In Defense of the Moral Cause of Feminism

In the last few years I have written a lot both on behalf of social justice and on the need to elevate the discourse surrounding it. I can say unequivocally that the feminist blogosphere and my activist feminist friends have made me a far better ethicist, a far better person, and a far better man [Read More...]

Feminism, Civility, and Ron Lindsay’s Welcome to Women in Secularism

At Women in Secularism, Ron Lindsay did us defenders of civility a huge disfavor by manifoldly insulting feminists. [Read more...]

How Civility Allows Idea Orgies

Riffing off a Douglas Adams parable about intolerant tree dwellers, J. Daniel Sawyer makes a case for civility that includes a great paragraph about how ideas get it on with each other:   Through most of the world, throughout most of history, the proper and expected response to a person who trespasses upon your ideology has [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...]

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...]

Marginalized Groups, Civility, Privilege, and What Replaces Religion: An Interview with James Croft

I just finished having a great conversation with James Croft of the blog Temple of the Future for this week’s episode of The Camels With Hammers Show. There is a special announcement related to James’s blog at the end of the interview. We had some technical difficulties so the interview took the form of two parts.

In the first video we talked primarily about my stance in favor of civility. I have in recent months controversially argued that members of marginalized groups shouldn’t embrace using abusive language as a routine method of fighting oppression. I decided to run these views by James, who is himself gay and a vigorous activist for both atheist and gay causes.

In the second video, James answers my questions about whether people with social privilege can ever learn enough about out-group experiences in order to offer critical suggestions to members of marginalized groups or whether an epistemic privilege stemming from marginalization can be absolute. Then the rest of the video is spent discussing questions about controversies in the atheist community related to how to relate to religious people and how atheists can go about meeting people’s needs that most people presently turn to religion for–without turning atheism into a religion itself.

Click on the title of this post to see the videos! [Read more...]

My Philosophy on What the Best Freethinking and Free Speech Really Entail

Anyone who has ever had me for a professor will attest that I foster an environment of open discussion in which everyone is free to express his or her mind. And they will also tell you that a wide range of people express a great many dissenting viewpoints on almost any topic that we discuss. [Read More...]

Not Every Blog Is For Everybody

We at Freethought Blogs spend a lot of time talking about blogs and people we like a lot and would love to bring on board to blog with us. From the first of those discussions that I was a part of, I was a strong proponent of our finding a good blogger who escaped the [Read More...]

How To Both Love And Debate People (And Knock Off The Attempts To “Save” Them)

A somewhat unpleasantly hostile atheist is outraged that a nephew, with whom this atheist is admittedly not very close, announced on Facebook plans to study theology (in addition to political science).  Here is what the atheist wants to say to the nephew “in a nutshell”: “In a nutshell, I think religion is: pernicious fraud and one [Read More...]


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