provides video and transcripts of three speeches Saturday at the Constitutional Convention meeting about blasphemy law.

A bit from Michael’s:

You have rights, your beliefs do not. That is the essence of freedom of conscience.

You can respect my right to believe that there is no God, while not respecting the content of my belief. And I can respect your right to believe that there is a God, without respecting the content of your belief.

But blasphemy laws discriminate against atheists. They treat religious beliefs and sensitivities as more worthy of legal protection than atheist beliefs and sensitivities.

For example, we were recently at a conference in Limerick about religious pluralism in Irish schools, at which two Catholic

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Loosen the screws, the better to tighten them

Nov 4th, 2013 11:49 am | By

Hmm, it’s good to get rid of a blasphemy law, but it’s not good to replace it with “a new general provision to include incitement to religious hatred” – meaning, apparently, to include something that forbids so-called incitement to religious hatred. Unfortunately that’s just what Ireland’s constitutional convention has recommended, according to the Irish Times.

The constitutional offence of blasphemy should be replaced with a new general provision to include incitement to religious hatred, the constitutional convention has recommended.

Voting today on whether the reference to the offence of blasphemy should be kept as it is in the Constitution, 38 per cent said Yes, 61 per cent said No and 1 per cent were undecided or had no opinion.

In

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Good morning Jesus, listen up

Nov 4th, 2013 10:34 am | By

Amanda Knief of American Atheists was on CNN yesterday along with a Dallas Baptist pastor to discuss Greece v Galloway. Amanda said better things than the pastor said.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wlZSwYuZ57g

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The little jar

Nov 4th, 2013 10:12 am | By

Heh. Heina on Twitter.

 … Read the rest

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He had a little jar of honey

Nov 3rd, 2013 5:28 pm | By

First you need this:

Richard Dawkins @RichardDawkins

Bin Laden has won, in airports of the world every day. I had a little jar of honey, now thrown away by rule-bound dundridges. STUPID waste.

The tragedy!!!!!

Wait, some dismal pedant might object, what about starvation in Somalia and malnutrition in Bangladesh? Is it really worth an all-caps STUPID for a little jar of honey? When if it’s really that important you can always just check the bag?

IT’S A MATTER OF PRINCIPLE!!!!!!

Richard Dawkins @RichardDawkins

Do you idiots seriously think I give a damn about my stupid honey? It’s the PRINCIPLE I care about. Get it? Principle, not honey, principle.

Vanilla Rose @MsVanillaRose

@RichardDawkins Oh. And @rebeccawatson not wanting

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Make it work

Nov 3rd, 2013 4:56 pm | By

If you see a suffering animal with an open wound you’ll probably feel both disgust and empathy. Arielle Duhaime-Ross looked into the sources of both.

But with conflicting signals from empathy and disgust flooding our brains, how does one emotion prevail over the other? “We are full of conflicting desires, that is the nature of human beings,” Curtis observes.  “At any one time we have to weigh different motives and make a decision what to do based on circumstances, so people may simultaneously want to comfort a sick animal and recoil from its open wound.” What you choose to do, she says, “depends on the strength of your disgust and the strength of your desire to care.”

That’s one reason … Read the rest

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Guest post by Anna Y: Without the stereotype threats attached

Nov 3rd, 2013 11:53 am | By

Originally a comment on Pardon me, are you sufficiently feminine yet?

The rejection of “femininity” as a prescription for what all women should be while attempting not to de-value traditionally “feminine” attributes creates a serious double bind. I hate it. I hate it all the more because I possess a lot of those traditionally “feminine” attributes: I’m not trying to, I’m not trying to play them up, but I do. I still don’t want to be used as an example of a “good” or “real” woman by assholes who think women should just be barefoot and pregnant (and silent) in the kitchen.

This particularly sucks because of my career choices. I currently have a career in STEM. While it has … Read the rest

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In 2059

Nov 3rd, 2013 11:46 am | By

Laurie Penny takes a look at the familiar subject of hipster sexism, this time in the person of Russell Brand.

Brand is playing the court jester, and speaking limited truth to overwhelming power in one of the few remaining ways that won’t get you immediately arrested right now – from an enormous stage made of media money, liberally thickened with knob jokes, with a getaway sportscar full of half-naked popstars parked out back and one tongue firmly in his cheek.

But what about the women?

I know, I know that asking that female people be treated as fully human and equally deserving of liberation makes me an iron-knickered feminist killjoy and probably a closet liberal, but in that case

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Guest post by Bill Cooke: Humanists help orphans in Kenya

Nov 3rd, 2013 10:32 am | By

Bill Cooke is the Director of Transnational Programs at the Center for Inquiry.

On the fertile high country in central Kenya, in the shadow of the Nandi Hills, is the Ogwodo Primary School. Five or so buildings, two of them built by the parents out of mud and cow dung. All quite large and bare, with forty or more children to each room, sitting on hard pews and working at long benchtops. Here is where a sizable group of orphans are getting their schooling thanks to the Center for Inquiry, the humanist think-tank based in Amherst, New York.

There are many orphans in Kenya, most the result of their parents having died from HIV/AIDs, being too poor to afford medication, … Read the rest

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Not un-African!

Nov 2nd, 2013 4:34 pm | By

Yemisi Ilesanmi is having an argument with some God-invoking homophobes on her Facebook wall, and using graphics and cartoons to illustrate some of her points. Good clean fun.

And there’s her book…

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Pardon me, are you sufficiently feminine yet?

