Why Are LGBT Rights Thriving While Choice Suffers?

Justice

This article on the Daily Beast by Jay Michaelson spotlighted a trend that I've noticed and wondered about the reasons for: in America these past few years, LGBT rights are making great strides, while women's rights continue to fall further and further behind. The contrast between the health of these two progressive causes is striking, and cries out for an explanation. Same-sex marriage is winning victory after victory, including in red states like Kentucky and Utah, to the point where even … [Read more...]

When Will We Have an Atheist President?

LincolnMemorial

So far this year, a rightward-leaning Supreme Court has issued two major rulings granting sweeping new privileges to religious belief. Atheists and secularists in America are angry and frustrated, and it's natural to wonder when we'll have a government that heeds our wishes. Is there any prospect of an atheist president any time soon, or a nonbeliever in some other high political office? My message, to atheists and friends of secularism, is that there's reason to hope. It won't be next … [Read more...]

SF/F Saturday: The Long Earth

TheLongEarth

Terry Pratchett is famous for his Discworld fantasy series, but he's tried his hand at science fiction as well. His most recent effort in this vein, in collaboration with the author Stephen Baxter, is The Long Earth, which is based on an idea that predates the Discworld books and that he's only now decided to bring to life. The premise of The Long Earth is humanity's invention of a device called the "stepper", which makes it possible to travel to parallel universes. But these universes come … [Read more...]

Atlas Shrugged: The Lion’s Share

Lion

Atlas Shrugged, part II, chapter III Now that we've seen Lillian's reaction to her discovery of Hank's affair, let's flash back briefly. Earlier in the chapter, while Hank and Dagny were in bed together, she said this to him: "Hank, I want nothing from you except what you wish to give me. Do you remember that you called me a trader once? I want you to come to me seeking nothing but your own enjoyment. So long as you wish to remain married, whatever your reason, I have no right to resent … [Read more...]

The Supreme Court Unleashes Chaos

The Supreme Court handed down its Hobby Lobby decision this week, and it was as bad as many of us had feared. In a 5-4 ruling (of course), five conservative male justices handed down the worst church-state decision in years, possibly even worse than the atrocious Hein decision: that a privately held corporation can impose limits on how workers use the health insurance they've earned as part of their compensation. For better or for worse, past cases about religious exemption have turned on the … [Read more...]

The Richard Dawkins Facepalm Watch, Vol. III

Facepalm2

I used to admire and look up to Richard Dawkins; I really did. But it's becoming harder for me to remember why. Over the last few years, my esteem for him has sunk lower and lower in response to a steady stream of callous, ill-thought-out or just plain ignorant remarks he's made. And last week, he hit a new low: Learned a useful new phrase this week: Social Justice Warrior. SJWs can't forgive Shakespeare for having the temerity to be white and male.— Richard Dawkins … [Read more...]

Atlas Shrugged: Cherchez la Femme

You're the only one who understands me.

Atlas Shrugged, part II, chapter III After the disastrous ending of Jim Taggart's wedding party, Hank drops Lillian off at the train station, telling her he has to stay in New York for some more business appointments the next day. Then he goes straight to Dagny's apartment for that hot capitalist lovin' he missed out on earlier. Later, their pillow talk wanders to the subject of Hank's wife: "Dagny, what do you think of my marriage?" "I have no right to think of it." "You must have … [Read more...]

Sexist Religion Still Isn’t a Democracy

BricksInWall

In past eras when ignorance and prejudice were the norm, religious authorities could decree ignorant and prejudiced rules without anyone taking notice. But in the centuries since, the world has changed, while religious morality has largely stayed the same; and to many believers of the modern era, those unchanging doctrines, born in a darker time, are archaic relics at best and an embarrassment at worst. The passage of time casts the contradictions between moral progress and ancient dogma into … [Read more...]

Grief Beyond Belief

I've been writing about atheism for some years now, and one of my great joys has been watching the secular community grow and thrive. Once, our main pastimes were debating philosophy on the internet and filing church-state lawsuits. Now we have political lobbying arms, atheist parenting guides, secular student clubs and summer camps, humanist communities and celebrants, and more. We're getting closer and closer to the ideal of a true secular community whose members offer tangible support to each … [Read more...]

Atlas Shrugged: Pump and Dump

BurningMoney

Atlas Shrugged, part II, chapter II After Francisco's big speech comes to an end, a suitably impressed Hank Rearden comes over to talk to him: "Before I met you, I used to wonder how you could waste a fortune such as yours. Now it's worse, because I can't despise you as I did, as I'd like to, yet the question is much more terrible: How can you waste a mind such as yours?" Francisco parries that he doesn't think he is wasting it. Rearden asks Francisco why he doesn't practice what he … [Read more...]


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