Jul 26 2014


Have a friendly set of caricatures, for purposes of comparison. Crispian Jago’s deck of “Skeptic” cards from 2011. (Some of the people in the deck don’t fit the category very well – Dennett, Aaronovitch, Grayling, Hitchens, Peter Singer, Andrew Copson – they’re not primarily skeptics, not professional Skeptics.)

The caricatures are done by Neil Davies.

Here’s Anthony Grayling:

H/t Catherine Xanthë

Jul 25 2014

Crucified in the main square

ISIS have also been using crucifixion as a punishment. What history wonks they are.

A man has survived being crucified by Isis in Syria, after the jihadists raided his village and nailed him to a cross for eight hours.

The unnamed man from Al-Bab, near the border with Turkey, was crucified as a punishment, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

He managed to survive the ordeal.

But eight others who received the same punishment did not survive. The men, from Deir Hafer in the east of Aleppo province, were subjected to the same treatment and crucified “in the main square of the village, where their bodies will remain for three days”, the Britain-based monitor said.

It’s a very horrible way to die – slow torturous suffocation as the weight of the hanging body compresses the lungs.

Jul 25 2014

Good idea

From Blue Nation Review:

Jul 25 2014

So close

Greta has a terrific post on the question of what will you accept in an ally before you decide that’s not an ally after all.

I’ve been thinking about that a lot this week, as you’ve seen, and also as you haven’t seen, because I’ve been doing it out of sight.

Here’s a crucial bit of Greta’s post along with my response posted there and on Facebook:

In many instances, of course we can agree about some things while disagreeing about others, and agreeing when someone says (X) doesn’t automatically mean you agree when they say ( Y ). But when someone crosses a clear line into vile and unacceptable behavior, the community needs to make it clear that this behavior is unacceptable and will not be tolerated. We need to show that some lines absolutely should not be crossed, and that if people cross them there will be consequences. Supporting someone’s work when they’ve acted abhorrently means there are no consequences.And that’s especially true in the case of rape threats, persistent harassment of women, and other misogynist behavior — because in the atheist community, we don’t, unfortunately, currently have a clear ethical standard that this is unacceptable. We have a culture in which it’s depressingly common for people to engage in this behavior, and for other people to defend, rationalize, trivialize, dismiss, or victim-blame it — without consequences, or without serious consequences. Read the rest of this entry »

Jul 25 2014

A Muslim woman is not allowed to marry a non-Muslim

But there is one good thing: Meriam Ibrahim and her family are safe, out of Sudan.

Meriam Yahia Ibrahim Ishag flew to Rome with her family after more than a month in the US embassy in Khartoum.

There was global condemnation when she was sentenced to hang for apostasy by a Sudanese court.

Mrs Ibrahim’s father is Muslim so according to Sudan’s version of Islamic law she is also Muslim and cannot convert. Read the rest of this entry »

Jul 25 2014

“We’re sure ISIS will follow through”

As many people have pointed out here, and far more have pointed out elsewhere, the report that ISIS had ordered all girls/women aged 11 to 46 to undergo female genital mutilation may be a hoax. (Some have said it simply is a hoax, but that’s not clear yet.)

But at least it’s not purely a Western media hoax. Al Arabiya is taking it seriously. Yesterday it reported the same story I got from the BBC:

Staff Writer, Al Arabiya News
Thursday, 24 July 2014
The al-Qaeda-Inspired Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has ordered all girls and women between the ages of 11 and 46 in and around Iraq’s northern city of Mosul to undergo female genital mutilation, the United Nations said on Thursday. Read the rest of this entry »

Jul 25 2014

Your ‘victim card’

More reasoned argument from Team We Hate Feminism – a friendly tweet from Mark Senior, who comments here as mofa.


Mark Senior @MarkSenior3

Please accept your ‘victim card’ (hope you have your sense of humour switched on)

regards mofa

mark2He’s late; I posted that on Facebook yesterday. I also pointed out that the jeans and shoes are all wrong. I wouldn’t wear shoes like that, and I never roll my jeans, much less wear them up above the ankle like that. Ew.

Above the jeans of course it’s exact.

But as an argument? Well I’m not sure what the argument is, exactly. That I’m wrong about everything because I’m so ugly? I’m not convinced that’s a valid argument. Maybe someone will make a video elucidating the premises.

Update to add:


Mark Senior @MarkSenior3

@jimnnewman @OpheliaBenson

Just clean fun…no one gets hurt

Jim Newman @jimnnewman

@MarkSenior3 @OpheliaBenson no one gets hurt? I’m detecting hurt feelings, insults, personal attacks, denigration, push to silence.

Mark Senior @MarkSenior3

Alex G liked his (except for the nose), Lousy Canadian will like his…RW’s is good too.

It’s very telling that he picked those out. They are relatively benign. But several of the others are not benign at all; it’s telling that he didn’t claim anyone will like those.

Jul 24 2014

Guest post: Saying antifeminist things seems to be the path to YouTube stardom

Originally a comment by Tom Foss on Credit where it’s due.

This JG kerfuffle, is, though, inconsequential bullshit as far as I can see.

The atheist and skeptical communities have made their names on calling out and arguing against bad arguments and strawmen. Why would we stop when those bad arguments and strawmen are coming from someone who claims to be part of the community? Why wouldn’t we argue even harder, to demonstrate what we so frequently see lacking in religious communities, namely a willingness to police their own? If atheists being irrational and behaving badly is inconsequential bullshit to other atheists, then why is it suddenly consequential when religionists do the same? Read the rest of this entry »

Jul 24 2014

I refuse to do the job, so you have to hire me

At Slate Amanda Marcotte considers the expanding definitions of “religious freedom.”

Is “religious freedom” about being free to practice your faith, or just a generic cover story for any and all attempts to try to foist your beliefs on others? In this era of Hobby Lobby vs. Burwell, it’s understandable that many on the right have decided it’s the latter and are eager to start testing the limits of how much leverage the expansive new definition of “religious freedom” gives them to meddle with the private contraception choices of others. Next on the docket: Attempting to force family planning centers to hire nurse-midwives who refuse to let patients plan their families, all in the name of “religious freedom.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Jul 24 2014

Universal FGM

Warning – bad stuff.

The BBC reports:

A top UN official in Iraq has said the Sunni Islamist group Isis controlling the city of Mosul is seeking to impose female genital mutilation.

All females aged 11 and 46 in the northern city must undergo the procedure, according to an Isis edict, UN official Jacqueline Badcock said.

That second sentence must be a typo – it has to mean aged from 11 to 46, not 11 and 46.

At any rate, if it’s true, and they mean it – well. That’s quite something.

Yo, George Bush? Feeling proud of your accomplishments this morning?

Update: links to denials in comments.


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