When “Free Speech” Silences Marginalized Voices – My Latest Ravishly Article

Contrary to popular belief among certain YouTubers, I’m a social justice warrior who actually loves free speech. In fact, the main reason I write is to use my free speech rights to challenge people’s preconceived notions about gender and sexuality and create conversations about complex social justice issues. One of my favorite philosophers, John Stuart Mill, summarizes it best in his 1859 classic essay On Liberty:

But the peculiar evil of silencing the expression of an opinion is that it is robbing the human race, posterity as well as the existing generation, those who dissent from the opinion still more than those who hold it. If the opinion is right, they are deprived of the opportunity of exchanging error for truth; if wrong, they lose, what is almost as great a benefit, the clearer perception and livelier impression of truth, produced by its collision with error.

Of course this opens up a wide variety of questions regarding free speech in the 21st century: Is it censorship when a private organization disinvites a controversial speaker? Would racist slogans like “Blood and soil” be considered hate speech that directly leads to violence? Unfortunately, I don’t have the time to answer all these questions right now. I do, however, want to point out a disturbing trend I see:

Those who advocate for free speech the most vocally tend to be silent when marginalized people are censored.

Click here to read the rest.

The Biskeptical Podcast #33: Everything is Terrible

Today’s episode is a round-up of current news stories, including the DACA repeal, transphobic parents, Hurricane Irma, and Ted Cruz’s…special tastes. We also explain why playing piano in a public park is pathetic, why white Christians are getting angry, why the recent DOJ decision is just business as usual, and why it’s not a good idea to threaten Hillary Clinton when you’re already convicted for fraud.

Listen to “The Biskeptical Podcast #33: Everything is Terrible” on Spreaker.

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Bi Any Means Podcast #113: “Divisiveness” in the Atheist Movement with Stephanie Zvan

My guest for today is Stephanie Zvan. She’s a blogger whose blog, Almost Diamonds, can be found on The Orbit. She’s also one of the organizers for Minnesota Atheists, and one of the hosts of the Atheist Talk radio show. Today we’re going to talk about a recent blog post she wrote about “divisiveness” in the atheist movement.

The post was written in response to Dogma Debate host David Smalley’s recent talk at this year’s Gateway to Reason conference. As I tell Stephanie in the interview, at first I thought he did a good job talking about how not to let different opinions divide the movement. But as Stephanie explained, when people in the atheist movement talk about divisiveness, they’re not talking about the “Everyone I don’t like is Hitler” meme.

Listen to “Bi Any Means Podcast #113: “Divisiveness” in the Atheist Movement with Stephanie Zvan” on Spreaker.

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Bi Any Means Podcast #111: Feminism, Sexuality, and Humanism with Greta Christina

My guest for today is writer and activist Greta Christina. She’s the author of several books including “Why are You Atheists So Angry?”, “Coming Out Atheist,” “Comforting Thoughts about Death that Have Nothing to Do with God,” and “The Way of the Heathen.” She’s also a blogger who currently blogs at The Orbit. Today we’re going to talk about her writing, feminism, and humanist sexual ethics.

Listen to “Bi Any Means Podcast #111: Feminism, Sexuality, and Humanism with Greta Christina” on Spreaker.
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Bi Any Means Podcast #107: Laci Green, Toxic Leftists, and Egotistical Podcasters (Random Thoughts)

Due to the lack of a guest this week, I just turned on the recorder and talked about a few things on my mind for about 22 minutes. Hopefully it’s not too boring.

Listen to “Bi Any Means Podcast #107: Laci Green, Toxic Leftists, and Egotistical Podcasters (Random Thoughts)” on Spreaker.

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Bi Any Means Podcast #105: Race, Harm Reduction, and Humanism with Rajani Gudlavalleti

My guest for today is Rajani Gudlavalleti, racial equity trainer and board member of the Foundation Beyond Belief. Here’s what her bio says: “Rajani Gudlavalleti is a second-generation, South Indian-American queer humanist woman residing in Baltimore, MD. Rajani works at the intersections of social justice, public health, and the legal system, providing contract and consulting services as an organizer, evaluator, trainer and writer. Currently, she is a community organizer for the BRIDGES Coalition for safe drug consumption spaces in Baltimore City, and a facilitator with Baltimore Racial Justice Action. Rajani co-founded Baltimore Asian Resistance in Solidarity in February 2015, and explores her multiple intersecting identities on her website, charmingly-hyphenated.com.

In March 2016, Rajani joined the board of Foundation Beyond Belief (FBB) bringing with her over a decade of experience in social justice work. FBB provides humanists opportunities to engage in service work, such as volunteerism and giving, and advocates for compassionate secular action throughout the world.” So today we’re going to get to know Rajani and all the stuff she’s doing.

