Getting by with a little help from my friends

One of the coolest thing about being at FTB is getting to know many of my co-bloggers as people. Before moving here, I knew of pretty much everyone here, but through our extremely silly back-channel e-mail threads, I am getting to know what everyone’s like as a person (for example, behind his tough-as-nails exterior, JT is actually much tougher than nails #jtmeme). I don’t usually consult with my fellow FTBorg on issues of content, but I felt like I was leading with my chin a bit with Monday afternoon’s post and I wanted to make sure I hadn’t ignored anything important.

Well, wouldn’t you know, several of them not only liked the post, but posted about it themselves. If you don’t read all of FTBlogs (and you really should, because they’re all quite excellent), you may have missed some of these:

  • Mano Singham offers another anecdote and his perspective on identifying and dealing with racism
  • Richard Carrier talks about his own experiences with accommodation for the fear in others
  • Stephanie Zvan summarizes her reactions (and the reactions of a couple of others) to my piece and explains why diversity is of value
  • Greg Laden shares a post he had previously written on a similar topic
  • Daniel Fincke does his usual meticulous job exploring the topic (and, as an aside, I so wish I had thought of the phrase “Schroedinger’s Racist”)
  • PZ sends his horde (school? do squid travel in schools? is it ‘squid’ or ‘squids’?) my way
  • Hank Fox bigs me up (and by the way, if you haven’t read his post Thank you Mr. Darwin. Again. you need to. It’s an eye-opener. I have it bookmarked)

This is in addition to a bunch of back-channel encouragement through e-mail from other co-bloggers. Words are insufficient to express how privileged (in the good way) I feel to be part of the FTBorg, especially when I am made to feel welcome with such an overwhelming show of support.

I should also point out that the folks over at The Good Men Project have cross-posted Monday’s piece. The comments are… not encouraging, to say the least. But hey, people are reading it. Sort of. Parts of it.

And my final thanks go out to the legion of commenters, particularly those who have been around for a while, who have been policing the threads. I was not expecting that kind of flood, and was not equipped to deal with it. Y’all stepped up big time to help smooth out the wrinkles for me, which I appreciate. I’ve left a present for you below the fold.

Like this article? Follow me on Twitter! [Read more...]

Shuffling feet: a follow-up

Okay, first of all: wow. I have written more than 700 posts on this blog, and I have never seen a response like I had on Monday afternoon. At the time of writing, my post about my objection to anti-black racism being used to deflect the “Shroedinger’s Rapist” argument has elicited 330 comments, and received nearly 20,000 hits. I’ve been quickly outed from my quiet little obscure hideaway at the middle-bottom of the FTB frontpage, and have been placed in front of many fresh pairs of eyes.

So, hi.

Second of all: there is apparently a need for some clarification. I was trying to make two separate points in that piece, and there seem to be a number of people who simply did not pick up on them. The first point is that connecting Shroedinger’s Rapist to anti-black racism fails to address the central question of whether or not we want women to feel more comfortable in freethinking circles; if we do, then we need to make some changes. Men being aware of how their (our) seemingly-benign behaviour may be seen as threatening is one specific change we can make.

The second point is that linking the argument to anti-black racism ignores many of the experiences of black folks who are constantly making similar adjustments to make white folks feel more comfortable. Failing to recognize this fact only highlights the ignorance of the speaker, and it is not particularly pleasant to have my story used in the service of an argument I despise by a person who will never experience it.

There were a number of other comments and misconceptions that I will attempt to clear up in this post. [Read more...]

#SOPA/#PIPA blackout post no. 4

In solidarity with the sites (including FTB) that are down for the day, I will not be providing original content today. I encourage you to poke around the archives. There’s nearly 2 years of quality posts to rummage through. Instead of writing myself, I have compiled a few interesting articles that I think you should read. Regular posting will resume tomorrow.

Racism ‘happens’: Inexplicable events haunt GOP primary

Trigger warning for Santorum

It’s the darnedest thing. Republicans have zero tolerance for anything racist. They’ll tell you so at the drop of a hat. It’s liberals and Democrats who are the real racists. Just ask Herman Cain, he’ll set you straight. After all, if a pizza CEO isn’t an expert on racism, then who is?

And yet, in recent weeks, all manner of seemingly racist things keeping popping up all around the GOP presidential primary campaign, which can only be explained in terms of mysterious and malevolent forces, out of movies such as The Exorcist, or Men in Black, or more recent low-rent fare, like the SyFy channel’s Ghost Hunters “reality show”.

