More Good News from SCOTUS for Pro-Choice Advocates

Good News for Pro-Choice Texans and the rest of states affected by Draconian abortion clinic regulations. The Supreme Court has granted a stay to allow Texas’s 18 remaining clinics to stay open until it decides whether it will hear testimony on how Texas HB2 puts an undue burden on the ability to obtain a safe, legal abortion. In some of the poorest parts of the state like the border with Mexico, there is no abortion clinic open within half a day’s drive.

The fight to keep abortion access available to those who need it has been long and arduous.  Texas Republicans were unable to pass the bill in the regular session of the legislature causing the taxpayers to spend millions more in 2 special summer sessions. The bill was finally passed over heroic efforts by Democrat Wendy Davis to filibuster and thousands of Texans flooding the Capitol building in opposition with a second special session. (Another reason that the Democratic party is definitely not exactly the same as the GOP)

She went to be defeated in a bid for Governor in a race where only 40 percent of Texans voted.

She went on to be defeated in a bid for Governor in a race where only 40 percent of Texans voted.

If SCOTUS decides to accept the application and rules in favor of striking down HB2, it will invalidate similar TRAP laws in 44 other states that seek to:

limit the provision of care only to physicians; force practices to convert needlessly into mini-hospitals at great expense; require abortion providers to get admitting privileges; and require facilities to have a transfer agreement with a local hospital (with nothing requiring hospitals to grant such privileges)

Thousands of people have worked long and hard against these unfair regulations that target abortion providers disproportionately over any other medical procedure.  It goes without saying that the opposition to choice has been spearheaded by the Religious Right to drive a wedge between voters.

Battle Journal: The Great Shushing of Atheist Feminists on Youtube Continues

One of the few atheist feminists on youtube Steve Shives posted a joke about that today:

The name “Steve” comes from the Greek word meaning “5th or 6th most popular non-misogynist YouTube atheist.” ‪#‎LittleKnownFact

 Aron is gratified that Steve considers him an exception to the rule.  

I responded:(few edits for clarity)

The weird thing is how popular anti-feminism is with a lot of  youtube atheists. I’ve watched this pattern even with people I respect on other matters. It seemed to originate at Elevatorgate with avid discussions of basically “Rebecca Watson is a cunt” or some variant thereof.  Now a few years later even “Anita Sarkeesian is a fraud” is starting to become dull. As if, even if those statements were true and also throw in as many individual feminists, whose style people don’t like, and together that would not invalidate the axiom that -feminism means equal rights for women.

There were also a few popular arguments that circulated like “online harassment of women is trolling or grow a thicker skin”, and who could forget the piss poor arguments about rape? And remember folks patriarchy doesn’t exist! Only said seriously and defended with shifting goalposts that could bend space time.

Now the argument seems to be defending the goalposts that Islamic women have it worse, so Western Feminism is trivial. I’ll remember that the next time I go to a rally in Texas for the millions of women that are now unable to obtain a safe, legal abortion because the Religious Right shut down all but 8 of the 40 abortion clinics.

Someone invited me to a discussion of basically Sarkeesian makes bad arguments and is hurting the cause on youtube. As if I would throw her under the bus (not that I think she argues perfectly) and play good feminist/bad feminist to get a pat on the head from anti-feminists. Anti-feminists, who trolled the science education videos Aron Ra and I make together that aren’t even about feminism. It’s like they see the videos as less important than their petty ax to grind. An opportunity to talk about their favorite obsession instead. The truth doesn’t matter.

And look at what a great pay out it has been for anti-feminists -clicks, sympathy, attention, subs, patreons, crowd funded poorly executed takedowns of the “bad” feminist of the week.



No feminists allowed

No feminists allowed

It’s like some kind of Great Shushing of feminist atheists for the past few years.

It is stunning how a people, who pride themselves on rationality, can argue for the male dominated status quo. A status quo that hurts men too.

