Jesus Would Get Her Fired

There’s a good chance by now that you’ve heard about the pastor who didn’t like that she was charged an 18% gratuity on her bill at Applebee’s. She crossed out the tip, wrote in $0, and added, “I give God 10%. Why do you get 18%?”

My first thought on reading that was that the answer is simple. Even a bad server does infinitely more for you than a nonexistent god. Also, because that’s how people working their asses off get paid, and large groups are notoriously bad at basic bill addition, much less tax-and-tip math. An 18% tip is low.

The pastor, however, has managed to make things even worse. [Read more...]

Terms (Update)

By now you may have seen Ophelia’s posts on the attempt by Lee Moore to arrange talks between the “sides” of the deep rift. You may have seen Justin Vacula’s post on that as well. Or his original post.

I’ve been contact by Lee Moore as well. The idea, as he puts it at the moment, is to sit down for some public discussions of differences. Unlike Ophelia, I have said I would do it if my terms are met.

What are my terms? Any participant from that “side” renounces the slime pit.

As I explained to Lee, anyone who thinks they can settle anything is going to have to leave the slime pit behind, because the entire point of the slime pit is to contain vitriol against Rebecca Watson, FtB, and anyone who acts as though any of us have a point. You either change that (which is an impossible task) or the people you ask to lead a charge toward reconciliation walk away from it and say they’re not running back when they’re done.

What do they get from me in return? Moderated discussion on mutually agreed-upon topics with a mutually agreed-upon moderator. I know at least one professional moderator who has already helped an atheist and skeptic organization a great deal with regard to similar matters. I think anything less would be pointless now.

I have no problem discussing my views for a public audience. It’s…well, it’s rather the point of this blog. That doesn’t change with a camera and microphone on. I just expect something in return for my time and for all the crap that’s been thrown my way. If people are willing to further marginalize those who fling the most crap, that’s more than incentive enough to talk to them.

So those are my terms.

Update: Justin has made a response on Twitter that’s worth addressing.

Zvan wants me to renounce. leave Slymepit prior to having discussion. I wonder if she is willing to renounce, leave Freethought Blogs #Terms
@justinvacula
Justin Vacula

Justin, I’m not asking you to renounce Skeptic Ink. That’s your network of independent blogs. This is mine. All your statement does is highlight that our “side” has nothing equivalent to the pit.

Credibility

It’s apparently now measured by the people you’ve interviewed. I don’t do a lot of the interviews on Atheists Talk per se. I host and throw in follow-up questions as I have them. But I’ve done a few.

I think that’s all of them, though all the hosting in between makes it difficult to be sure. How do I do for credibility?

Don’t worry. I won’t blow any of it on bad Photoshops or pointlessly insulting rants.

WiS Travel Grants for FtB

In case you missed it, one of the commenters here at FtB has had enough:

I’m trying to figure out how to do this but I think in honor of Justin, I’d like to pick 2 deserving non-male members of the FTB community who are having trouble getting to the conference, and provide them plane tickets and some cash for transport from the airport.

Because of the stalking, it’s understandably hard to get hold of some of the people who might be good to send. I’m not sure what to do; if any trusted intermediary wants to contact me, I’m very easy to find and I’d really appreciate it. Yes, I am serious.

By “in honor of Justin” I mean “nyaa nyaa nyaaa, I’m going and you’re not”

I don’t think going around punching people’s lights out is appropriate, so I’ve been trying to think of a way of saying “fuck you very hard, Justin!” and I think I may have hit on one.

So we’ve been talking. We can make this happen. Click through if you’re part of the FtB community, want to attend Women in Secularism, and can afford to come with a good chunk of help. [Read more...]

The Role of Women in Secularism

There’s a bunch of talk going on about Women in Secularism that seems unique to this conference. There’s the post at A Voice for Men that claims they were invited by PZ (they weren’t, and it’s not PZ’s conference even if he had been that silly). There are the calls to put together a panel of largely inexperienced women speakers or women who don’t speak about secularism, because they disagree that there should be such a conference and their viewpoint should be represented. There’s the idea that this conference should be used to push the women participating into once again hearing viewpoints that have been inescapable for the last couple of years.

Seeing it all, I have to ask, “What do people think this conference is for?” [Read more...]

When Denial Is Progress

Bernice Sandler spoke at last year’s Women in Secularism conference. The title of her talk was “The Chilly Climate”, and it covered (in brief) her decades of researching the ways in which women’s contributions are treated as less valuable than men’s.

In some ways, the talk was sobering. We’re not talking about blatant sexism–for the most part. The behaviors involved are subtle, easy to overlook unless you’re paying specific attention, and they are often invisible as just the way things are done. Of course, that doesn’t mean they don’t have real effects.

Depressing, right? Or perhaps “chilling”.

However, Sandler hasn’t just studied the problem.

[Read more...]

