“This thread combines a number of examples where atheists, humanists and/or secularists have been threatened or coerced into silence, both by Muslims and by institutions or other groups apparently subscribing to the view that ‘If someone believes it, you must respect it’. All these examples have happened in the UK in the course of the last week or so. … But the key thing to note in all these cases is that it is no longer just the religious who would inhibit our freedom of expression: increasingly, secular bodies are buying into this invidious idea too, all in the name of ‘tolerance’ or ‘community relations’ or ‘respect’.”
Fuck it, I’m joining the EDL.
Just kidding, I don’t have the beer belly or the conviction for football hooliganism and I’ve never seen a “Muslamic raygun”. Still, it is alarming to see these things happening in Britain. Who are the reasonable opposition? Can’t leave something that important to the Nazis. (tags: shariaspeechfreedomislamismukislam)
A summary of blogged responses to that “I hate religion but love Jesus” video that’s been doing the rounds. I made a comment at the bottom. Also good for the comment thread on Atheismo, the diety for atheists. (tags: relationship with godvideoatheismreligion)
Well known complementarian and fan of big strong manly men, Mark Driscoll, recently did an interview with Justin Brierley of Premier Christian Radio. Driscoll came out with a few choice quotes about Christians in the UK (“guys in dresses preaching to grandmas”).
“Project Euler is a series of challenging mathematical/computer programming problems that will require more than just mathematical insights to solve. Although mathematics will help you arrive at elegant and efficient methods, the use of a computer and programming skills will be required to solve most problems.” (tags: puzzlesmathsmathematicsprogramming)
“The undeniable fact is this: God does not show up in the real world, not visibly, not audibly, not tangibly, not for you, not for me, not for saint or for sinner or for seeker. … the inescapable consequence is that we have no alternative but to put our faith in men rather than in God. … When men say things on God’s behalf, and make promises that God is supposed to keep, the word they tell you is the word of men, not the word of God. That’s true even if what men say is, “This is the word of God.” They’re not giving you God’s word, they’re giving you man’s word about God’s word (or at least what they claim is God’s word). Sure, you can believe what men tell you about God if you like, but if you do, you are putting your faith in men. Before you can have faith in God, God has to show up, in person, to tell you directly the things He wants you to have faith in. Otherwise it’s just faith in men.” (tags: deacon-duncanreligionatheism)
The atheist society at UCL posted a Jesus and Mo cartoon as the image accompanying their Facebook event. One Muslim objected as the cartoon depicts Mohammed in a pub (what the Muslim was doing looking at the Facebook page for an atheist event isn’t clear). The UCL student union got a complaint from someone and asked them to take it down. They refused. The story got picked up by atheist blogs and Dawkins Our Leader and hence the newspapers. The union backed down though there’s still the vague threat in the air that the atheist soc might be guilty of bullying or harassment.
kuro5hin is still alive: who knew? Anyway, this is a recent Diary entry from HollyHopDrive who discovered a bunch of Fat Acceptance blogs while looking for fitness information. Her division of what she found into stuff she agrees with and bullshit looks sound. (tags: medicinehealthfat)
The expression of mental illness is cultural: anorexia was more or less introduced to Hong Kong by newspaper articles. A view in which mental illness is caused by brain problems rather than childhood experiences or demons actually makes people less sympathetic to those with mental illness, because they’re perceived as being unfixable. (tags: anorexiaschizophreniaculturesciencepsychiatrypsychology)
“On 16 December 1893, when Parliament had been in continuous session for 11 months and it had been announced that members would have only four daysě°˝€™ recess for Christmasě°˝€”Mr Gladstone received a letter in a neat but childish hand, written on ruled paper, from the infant son of the Earl of Pembroke.” (tags: parliamenthistoryfunnypolitics)
Louise M. Antony writes a reasonable introduction to the idea that being an atheist does not lead to moral nihilism. Mentions the Euthyphro dilemma but doesn’t deal directly with apologetical responses about “God’s nature” (but then we’ve dealt with those here before, I think). (tags: Euthyphromoralityethicsphilosophyreligionatheism)
This is great, and has productive discussion in the comments too. Subscribed!
“Recall that the rise of science did not subtract from our pre-existing resources for investigating the world. Rather, it added to them; and the old pragmatic and scholarly methods and the new, distinctively scientific, ones can always be used together in any given case. We need to know whether such claims as that Jesus rose from the dead and that the universe was created by God are plausible when set against what we know overall about how the world works, both through methods that we could have employed anyway and through the distinctive methods developed by science.
