In which I am angry with Hemant and someone gets in my face about it. If the embed doesn’t work for you, the Storify is here.
Mar 11 2014
Mar 11 2014
They’ve raised enough to send two kids. They’re in their last few days and trying to get enough to send one more. If this is the sort of thing you find worthwhile, help them out.
Mar 10 2014
I, on the other hand, have spent the last few months deep in Minnesota Atheists’ work on getting marriage law changed so that atheist and humanist celebrants don’t have to declare themselves religious or be recognized by organizations that identify as religious in order to have the state recognize the ceremonies they perform as legal marriages. This means I’ve spent a lot of time talking to people who perform nonreligious ceremonies and to people who have been married in nonreligious ceremonies about why these ceremonies are important to people. I’ve spent somewhat less time talking to legislators about the state’s concerns with the changes we’re asking for.
It also means I’ve spent a bunch of time answering questions about why we’re involved in the issue at all. There are two that are incredibly common in various forms. Why should we take an interest in marriage? Why are we supporting the idea that the state should take an interest in marriage? I’d like to address both of these questions. I’ll split them into separate posts, because they are very separate issues.
In Part 1 of this, I addressed marriage as a ceremony, a ritual that signals a commitment and a combining of families. Now it’s time to look at the state’s interest in marriage, because it does have a legitimate one.
Mar 10 2014
For those of you who’ve never heard of the National Abortion Access Bowl-a-Thon, this is an April event put together by the National Network of Abortion Funds that raises money to…here, they can explain:
The Bowl-a-Thon is a nationwide series of local events that allow community members (you!) to captain your own bowling team, participate in a kickass national event – and raise money to help women and girls pay for abortions they couldn’t otherwise afford.
Abortion funds are local, grassroots groups that work tirelessly to help low-income and disadvantaged women who want an abortion and do not have enough money to pay for it. Abortion funds help pay forabortions, help buy bus or plane tickets, and even offer a place to stay for those who have to travel for an abortion. Abortion funds make a real difference…and you can join them!
If you want to donate, they have a list of organizations with Bowl-a-Thon events. However, they don’t list every agency there, and, well, it’s often more fun to support someone you know. So I’d like to find people who have some connection to this community and highlight them.
I already know of a few. Brianne Bilyeu of Biodork is bowling, and Niki M., who participated in FtBCon last month, is on her team. Sarah Moglia of Skepchick is team Coup de Twat for the event. Who else out there is part of this great event?
Mar 09 2014
Four months ago, I documented the fact that Sara Mayhew had libeled Rebecca Watson. The next day, I followed up by reporting her response to that documentation. Since that time she has continued to repeat the libel.
Yesterday, out of the blue, Mayhew decided to comment on that post to assert a copyright claim on her response.
You do not have permission from me, the artist, to download and repost my art. This is a commercial website and your use of the artwork in its entirety for non-educational purposes does not meet standards of fair use. Your reproduction has the potential to impair the market for this work, by hosting it on your server and therefore discouraging traffic to the original work.
Please delete the image from your server.
I’m careful about copyright issues here and decently educated on fair use, so I was pretty sure her claim was unfounded. I went back and checked anyway, because, you know, careful. Then I laughed, forwarded the notification of her comment to Ed Brayton because I tell him about even bizarre claims about the legality of what happens on his network, and responded.
Mar 09 2014
I share a lot of links on Twitter and Facebook that I don’t blog about because I don’t have much to add. The reading list is a periodic feature where I share those links with my blog audience too. Of course, you’re still welcome to follow me on Twitter.
- Why didn’t a microbiologist perform Swan Lake?–”Oh the hell with it. I was going to confine my kvetching on this one to Facebook, but the hell with it – it’s too annoying to leave.”
- Marthe Gautier, another woman scientist trivialized–”I had known that Jérôme Lejeune was the fellow who had discovered that Down Syndrome was caused by trisomy of chromosome 21, but it seems there were many other things about him I had not known — he was just a name. But there were a few things that set me aback.”
- Fake tweet, legit topics of discussion.–”Piers Morgan is no stranger to controversy lately, where in his TV show’s dying days, he sought to turn Janet Mock’s life into infotainment, doing immense splash damage to trans folks in the process. It’s no wonder people are taking it upon themselves to shame him in innumerable ways.”
- Why I Support Rouhani–”To a western reader it might seem strange that a strong radical atheist like me has devoted his political life in supporting the reformists, who are a faction of Islamic Republic, and not seculars.”
- I am left cursing–”Here’s a video of a young man being executed in Iran. He wants to say goodbye to his mother who can be heard screaming in the crowd.”
- It’s Okay Not To Disagree With Your Friends About Politics–”I’ve seen a lot of articles and discussions lately on the theme of “why you should have friends who disagree with you [about politics].” Given how uncritically this view is often presented, I want to complicate it a little.”
- Quick, while I have the TERFs and MRAs distracted, go solve all the problems!–”Nearly twenty years ago, when I was a sixteen year old wide-eyed innocent who believed the human race is generally good, I was victimized by someone’s lies. I told the story on this blog in hopes of achieving some measure of catharsis for myself, and providing real support to others for whom the same sort of lie had damaged their lives.”
The Wider Web
- Judge accuses woman with Down syndrome of not acting like a victim in rape trial–”According to his ruling, Judge Christopher McFadden claimed that a new trial was necessary because the unnamed victim waited a day before reporting the rape, and because she did not behave like a rape victim.”
