Link Round-Up 9/19/2014

Story of the Week: Ayan Hirsi Ali was again the target of ex-Muslim silencing and censorship. Sadly, this time even the Yale Atheists joined the repressive forces. Yale University proved to be brave and didn’t censor her. You can read her talk here. Mohammad Syed and Anish Nair write why the statements made by Yale Muslims and atheists are wrong.

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What Choice Is a Free Choice? And Why Religion Destroys the Freedom of Choice.

When we talk about freedom of choice we usually mean that in a legal sense, but we can argue that there are many layers and aspects to what makes a choice truly free, when we think about this concept in terms that are not legal. Freedom is a concept which takes different forms in different aspects of life. We say that people are free to disagree with the scientific evidence, in the legal way. If I “choose” to disbelieve evolution, the government has no right to censor me or to demand me to believe otherwise. But I am not “free” to publish my opinions in a scientificn journal, even if that journal is not owned by private sector. Although I am a taxpayer, I am not free to publish my creationist thoughts in a journal funded by my task money. However I am still free to find evidence against evolution and if my creationist article conforms to scientific standards I will be published in the same journal. So there is freedom among the scientific community to dissent, but that freedom is not the same as civil freedom to dissent. I assume that the reader will agree with this, and I use this as an example merely before bringing up the main topic of this post.

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Hire Alex Gabriel or Donate

Alex, my friend and colleague, is in financial crisis. If you need a designer or a text editor, make sure to hire him, he’s fantastic. He edited something for me and I really appreciated his work. He has quoted me in his article dealing with this. Here’s what I had to say:

I have come into contact with hundreds of editors in my life, so when I say Alex is a fantastic editor I do not speak with a lack of experience. He is fast and he is thorough, he thinks about every word and its implication, he understands and respects your world and your voice, and his insight is frank.

You can read here about how you can help.

New Rule Added to the Comment Policy: No Off-Topic Comments

I didn’t want to enact a rule concerning the topicality, but since there are inconsiderate commenters who keep on hijacking the comment thread and show no remorse for littering the blog with their irrelevant musings, and have indicated that they will go on polluting the comment section, you will not be able to post off-topic comments from now on.

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Ideological Persecution Complex and Gambling on the Oppressed

Many ideologies are shaped in reaction to real social ills and real oppression. They are in fact inspired by oppression, they are a plea for justice in an unjust situation. They are most of the times revolutionary ideologies, meant to overthrow and oppressive regime or social system. They are naturally considered liberating forces and attract well-meaning people who support them and leagues of angry supporters. Then a revolution happens, and that ideology becomes the regime or it becomes the dominant ideology. Then, to everyone’s surprise, it’ll turn out to be actually as repressive as the previous system or more, and soon it will lose all the respect it held as a liberating ideology.

But why? Was it because the power corrupted them? Was it because they were never sincere? I think among some individual believers this is possible, but ultimately the problem is somewhere else, somewhere integral to all revolutionary ideologies which makes them potential oppressive opportunities, and what makes them appealing in the first place.

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Link Round-Up 8/17/2014

Story of the week: Robin Williams passed away. David Wong of Cracked has a moving article on the link between comedy and depression. Salon has an interesting compilation of his best moments and Vulture has more moments. Jerry Coyne has the best overview of the reactions of the atheist community to his death. Ashley Miller discusses the role of depression in the light of his death. This is some teachers inspired by his role in Dead Poets Society, a sentiment I expressed in my own obituary as well.

JT Ebehard and Dan Fincke have both touching tributes.

Lauren Bacall was another great actor we lost. Here is a review of her great career. Richard Brody explains how being a strong woman shaped her career. This NPR article includes some of her interview highlights. But my favorite article after her death was Amy Davidson’s. And you can see her life narrated in pictures.

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Welcome All the New FTB Bloggers

Yesterday I welcomed Hiba whom I very glad and honored to call a friend, but FTB has now two new fresh bloggers as well.

One is Heina Dadabhoy who used to blog for Skepchick and has a very sharp vision and strong argumentative powers, and also a major voice on ex-Muslim issues. The addition of Hiba and Heina makes me very happy because if we think that ex-Muslim voices are underrepresented in today’s atheist discourse (they are) then a major blog network giving space to them is a very important step. No matter what criticism you might have of FTB, I think we can all agree that no other network has FTB’s international scope and global concern, and this is a major strong point, in my book.

So – talking of Heina, this is her author bio:

Heina Dadabhoy spent her childhood as a practicing Muslim who never in her right mind would have believed that she would grow up to be an atheist feminist secular humanist. She has been an active participant in atheist organizations and events in and around Orange County, CA since 2007, and on the national stage since 2011. She is currently writing A Skeptic’s Guide to Islam. You can follow her on Twitter at @heinousdealings,Tumblr, or Facebook.

You can read her blog Heinous Dealings here.

Now I’m ashamed to confess that I wasn’t familiar with Consider the Tea Cosy but to be fair, that is the purpose of moving to blog networks, to expand your readers’ base. I’m very excited and look forward to read Aoife O’Riordan’s blog.

I’m Aoife (think Eva with an F, but only if you’re pronouncing Eva to rhyme with TREE-vah). If you’re looking for descriptors, I’m a queer Irish feminist with a social science background and a bucketload of opinions. This year I founded the Bi+ Ireland Network, and I ain’t kidding when I say it’s the thing that I’m proudest of. I’ll write about all of those things, but- being honest, since we’re friends here- I’ll mostly be thinking about roller derby. Sometimes you’ve just gotta strap on a pair of skates and hit some people, y’know?

Read Consider the Tea Cosy here.