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.

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.

An Image of the Iranian English a High School Textbook

This is just to show you how omnipresence religion is in Iran, I give you two images from the Iranian textbook. These photos were shared by a friend of mine on Facebook. You usually assume that an English textbook is not an opportunity to indoctrinate children and teenagers, and should be concerned with teaching English, but the Iranian regime disagrees. And all textbooks are like that to some degree, as all books open with a picture and a saying of Khomeini.

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How, as an Atheist, I Deal with Death? To Be Honest, I Don’t.

A bit of warning: this post contains some frank discussions about fear of death, and also some detailed description of violence. If you feel you might be disturbed, please don’t read.

One of the claims that theists make, that is not rational at all is that religion helps people cope with death. Which means that atheists must have a difficult time coping death. This argument is not rational, because that doesn’t put any forward any evidence that religion is true. It might provide evidence that religion is good, but I don’t think it does that as well, as I don’t think a culture that relies on duping people with wish-fulfillment and values comfort over truth and facing the truth no matter how bitter is good. I think deception is unethical, whether you deceive others or yourself is immaterial. However, that is not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about dealing with death, accepting it, living with its shadow looming over waking moments. And I can’t do that, and I am not OK or comfortable with the fact that I’m going to die, and I’m far less comfortable with the fact that others are going to die.

[Read more...]

Must Read Article: “What it is like to grow up in Hezbollah culture”

Enlightening, eye-opening, and extremely moving writing. Published in the superb blog, Between a Veil and a Dark Place, it’s called “What it is like to grow up in Hezbollah culture“. It’s a long article, but it’s worth your time, it’s also very hard to read at times but it’s worth your emotional investment too. You can read it as an excellent memoir, the author’s understanding of her own situation and description of events is so compelling that I would happily ask her to write a complete book about her memories. You can also read it as an eye-opener, to understand the situation and the historical context of Hezbollah in the Middle East, as all the necessary information is there. It’s the complete package.

Unfortunately, I haven’t read the rest of her articles myself – I’m still busy reading through Dan Finke’s and Kate Donovan’s blogs, and they both have proved a time consuming challenge together. But only looking at her titles, it seems we have some kind of common experience, in that both of us try to talk about the pain of living in Islamic world and then there are some people who have never set foot in Middle East who felt more qualified than us to explain to us about what has been an inseparable part of our lives. This is where the similarity ends though, my whole experiences don’t hold a candle to hers, her bravery, clarity, and depth of thought is something I can only be envious of.

Of course, I’m making it a priority to read everything, and judging by this one article I’m in it for a great ride. Read the article, bookmark the blog, and if you’d like, donate to keep her site going, which clearly comes at a great personal risk and cost.