 

Here are some more goalposts from posters to Steve’s thread that atheist youtube anti-feminists have defended:

  • Steve Shives Personally, I see the tantrums of anti-feminists like that (who do the same sort of things on my videos, posting irrelevant and off-topic comments on videos that have nothing to do with gender equality, and endlessly try to bait me to respond, like children desperate for attention) as encouragement. The worse they behave, the more selfish and petulant and utterly without shame they show themselves to be, the more determined I am to seem them pushed off to the fringes where they belong, so that the online atheist community can be defined by truly humane humanists, not people who try to twist that term into a euphemism for anti-feminism.
  • Nate Franklin theres like a checklist for these folks:
    -call people manginas
    -claim that women in the west have it good and should focus on third world countries

    -hate anita sarkeesian
    -say “its a joke” whenever they say something remotely offensive
    -viciously defend the MRM but claim not to be an MRA
  • Michea Bonilla -Say women fake rape reports
    -Mention male rape or male victims of domestic violence to devalue rape and domestic violence conversations. Make sure to ignore any feminists who try to say that they are working towards helping male victims. Call them l
    iars.
    -Make sure to call women whores, bitches, cunts, liars, and sluts whenever mentioning feminism.
    -Use the term “feminazi” whenever possible.
    -Talk about male genital mutilation (circumcision) and how women are pushing for it.
    -Talk about how feminists are making men pussies.
    -MASCULINITY!!!!! RAWRRRRR!!!!!
  • Steve Shives The male rape charity, SurvivorsUK, that had its funding cut to the total indifference of the MRAs, followed me on Twitter the other day and thanked me for the support. It was one of the proudest moments of my online life.
  • Michea Bonilla Oh! Don’t forget to take credit for things that feminists have done that help men. Remember, they weren’t real feminists since they were helping men, so it’s ok to take credit for their work.
  • Nate Franklin make fun of people going through hard times, but get upset when others do the same thing!
  • Michea Bonilla Unless it’s women going through hard times, then it’s ok to shit on them no matter what, because they’re learning their place.

Comparing Secular Conferences

I’ve been booked for a different conference or convention or similar function almost every month for the last few years, and sometimes a couple in the same month.  Of the bigger, better ones repeated annually, I’d say the most ‘posh’ would be the American Humanist Association, particularly regarding their elegant banquets and choice of lavish hotels.  I’ve attended two of their national conventions, (in New Orleans and San Diego) but they never invited me to speak.  That’s how posh they are!  Not far behind is American Atheists. Their conventions seem to have the most peripheral activities going on outside the formal scheduled events.  Skepticon is a ‘must do’ at least in that it is free and informal and favored by college kids.  Apostacon is probably the most fun one, or at least the silliest; because it’s hosted by devotees of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, and everything they do tends to be a bit tongue-in-cheek. However, meeting the big stars may require an additional ticket.  It’s not like the Amazing Meeting in Las Vegas.  I’ve never been invited to speak there either, but when I went anyway, the leading skeptics’ conference had all their celebrities hanging out in the hallway. The bacon and donut party was fun too.

That’s the run-down of heathen gatherings, divided into humanists, atheists, skeptics, and pastafarians.  I’ve been to a couple secular conferences too, but they were at the state level rather than national, global, or world events. I’ve also been to those as well, but they’re usually not annual, or not hosted by the same group every year.

To my experience, the best of the international infidel conventions overall is Imagine No Religion in Canada.  I’ve been to that one twice, and was so involved in the event that I didn’t take time to get out and see the surrounding area; which is too bad because British Columbia is among the most beautiful parts of this whole continent. On the coast, there’s a majestic mountain range on one side and a lush archipelago on the other.

INR seems the best organized of all these events, with everyone reporting a positive experience, whether from the stage or in the audience; but then you have to consider who is in the audience.  There were respected scientists, politicians, and even a couple of TV personalities in attendance.  So this is where I want to give my best performance.

Bill Ligertwood, the event coordinator knows how to provide for attendees, and he knows how to take care of the speakers.  We were met at the airport by a huge stretch Limo, and that was just the beginning.

