Help the Children of a Non-Believer Murder Victim

Via Greta Christina’s blog:

April, Angelina was killed in a domestic violence murder/suicide. She was a non-believer, just beginning to get involved in public/ organized atheism. She was a friend of Mandisa Thomas (founder and current president of Black Nonbelievers, Inc., and member of Black Nonbelievers of Atlanta) and Bridgett ‘Bria’ Crutchfield (board member at Black Nonbelievers, Inc., president of Black Nonbelievers of Detroit, and founder of Minority Atheists of MI).

college fund is being raised for her three children — Quantance, Robyn, and Jaden.

Thanks Greta for spreading the word. Check her blog to learn more.

Join Dr. Carrier’s Online Course on the Science and Philosophy of Free Will

Dr. Richard Carrier is holding an online class on the Science and Philosophy of Free Will.

This June begins my online course on the science and philosophy of free will, from a naturalist (atheist) and secular perspective. Please spread the word and let people know, anyone you think might be interested. It will be useful to anyone wanting to understand the concept and science better, and even more so anyone who has use for more understanding of free will as a real-world applied concept in legal practice, medical ethics, the penal system, political policy, personal relations, and beyond. And especially if you want to know what’s wrong with common treatments of the subject (as for example by Sam Harris, whose book on it will be the course text, mostly to analyze its mistakes, as a useful way of understanding the subject better).

You can check his blogpost about the course here.

Favorite Short Story: Curly Red by Joyce Carol Oats

Today I got to reread Joyce Carol Oats’s short story “Curly Red” for maybe the fifth or sixth time, and I was reminded of why I love it. I love how a story can teach us a lot about social issues in a way that reading thousands of blog posts can’t. I’m an Iranian, and this story has been instrumental in teaching me about racism and sexism in the American context. If you haven’t read the story, I strongly recommend it.

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Dan Fincke Challenges Theists to Study God with Him

Dan Fincke is a philosophy professor and an atheist who runs online classes on philosophy. Now he’s planning a new course, which aims to bring the God is Not Dead movie into real life and expose its lies. As he wrote in “God’s Not Dead” Fans, I Dare You To Study The Existence of God With Me, a Real Atheist Philosophy Professor:

I spent 11 years teaching philosophy at universities and I am an outspoken atheist blogger. So, I took special interest in the mean-spirited mischaracterization of people like me in the evangelical Christian movie God’s Not Dead, in which an atheist philosophy professor (the fictional Professor Radisson) is cast as a bullying villain.

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I want to show how a class on the existence of God is done right. I want to challenge Christians to come study with me for themselves as part of my new slate of special summer classes open to the general public. Atheists and theists who were critical of the film are most welcome too!

No matter who you are, I want you to see the best arguments for the existence of God out there–even better arguments than are in the film. And I want you to see my sincere and well-informed reasons for rejecting them.

And I want to see what happens next.

Can you refute me? Will you change your mind or, at least soften your stances, if you can’t?

Click here for your options of two formats to study with me and to register.

A neat idea, is it not? Go to his blog, enroll if you want/can, or spread the word if you want/can.

Link-Round Up 5/7/2014

Jen McCreight has left FTB. While we’re all sad to see her go, we’re very happy to see her new blog. Check it out. Here she also explains why she left.

This Dan Fincke post is more than 2 years old, but I read it recently and loved it: How Faith Theoretically Makes People Less Likely To Be Trustworthy

Do you like Little Prince? Then read this New Yorker article. Also on New Yorker, John Cassidy analyzes John Kerry’s use of the word apartheid. I don’t completely agree, but I enjoyed reading the article. Also on New Yorker, a powerful article about the dark past of Nigeria.

Is the Quran incompatible with evolution? This is an article from a person who seems to be a Muslim. It’s interesting to read, although ultimately I don’t agree with the article.

Seven Things You Should Know About UKIP And Farage. One thing I know is I am afraid of them.

Speaking of Farage, our own Alex Gabriel demonstrates why UKIP is so incompatible with secular values. Also, why John Paul II was a reactionary pope.

Avicenna responds to a commentor and makes some important points.