“The extreme right benefits from the availability of politically respectable criticisms of Islamic thought and associated cultural practices. As this goes on, there is a risk that the word “Islamophobia” will be used to demonize and intimidate individuals whose hostility to Islam is genuinely based on what they perceive as its faults. In particular, we should remember that Islam contains ideas, and in a liberal democracy ideas are fair targets for criticism or repudiation. … After all, there are reasons why extreme-right organizations have borrowed arguments based on feminism and secularism. These arguments are useful precisely because they have an intellectual and emotional appeal independent of their convenience to extreme-right opportunists.” (tags: islamophobiapoliticsreligionislam)
“Fear of sexism has produced a bias against conceding sex differences, which gets in the way of frank discussion and investigation.” “Beware any explanation that relies on a single factor. Hormones matter, but so does socialization.” “The fishy part of neuroscience isn’t the data. It’s the spin we put on the data in the guise of explanation.” (tags: genderneurosciencepsychologyfeminism)
Tycho and Gabe talking about what they should teach their kids about religion. Interesting that Gabe (who’s son is also called Gabe) is a vague theist but didn’t want to pass on much formal religion to his son, but Tycho (an atheist) thought the kid should know about the Bible. (tags: atheismreligionbiblepenny-arcadechildren)
Quotes Ian Pollock: "What you will probably not notice, however, is that increasingly when you don’t know what you think about some issue yet (say, your country’s stance on foreign affairs), you will take your cue from other self-identified conservatives, as opposed to thinking it through yourself and then describing your conclusion in political terminology. The normative self-definition has staged its coup d’etat. Whatever “conservatives” think, that is going to be your opinion. Of course, when I put it that way, it looks ridiculous. But from the inside, this process feels perfectly rational — like wisely throwing your lot in with a really smart group of people." (tags: pseudosciencerationalityreligionbrandatheism)
"This dynamic of people asking for facts, or at least data, beyond the anecdotal, is in itself non-partisan; implications otherwise are a form of ad hominem argument which is generally not relevant to the discussion at hand." (tags: argumentrationality)
"Retaliation is a Jenkins CI build monitor that automatically coordinates a foam missile counter-attack against the developer who breaks the build. It does this by playing a pre-programmed control sequence to a USB Foam Missile Launcher to target the offending code monkey." Excellent. (tags: programminghumourfunnymissilebuildintegrationjenkins)
An Austrian atheist has won the right to be shown on his driving-licence photo wearing a pasta strainer as "religious headgear". This sounds sensible to me: if you're going to allow special privileges for religions, you should do so for all of them. (tags: religionatheismfunnypastafarianismramenfsm)
Bitcoin is a distributed digital currency, which hit the news recently after someone set up a site where you could buy illegal drugs using it. This Economist article is a great introduction to how it works. (tags: cryptographyeconomicsbitcoineconomistinternet)
Of course, in the UK, we don't have an unqualified right to silence, but this stuff's interesting anyway. There's a follow-on video where a police officer responds and says the professor is right 🙂 (tags: lawvideopolicelegallecturesrights)
"I do (despite appearances) totally understand the importance of prayer for some people – I know people who use it as a kind of meditation to clear their heads, to unburden their guilt or to enter some kind of celestial lottery of hope. But, given current world events, the message ‘Try Praying’ is a grimly obscuring lens through which to view your surroundings." (tags: religioncultureadvertisingprayeredinburghchristianity)
"Imagine a language in which, instead of saying ‘I found nobody in the room’ one said, ‘I found Mr. Nobody in the room.’ Imagine the philosophical problems that would arise out of such a convention. " Sam Harris quotes Wittgenstein to explain why he doesn't like to call himself an atheist. (tags: wittgensteinatheismphilosophylanguagesam-harris)
Graying mocks the people who call atheists militant and fundamentalist, and talks about his new book: "But the third point is about our ethics – how we live, how we treat one another, what the good life is. And that's the question that really concerns me the most." (tags: philosophyreligionatheismgraylingbooks)
"It's considered perfectly normal in this society to approach dying people who are unbelievers and say 'Now are you going to change your mind?'" Well, yes, that's anticipating-as-if there's a Hell, say. But if we're going to apply the norms of discussion fairly, I like Hitchens’ idea of atheists going round religious hospitals. 🙂 (tags: christopher-hitchensdeathreligionhellconversion)
"What would it feel like to believe that anyone really deserved eternal conscious torment? Is it even humanly possible?" I think that Georges Rey's "meta-atheism" is correct on this point: most Christians don't anticipate-as-if there's a Hell, though claiming to believe it and still worshipping a monster is bad enough. berneray's comment is good, read that as well. (tags: hellchristianityreligionandrew-brown)
Via CW at Lindy. There seems to be much more debate about this than there is in ballroom, perhaps because ballroom's more conservative anyway, perhaps because it's settled by "you're shorter, therefore you're going backwards so I can see over you". (tags: dancinglindyleadingfollowingswing)
"No platitudes, just straight talking on govt IT from Martin Rice of agile software company Erudine." I've heard tales of middlemen charging government the Earth to take an £100/year hosting account and install WordPress on it. Glad to see someone speaking up. (tags: governmenteconomicspoliticsukwaterfallagileIT)