VancouverLimoOur suite was a fully-equipped apartment; it was the biggest and nicest room we’ve ever had.  That’s something when you consider how many hotels I’ve seen so far.  We were also hardly ever there.  There were special luncheons, and a dinner just for the speakers to meet each other, but we were also urged to be available to the patrons and to mingle with them.

This event is a more intimate gathering than most. At the same time, it is also a more comfortable atmosphere, with very good presentations covering the breadth of the irreligious perspective.  There wasn’t anything that wasn’t interesting, and much of it was inspirational.  It’s not specifically a promotion of atheism, or humanism, or skepticism. It’s not all about activism, and it’s not just a promotion of science either; its all of that, the full range of topics relative to the theme of the title. It’s a warm and intellectual meeting of the minds. Speakers come from diverse backgrounds all over the world, and the audience does too. I met attendees there who came from New Zealand, Scotland, Singapore and Japan. That’s quite a ways to go for a conference, but as I said, this is about the best gathering of its kind.

Fox: South Carolina Attack on Faith not Race

When are the major media outlets going to call Dylann Storm Roof a terrorist for killing and terrorizing nine Black people?

Fox News is appropriating this terrorist hate crime against a historic Black community church as an “attack on faith” instead.

Fox: proving Black lives matter less than spin

Fox: proving Black lives matter less than spin

“Extraordinarily, they called it a hate crime,” Fox News host Steve Doocy noted. “Some people look at it because it was a white guy apparently and a black church. But you made a great point just a moment ago about the hostility toward Christians — and it was a church — so maybe that’s what they’re talking about.”

Sure many people know that Fox isn’t actually news, but right wing propaganda.  However, this is a very popular example of media that attempts to delegitimatize real racial problems in America, and co-opt the narrative for its own persecution complex.  Basically Fox is being the bully in denial that wants to be the victim at the same time. It isn’t just Fox; it is everyone that buys their false narrative, and kids themselves that we live in a post-racial society.  Get ready for some head desk pounding because there is more to it than even that,  Ashley Miller is collecting right wing politicians’ appropriation of the murder of nine Black people to claim Christian persecution.  Worse than even that, it is people that live on a steady diet of negativity in our society and media against Black people, and act out in an entitled self righteous manner.

You can’t keep adding to the denial racism is a very real problem without contributing to racial tension that erupts into violence like this incident.

Update: If you would like to help the South Carolina Humanists have set up an IndieGoGo fund for the victims’ families.

Josh Duggar Redeemed?

CN Child Molestation

I didn’t want to weigh in too quickly on the molestation confession by Josh Duggar of TLC’s “19 and Counting”, but now the police report is available. Libby Anne of Love, Joy , Feminism has a good list of things that are not quite right about the way the Duggar family handled the problem. The response of course was to lean heavily on their god.

Back 12 years ago our family went through one of the most difficult times of our lives,” Jim Bob, 49, and Michelle, 48, said in a joint statement. “When Josh was a young teenager, he made some very bad mistakes, and we were shocked. We had tried to teach him right from wrong. That dark and difficult time caused us to seek God like never before.

I don’t buy that Josh made “mistakes” molesting girls. He chose to molest girls. To be fair the Duggars did take some real world actions after waiting a year such as turn him in to a family state trooper friend. The result however was just a stern lecture, but no charges. The Duggars actions whether intentional or not kept Josh out of jail. In Arkansas, there is a three year statute of limitations on prosecuting this type of crime.

But Jesus has redeemed him, so he is off the hook right?

I would do anything to go back to those teen years and take different actions,” says Josh. “I sought forgiveness from those I had wronged and asked Christ to forgive me and come into my life. In my life today, I am so very thankful for God’s grace, mercy and redemption.”

I grew up in a Southern Baptist Church where youth leaders who were good people but happened to be women were dismissed, but male youth leaders were forgiven and “redeemed” by god. A lot of people buy this rationale that their god can forgive and redeem male leaders, but women they have to maintain their purity or earn scorn. One of my preteen friends was molested during a house cleaning fundraiser by the middle aged youth pastor. The blame was placed on the victim that she seduced him.  He continued as youth pastor and married one of my other teenage friends from the group.

