More barley

A happy piece of news for a change. Three Irish students have won a global science research competition at the GoogleScience Fair 2014 in San Francisco. Also, they’re all girls. Girls, I tell you!

Ciara Judge, Emer Hickey and Sophie Healy-Thow from Kinsale Community School, Cork were named the grand prize winner in the 15 to 16-year-old age category for a project which examined the use of natural bacteria to increase crop output. [Read more...]

A great way to make a movement

So Katha’s article is online now, so I can point to it. She talked to me when she was working on it.

Here’s a great way to make a movement: have your most famous and powerful public figures obsess over Henry Higgins’s famous question, “Why can’t a woman be more like a man?” Why aren’t they more into critical thinking, argument, logic? more rational? Why do they accuse a man of sexual harassment when he’s just trying to chat them up in an elevator at 4 in the morning? Why do they get drunk and then accuse men of rape? Then, having alienated a huge number of actual and potential members, to whom you sound arrogant, vain, sexist and clueless, look around and wonder, Gee, where are the women? They must be even less rational than we thought!

[Read more...]

More globality

The Secular “Global Institute” has added a new fellow. He’s in Australia, so that’s a huge boost for this absurd little institute’s claim to be “global” when it’s actually almost entirely American.

They’ve been filling out the website, too. There’s a Newsletter page, with news stories on it. One news story on that page is titled Roundup of Recent Activities, Honors, and Events of Our SGI Famous Team. Yes really; I’m not making it up; that’s actually the title.

We are pleased to report that many SGI Fellows and communicators have made the news and are engaged in spreading secularism to our growing non-religious brothers and sisters worldwide.

[Read more...]

Unethical and sleazy?

Now the anti-feminism faction in atheoskepticism is attacking Katha Pollitt. Who’s next? Barbara Ehrenreich? Rebecca Goldstein? Susan Jacoby?

The Nation ‏@thenation Sep 26
What is wrong with the men at the helm of the Atheist movement? http://thenat.in/1vlCOue

Miranda Celeste Hale
‏@mirandachale

.@thenation Nothing. & Now it’s my turn to ask a question: why did you run this sneering, unethical, & ideologically-motivated attack piece?

iamcuriousblue ‏@iamcuriousblue 14h
@mirandachale Probably the same reason @thenation ran this sneering, unethical, ideologically-motivated attack piece http://www.thenation.com/article/179147/why-do-so-many-leftists-want-sex-work-be-new-normal …

Miranda Celeste Hale ‏@mirandachale 13h
@iamcuriousblue What a nasty & reactionary article. I’m not familiar w/much of Pollitt’s work but what I’ve read has been unethical & sleazy

Ian N ‏@IanNieves 13h
@mirandachale @thenation Katha Pollott is an ideological hack who festers in innuendo, smear & smut. The Nation is shit sans Hitchens.

Unethical and sleazy. Really? I have a feeling what Hale means by “not familiar w/much of Pollitt’s work” is “completely ignorant of any of Pollitt’s work except for this one piece.”

At least Katha actually is all the things she calls herself in her Twitter profile, unlike some people.

Openly Secular

Kimberly Winston reports on the Openly Secular campaign.

A new coalition of atheists, humanists and other nonreligious groups is taking a page from the gay rights movement and encouraging people to admit they are “openly secular.”

The coalition — unprecedented in its scope — is broadening a trend of reaching out to religious people and religious groups by making the secular label a catchall for people who are not religious.

I’m not sure how making the secular label a catchall for people who are not religious is reaching out to religious people, but maybe the idea is that “secular” comes across as less antagonistic than “atheist.” People can of course be both secular and religious under one meaning of the word – but that one meaning isn’t the only one, so we get clashes and arguments. [Read more...]

Guest post: Notice the contrapositive

Originally a comment by doubtthat on To testify & jail a man.

Two things:

1) By the time Dawkins slouched his way to that tweet, he was in full retreat mode. All of initial tweets were from the perspective of concern for the accused: Oh, what an injustice that someone would be jailed with NO EVIDENCE and only on the word of a victim who testifies that they remember nothing (something that has never happened); it’s wrong to rape, certainly, but isn’t it also wrong to accuse someone when you’re drunk…blah blah. [Read more...]

Guest post: He mentioned that academic philosophy was actually even worse

Originally a comment by guest on Being a New Yorker.

I’m an engineer, and happened to run into a senior male academic philosopher at a conference of interest to both of us. We somehow got to talking about the underrepresentation of women in engineering, and he mentioned that academic philosophy was actually even worse in this regard, and academics are trying to develop ways to address it. It sounds like a ‘Harris-style’ issue in that although this guy didn’t get it I wouldn’t be surprised if the bullying and condescending nature of a lot of what is accepted as academic discourse in this discipline (granted men take this stance with each other, not exclusively with women) can drive out women who either don’t appreciate it or don’t put up with that kind of behaviour–and I have to say if my conversation with this particular person was any indication of how people behaved in his department I’d have found another discipline toot sweet.

PS I’m female and this was in the UK.

To testify & jail a man

Also – still on that mind-exploding tweet by the atheist pope – notice what a very peculiar way to describe a rape that is. Notice that it leaves out the rape altogther and just makes it a matter of wanting “to be in a position to testify & jail a man, don’t get drunk.” To jail a man for what? Oooooooh she doesn’t care, that bitch, she just wants to jail a man, because that’s how bitchez are.

.@mrgregariously Exactly. If you want to drive, don’t get drunk. If you want to be in a position to testify & jail a man, don’t get drunk.

Nobody wants any of this. Nobody wants to be tricked into getting drunk, nobody wants to get raped, nobody wants to be in a position to testify about the rape. Women want to not be raped, instead. Giving them advice on how to be in a condition to testify about their rape is no help at all. What about telling the man not to trick the woman into getting drunk and not to rape her? What about that for an idea? What about not implying that women are just champing at the bit to jail “a man” just for the hell of it because they’re all ball-busters? What about not keeping all your concern for “a man” while shitting all over the woman he raped? What about that for an idea?

Ugh. I feel dirty.