Link Round-Up 7/12/2014

Headline Story of the week: Mubarak Bala is a Nigerian openly atheist who has run into problem for leaving Islam. Read the report here and here.

Story of the Week: Eduard Shevardnadze (1928-2014), the former Georgian president and the foreign minister of USSR during Gorbachev passed away last week. Read New Yorker obituary written by a Georgian, BBC obituary, and New York Times obituary, all give great views of this man’s life. History may judge his impact positive or negative, but it will never judge it small.

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Culture is the Problem

Part of this post has been copy pasted from a Facebook discussion but not the majority of it.

A strange thing that I have noticed in many western liberals, and I find it perplexing, is a respect for culture as a concept. Personally not only I think culture is not a good thing, I think it’s the real source of all our problems, at least here in Middle East.

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I Will Miss the Honor of Being on the Same Network as Kate Donovan

Kate Donovan is leaving FTB to host her own weblog. Via her goodbye post:

Hello, wonderful commenters, readers, and other-people-peering-at-this.

I’m writing with bittersweet news: G&H is moving, this time to a standalone location. I have adored being here. I have gotten to write next to some of my favorite people in the world, and it has been and important and warm and loving community. There aren’t grand reasons I’m moving–it’s just that as time has passed, I’ve been writing to an increasingly different audience, and having my own space seems an inevitable, but sad part of that.

So. With that, I’ll see you over here.

So make sure to set your bookmarks and to change your bookmarks and RSS subscription. Shouldn’t miss her blog posts! She already has uploaded a new article too.

I completely understand her reasons for moving and fully support them, of course, but the truth is that FTB will become less rich by losing such a voice as hers, and I will certainly miss and regret the fact that I can’t claim that I’m on the same network.

Since I became familiar with atheist blogsphere through Facebook and Twitter and later joined FTB, catching up on all the things I had missed, I have been involved with many bloggers, and many of them have greatly influenced the way I look at the world. I’m sure you can see by my posts that Dan Fincke and Miri Mogilevsky are among them. One of the chief influences of mine has been Kate. I couldn’t even write responses to her or to acknowledge where exactly her writing shaped my thought, because the learning has been completely one way: I have learned and she has taught. And I have learned much from her.

Kate is compassionate, rational, a great writer, and a great teacher. I will make sure to continue to learn from her.

Also this is a video I found very useful and taught me a lot. Make sure to watch it.

Libertarian Is Not an Insult Part 2

I posted something yesterday about some progressives using dehumanizing language about libertarians, and sadly the comments appearing at the bottom provided tangible examples of what I was talking about in vague terms. Just as I’m sure such comments have not changed the mind of any libertarian, they have not changed my mind either, but quite the opposite.

I want to take my opportunity to explain my own position better.

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“Libertarian” Is Not an Insult

This was originally a facebook status.

I wish my progressive friends stopped using “libertarian” as an insult. I also wish they avoided insulting generalizations, like associating libertarians with the worst people who have that ideology. Libertarianism is a political ideology. It has many values in common with progressive thought – especially social values. I many ways libertarians have supported and done great things.

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5 Articles that Changed My Mind Recently

I wanted to post about how Heina Dadabhoy taught me about prison and showed me something I reflexively repeated was wrong, but then I decided I would gather all the recent examples. Here are five articles I’ve read recently, that have changed my mind on something. This is an appreciation post, an acknowledgment of those I have learned from. These are in no particular order.

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FTBCon 3 Is Coming

Via Miri’s Brute Reason:

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FtBCon 3 is fast approaching: August 22-24, 2014. As always, we’re going to have a full weekend of panels, talks, and Cards Against Humanity. This time, we’re going to be more organized about how we plan the sessions, so we’re giving you until July 22 to submit a proposal for a panel or talk.

For more info go here.

Link Round-Up 6/18/2014

Story of the Week: Alex Gabriel is writing his memoir in a serialized form, Dickens-style. It is very moving and very well-written, I definitely recommend it. I have shared every chapter on Twitter, but here I link to the Foreword which includes the table of contents. Nine chapters published so far.

The Other Story of the Week: Dan Fincke is setting some nuanced, and flexible, and comprehensive guidelines on how to criticize religion. There are four installments so far, hopefully there’s more coming. I link to the fourth part which links to the previous parts.

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“10 Scientific Ideas That Scientists Wish You Would Stop Misusing” Article Is Either Wrong or Needs Clarification

An article is being shared widely on Facebook and Twitter. PZ Myers and Vandy Beth Glenn have also blogged about it. Which is… how shall I put it… wrong. Well, not all of it, of course, but a great portion of it. Or actually it might not be wrong, but it needs clarification. The article is named 10 Scientific Ideas That Scientists Wish You Would Stop Misusing, but the majority of list looks like “Ten non-Scientific Words with One Scientific Sense, But We Wish to Appropriate Those Words.” Which is not cool, friends.

This is the opening of that article:

Many ideas have left the world of science and made their way into everyday language — and unfortunately, they are almost always used incorrectly. We asked a group of scientists to tell us which scientific terms they believe are the most widely misunderstood. Here are ten of them.

Well off the bat I want to ask who appointed these scientists who are interviewed here as the ultimate spokesperson of all scientists and since when scientists have the right to police the language, but whatever. The false claim starts with “Many ideas have left the world of science and made their way into everyday language”, as some of them have not actually originated in science.

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