In my experience, with molestation in the church, there is something creepy about the person to begin with.  They don’t get redeemed by their god, and sin no more. Pedophilia isn’t a casual mistake. Predators look for opportunities, and make choices based on a victim’s vulnerability. Children who are insecure and/or unprotected for whatever reason are singled out.  Invoking god afterwards, has always been a way to get trust they didn’t earn. I can’t be as quick to forgive and trust as they imagine their god is.

Please note: molestation is not the same as childhood exploration that went too far. Those things are not uninvited like molestation is.

‘scientist’?

Someone I don’t know tweeted this to me:

Hello my friend Aron. What is your opinion about this short conversation between a Christian & a scientist: ?

Not even an hour later, that person (called Bieber) posted “still waiting”, as if I must be aware of the tweet, but that am perhaps intimidated or otherwise hesitant to respond.  I guess they think I live on Twitter and that I don’t do or see anything else. I rarely even check it, because Twitter is NOT the place to have a discussion.  But I replied:

Me: That conversation was copied wrong. They labeled ‘a Muslim’ as though he was ‘a scientist’, and said things no scientist would say.

Bieber: OK. Lets say: he is a Muslim. What is scientifically wrong with what he said if there is any thing wrong?! :-)

Me: No scientist should say that *any* prophesy is “100% accurate”, much less “all” of them.
Not only can no alleged prophesy be verified to be correct; a lot of them have been proven wrong, including some Islamic prophesies.
For example, I remember when Muslims argued with P.Z. Myers about embryology, and the Qur’an was wrong.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3T5Pm7qLH50
Hamza Tzortsis later argued with me about isostasy, and the Qur’an turned out to be wrong then too.
Your alleged scientist found coincidental numbers in an unrelated verse and merely imagined a correlation interpreted as prophesy.
Your citation pretends that no one would have believe we’d land on the moon, yet Muslims believed that Muhammad rode a flying horse.
You asked me what’s wrong with it. Now that I’ve answered, let me ask you, what’s right with it?

I only addressed a tiny portion of this absurd conversation that would never take place between any Christian and any scientist, but I’d like to see hows others would address the rest of it.

Both Parties are the Same! #1 FLPCB HHSC 15-03 , also known as Conscience Protection for Private Child-Placing Agencies

Voter turnout during the US midterm elections was pathetic. There was a definite lack of critical thinking and due diligence evidenced by opposing Republicans, Libertarians, and apathetic liberals in the “Freethought” movement, who repeated the soul sucking canards “Both Parties are the Same” and “It’s a Broken System” during the mid term elections. Aron and I tried to encourage people to vote, but were met with an onslaught of sanctimonious people acting as if not voting was more conscientious a choice than voting.

These same people can’t really be surprised by the slew of theocratic state legislation by the Republican majority state legislatures and state governors given a majority during midterms. This is a party that 57 percent of whom think that Christianity should be the national religion. Indiana is one state among many responding to legalization of gay marriage in many states by passing “religious freedom” bills modeled on the SCOTUS Hobby Lobby decision. Which neatly answers the question, “What about the Constitution?” to those privileged enough not to have theocratic overreach affect you on a very personal level, or obtuse enough to not realize in many states they already live in a theocracy. My question to you is ,”Who decides what is constitutional?” Also, don’t abdicate your civic duty to a piece of parchment. [Read more…]

My take on the Abrahamic triad

This is just my opinion, but when I listen to Muslims explaining their religion to each other, I get the impression that Islam is hateful and violent, but that it’s also pretty stupid; “full of shit”, as my dad would say -because none of it can be justified or shown to be true, and what little they do know can’t really imply what they say it does.

The same thing goes for Christians.  When I listen to Christians discussing their religion, I get the impression that they’re hateful too, but their violent reactions are culturally inhibited.  So they compensate for that with a staggering level of bewildering stupidity, coupled with dishonesty.  It sounds to me like pots and kettles accusing each other in the perfect example of the blind leading the blind.

