I can’t believe I actually have to answer this question

Greta Christina has put up the Bat Signal:

But it’s also a ridiculous question because the reality of racism is extremely well-established, with study after study after study. Charging into a conversation about racism and saying, “Give me scientific evidence that it exists!” is about as absurd as charging into a conversation about vaccinations and saying, “Give me scientific evidence that vaccinations even work!” It’s one of the reasons that, in the Race and Inclusivity — A To-Do List post I put on my blog, “Get your “Race and Racism 101″ on Google or at the library. Don’t expect people of color who come to your group or event to bring you up to speed” was on the list. It’s incredibly frustrating to have to re-introduce ground-level concepts to people who are jumping into the conversation but haven’t bothered to do their homework. (And since atheists are a subset of our society at large, it would be an extraordinary claim indeed to assume that atheists are somehow miraculously free of this racism.)

However, I’m swamped today, and I really don’t have time to do Google-Fu, and email all my friends and colleagues who have sociology and psychology studies at their fingertips, and otherwise spend the entire day lining up links to the countless studies demonstrating the reality of racism. So I’m going to crowd-source it. People here who do have sociology and psychology studies at your fingertips… can you please provide links to scientific studies on racism? Thank you.

So I’m going to help out, because I like Greta.

I’m a little annoyed that Emil Karlsson, for whom this list is being assembled, hasn’t bothered to put any effort whatsoever into looking into the question before deciding that it’s all a bunch of hooey that needs to be proven to his own satisfaction before he’ll accept that the problem is a problem (and I wonder if he would stand up on that soapbox and demand the same kind of evidence to substantiate discrimination facing atheists). That being said, I just so happen to run a blog that talks specifically about racism. So Mr. Karlsson, and others who are hyper-skeptical about the existence of racism, hopefully some of this will filter through. [Read more…]

Because I am an atheist: Shaun

Today’s contribution is an alternative take on the question, submitted via e-mail by Shaun, who blogs at PolySkeptic

Because I am an atheist…

…I don’t think that there is anything that can be derived from being an atheist per se.  I do not believe that I do anything because I’m an atheist, but I am an atheist and polyamorous because I am a skeptic.

I am a skeptic primarily.  I have always been an atheist, but when I started trying to apply skepticism to as many aspects of my beliefs, actions, etc it changed what I did and how I think.  Being skeptical was the start to becoming a better person.

So, because I’m a skeptic (or at least because I try and apply skepticism to my life), I try to question my own assumptions and try to listen to others when my experience is insufficient.  I try to believe as may true things, and reject as many unsupported things, as I can.  I care about what is true, and find criticism to be a powerful and important tool. [Read more…]

The new hotness: Bad Science Watch

My skeptical teeth were cut on religious claims – I got into the skeptical blogosphere (and learned the resulting jargon and necessary facts) as a direct result of my wrangling with my own newly-recognized atheism. I rather quickly and seamlessly migrated from there to my discussions of race and social justice, but there was a serious in-between time when I spent a lot of time learning the ways of skep-fu in the alt-med school. I am, in that sense, a pretty bad skeptic because despite getting my start there, I spend comparatively little time talking about the ‘hard science’ stuff that is probably most closely suited to my professional training.

Mea culpa, folks. I don’t have an agenda with this site – I just kinda write what I feel.

Luckily, I have a few colleagues/friends here in Vancouver who are on it big time: [Read more…]

Because I am an atheist: scottplumer

Today’s contribution was submitted as a comment by reader scotplumer:

Because I am an atheist…

…I don’t pray for people who are in dire straights, I do stuff for them. A friend of mine has melanoma (which now is in remission). While many of his friends and family prayed for him, my wife and I made him and his family dinner and took it to them. I also helped him fixing some things around the house he was too weak to take care of himself. I changed the battery in his van, replaced the CPU fan in his computer, and a few other things.

I don’t say this to gloat, or to show how wonderful I am. I say it because I know praying doesn’t do a damn thing, but it makes some people feel good. What I did was a burden, financially (we paid for the meal and the car battery) and on our time. It didn’t make us feel good, but it accomplished something. I like to think that it also contributed to his recovery, since some of the stressors in his life were lifted, so he could focus more on his health. So far, so good!

Consider submitting your own statement, by e-mail or as a comment!

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No, but seriously… what ABOUT the menz?!

One common complaint about feminism is that it is inherently anti-male. “It’s right there in the name,” say critics “you should just call it humanism if it’s not inherently gender biased!” As tedious as I find arguments over semantics, I will allow myself to be drawn into this one long enough to say that the reason it is called feminism is because it came as a response to the prevailing misogynist culture. The fact that it has grown and developed since then doesn’t require the existence of a new word, it simply requires our understanding to grow along with it.

But there is something besides simple semantics to the complaint. Feminism, at least as popularly practiced, tends to focus on issues relevant to cis women when compared to cis men. To an outsider’s view, it would certainly seem as though feminism is based on the overriding axiom that women are always treated as lesser than men. Cases in which men suffer are thus dismissed as either of secondary important or simply illusory complaints by people who have all the privilege anyway.

It certainly raises the question of why any man would self-identify as a feminist, considering that he will spend his entire life having his complaints ignored and dismissed. Lurid fantasies about the intentions of male feminists bubble to the surface – they (we) must be working an angle to be accepted by women feminists in order to have ready access to the orgy tent or something. While that is certainly a parsimonious explanation (especially when passed through a filter of bitter resentment), it is a particularly odious (and internally incoherent*) lie.

But the question remains, why don’t feminists care about stuff like this: [Read more…]