I Steal PZ Myers’ Mail

Dear PZ,

I’ve lurked since forever at Pharyngula, and wanted to ask so many questions, but feared ridicule and contempt. I wish there were room for folks like me at FTB.

There is. Plenty of room. Voices can be heard. Oh you may hear about us banning those who speak up but frankly? Only two people on my blog have been banned. One was an anonymous poster who spewed horrific racism and sexism and insults at someone I love and care for deeply.

The other was a man who quoted gigantic walls of highly bigotted text that bashed everyone and anyone who wasn’t white and Christian. Both had that coming to them. I welcome questions because it is by dialogue that we progress as a society.

I’m what you could call an extreme agnostic, and to the bone, a secular humanist. To keep peace in the family, I do not advertise. But here it is…I still find myself, in moments of extreme stress, essentially falling back on the “prayer” release.

You can be a secular humanist and still believe in a god you know. It just means you don’t invoke your religious view when you do humanist things.

I personally think that prayer is a safety blanket. Or like Duck and Cover. Duck and Cover doesn’t really protect you from the awesome power of a nuclear weapon. Your safety blanket only works against the fictional monsters that your mind creates. So when we are losing control we rely on prayer to trick ourselves into believing that there is some control over our lives.

Prayer has always been a method of control of the uncontrollable. It is like trying to convince a thunderstorm to do your bidding.

But it does provide relief mainly because we are told from a young age that it provides relief. Pray for x, y and z! A happened? Pray! You want B to happen? Pray! And that’s a part of how we think.

As in, “Dear God, if you do actually exist, and you are not actually an irrational, misogynist, kill-happy sociopath, could you please do something about X?”

Heh well Hindus like their sociopath gods. Makes em human and more easily relatable when you think that Shiva gets jealous of stuff and Krishna still has a love of sweets and sneaks em when no one’s looking. It also means that their gods are more “likely” to do something. Jesus died for your sins? Krishna died 9 times to save the universe.

Read about other faiths. It may surprise you on how much more there is to religion and indeed by association how much more there is to not believing.

How does a non-believer get past this NEED to do something, anything…when there really is nothing that can be done at all?

By realising that there are things we can do and things we cannot.

And by that sometimes impossible things are merely improbable and often just “difficult”. I am a firm believer of getting your hands dirty. Can’t be a human being without a bit of humanity after all and getting those hands dirty reminds you of the people who don’t have the choice and in some way gets you to think about others.

Sometimes you cannot do anything about the choice. Sometimes the two choices you have are bad. And at such times you can take the path of least damage. You cannot stop an earthquake.

But what you can do as a human is be selfless in that moment and make the lousy world a little bit better for someone with what you can do.

Thank You for your time.

No Worries.

Age of Kali – Thunderfoot – All India Backchod, Rape and Asking For It

Some people really don’t get why something is bad or harmful or not helpful to everyone involved.

Thunderfoot… for those who are unaware was and indeed still is a big deal among the atheist community. Back in the great creationist wars, he was in effect the biggest anti-creationist on the Youtubes.

A big deal all in all.

But then came his sudden and (IMHO) inexplicable assault on feminism and women in general. From his brief stint at FTB before I joined up resulting in one weird interview and the beginning of the Anti-FTB malarky to his frankly one sided take on Anita Sarkeesian.

But this?

There are many things wrong here. [Read more...]

Tiga Needs Your Love

Tiga’s been taken ill. Seriously ill. Like constant hospital care “ill”.

She either has severe gastritis or sepsis and I am rather worried. I cannot go back home though, I kind of blew all my leave on a bout of Malaria (Which I am still recovering from).

So apart from keeping her company on the phone she does like it when you guys send her messages. So leave any messages of get well soon and the like here.

Involved

So part of my fundraising for Light the Night by the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society is to become more physically present in atheism and skepticism. AKA meaning more interaction.

So I was thinking? How about we get together and do a Google Hangout this weekend? We can discuss anything and you can put in requests.

Maybe  we can even make it a regular event. Any suggestions? Leave it in the comments.

FTB and specifically me are part of a fundraising drive for Light the Night by the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

If you wish to donate specifically to all of us then use the main FTB donation page. If you want to donate to me and me alone then use the user specific pages on that or go here.

And I suppose we can have personal forfeits if we hit goals too. So make your suggestions in the comments here. If we hit the targets then I shall do them.

The Corkscrew – An Idiot’s Guide to Safe Sex

[warning]This is an article about sex. The kind you learn on the discovery channel. The goal of this is to not just educate but also amuse because sex isn’t just serious. If you cannot laugh about sex then I am afraid you aren’t doing it right! And in order to laugh about sex you need to take some precautions. This is a collection of useful and common ideas, concepts and things that can be done. Now all of this advice may be suitable for your children or if you are children. So I am putting on a warning on this one. This is adult material. Not because it’s titillating but because really you should be getting this advice from a real person. I am on the Internet. I don’t have any responsibility to be honest. I can suggest that the ideal contraception is to chew garlic. This has to be taken in context and this is mainly to help adults think of ways to teach their kids about a subject that is awkward and frankly kind of weird to discuss. No one likes mum or dad explaining what a blowjob is and why it’s fun. No parent really wants to explain the importance of anal safety or safe words or anything outside that.

So I got help. Urvasi was a Hijra sex worker and is one of the success stories in leaving  sex work and instead moving to a supporting role where she provides sex education in order to fight the spread of disease and human beings in one fell swoop. And a lot of her ideas are about thinking sideways and we need to think like a corkscrew when it comes to educating people about contraception. Because there are two things that are required. The equipment and the mindset. And her method was instrumental in some of the successes we had out here.

Thinking like a corkscrew and losing some inhibitions can help talk about safe sex. I mean who best to talk about safe sex than the men and women who’s livelihoods depend on it? Who best to talk about encouraging compliance too?

So if you are sitting comfortably, let’s think a little bit corkscrewy.

The advice provided will be universal where possible[/warning]

[Read more...]

Light The Night – Ideas for Forfeits and Fundraising Links

If you haven’t heard already, I have agreed to be on the FTB – Light the Night Fundraiser Team along with Greta Christina, PZ Myers and Ed Brayton.

I assume I bring youth, vibrancy and a funny sounding name to the team…

But we are here for two reasons. One to think about pledges for forfeits and two to drum up money!

It’s for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and this mainly applies to “Americans”.

So first things first. Let’s set some goals.

Our overall goal is $10,000. Ed Brayton, PZ Myers and Greta Have all been asking for ideas of what we should do.

So let’s set forfeits at $2,500, $5000 and $10,000.

If you wish to donate specifically to all of us then use the main FTB donation page. If you want to donate to me and me alone then use the user specific pages on that or go here.

And I suppose we can have personal forfeits if we hit goals too. So make your suggestions in the comments. As of now, all I have is this.

If we hit $10,000 and exceed it, I will attempt to sign on and speak at an FTB Event in 2014 or 2015. You may add conditions but at the moment I got that and that alone.

Its mainly for the society so give. How about the first forfeit at $2,500 being that I will write a guide to Leukemia and Lymphoma (and let’s not leave out Myelomas) that explains the lot from a medical standpoint.