Neil Carter asks if times of tragedy is wrong to criticize god. My own answer? No. The truth doesn’t go on holidays in respect to the victims of any tragedy, and neither should we. What is a tragedy to some, it’s also an opportunity to face important questions.

BBC reports on a series of mysterious videos and their French connection.

An Atheist in Kuwait: Interview with Ben Baz Aziz and ExZombie

I love Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s article on Donald Sterling a lot.

Why atheism makes believers so uncomfortable? This is one answer.

A very great article on Ayaan Hirsi Ali on the blog fojap. You mean, we have to READ and UNDERSTAND what someone says before flipping out? That’s too much effort!

A PSA for All My Dear Feminist Allies

I originally posted this on Facebook, but here I paste it too:

I’m not a very social person. I usually avoid others when I can. I get cranky and angry when I am forced to spend a great amount of time in society. I prefer living inside my room and devoting my time to reading and writing. Making friends is a painful and slow process. I watch porn. I masturbate. A lot. I still live with my parents. I don’t have a choice but if I did I would still want to live with my patents. I am single. Romantic relationships are even slower and more painful of a process.

As far as I know, these facts do not affect your life at all. Also none of them are morally wrong. I have been a vocal feminist all my life. I have never made lewd comments about women online or in real life. I have never left hateful comments on people’s blogs. I have never been a men’s rights activist.

So, when you are ridiculing sexist people, please stop ridiculing them by saying “get outside a bit, you still live with your mum and jerk off, hahaha.” I have seen many people do so. It is a meme. But don’t. Social people are not better people than me. The fact that I have made a conscious choice to prefer books and video games to parties and walking outside does not make me an inferior entity.

It’s possible that some sexists are like that. I’m sure some of them have very active social lives as well.

And what is really painful is not only that you correlate people like me and sexists, but that you use US to insult THEM. What is wrong with them is not that they are sexist assholes who send hate mail, no, they are losers who live with their parents haha. This basically places me at a LOWER human level than them, because they are shamed by being described to resemble me.

Please stop doing this and making this joke. It is old, cliché, not funny, and potentially insulting to people who are your allies. Thank you very much.

Grapes with Large Eyes and Big Boobs

I’m a fan of Cracked. But they don’t understand artistic creation at all, have a very wrong concept of plagiarism and plot hole, and they have a tendency to make huge claims based on little evidence. And they also don’t understand Islam. This belongs to a photoplasty which was published on April 28th, but I saw it today.It’s called 40 Myths We Believe Now Due to Tiny Mistakes Years Ago. Now Cracked does have tendency to call true things myths, and it happens here as well, in two photos related to Islam.

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Why Religions Are Not as Contradictory as You Think

“Religions are contradictory”, or, “Bible is contradictory, the Quran is contradictory”, is what we say, but sometimes we fail to notice that this is not enough, that we definitely need to deal with this with more depth. Are all contradictions the same, revealing the same type of mental process? Can we think of contradictions that are not really that contradictory, but betray a common theme and mentality underneath? Is it enough to point out a contradiction as a failure of rationality, and is that enough for understanding? Can contradiction justify different readings because there is a contradiction per se? and most importantly, do contradictions matter to us, the atheists, more than useful tools to deconstruct religion?

I think we mean different things when we talk about contradictions, and thinking about contradictions and what they mean is very useful when we talk about contradiction.

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The House Arrest of Mousavi, Karroubi, and Rahnavard Can Determine the Future of Rouhani’s Administration

Mousavi has been hospitalized, undergone angiography and has heart problem. Karroubi underwent knee surgery a little ago. Rahnavard is reported to be weakened. There are many worrying signs about the health of these three people, and for good reason – under house arrest, they have less rights and healthcare than even ordinary prisoners. A while ago Karroubi was in a house with painted windows and no access to the sun. They don’t get the news or telephone or internet. Mousavi’s heart problem kept getting worse and he received no care from his prisoners. It is reported that he could not meet his daughters in the hospital, and the doctors were not allowed to install the devices, They are completely isolated. They have not been tried, even in a show trial.

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But the important question is – how this will affect our situation in today’s Iran? The answer is, greatly. This house arrest is the single most important thing facing Iran in the internal politics, and it can determine the fate of Rouhani administration.

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