First there was the matter of Ron Paul’s racist, homophobic and otherwise bigoted newsletters from the 1980s and 1990s. Of course he never read them. (“I never read that stuff. I was probably aware of it ten years after it was written,” he told Gloria Borger on CNN the week before Christmas.)

Read the rest of the article, leave your comments here.

Like this article? Call your senator, call your congressperson, tell them that you oppose SOPA and PIPA, and that ze should too. Not American? Neither am I.

 

#SOPA/#PIPA blackout post no. 3

In solidarity with the sites (including FTB) that are down for the day, I will not be providing original content today. I encourage you to poke around the archives. There’s nearly 2 years of quality posts to rummage through. Instead of writing myself, I have compiled a few interesting articles that I think you should read. Regular posting will resume tomorrow.

God’s far from dead in the global South

What’s the fastest-growing religion in the world today? It’s Christianity. You can be excused if you guessed wrong. For the past decade, the Western world’s attention has been transfixed by Islam. But in sub-Saharan Africa and the Asia-Pacific region, it’s Christianity that’s on the march. Today, Christianity claims 2.18 billion believers – a third of the world’s population. By 2050, Christians will outnumber Muslims 3 to 2, according to author Philip Jenkins.

A more detailed look at where Christianity is growing can be found in a comprehensive new report on global Christianity from the Pew Research Center. It found that, while Christianity is on the wane in the global North, it’s exploding in the global South. Nigeria now has more than twice as many Protestants (60 million) as Germany, the birthplace of the Protestant Reformation. Brazil has more than twice as many Catholics (130 million) as Italy. The biggest Christian congregation in London draws 12,000 people every week; it’s mainly West African, and its pastor is Nigerian.

Read the rest of the article, leave your comments here.

Like this article? Call your senator, call your congressperson, tell them that you oppose SOPA and PIPA, and that ze should too. Not American? Neither am I.

 

#SOPA/#PIPA blackout post no. 2

In solidarity with the sites (including FTB) that are down for the day, I will not be providing original content today. I encourage you to poke around the archives. There’s nearly 2 years of quality posts to rummage through. Instead of writing myself, I have compiled a few interesting articles that I think you should read. Regular posting will resume tomorrow.

Why Is the N.Y.P.D. After Me?

WHEN I was 14, my mother told me not to panic if a police officer stopped me. And she cautioned me to carry ID and never run away from the police or I could be shot. In the nine years since my mother gave me this advice, I have had numerous occasions to consider her wisdom.

One evening in August of 2006, I was celebrating my 18th birthday with my cousin and a friend. We were staying at my sister’s house on 96th Street and Amsterdam Avenue in Manhattan and decided to walk to a nearby place and get some burgers. It was closed so we sat on benches in the median strip that runs down the middle of Broadway. We were talking, watching the night go by, enjoying the evening when suddenly, and out of nowhere, squad cars surrounded us. A policeman yelled from the window, “Get on the ground!”

Read the rest of the article, leave your comments here.

Like this article? Call your senator, call your congressperson, tell them that you oppose SOPA and PIPA, and that ze should too. Not American? Neither am I.

 

#SOPA/#PIPA blackout post no. 1

In solidarity with the sites (including FTB) that are down for the day, I will not be providing original content today. I encourage you to poke around the archives. There’s nearly 2 years of quality posts to rummage through. Instead of writing myself, I have compiled a few interesting articles that I think you should read. Regular posting will resume tomorrow.

Tim Wise – “If I Were a Poor Black Child”…White Saviorism and the Politics of Personal Responsibility

Last week, Forbes Magazine’s small business reporter Gene Marks penned a column that has set the internet abuzz ever since. Therein, Marks, who quite accurately describes himself as “short, balding and mediocre,” proceeded to counsel poor black children as to how they might succeed in America, despite facing, by his own admission, longer odds than white youth like his own children, or other white middle class kids in general. Far from a harsh right-winger bent on condemning the moral decency, character or abilities of the black poor (or like Newt Gingrich in his 1994 vintage, ripping them away from their mothers and dumping them in orphanages), Marks appears to fashion himself an enlightened benefactor of good advice, a caring liberal who believes in the ability of anyone to make it with the right combination of hard work and a positive attitude.

No believer in Bell Curv-ish nonsense about black intellectual inferiority, Marks makes clear that the children about whom he speaks are no less capable than his own kids. Of course, one wonders just how much of a compliment Marks really intends for this to be, given his strange habit of dissing his offspring, on more than one occasion, as rather unintelligent, unmotivated, promiscuous and even inclined to petty criminality. Not sure what kind of asshole says things like this about his children in print, but I suppose we can leave that discussion for another day.