- Manufactured Mommy Wars. Le Sigh.–”A recent study found that there was no effect of breastfeeding on several long-term health and behavioral outcomes in U.S. children (Colen and Ramey 2014). Cue the media feeding frenzy and online mommy-war finger wagging.”
- 6 months of gay marriage has state confronting profound change–”Thom Bieniek remembers when he had to go by the name “Marissa” just to communicate with his partner Tyler Bieniek during Tyler’s combat deployment in Afghanistan in 2009.”
- There’s More Than One Way for a Person to Be Illegal–”We know about the noble struggles of immigrants: how many fight poverty as well as oppressive legal and cultural systems to survive and even thrive. They are not the only people called illegal.”
- The Value of Selectivity in Dating, Discussions, and Comment Moderation–”One of the strangest ones to hear about, for me, is the guys who respond to rejection with some variation on “Just give me a chance, you don’t want to miss out on a really good thing!”.”
- If He’s Sexually Aggressive In Bars, It’s Not Because He’s Drunk–”Young women are often the targets of aggression when they’re out in bars, but the problem isn’t that guys are too drunk to know better. Instead, men are preying on women who have had too much to drink.”
- The Outstanding Imagery of Amanda Reese–”You want some Yellowstone? You got some Yellowstone!”
- Attack of the paranormal mermaid romance novel: Why you should never, ever lose a bet to David Shiffman–”It seemed innocent enough. I was in the middle of a job search, paying the bills with consulting, freelance work, and science writing while pursuing the next academic appointment. Finally having a bit of time, I wrote a science fiction novel, something I’ve always wanted to do.”
Mar 08 2014
One of the great things about an award nomination list coming out is that it gives me a great excuse to feature authors here more than once. I love finding new (to me) authors and sharing them, but every once in a while, this arbitrary restriction I’ve placed on myself means I pass on a great story when it’s published. I didn’t worry too much about this story by Rachel Swirsky, though. I was pretty damned certain it would be nominated for multiple awards this year. And now I can share it with you.
If you were a dinosaur, my love, then you would be a T-Rex. You’d be a small one, only five feet, ten inches, the same height as human-you. You’d be fragile-boned and you’d walk with as delicate and polite a gait as you could manage on massive talons. Your eyes would gaze gently from beneath your bony brow-ridge.
If you were a T-Rex, then I would become a zookeeper so that I could spend all my time with you. I’d bring you raw chickens and live goats. I’d watch the gore shining on your teeth. I’d make my bed on the floor of your cage, in the moist dirt, cushioned by leaves. When you couldn’t sleep, I’d sing you lullabies.
If I sang you lullabies, I’d soon notice how quickly you picked up music. You’d harmonize with me, your rough, vibrating voice a strange counterpoint to mine. When you thought I was asleep, you’d cry unrequited love songs into the night.
If you sang unrequited love songs, I’d take you on tour. We’d go to Broadway. You’d stand onstage, talons digging into the floorboards. Audiences would weep at the melancholic beauty of your singing.
If audiences wept at the melancholic beauty of your singing, they’d rally to fund new research into reviving extinct species. Money would flood into scientific institutions. Biologists would reverse engineer chickens until they could discover how to give them jaws with teeth. Paleontologists would mine ancient fossils for traces of collagen. Geneticists would figure out how to build a dinosaur from nothing by discovering exactly what DNA sequences code everything about a creature, from the size of its pupils to what enables a brain to contemplate a sunset. They’d work until they’d built you a mate.
If they built you a mate, I’d stand as the best woman at your wedding. I’d watch awkwardly in green chiffon that made me look sallow, as I listened to your vows. I’d be jealous, of course, and also sad, because I want to marry you. Still, I’d know that it was for the best that you marry another creature like yourself, one that shares your body and bone and genetic template. I’d stare at the two of you standing together by the altar and I’d love you even more than I do now. My soul would feel light because I’d know that you and I had made something new in the world and at the same time revived something very old. I would be borrowed, too, because I’d be borrowing your happiness. All I’d need would be something blue.
Mar 07 2014
I should really be working on a blog post for one of the people who’s donated to get me to Women in Secularism 3. I should really be applying for jobs. Instead, I woke up to a bunch of people I had blocked in my Twitter mentions. Here was my morning.
The Storify is here if the embed doesn’t work for you.
Mar 07 2014
“How do atheists find meaning in their lives without God?” It may be the second most common “gotcha” question asked of atheists, after “Where do atheists get their morality from if not God?” It’s just as annoying too, because the answer is “In every way possible!” If you need proof, just turn to the new book by journalist and historian Peter Watson.
In The Age of Atheists: How We Have Sought to Live Since the Death of God, Watson chronicles the Western scientists, philosophers, and artists who have worked to draw meaning from our lives since Friedrich Nietzsche so infamously signed God’s death certificate. It is a book remarkable for its scope.
Join us this Sunday as we speak with Watson and dip our toes into this complex and fascinating subject.
- Peter Watson’s home on the web
- The Age of Atheists on Amazon
- The Age of Atheists reviewed at Publishers Weekly
Listen to AM 950 KTNF this Sunday at 9 a.m. Central to hear Atheists Talk, produced by Minnesota Atheists. Stream live online. Call in to the studio at 952-946-6205, or send an e-mail to [email protected] during the live show. If you miss the live show, listen to the podcast later.