Shunning among the atheists

Ron Lindsay has an interesting post about the fad for shunning fellow atheists and skeptics.

I am motivated to write about this topic for a couple of reasons. First, Russell Blackford has recently announced via Twitter that he will not attend any conference at which Rebecca Watson or PZ Myers is speaking.  Second, in the last few months, a number of individuals have advised me that CFI and its affiliates should never invite certain persons as speakers.  This advice has often been accompanied with a statement such as “If X speaks, I will not attend the conference.” [Read more…]

Back in Tahrir Square

The Islamists in Egypt aren’t just taking all this nonsense about separation of powers lying down. Of course they’re not. They’re out on the street in a show of support for Morsi’s decision to declare himself above the law.

Egypt’s powerful Muslim Brotherhood called nationwide demonstrations Sunday in support of Islamist President Mohamed Morsi in his showdown with the judges over the path to a new constitution.

A new Islamist constitution, in which no rights will be allowed that are not compatible with Sharia.

The show of strength on the streets by the president’s supporters had the potential for triggering clashes with opponents of the sweeping new powers he assumed on Thursday who remained camped out in Cairo’s Tahrir Square.

Before dawn, the hardcore of liberal activists who spent the night in the iconic protest hub fought off an attempt by Morsi supporters to burn down the 30 or so tents they had erected in the square, witnesses said.

Ah. Not so much out in the street as burning down the enemy’s tents. A taste of what’s to come.

The protesters have the backing of all of Egypt’s leading secular politicians.

Former UN nuclear watchdog chief Mohamed ElBaradei, and former presidential candidates Hamdeen Sabbahi, Amr Mussa and Abdelmoneim Abul Futuh, said in a joint statement on Saturday that they would have no dialogue with Morsi until he rescinded his decree.

But they’re the minority. And secular. Their rights are not compatible with Sharia.


Uganda is still pushing that bill

Jeff Sharlet said on Twitter a couple of hours ago that the New Yorker did bad, lazy journalism in reporting that Uganda had dropped the death penalty from its anti-gay bill. He said The Family had spoon-fed Peter Boyer that information and that he hadn’t checked it. He said they had another “prayer breakfast” just today and that Inhofe sent them a friendly message. I don’t have any other source for this, so I’m just telling you what Sharlet said. He’s been on this story for years, though, so I figure he has sources and knows what he’s talking about.

At any rate, the Huffington Post did report yesterday that the bill is going ahead and that it’s still bad and scary.

A bill proposing that gay and lesbian Ugandans be executed is coming back to Uganda’s Parliament – it could pass at any moment. Worse yet, rumours are suggesting that the bill has been changed in committee and we may not have a chance to see it before it is rushed through.

President Museveni once promised that he would not sign this bill into law. With pressure mounting on him to support the bill, only a massive global outcry – along with our friends in Uganda – will make him keep his promise.

So sign this. And share it.

Mushraks have no concept of cleanliness

You thought Rush Limbaugh was unpleasant – check out Rubina Nasir, a presenter on Leeds based Radio Asian Fever.

She said that homosexuals should be ‘beaten up’ and that a Muslim marrying a non-Mulslim was on ‘the straight path to hellfire’.

The presenter, known as ‘Sister Ruby’, said: “What should be done if they do it? [practise homosexuality].

“If there are two such persons among you, that do this evil, the shameful act, what do you have to do? Torture them; punish them; beat them and give them mental torture.” [Read more…]

In which I annoy everyone all at once

There’s apparently a lot of discussion on Twitter about something Richard Dawkins said yesterday (on something – a debate with Mehdi Hasan? is that right? – that will be on Al-Jazeera in December). I’ve seen some of it, but also references to more, which I haven’t seen. The origin was a tweet (isn’t it always?) –

Tonight, Dawkins argued that teaching a child about hell is worse than a child being sexually abused, which he said ‘she might feel was yucky’.

Some people pointed out that he said the same thing in The God Delusion, and even supplied the page, so I looked it up.

Here’s the thing. I agree with people who are outraged by the “worse than a child being sexually abused” part, but I agree with Dawkins that the badness of teaching children that hell is real is terrible and that that gets neglected. [Read more…]

A mark of the beast

A Texas high school wants its students to carry ID cards with microchips, so that it can tell where they are.

ID badges containing radio tags started to be introduced at the start of the 2012 school year to schools run by San Antonio’s Northside Independent School District (NISD). The tracking tags gave NISD a better idea of the numbers of students attending classes each day – the daily average of which dictates how much cash it gets from state coffers.

I can’t help thinking it would be better if schools were small enough so that they could have a handle on how many students were attending just by eyeballing the classroom, but hey, I know that would cost more money and education of other people’s children isn’t a priority. So are these badges with tags ok? I don’t know; they seem intrusive to me, but then I don’t have a huge factory full of teenagers to run. [Read more…]

Those things that we all have in common

Another Very Young Girl spots the unfairness in gender stereotyping in the toy department.

A six-year-old girl wrote Hasbro to let them know they only have bros (HIGH FIVE!) in their game, Guess Who. You know, the game that’s like memory but all the characters have googly eyes, dodgy mustaches, and bad toupees? Well, guess who’s not in the game? Women. Actually, no, that’s not fair, there are five girls and nineteen boys. Five girls and nineteen boys.

What is it with that? I swear, I think there are actually people who think women are a small fraction of the population.

Her letter is short and to the point. [Read more…]

Very young real housewives of Malibu

This is from two years ago, but so what – it’s still on point.

One wonders why the video that has a FEATURED label at the top of the right hand column is the one titled Anti Feminist, which features someone who 1. calls herself Trish 2. appears to be imitating a Barbie doll 3. says “like” every third word. It’s funny the way people who aren’t good at talking think it’s a good idea to make vlogs.

Anyway. Anita Sarkeesian, before all the Iago syndrome.

Update: before all the Iago syndrome that prompted misogynists to do everything they could to degrade and silence her, was what I meant.

This cannot be revoked

The news from Egypt is appalling. The Islamist Morsi has granted himself the power to do anything he wants to do without any hindrance from courts.

President Mohamed Morsi issued a decree on Thursday granting himself broad powers above any court as the guardian of Egypt’s revolution, and used his new authority to order the retrial of Hosni Mubarak.

Mr. Morsi, an Islamist and Egypt’s first elected president, portrayed his decree as an attempt to fulfill popular demands for justice and protect the transition to a constitutional democracy. But the unexpected breadth of the powers he seized raised immediate fears that he might become a new strongman. [Read more…]