Linkspam: September 10th, 2016

Hey, if you’re interested in joining Freethought Blogs, you better send us an application right now.  Instructions on how to apply are here.

And now for my monthly linkspam:

Psychic Ferns EP – My brother is in this psychedelic doom metal band!  And the EP is available for free (or name your price).  Naturally, I think they are the coolest thing ever.

Aces in the Church – A collection of aces’ personal experiences with Christianity.  If you’ve ever speculated on the interaction between Christianity and asexuality, I’d ask you, are you ready to confront some real stories?  Coyote themself has some of the best writing in here but the snippets are important to show the diversity of experiences.

[cn: rape, rape apology] A Feminist Magazine’s Hypocrisy On Rape Made Me Love Feminists Even More – Chris Hall talks about an incident where a feminist magazine published a sympathetic account of a woman raping her male partner.  Although this was a feminist fuckup, Chris was grateful for the response of other feminists, and mad at MRAs for making the conversation more difficult.  MRAs upset me for similar reasons, particularly since I started being out about being a rape victim.  I still remember that time that a gay guy tried to sell me on the men’s rights movement by telling me gay men were lucky to not have any consent culture. [Read more…]

Linkspam: August 10th, 2016

Interrupting the health insurance discussion for my monthly linkspam.

Scientific Charity Movement – Jeff Kaufman is part of the effective altruism (EA) movement, which seeks the most efficient ways to do charity. In the late 19th century, there was a “scientific charity” movement that also tried to apply scientific methods to determine the best way to do charity. Unfortunately, their “scientific” method involved investigating individuals to see if they were deserving of charity. How horrible and inefficient. I support giving people money unconditionally.

Exits and Entrances – Somebody on FTB wrote a novel! As a skeptical/atheist nonfiction blogger who may one day write a novel, this is relevant to my interests. However, at the moment I am in the middle of the Cormoran Strike series (J. K. Rowling’s pseudonymous mystery novels).

Academic transphobia and The Media: The persistence of the “activists vs science” false dichotomy – Dr. Zucker’s clinic for conversion therapy for trans kids was recently shut down, and many of its defenders use an “activist vs science” narrative.  Siobhan points out that the clinic was wrong on scientific grounds, and that critics come from both within and without academia.  Hi!

The thing about academically-minded social criticism is that it’s not very accessible.  It’s there, but it usually won’t go viral, and is harder to find.  When people say that activists and academics are opposed to each other, that tells me that they like nuance in theory, but in practice can’t be bothered to actually find it and read it.
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Linkspam: July 11th, 2016

First, some blogging network news, FtB has added a handful of new bloggers.  You can follow FtB News to keep up to date on that sort of thing.

Also, last month Richard Carrier resigned from FtB last month amidst allegations of sexual harrassment, and here’s FtB’s official statement on the matter.  In case anyone is wondering about FtB’s governance structure, at the moment it’s an anarchy, but we’re aspiring towards more concrete policies.

Without further ado, here are a few links from the past month:

Erasing LGBTQ Muslims & Islamic Homophobia – Heina addresses the Orlando Nightclub shooting from a queer ex-Muslim perspective.

Sometimes, I think about this issue by making an analogy from Muslim/queer to atheist/woman. The sexism in atheist communities doesn’t justify anti-atheist hate, nor does it mean that “atheist woman” is a contradiction. At the same time, the topic of atheist sexism is one that needs addressing.

BTW if you haven’t figured it out by now, I almost never blog about current events. I don’t enjoy it.

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Linkspam: June 4th, 2016

Did you know that FTB is still accepting applicants?  Apply by June 16th!  This page has information about who you should contact and what information you should provide.

And now for my monthly linkspam.

When a Negative Statement Becomes a Claim – Crys talks about an argument she had about whether bisexuals exist.  She argues that the negative statement (bisexuals don’t exist) is the one with the burden of proof here.  As I said in the comments, skeptics/atheists have a tendency to deny personal experiences on the grounds that they’re not science.  But if you look at actual scientific research on sexual orientation, researchers mostly just ask people for their personal experiences.  Skeptics, you’re doing it wrong.

Identities formed by trauma are still valid – Gosh, this is a really major topic among aces, because traumatic experiences with sexual abuse are after all quite common.  Some aces feel that trauma might have caused them to be asexual, or it might have impacted their sexuality in other ways.  Some aces simply don’t know how trauma impacted them, and will never know.  Aces with trauma are put in a precarious position, where many people question the validity of their identity, and the ace community itself will gloss over their existence.

Anyway, you can read all about this in Miri Mogilevsky’s article.  There are also many personal experiences out there, but I wouldn’t link them, since privacy is a serious issue.  If this subject is of personal importance to you, you can find things in my blogroll.

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Linkspam: May 12th, 2016

It’s time for more links, along with my brief comments.

Hot and Cold Cognitive Empathy – Ozy distinguishes between hot cognitive empathy, which is intuitively felt, and cold cognitive empathy, which is deliberate.  Ozy observes that many autistic people develop the latter, and comments of the advantages and disadvantages.  I am not autistic, and experience hot cognitive empathy, but I find it fascinating how different people have different private experiences, and develop different mental processes to fulfill the same function.

Aphantasia: How it feels to be blind in your mind – Blake Ross, cofounder of Firefox, explains a revelation he had: “Picture it in your mind’s eye” is a literal expression for most people, but not for him.

This is another case in point.  Many people have different private experiences, but it can go under the radar for a long time because so much of our language describes only the function of our private experiences, rather than the experiences themselves.  And yet, contra Wittgenstein, comparing private experiences is at least possible.  This makes me wonder if I have other private experiences which are atypical.  For example, I suspect that fish doesn’t taste the same way to me as it does to other people.  Also, I don’t think I experience this “mystic emotion” thing that Einstein says is necessary to being alive.  Einstein: what a jerk!

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Linkspam: April 10th, 2016

I don’t typically post linkspams, but maybe I should do it more often, particularly if I want to connect more with FreethoughtBlogs and The Orbit.  Here are a few links, with my brief commentary:

“Self-entitled ungrateful fuckoff”

Niki of Seriously?!? explains how pathetic welfare is in the US, and how people feel the need to micromanage the things people on welfare buy.  Speaking for myself, the one thing that made me strongly pro-redistribution was reading about the current programs, SNAP and TANF.  To qualify for SNAP (food stamps), you need to find work within three months, which sounds like a recipe to trap people in terrible jobs.

The danger of legislating on what ifs

Thoughts of Crys is on of my favorite new blogs on FTB.  This post counters what-if arguments made by pro-lifers.  The problem with these kinds of arguments is that they prove too much.  For example, you should never refuse sex with a partner, because what if that sex would have led to a child, it’s like you’re murdering that child!  This is a general issue in consequentialist ethics: how far in the future are the consequences still relevant?

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