Is The Use of Pepper Spray Torture?

Yesterday digby discussed various cases of the use of pepper spray to argue that it is obviously torture. Is it torture? If it is torture but in some cases it could foreseeably prevent an altercation with greater likelihood of long term physical damage could it be justified nonetheless?  Is it only unjustified when applied to non-violent [Read More...]

A Philosophical Polemic Against Moral Nihilism

Jesse is undeterred by my argument that at least some of our moralities (or elements of them) can be objectively defended even though the physical universe (taken as an entirety) does not care about them: Daniel– I haven’t gone deeply enough through the other posts you linked to, and I will — but I think [Read More...]

What Would JT Do…When Propositioned For Sex By A Married Woman…

JT shares an intimate story about apprehensively taking up a polyamorist married woman on her invitation for sex: On the way to her house I asked her where her husband was that night. “At home” came the thoughtless reply.  Oh fuck. And like that we were walking into her house.  Within seconds Chris, her husband, [Read More...]

Emma Goldman's "The Victims of Morality"

In reply to my dialogue which I posted this morning examining what I perceive to be immoralism’s important contributions to moral thinking and its inevitable limits, a reader sent me to investigate Max Stirner and Emma Goldman. I may have something to say about Stirner in the future if time permits. But for now I [Read More...]

Bullying or Debating? Religious Privilege or Freedom of Speech?

Jaime: Did you see the Republicans just endorsed the right to bully in schools as long as it’s done in the name of religion. Kelly: They did not. Jaime: Yes. They did. They perversely added to anti-bullying bill the right to bully as long as such bullying was based on “sincerely held religious or moral convictions.” [Read More...]

Paterno and the Pope

Jon Stewart says what needs to be said. (via Kylie) Freethought Blogs coverage of this disgrace comes from Pharyngula: What? It’s not just Catholic priests? and This is why I hate college football programs, Digital Cuttlefish: Am I Making Myself Clear?, Commradde Physioprof: Does Penn State Actively Condone The Rape Of Children?, and Almost Diamonds: Understanding Penn State. Your Thoughts? [Read more...]

A Critique of Noble Lies And The "Theologies" They Create

In this long post, I begin by explaining Plato’s formulation of the concept of a noble lie for those unfamiliar with it and then I explain in detail numerous problems I see with employing noble lies and with attempts to persuade people through “theological” arguments. I think all theology is either an explicit or an [Read More...]

Force and Reason

In previous posts (like Rational Passional Persuasion and On Zealously, Tentatively, and Perspectivally Holding Viewpoints) I have argued that there is a proper place for emotional appeals as part of a rational argument. In the last couple of weeks, though, I have also argued firmly against certain kinds of emotional appeals that I consider abusive, counter-productive, and hypocritical [Read More...]

A Debate About The Wisdom of Trying To Deconvert People

Jaime: So I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how best to debate the existence of God with religious believers… Kelly: Why would you do that? Jaime: Do what? Kelly: Debate the existence of God with religious believers. What’s the point in that? Jaime: What do you mean, “what’s the point?” We live in the [Read More...]

Fighting The Dictionary

Ophelia wrote an insightful, controversial paragraph: Churches don’t do education. Religion doesn’t do education. Churches and religion do religion, which is different from education. Education is what schools do. It is fundamentally secular – it is about the world, and exploring and learning about the world. Like newspapers, like forensics, like medicine, like so many human institutions, [Read More...]