Listen to “Bi Any Means Podcast #105: Race, Harm Reduction, and Humanism with Rajani Gudlavalleti” on Spreaker.

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Bi Any Means Podcast #102: Embrace the Void with Aaron Rabinowitz

My guest for today is Aaron Rabinowitz, co-host of the new podcast Embrace the Void. Here’s what the official description of the show says: “Welcome friends, to a podcast for a darker timeline. Maybe the darkest of all timelines. Definitely not one of the good timelines. Maybe it’s always been a dark timeline, maybe the Hadron collider screwed us over. Science may never know. What we do know is that we live in the void. The void, a place where a chittering mass of void crabs can infest a person suit and win the presidency. The void, a place where we’re just clever enough to know that climate change is happening, but not quite clever enough to do anything about it. The void seems terrible and cruel, but it loves you, in its own ironic way.” So today we’re going to talk about philosophy, religion, and what it means to embrace the Void.

Listen to “Bi Any Means Podcast” on Spreaker.

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What Activist Burnout Looks Like — My latest for Splice Today

It looks like having a moment of panic every time you hear your phone ding because you’re afraid either trolls are threatening to beat you up on Twitter, or an argument in the comment section of your Facebook page has turned into an ugly shouting match.

It looks like staring at a thought-provoking article you found on either The Establishment or Everyday Feminism for five hours and debating whether or not to share it online because you’re afraid someone will accuse you of being a stupid SJW who hates white people (even though you are white).

It looks like wanting to hide in shame because when you tried to explain the complexities of modern feminism—including valid criticisms of it—all you get in return is a bunch of guys replying, “Feminism is cancer, you cuck!”

It looks like having to take a bunch of deep breaths about half an hour before correcting someone who says, “Black Lives Matter is a hate group.”

It looks like not getting anything done because you’ve spent the entire day explaining to a Facebook friend you don’t think all white straight cis men are inherently bad.

It looks like wanting to punch a baby in the face whenever someone demands you validate your gender identity with a peer-reviewed science journal article.

It looks like wanting to punch a baby in the face whenever, after explaining to someone the science behind gender identity, they respond, “Transgenderism is a mental disorder!”

It looks like gaslighting yourself and wondering if maybe they’re right and you’re just a special snowflake and not a transgender person.

Click here to read the rest.

The Biskeptical Podcast #26: From Russia with Love

On today’s episode, we talk about Trump’s alleged ties with Russia, and whether or not it’s enough to get his ass impeached. We also discuss the Manchester bombing, a Mississippi representative who wants to lynch people, and why that shitty social construct penis hoax article doesn’t prove the entire gender studies field is bullshit. To top it all off, the Social Justice Galaxy Warriors take a trip to Wootopia and discover it’s not all it’s cracked up to be.

Listen to “The Biskeptical Podcast #26: From Russia with Love” on Spreaker.

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Is the March for Science “Playing Identity Politics?”–My latest for Paste Magazine

CN: Michael Shermer

In the wake of fake news and President Trump’s anti-science policies, organizers announced the March for Science, which will be held on April 22, 2017. “The March for Science demonstrates our passion for science and sounds a call to support and safeguard the scientific community,” the official website states. “It is time for people who support scientific research and evidence-based policies to take a public stand and be counted.” Like the successful Women’s March back in January—which had an estimated 4,000,000 attendees nationwide—the March for Science will be held in Washington, DC, along with many other satellite marches worldwide.

Unfortunately, also like the Women’s March, the March for Science is facing controversy over diversity.

Michael Shermer, founder of The Skeptic Society, recently voiced opposition to the March for Science’s diversity principles on Twitter. “By making the March for Science political,” he tweeted, “it will be less inclusive & effective [because] ‘social justice’ means different things to people.” Shermer then wrote a blog post further explaining his position, claiming that society has made a lot of progress “since the 1960s … to correct the biases of the past and open the doors to more people in more fields,” including science. Therefore, as Shermer recently tweeted, the March for Science’s emphasis on diverse representation is “identity politics defining who participates in science. Science is for all.”

“He’s totally missing the point if you ask me,” says ecologist Dr. Kaberi Kar Gupta. She is the Principal Scientist for the Urban Slender Loris Project, which aims to educate people about urban biodiversity and conservation by studying the effects of urban life on slender lorises in Bangalore. According to Kar Gupta, there is still a lack of women and people of color in science because of the way science is taught in schools. “The way we teach science with this very type of fixed mindset that science is not for everybody and you have to be smart enough to do science,” she says. “By saying that, we are actually chasing the students away or making students go away from science instead of being interested in science.”

Click here to read the rest.