Fetal Viability and Maternal Rights

A couple of months ago, I said something about abortion on Dogma Debate that I wanted to repeat and expand upon here. I’d just written a couple of posts about abortion, and David Smalley thought that would be a good controversial topic. As a challenge to my position (basically, make abortion cheap and easy to get), fetal viability was brought up. It turned out we didn’t have much to argue about. In fact, the matter seemed so straightforward to me that I’m surprised I don’t see it presented this way more often. [Read more...]

Saturday Storytime: Inventory

The classic advice for writing a sex scene is to make sure it advances plot or character. [Note: Advice may not apply when you're writing pornography.] When you write a story that is made up of sexual encounters, you have no choice but to demonstrate how that is done. Carmen Maria Machado shows us very well indeed.

One man. I met him at the bar around the corner from my house. We made out on my bed. He smelled like sour wine, though we hadn’t been drinking. We had sex, but he went soft halfway through. We kissed some more. He wanted to go down on me, but I didn’t want him to. He got angry and left, slamming the screen door so hard my spice rack jumped from its nail and crashed to the floor. My dog lapped up the nutmeg, and I had to force-feed him salt to make him throw up. Revved from adrenaline, I made a list of animals I have had in my life—seven, including my two betta fish who died within a week of each other when I was nine—and a list of the spices in pho. Cloves, cinnamon, star anise, coriander, ginger, cardamom pods.


One man. Six inches shorter than me. I explained the website I worked for was losing business rapidly because no one wanted quirky photography tips during an epidemic, and I had been laid off that morning. He bought me dinner. We had sex in his car because he had roommates and I couldn’t be in my house right then, and he slid his hand inside my bra and his hands were perfect, fucking perfect, and we fell into the too-tiny backseat. I came for the first time in two months. I called him the next day, and left him a voicemail, telling him I’d had a good time and I’d like to see him again, but he never called me back.


One man. Did some sort of hard labor for a living, I can’t remember what exactly, and he had a tattoo of a boa constrictor on his back with a misspelled Latin phrase below it. He was strong and could pick me up and fuck me against a wall and it was the most thrilling sensation I’d ever felt. We broke more than a few picture frames that way. He used his hands and I dragged my fingernails down his back, and he asked me if I was going to come for him, and I said yes, yes, I’m going to come for you, yes, I will.


One woman. Blonde hair, brash voice, friend of a friend. We married. I’m still not sure if I was with her because I wanted to be or because I was afraid of what the world was catching all around us. Within a year, it soured. We screamed more than we had sex, or even talked. One night, we had a fight that left me in tears. Afterwards, she asked me if I wanted to fuck, and undressed before I could answer. I wanted to push her out the window. We had sex and I started crying. When it was over and she was showering, I packed a suitcase and got in my car and drove.


One man. Six months later, in my post-divorce haze. I met him at the funeral for the last surviving member of his family. I was grieving, he was grieving. We had sex in the empty house that used to belong to his brother and his brother’s wife and their children, all dead. We fucked in every room, including the hallway, where I couldn’t bend my pelvis right on the hardwood floors, and I jerked him off in front of the bare linen closet. In the master bedroom, I caught my reflection in the vanity mirror as I rode him, and the lights were off and our skin reflected silver from the moon and when he came in me he said, “Sorry, sorry.” He died a week later, by his own hand. I moved out of the city, north.

Keep reading.

Atheists Talk: Bart Centre on “The Atheist Camel”

You may know Bart Centre best under another name: Eternal Earth-Bound Pets. This was the fake business he ran that promised ongoing care for the pets of people who felt they would be swept up in the Rapture.

If you’ve been listening to the show for a while, though, you also know Centre as the author of The Atheist Camel, a blog where he…well, rants about various types of poor thinking from theists and our theist-centered society. Centre will be joining us this week to talk about the events that have had him ranting recently.

Related Links

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Follow Atheists Talk on Facebook and Twitter for regular updates. If you like the show, consider supporting us with a one-time or sustaining donation.

Not Part of the Debate Club

Charlie Jane Anders has a great post up at io9 about arguing on the internet.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been someone you wouldn’t want to invite to your party unless you want to subject people to a heated discussion of Star Trek: The Next Generation or the novels of Iain M. Banks. One of my earliest memories is of arguing on the schoolyard over who was cooler, Batman or the Doctor from Doctor Who. (I pointed out that the Doctor has two hearts, to which the other kid replied: “So does Batman!”)

So this gig, getting to be a loudmouth here at io9, has been a dream come true.

A big part of the fun of pop culture, and especially geek culture, is the debates. The internet lets us have those debates that we used to have at conventions and comic-book stores in a much wider forum. And in the process it’s deepened our relationship with the stories and ideas we love. From day one at io9, we wanted to be a part of not just covering geeky topics as news, but also helping to start intense conversations by sharing our opinions.

As you may have figured out, I like to argue. This particular kind of argument is a delight, and one that’s not exclusive to geeks. Falling into this category too are those late-night philosophical or political debates that a lot of us had in college, or those endless debates about the Oxford comma. (I’m pro-comma, for the record, because it is occasionally useful, and I like some consistency in my punctuation.)

One of the best parts of the article, however, is Charlie Jane’s recognition that not all arguments are created equal. [Read more...]