Nov 2nd, 2013 4:22 pm | By

You know how there’s something of a tension in feminism between different attitudes to “femininity”? To put it crudely, one view is that it’s just a set of (implicit) rules that keep women feeble and silly, while the opposite view is that disparaging femininity is patriarchal because it just amounts to seeing anything female as worthy of disparagement.

What about that? I tend toward the first view, but I also suspect that means I’m an unreconstructed dinosaur beached on the second wave and incapable of learning better.

But, I think the words (and what they express) are stupid, both of them – masculine as well as feminine. They’re advertising language, for one thing – have this masculine cologne at $3700 … Read the rest

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Saturday afternoon

Nov 2nd, 2013 3:41 pm | By

No reason. Just because.

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Bishops again

Nov 2nd, 2013 11:44 am | By

The Bishops continue their tireless efforts to impose their viciously obscurantist godbothering views on all of us. They report it proudly on their episcopal website, because they think they are morally better than the rest of us. They are so wrong about that.

The chairman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities wrote to members of the House of Representatives to support the “Abortion Insurance Full Disclosure Act” (H.R. 3279), to address one part of the abortion-related problem in the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

The House of Representatives ought not to be beholden to the US CCB. It ought to be entirely independent of them.

In his Nov. 1 letter, Cardinal Seán O’Malley, Archbishop

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It vanished

Nov 2nd, 2013 11:06 am | By

Chris Clarke wrote a wonderful little bit of ethological observation as a Facebook status.

Today I watched a raven with a Cheeto being carefully stalked by two California gulls looking for a way to snatch the treat away. The raven hid the Cheeto under a leaf as the gulls watched. The gulls seemingly concluded that the Cheeto was gone and wandered off.

As people pointed out in comments, this neatly shows that gulls don’t have object permanence while ravens do have theory of mind.

(I look forward to an avalanche of Cheeto ads in my future…)… Read the rest

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Beliefs can be more or less reasonable

Nov 2nd, 2013 10:45 am | By

Sigurd Jorsalfar pointed out that Stephen Law has a recent post related to this subject of more and less reasonable beliefs.

Beliefs can be more or less reasonable. There is, if you like, a scale of reasonableness on which beliefs may be located. Unfortunately, that reasonableness is a matter of degree is often overlooked. It’s sometimes assumed that if neither a belief A, nor its denial B, are conclusively “proved”, then the two beliefs must be more or less equally reasonable or unreasonable. As we will see, this assumption is false.

I suspect that happens more with discussions of theism and atheism than with any other kind of discussion, because it’s so damn convenient. We know that most theists don’t … Read the rest

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A comrade needs help

Nov 1st, 2013 5:58 pm | By

Some of you are in Spain, and thus probably know other people in Spain, and others of you not in Spain might still know people in Spain. Maybe you know someone who can offer Michael Dickinson a spare room or a flat empty during vacation or similar.

Here’s what Torcant Torcant told me:

Do you remember Michael Dickinson, the British collage artist that lives in Turkey? I remember you blogging about him in 2009 – I know it’s been a long time.

Back in 2009:

1. He was sued for insulting Turkish PM with a jail sentence prospect 2. The court acquitted him 3. The case went to the high court and the high court overturned the case 4. He … Read the rest

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A big win for the Texas Taliban

Nov 1st, 2013 5:34 pm | By

Becca Aaronson reports that at least nine abortion facilities in Texas – a quarter of the Texas total – have stopped providing abortion services.

I keep telling people this and they (some of them) don’t believe me. Yes abortion isn’t yet 100% illegal again, yet, but it is more and more difficult to get one in more and more of the country.

From Aaronson’s story in the Texas Tribune:

After the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision Thursday to lift an injunction on new abortion regulations in Texas, at least nine abortion facilities — about a quarter of the state’s abortion providers — have discontinued abortion services in light of the new law.

The court’s decision is

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Second order knowing

Nov 1st, 2013 5:08 pm | By

Another thing about the two sheds – I’ve mentioned this before, I think, so apologies if you’re bored with it – is that even if we can’t know there is no god, we can know other relevant things, such as, that no one has managed to convince us (“us” being atheists) that god exists.

You could say that you don’t really know that because maybe way down deep somewhere you are a little bit convinced. But I don’t think so: being convinced is entangled with being aware of being convinced – being aware of the conviction is part of the conviction. It seems nonsensical to claim you can be convinced of something without being aware of it.

I know that … Read the rest

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Two sheds

Nov 1st, 2013 12:05 pm | By

Cara Santa Maria gave a talk at the CFI Summit which I enjoyed a lot. She talked about having tattoos and piercings and always making sure to have the arm tattoo visible when she does public stuff, because she wants young people (and people in general) to realize that scientists can look like her and like them.

She also talked about becoming an atheist at 14, having been raised Mormon, and how difficult that was. Her parents were divorced; her father (but not her mother) was very strictly Mormon; her father told her it was his duty to force her to continue going to church until she was 18. So a gulf opened up between them that lasted for years. … Read the rest

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At the Palace

Nov 1st, 2013 11:10 am | By

Tickets for QED 2014 are now on sale. If being in Manchester the weekend of the 12-13 April next year is at all feasible for you and you have £99 I strongly recommend going.

The people who run it are terrific and they do a brilliant job, and there are terrific people attending as well. (I met Rhys Morgan there, also his father Dr Paul of that ilk, also Alex Gabriel, also Maureen Brian, also Author of Jesus and Mo, to name only a few.)… Read the rest

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