But when I listen to those Jews who still believe in God and the Bible, and I hear them arguing aspects of their beliefs, it strikes me that the foundation of Abrahamic religion is utterly empty, devoid of any possible meaning or value.  I don’t want to say “who cares?”, because way too many people do.  That’s what confuses and alarms me!  How could anyone imagine that any of this is really true or really matters?

I mean, think about it this way:  If you listened to two grown men arguing about what Zeus really meant by what he supposedly said to Hera according to a confused mystic’s interpretation of man-made mythology, would you, could you manage to feign any interest in that discussion?

By God! Legislators take a stand, so that Jesus won’t return and find gay marriage!

Newly elected Christian Right legislators gathered in the Texas Capitol Building’s auditorium today, and vowed to defend marriage from LGBT couples. No mention of a lesbian couple that a judge allowed to marry, because of life threatening circumstances. You bet your bippy, they will put a stop to that though!

A cake to celebrate the 10 year anniversary of Texas's gay marriage ban. A banner day for Jesus!

A cake to celebrate the 10 year anniversary of Texas’s gay marriage ban. A banner day for Jesus!

[Read more…]

Christians Against Dinosaurs

At one point, I would have thought that Pat Robertson of the Trinity Broadcast Network was a perfect example of a mind befuddled by willful ignorance.  But Robertson publicly criticized Ken Ham of AnswersInGenesis for being “deaf, dumb, and blind”, because Ham doesn’t believe there was a Mesozoic era.  Ham believes that dinosaurs once lived with people just a few thousand years ago. But Ham in-turn also publicly criticized Kent Hovind of Creation Science Ministries for the same sort of unrealistic stupidity.  This was because Hovind believes dinosaurs are still alive today, and he’s not talking about birds!  So it seems that the only way to be even less reasonable or rational than Kent Hovind is if you’re such an extreme science denialist that you don’t believe dinosaurs ever existed at all.

Recently one young woman has gotten a lot of attention as the admin of an organization called CADministries or ‘Christians Against Dinosaurs’.  As unbelievable as it may seem, they profess that the concept of dinosaurs was invented by Sir Richard Owen back in the 1842, but that the first fossils of dinosaurs didn’t exist until 1854, and that every fossil ‘found’ since then was actually manufactured by paleontologists, using adhesive spackle and random bits of rocky rubble.  They say every dinosaur we ever heard of was created this way, and that each fossil is worth a million dollars to whatever paleontologist can sculpt one together.  Yes, we’re talking about yet another impossibly cohesive centuries-old secret global conspiracy at every level – allied against belief in the Bible god.

Now, it’s hard for me to believe that anyone could be that stupid, and I’ve debated Ray Comfort!  So I’m inclined to suspect that this whole organization is a joke, and that the admin is a poe.  But if she is, she’s persistent, and the joke isn’t funny.  She’s already been banned from Mumsnet, a website dedicated to parenting, because she complained that teaching children about dinosaurs is a lie that causes them to act like monsters.  Even ChristianityToday.com warns about how CADministries is trying to impede or disrupt childrens’ education.

Remarkably, Kristen Auclair, the self-described admin of Christians Against Dinosaurs, has agreed to an hour-long live interview on a special episode of the Ra-Men podcast.  She will have a discussion with myself and Rachel Nanon Brown, who used to do the science segments when we were both on Dogma Debate.  I told Ms Auclair that I was a geoscience major, that I’ve been to fossil digs and worked in the paleo lab at the University of Texas, preparing and examining fossils I found myself. I told her my daughter worked in the Dallas Museum of Natural History, and that my former co-host, Rachel is a paleontologist working at the Perot Museum of Nature and Science.  So we all have direct hands-on experience to know that nothing Auclair says in any of her videos is even close to true.  I told her I wouldn’t try to convince the audience of that.  They already know.  So we’re going to prove it to her.

Tune in and see how we do.