#RichardDawkins #Awkward

Like a lot of you, I look back wistfully upon a time when Richard Dawkins was a name to inspire admiration, and not one whose mere mention immediately triggers an “Oh shit, what has he said this time?” response. Over on Twitter, where he’s cultivated a reputation for (to put it politely) shooting from the hip and being nearly as reactionary as any Teabagger, his latest gem goes something like this:

Hmm, okay. And yet, oddly, in 2013 (*corrected posting date), the Richard Dawkins Foundation website was favorably reporting on this:

‘Secular safe zones’ offer campus shelter to atheist students

The small sticker on professor Robert Schmidt’s office door isn’t just a decoration — it’s a beacon of safety for students who feel they are being singled out for their lack of religious beliefs.

The blue, green, yellow and pink rectangle signals that Schmidt’s office at Utah State University is a “Secular Safe Zone” — a place where students who are atheists, agnostics or just questioning their faith can go for advice about dealing with bullying, discrimination and other forms of aggression.

“Being an ally to ‘create safe spaces in which secular students can question, criticize, and discuss topics and issues important to them’ feels right to me,” Schmidt said from his Logan office, quoting the goals of the Secular Safe Zone program. “All students should feel safe on campus.” [Emphasis added.]

Yeah, this is one of those moments best addressed by a Fillion GIF.

giphy-3


Addendum: Sadly, it didn’t take me long to find another example of Dawkins being a bit two-faced. I noticed this tweet exchange…

…and remembered that, in the wake of Elevatorgate and “Dear Muslima,” Dawkins got some personal revenge by demanding Rebecca Watson be disinvited from Reason Rally. #Awkward.

How to submit news for The Non-Prophets

People often email The Atheist Experience to ask if we’ll be covering a specific current event or relevant topic. The answer is usually no, because The Atheist Experience isn’t that kind of show — we may discuss brief topics to fill time, but mostly we are driven by callers. But guess what? The Non-Prophets is a current events show, hosted by me, Jeff Dee, and Denis Loubet, airing every other week. We do an audio broadcast live on Ustream every first and third Wednesday of every month, and you can also listen to the show as a podcast.

If you come across a piece of news worthy of discussion at any time, you are invite to post a link in a tweet with the hashtag #NonProphetsNews. No need to post it at any specific Twitter account, although I am @RussellGlasser if you have a general message. I always scan the complete list of tweets using that hashtag since the last show aired. Using the hashtag is absolutely the most reliable way to bring it to my attention as weekly news; emailed links tend to get lost in the shuffle. If I read your story, I will usually try to mention your name or Twitter handle on the show as credit.

Alternatively, join The Non-Prophets Official Discussion Group on Facebook and keep an eye out for a thread on Wednesday morning where I’ll request last minute links.

Here are some guidelines for stories that are likely to be used:

  • I’m looking for direct links to written stories about interesting or unusual events that have some kind of significant religion, science, or civil rights angle. We will be reading and discussing interesting stories on the air, not necessarily your comments about the story.
  • Please don’t send videos (I can’t read a video!) or vague references to a topic of interest with no link.
  • I prefer articles with minimal editorial slant. We prefer to do our own editorializing. In other words, New York Times > RawStory > Some guy’s blog.
  • An exception to the above rule is that we do a weekly segment titled “Shit Internet Apologists Say.” I’m looking for the silliest, most outrageous example of the online community making bad arguments or being bigoted and ridiculous. If you’re submitting a story as SIAS rather than news, mention that.
  • As a guideline, I have a sporadically maintained document with the following categories: Atheist Data, US Politics, International, Social Justice / gay rights, Science, Religious Outrage, “Just Silly”, and of course, “SIAS candidates.”

(No need to post any news in the comments of this post; this is a general information post that I will be linking people to if they have questions.)

Constructive Things Pro-Lifers Can Do to Reduce Abortion

The religious right has roiled the emotional waters on the issue of abortion to such an extent that meaningful dialog is all but impossible. To many people, a fetus is a baby and anyone standing in the way of live birth is a “baby killer” who is less than human. Armed with righteous indignation, the religious right has sought to leverage the government to penalize abortion providers and the injure very women who they expect will raise the child they’re trying to save.

From the left, the “Pro-Life” movement looks like a band of thugs intent on wielding government power in difficult and personal life decisions—decisions that directly interfere with the intimate relationship between a woman and her doctor. The right seems intent on forcing women to bear unwanted children. Where there may have been one poor person, now there are two. I wonder how many in the religious right have been a single mother of a newborn? A little empathy, please.

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Stop being surprised that the pope is not your friend

All last week I had to listen to reporters falling all over themselves to praise Pope Francis’s performance in front of Congress. And then Francis had a private meeting with prominent anti-gay activist Kim Davis, and all of a sudden everyone is feeling confused and betrayed.

I feel the need to remind people occasionally that you should be listening to The Non-Prophets, because we’ve talked plenty about Pope Francis’ “progressive” persona, and we’ve been openly skeptical of him since the beginning. So here’s your reminder, because even Bill Maher used to gush about this guy:

I think the pope might be an atheist like I think Obama is. He said this week, ‘Pope Frank’ said the Lord has redeemed all of us, not just Catholics, even the atheists. And I was like, I’m going to book my flight to heaven right now.

The fact is that the Catholic Church was not ever becoming as progressive as anyone media seemed to think. On day 1, the pope hired a PR guy who used to work for Fox News. No, seriously, read all about it here. Francis was really good at saying platitudes that sounded like forward movement on certain issues, but were really just repackaging of traditional Catholic dogma.

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