Two sisters in Sulaimanya city

Someone tagged me in this Facebook post a couple of hours ago. I have no idea what the answer to the final question is.

Sorry for tagging you dear friends; but it is worth.
Yesterday two sisters (aged 16 and 18) were found killed and drowned in water in a district called Said Sadiq in Sulaimanya city. It is just a drop of the sea of crimes….
Can you imagine that you hear your neighbor’s cry when she is killed by her brother/father/husband/uncle/ or any male relative? Can you experience that more than 30000 women of “your country” are killed under the pretext of “honour”? It doesn’t need that you come and visit Kurdistan to experience that; watch it in some of the media and react. Being a “feminist”, how would you react to that femicide? We need an action against the government in Kurdistan. We need a struggle against the culture and religion which dishonour women in this way…… What can we do?

I wish I knew.

Edinburgh University Students Association rejects secularism

A press release from the University of Edinburgh Humanist Society:

EUSA Rejects Secularism

• Edinburgh University Students Association last night failed to endorse a motion to ensure equality for students of all beliefs, whether religious or not.

• Students recently passed “EUSA is a Feminist”, but last night “felt uncomfortable” voting in favour of “EUSA is a Secularist”. [Read more…]

Spotting the occult Conflict of Interest

Orac / David Gorski has a post about Conflicts of Interest and motivated reasoning.

He points out that COIs (it really should be CsOI, but I’ll go with COIs for simplicity) are not just financial, they’re also ideological and personal (and there are doubtless other kinds he didn’t enumerate).

That’s why I’ve become very insistent that we, as skeptics, scientists, and physicians, need to be totally up front about our conflicts of interest, be they financial, ideological, or personal. [Read more…]

Guest post: ‘Kill the Witch’ Miracle Crusade in Calabar

Guest post by Leo Igwe

The world may not have seen the last in terms of the inane witch-hunting campaign being waged by Pentecostal pastors in Nigeria. New christian witch-hunters – pastors and churches – are emerging with force and ferocity. Another ‘Kill the Witch’ miracle crusade has just been announced to take place next week. It will be held in Calabar, the capital of Cross River State in Southern Nigeria.


According to a poster being circulated in the city, the event :”Ikot Ishie/Ikot Ansa Miracle Crusade I AM THAT I AM” is to be held on March 3-5 with a ‘Tarry Night’ on Friday March 7 at AB Martins Field by Ikot Ishie Market in Calabar.

The theme of the event ‘That Witch Must Die’ is a clear indication of what the program is all about – an event to incite violence and hatred against innocent citizens. [Read more…]

We reserve the right to serve anybody

For a refreshing change, meet someone you’d like to sit next to at a bar or a conference or a pizzeria. Meet Rocco DiGrazia.

Editor’s note: Rocco DiGrazia describes himself as a “failed anthropologist and thwarted musician, but a decent father and passable pizzaiolo.” He owns Rocco’s Little Chicago Pizzeria in Tucson, Arizona, and is married with two children.

Ahhh, you’re saying to yourself, that Rocco. Yes. He wrote this piece explaining why he put that sign in the window. [Read more…]

Look at the specifics

Ron Lindsay wrote a post commenting on Ben Radford’s post. It’s good.

The concluding paragraphs:

That false reports happen is not disputed. Nor does anyone dispute that for the individual falsely accused, it’s a very unfortunate, sometimes tragic, situation. But is this a widespread problem? That’s the key question. One might think so from the attention Ben has given to it and his use of the adverb “often,” but, actually, the evidence seems to indicate it is not a widespread problem. [Read more…]

Where to place the emphasis

Speaking of foreign domestic workers in Saudi Arabia…the aforementioned country takes a step to catch up with labor laws circa 1400.

For the first time, Indonesian maids working in Saudi Arabia will be guaranteed a monthly wage, time off, and contact with their loved ones, under a new agreement signed by the Gulf kingdom and Jakarta this week.

Wo, generous. A wage! Time off! Permission to phone!

Human rights groups say the pact is a step towards ensuring the protection of foreign workers’ basic rights in Saudi Arabia. But it fails to address a worrying trend of domestic helpers filing complaints of exploitation and abuse only to face counter-allegations by their employers of “theft, witchcraft or adultery,” according to Human Rights Watch. [Read more…]

Of particular interest to skeptics

Huh. The stars must be aligned. Or is it the fates? Or the demons? Something. There was another post by a Big Skeptic yesterday on the subject of False Allegations of Sexual Assault. Two in one day. How about that!

It almost looks planned, doesn’t it. Arranged. Timed to coincide.

This one is by Ben Radford. It’s very long and much of it is very particular, but he also does some generalizing.

False accusations are of particular interest to skeptics because skepticism has often been at the forefront of giving voice to the wrongly accused. [Read more…]

Arizona says wait, come back

Arizona’s governor vetoed the “we can treat people badly because Jesus” bill yesterday.

The bill was inspired by episodes in other states in which florists, photographers and bakers were sued for refusing to cater to same-sex couples. But it would have allowed much broader religious exemptions by business owners.

Why why why why why can’t florists, photographers and bakers refuse to cater to people they consider oooky? Why? This is America, god damn it, and America was built on the principle that Nice people get to shit on people they consider oooky. [Read more…]