Female Only Spaces

Female only spaces, the oh so precious thing that TERFs want to protect at all costs from a certain subset of women. Yet for me female only spaces are the bane of my existence. I routinely get shoveled into these places against my will because of how my body looks like. The end result always is a miserable experience for everybody. It’s not just that I hate it—all the women don’t want my company in these places either. [Read more…]

Doing it like Monkeys

Bonobo Ape Sexual Behavior

Bonobo Ape Sexual Behavior

The sexual behavior of bonobo apes is pretty fascinating. They have lots of sex. They masturbate. They have homosexual sex. They seem to really enjoy it. In other words—they resemble humans a lot. This is a photo of bonobo apes. I took this picture in Frankfurt Zoo, Germany. And, yes, they are doing exactly what you think they are. [Read more…]

Sermon Traditions Around the World

The first time I heard a sermon by an American mega-church pastor, I experienced a bit of a culture shock. I hadn’t previously seen anything like that. I was used to Latvian sermons that make you sleepy, and all this running around and screaming in American sermons seemed very unusual for me. Latvian pastors instead tend to talk in calm and soothing voices, they don’t scream, they don’t run around, their body language is subtle and minimalistic. [Read more…]

Bait-and-Switch: How Transphobes Manipulate Word Definitions in order to Advance their Position

In debates people intentionally use words that advance their position. After all, your choice of words greatly affects your chances of getting people to agree with you. Politicians whom you support “invest” billions and “do what the vast majority of voters want,” while those you dislike “spend” billions and “pander to populism.” A politician can either “do what the elite wants” or “do what the experts advise.” Never mind classical examples like “Falklands” versus “Malvinas,” or “Derry” versus “Londonderry.”

One tactic is to use different words that advance your position. A somewhat similar and equally manipulative tactic is to assign your preferred meaning to some word. Thus words like “woman” or “man” can be used with different meanings in various contexts in order to promote bigotry (misogyny and transphobia). [Read more…]

Examining Your Political Views for Contradictions and Double Standards

Religious people are usually handed a set of opinions by their pastor. Since early childhood they are indoctrinated to just accept a batch of ideas that are already packaged together. Each person is expected not to analyze each of these ideas too carefully. After all, a closer and more careful examination might reveal inconsistent attitudes, double standards, and contradictions. As nonbelievers, we should strive to do better than that. Instead of blindly accepting some ready-made package of ideas, we should examine each of our opinions and carefully evaluate whether there are any contradictions or clashes between several of them. [Read more…]

The Harm Principle and its Limitations

How should a society decide which actions ought to be criminalized? Personally, I’m a proponent of the harm principle. John Stuart Mill articulated this principle in On Liberty, where he argued that the actions of individuals should only be limited to prevent harm to other individuals. Self-harm cannot be criminalized. “Crimes” without victims cannot exist. The fact that many people consider some action disgusting cannot be a sufficient reason for criminalizing it. So far so good. But how do we determine what constitutes harm for other people? And what about all those cases where there is only minor harm? At which point do we decide that the harm for other people is significant enough to warrant outlawing some action? [Read more…]

Trans Rights Are Human Rights

Some people object to saying that “trans rights are human rights,” the idea being that some group of people, namely those who are trans, shouldn’t have any “extra rights” that the rest of the society does not have; basically, nobody should have more rights than others. The problem with such attitude is that currently trans people are being discriminated. The status quo is that they have fewer rights than the rest of the society. Trans people aren’t asking for any extra privileges, they want the same rights that are already there for cis people. They demand things that cis people take for granted, things that are considered universal human rights yet somehow still remain inaccessible for those people whose gender identity does not match the sex they were assigned at birth. [Read more…]

Commenting Policy

1. Comments are allowed in English, German, French, Italian, Russian, and Latvian.

Those are the languages that I speak. Unfortunately, I cannot allow comments in other languages that I don’t understand.

If you comment in German or Latvian, I can answer in those languages. If you comment in French, Italian, or Russian, I will answer in English. I don’t have a Russian keyboard. My French and Italian are good enough to understand everything, but not good enough to express myself completely freely. [Read more…]

An Atheist Blog

I grew up in an atheist family, in the atheist city. I’m close to being a lifelong atheist.

In kindergarten a religious teacher told me about God and Jesus. She taught us that we have to pray to God, and then he will answer our prayers. One day, my mother was taking me to a local clinic for a dentist appointment. As we were walking towards the clinic, I decided to pray God to make my dentist sick: “Dear God, please make sure my dentist isn’t at the clinic today, make sure she’s busy or sick or something like that.” My prayer got no answer—the dentist was there and I had my teeth fixed that day. This was the last time I prayed to God. My empirical experiment suggested that God does not answer prayers, so why bother asking him for things in the first place? [Read more…]