Forward Thinking: A Values Development Project

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As far as I am concerned the vast majority of blogs I read, whether they realize it or not, are values blogs. And this is because values are an inescapable and fundamental part of life. Most of the political, social, and personal questions that concern us daily are unintelligible apart from their values dimensions. If I [Read More...]

A Study Provides Evidence That Incivility Closes Minds

A study shows that name calling and “flaming” makes people double down on their orignal positions. What I’ve been arguing for a long time. But many atheists do not want to hear it. They insist on perpetuating obstacles to objective critical thinking. They are promoting the very emotionalism and tribalism that they were supposedly appalled by in religious people. [Read more...]

Research Suggests Verbal Abuse Hinders Brain Development

Results of a study “revealed that those individuals who reported experiencing verbal abuse from their peers during middle school years had underdeveloped connections between the left and right sides of their brain through the massive bundle of connecting fibers called the corpus callosum. Psychological tests given to all subjects in the study showed that this same group of individuals had higher levels of anxiety, depression, anger, hostility, dissociation, and drug abuse than others in the study.”

I make the case we shouldn’t be perpetuating that damagin abuse (or ruled by our own trauma from experiencing it) as adults. We need to conscientiously work to eradicate verbal harassment, including name-calling, from both children’s and adults’ lives. [Read more...]

Libby Anne on Abortion

Last month Libby Anne’s blog exploded when she posted a long article on how she lost faith in the pro-life movement and became pro-choice all because back when she still believed every zygote was a baby she became convinced that pro-choice policies were the best way to actually minimize the deaths of babies. In this post I round up a number of links to important posts she has written on abortion and contraception this fall. [Read more...]

The Virtue of Steelmanning

One of my new best friends on Facebook, Chana Messinger has written a very good post about the reasons to “steelman” others’ arguments. I had never heard this word before but I love it. It means to figure out even better arguments for your opponents’ positions while arguing with them and to beat those arguments [Read More...]

After My Deconversion: Avoiding The Abuser’s Dialectic (Or “My Nietzschean Lion Stage of Indignation”)

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Usually when I lose my temper, I am not proud of it afterwards. But a particular pair of temper tantrums I threw in graduate school revealed to me something important about my own self-understanding and my sense of dignity.

But I also am very leery of falling prey to what I here dub “The Abuser’s Dialectic”. I would rather achieve a sort of Stoic overcoming of emotions that are reactive to others and, in that way, extensions of others’ abilities to control us, manipulate us, and make us into them. [Read more...]

Melissa Harris-Perry Responds To Richard Mourdock

Melissa Harris-Perry draws on her own experience to explain rape and its consequences to Richard Mourdock. [Read more...]

Fifty Shades of Grey Related to the Ethics of Romanticizing Abusiveness for the Sake of Fantasy

According to Laci Green, the book Fifty Shades of Grey celebrates an abusive relationship rather than healthy BDSM practices. This raises many questions for me about the ethics of art that eroticizes literal abusiveness. Is it bad in itself to enjoy the idea of abusiveness? Is it bad only if it creates, contributes to, or reinforces unhealthy attitudes, whether in oneself or in one’s broader culture? Can we indulge our dark sides at all morally through roleplaying? Can we indulge them even more in art than even through roleplaying? I have lots of questions. I need Your Thoughts. [Read more...]

Do Marginalized People Need To Be Insulting In Order To Be Empowered?

I believe that how we engage in debate with other people is an ethically serious matter. When I wrote my moderation policy for this blog this past summer, I did not just aim to lay down the rules for this blog but I also aimed to express my broader ethical judgments about the impermissibility of [Read More...]


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