Read the rest of the article, leave your comments here.

Like this article? Call your senator, call your congressperson, tell them that you oppose SOPA and PIPA, and that ze should too. Not American? Neither am I.

#Mencall Kathryn Marshall things

So every time I see the kind of cruelty that is leveled against women for the arch-crime of existing, it always catches me flat-footed. I always approach things with a mindset of “naw, people can’t be THAT bad”. I am almost always wrong.

Case in point – watch this video:

Now, if you didn’t make it all the way through the video in one go, I don’t blame you. It took me 4 or 5 bites to actually force that turd down my throat. For those of you who couldn’t watch, I will briefly summarize. On a Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC – roughly the equivalent of NPR but less… well, less NPR) program called Power and Politics, Evan Solomon hosts a debate between John Bennett of the Sierra Club and Kathryn Marshall of Ethical Oil. The debate is over the pipeline from this morning’s story.

Ms. Marshall has clearly been instructed to make the following points:

  1. The Sierra Club accepts foreign donations
  2. Foreign interests should not be involved in a Canadian regulatory decision
  3. Ethical Oil is supported by grassroots donations
  4. The pipeline creates Canadian jobs and is important to economic growth
  5. Opponents of the pipeline want to oppose any development projects [Read more...]

Tough language, soft heads

Imagine for a moment that somebody wanted to build a zipline across your back yard. Let’s say that, thanks to minimal consultation and a cozy relationship with the city bylaw officers, that they want to tear up your land so that they can shoot through your property in a quick and effective manner. I’d imagine you wouldn’t be too thrilled about the idea, especially if they’d done it at someone else’s house and some ziplining wacko had ended up kicking one of their kids in the face.

“But think of the jobs this will create,” the company would be quick to reply. “Thousands of Canadians will work on this zipline, building and maintaining it!” “That’s very nice,” you might reply “but it doesn’t change the fact that you’re going to destroy my property, and I don’t want it there. What if someone falls on my property and wrecks my patio furniture?” “Poppycock,” says the zipline company “any damage will be reimbursed and cleaned up.” “I don’t care,” you might say “I don’t want people zooming through my yard. I don’t trust you to replace my furniture – my uncle carved it and it can’t be replaced that easily.”

Let’s say your neighbour came over and said “you know what, it’s probably not a good idea to run a zipline through hir property – it doesn’t seem safe at all.” The two of you stand resolute in opposition to what you see as a dangerous and unwelcome intrusion onto your land. What would that make you? A proud homeowner? A defiant citizen? A good custodian of your sovereign rights?

Nope, you would in fact be a dangerous, foreign-supported radical: [Read more...]

Why people don’t like to answer theistic questions…

To readers who prefer short posts, I’d like to apologise in advance: this is not a short post. Unforunately, the nature of this extended argument is such that there’s no easy way to break it into 2 or 3 posts without killing the flow.

In a discussion I’ve been having recently with one particular believer, some ideas have repeatedly surfaced. This is not, however, the first time I’ve come across these particular notions. I want to take some time to fully address these ideas and the problems that are imbedded in the ideas. First I’ll simply quote the statements as written, as a group, break down the problematic/vague parts, then address them individually.

  1. “Can one expect human logic to understand the supernatural realm as easily as it does the natural realm?”
  2. “Are you saying that you reject the existence of the supernatural because people around you can’t agree on the exact nature of God, or of the Creative miracles?”
  3. “My fear, for those who choose that route, is that due to the acceptance of methodological naturalism as the defining limitation to science (defining only what can be proven from within nature itself), those that limit themselves in this way and trust that nature itself is “all there is”, will never have the chance to find out if the supernatural actually exists.”
  4. “Does methodological naturalism include or exclude God?”

[Read more...]

Welcoming a new contributor: Brian Lynchehaun

I am extremely excited and proud to welcome a new contributor to the Crommunist Manifesto: my friend, Brian Lynchehaun. Brian has been with the blog almost since its inception. In fact he was instrumental in my very first high-traffic post, a video review of a debate that he did with Hugh Ross. Since then, Brian and I have become good friends and I have come to greatly respect and value his insight, particularly in questions of philosophy. He presented a fairly comprehensive argument for atheistic morality that I still use to this day:

Brian will be contributing his occasional thoughts on a variety of matters, in his own inimitable style. I hope you will give him a warm welcome. I, frankly, can’t believe it took me this long to think to invite him. Please note that his posts will carry his own byline.

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