Apr 20 2014

Dozens of public figures

From a comment -

What horrible bullying garbage that is. It’s not a “Christian country”; that’s not a meaningful description, and if it were, the UK still wouldn’t fit it.

Yes, it is.


(Scroll down for Anglican.)

Heads of state government shouldn’t make untrue and coercive statements like that; it others most of the population.

What on earth are you talking about? (Also applies to the “bullying” stuff above?)

I’m not the only one. The Telegraph reports that “Dozens of public figures accuse David Cameron of fostering alienation and division with call to view Britain as a Christian country.”

David Cameron is sowing sectarianism and division by insisting that Britain is still a “Christian country” an alliance of writers, scientists, philophers and politicians has claimed. Read the rest of this entry »

Apr 20 2014

Our status as a Christian country

David Cameron threw a little Easter party the other day. He stood on a box and addressed a bunch of people who stood facing him with their hands folded tidily in front of them like subdued schoolchildren, and what he said was, there should be more of this kind of thing all around.

LAST week I held my fourth annual Easter reception in Downing Street. Not for the first time, my comments about my faith and the importance of Christianity in our country were widely reported.

Some people feel that in this ever more secular age we shouldn’t talk about these things. I completely disagree. I believe we should be more confident about our status as a Christian country, more ambitious about expanding the role of faith-based organisations, and, frankly, more evangelical about a faith that compels us to get out there and make a difference to people’s lives. Read the rest of this entry »

Apr 20 2014

Innately not interesting

Here’s someone I’ve never read – the historical novelist Philippa Gregory. She has a history PhD but got it just in time for Thatcher’s cuts to university courses, when jobs teaching 18th century history became scarce. She wrote a novel for the fun of it and whoops it was a best-seller so the university job was no longer required.

Her nose for a good story continued to serve her well, however; when Gregory “discovered” Mary Boleyn, she had been all but forgotten.

“There wasn’t a single book or essay about her. She was in the footnotes of other, allegedly more interesting, lives and only very occasionally at that. It took an exjourno and a woman historian to spot that actually she was rather extraordinary.” Read the rest of this entry »

Apr 20 2014

Blood on the tracks behind him

This is very cool. A panel discussion in 2009, with Dawkins, Tyson, Druyan, and Stenger, moderated by Grothe. At the Q and A there’s a question about genetic differences between women and men and their representation in science. Tyson takes it, and makes the point that we keep keep keep making. Druyan, on his left, is enthusiastic. Dawkins, on his right…maybe not so much.

That part starts at one hour one minute fourteen seconds.

Apr 20 2014

Humanism at Work, July 18-20

Heyup, there’s a new conference on the horizon. Here are details via Ed Brayton:

Foundation Beyond Belief, the nation’s largest humanist charitable organization, is holding its first national conference, “Humanism at Work,” July 18-20, 2014 at the Hilton Rosemont in Chicago, Illinois.

This conference, the first of its kind in the freethought community, centers on how nontheists can put their compassionate humanism to work for a better world. It will include TED-style presentations on philanthropy, volunteering, and community building, as well as practical workshops, panels, and hands-on volunteer opportunities.

Speakers include:

  • Evidence-based giving expert CAROLINE FIENNES
  • Nigerian humanist and human rights activist LEO IGWE
  • Atheist homelessness activist SERAH BLAIN
  • HEMLEY GONZALEZ, a humanist at work with the poor in Calcutta
  • Atheist authors HEMANT MEHTA and GRETA CHRISTINA
  • Social psychologist DR. BRITTANY SHOOTS-REINHARD
  • THE PATHFINDERS, three humanists just returned from a year of global service


To register, go to the Humanism at Work website. We’ve worked hard to keep the conference affordable at $129 before April 15 and $149 after that date. Included in that price is a formal dinner at which we will give away the Heart of Humanism awards to those who have put humanism into action in their local communities and around the world.

Apr 20 2014

The plane passengers banded together

Passengers on a plane in Sweden went on seat belt strike and saved a refugee from deportation to Iran.

Last week, an Iranian man reluctantly boarded a plane in Sweden. The refugee was being forced to return to his native country, where his life would likely be in danger, even though he had a wife — a Swedish resident — and two young children in Östersund. Read the rest of this entry »

Apr 19 2014

Swirly crucifixion

Racking your brains for the right Easter present? (You do give Easter presents don’t you? Doesn’t everyone?)

I recommend some Swirly Crucifixion Pops – they’re on sale for 39 cents.


Or you could get a fancy chocolate or vanilla crucifix lollipop for $4.50.

Enjoy those edible torture devices!

Apr 19 2014

What would the neighbors say?

One from the Center for Reproductive Rights:

A Dallas hospital has chosen to discriminate against two good doctors rather than protect women’s health.

Two weeks ago, the hospital revoked the doctors’ admitting privileges, specifically because—and they said as much—they provide abortion services. Read the rest of this entry »

Apr 19 2014

Silence is seen as approval

Doctor NerdLove also talks about the bullying of women in geek culture.

Cold hard fact: geek culture has a problem with women. We have shown it time and time again. Tess Fowler. Anita Sarkeesian. Mattie Bryce. Zoe Quinn. Lea Hernandez. Colleen Doran. Gail Simone. Kate Leth. Laura Hudson. Jennifer Hepler. Alice Mercier.Courtney Stanton. Elizabeth Sampat.

Whenever the subject of how women are treated in geek culture comes up, people will immediately rush to dismiss and diminish and derail the conversation. They will argue that everyone takes shit online. Or that women just need to learn to grow a thicker skin because this is how the big boys do it. Read the rest of this entry »

Apr 19 2014

88 remain in slavery

The Guardian put the count of missing schoolgirls in Nigeria at 88 last night, with 24 more having escaped.

The Borno state education commissioner, Musa Inuwo Kubo, said on Friday night some of the latest escapees were found on Wednesday nearly 50km from their school.

Extremists had attacked schools and slaughtered hundreds of students in the past year. In recent months they began kidnapping students, who they used as cooks, sex slaves and porters.

But this week’s mass abduction was unprecedented. The attackers also burned down many houses in the town.

I don’t even think “extremists” is the right word. They seem more like psychopaths. Their only goal seems to be to kill and destroy, while having slaves to cook for and fuck them when they’re not on the job of killing and destroying.

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