Ask Dawkins to reconsider his evaluation of the harms of “mild pedophilia”

I would very much like it if people stopped treating Dawkins as the Secular Pope. We don’t want any “leaders” in this movement, and yet friends of the secular movement will bow and scrape, and foes will treat him as the King of Atheism whose decrees are handed down from on high for all to internalize. Hell, half the time we can barely decipher what he’s saying. Take Twitter for example. A 140 character limit does the man no justice whatsoever — he does not wear “pithy” well.

His recent misstep is, as I’m sure you’re all aware, less than pithy — he’s been given plenty of time and space to bring this intellectual pursuit to full flower, and this is what he’s come up with: his recent suggestion that being sexually assaulted as a child is less bad than being brought up religious, and that one shouldn’t condemn sexual assault done in another era under different social mores.
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The Petition to Ask Freethought Blogs and Skepchick to “Return to Critical Thinking”

I’m not going to pretend that this petition by Rocko 2246 from Australia is going to succeed, but it merits discussion at least. In fact, unless we have a crowdsourced effort by people at this blog and others on “our side” of the great rift, I seriously doubt they could get 100 unique signatures per their current goal, which is at 21 signatures (at time of writing).

If any part of this petition were unequivocally true, I would throw my full weight behind it because the picture it paints of our community… oh, it is dire. It is evidently a response to Adam Lee’s petition to the leaders of our communities, asking them to not fall for Thunderfoot’s framings on certain issues — given that the Foot has apparently spread a few of these videos around to the leaders of our communities asking them to “shun” the feminists “pouring poison” in the ears of said communities. This petition is apparently the third motion in a back-and-forth that started by Thunderfoot.

Stephanie alerted us to this petition’s existence, otherwise I’d never have known it was created. It is vitally important that we know, though. Considering we’re the subject matter, and if they succeed in getting a hundred signatures FtB will be the recipient of an email that reads as follows, I figure I should make sure everyone’s absolutely aware what 21 people (at time of writing) want us to do:

To:
Skepchick.org, FreeThoughtBlogs
Return to critical thinking and respectful free exchange of ideas
Sincerely,
[Your name]

So, if this petition fails in its goal, I want to make absolutely certain that it does not fail as a result of being underpublicized. Basically, I want to make sure it doesn’t fail on account of me. And I will consider it, in its entirety, on its merits. Because that is what one does with the respectful free exchange of ideas: thinking critically about them.
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Adam Lee’s petition to leaders: more diversity, less “shunning” by anti-feminists

A petition to leaders of secular and atheist groups to disregard the nonsense that Thunderfoot passed around to them, you say?

We, the undersigned, are atheists, skeptics and nonbelievers who value free speech and rational thought and who seek to build a strong, thriving movement that can advocate effectively for these values. We’ve chosen to put our names to this petition because we want to respond to a video created by a blogger calling himself Thunderfoot. In this video, Thunderfoot attacks named individuals who’ve been active in promoting diversity and fighting sexism and harassment in our movement. He describes these people as “whiners” and “ultra-PC professional victims” who are “dripp[ing] poison” into the secular community, and urges conference organizers to shun and ignore them.

Sign me the hell up.
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Petition the US government to free Alexander Aan

CFI has held two rallies now to raise awareness about Alexander Aan, an Indonesian civil servant who was beaten by a crowd then convicted of spreading religious hatred because he denied the existence of God and posted a cartoon of Mohammed on Facebook. He is presently serving a 30-month jail sentence for his high crimes. To add insult to injury, he has to pay one hundred million rupiah — a high fine in Indonesia for mere blasphemy, though it translates to about $10,000 USD.

There’s now a petition on the US We the People website asking the Obama administration to call for Aan’s release.
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Underwhelming response to trans rights bill, overwhelming response to trans beauty queen

I don’t know if you realized it when it happened, but last time around here in Canada, when bill C-389 amending the standing 1977 Canadian Human Rights Act to include transsexual and transgender rights was about to pass in the last parliament, it became a victim of the 2011 election when the government was dissolved before it could become law.

The process, which had taken almost a year, fell apart before its proponents’ eyes. Transsexual and transgender persons came within a hair’s breadth of being protected under our Charter, but became an accidental casualty instead of Harper’s bid for more power. They truly snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.

If you have a memory that stretches all the way back to 2011, you’ll remember the common media narrative and pushback against this bill was that it was the “Bathroom Bill” — a bid to allow “perverts” to use a woman’s bathroom despite having a penis, and possibly prey on unsuspecting little girls. Suddenly, public bathrooms would go from safe havens to molestation central.

You know, because homosexuality and transsexuality are all about molesting little kids. Or something.

So, you might be surprised to know that this time around, now that Bill C-276 by Liberal MP Hedy Fry and C-279 by NDP MP Randall Garrison were introduced and now that by luck of the draw Garrison’s bill was read into the Parliament, pretty much nobody’s taking it seriously at all.

Not the media, not the MPs, nobody.
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