Catholic Bloggers Don’t Understand Catholic Doctrine

Following up on my post about the preventable death of Savita Halappanavar due to anti-choice theology, three Catholic blogs at Patheos have weighed in: "Savita's tragic death could have been avoided", "Savita's Death and Common Sense", "and Savita Halappanavar's Death". All three of them take the same position: that Savita's death was an avoidable and tragic accident, that her life could have been saved in a way consistent with Catholic law. Here's how one of them puts it:Even if you are … [Read more...]

For Savita

Savita Halappanavar is dead, and she shouldn't be. That has to be the beginning and end of anything anyone writes about this. Savita was 31 years old, married, four months pregnant with her first child, a dentist who lived near Galway in Ireland. Last month, she went to the hospital with what she thought were back pains, but the doctors soon determined she was having a miscarriage. In these cases, there's no chance of the fetus surviving, but the mother is at grave risk of infection the longer … [Read more...]

Skepticon V Impressions

This past weekend, I was in Springfield, Missouri for Skepticon V ("the fifth most annual Skepticon yet"). I had such a fantastic time at Skepticon IV in 2011, it was a foregone conclusion that I'd go back this year, and I wasn't disappointed. Skepticon is one of the largest atheist conventions in the country (1500+ people this time around), while managing the remarkable feat of being completely free, and still draws a top-notch speaker slate. And yes, I was on stage this year! I was privileged … [Read more...]

Piercing the Republican Epistemic Bubble

I've written some overarching thoughts about last week's presidential election, but I wanted to dwell on one of its more fascinating aspects: the extent to which the Republican party was blindsided by the outcome. Going into Tuesday, countless Republicans had predicted a solid victory for Mitt Romney, and it's clear that this wasn't just a political ploy to sway media coverage. On the contrary, Republicans at every level sincerely believed this - ordinary voters, professional pundits, and … [Read more...]

Putting an End to Pulpit Politicking

Now that the election is over, it's time for American freethinkers to turn our attention to some unfinished business. And here's one thing that should be at the top of the list. Churches in America receive a broad array of special tax privileges and exemptions, in exchange for which they have just one meaningful restriction: namely, that they can't tell their members to vote for or against a specific candidate. This is a narrowly drawn and easily evaded rule, but for a long time now, right-wing … [Read more...]

Open Thread: Four More Years!

The 2012 election is officially over, and it was glorious. Barack Obama and the Democrats have delivered what one of our elder statesmen once referred to as "a thumping" to Romney and the Republicans. Here are some of my thoughts: • The sweeping electoral college victory. I'm glad to admit that President Obama surpassed my most optimistic expectations. I was confident he would win reelection - he could have done it just by winning Ohio, Wisconsin and Nevada, three swing states where the … [Read more...]

Open Thread: Election Speculation

Tomorrow is Election Day for all us Americans. And while I normally try to base my arguments on solid evidence, far be it from me to deny everyone the chance to speculate wildly about the future every few years. So, let's have it: What do you think is going to happen tomorrow? I'll start off: Given his small but stable lead in almost all the crucial swing states, I'm confident that Obama will be reelected, although the race will probably be closer than it was in 2008. I also think the Democrats … [Read more...]

Weekend Coffee: November 3

Coffee

• The big news, of course, is that the U.S. presidential election is on Tuesday. Take heart, progressives: although the media and the Republicans are straining mightily to pretend that the race is a dead heat, the state-by-state polls make Obama a clear favorite for reelection. • Skepticon 5, the amazing free conference for atheists and skeptics of all stripes, is coming up next weekend - but they haven't raised enough money to cover all their costs yet, and they need your help to … [Read more...]

Why You Should Be a Voter

In my earlier post about whether to vote for third parties, there were some commenters who asserted that there's no good reason to vote at all. Since we're now right on the verge of Election Day, I thought it was worthwhile to address this argument. Putting aside the inevitable paranoid conspiracy theories, the most common argument I've seen for the no-vote position is that the time and effort required to cast one's vote can be significant, whereas the probability of a single vote playing the … [Read more...]

The Ethic of Reciprocity

My recent post "Building Justice" talked about how human beings have to work together if we want to build a just world to live in. I want to say some more about that, not least because this week, everyone on the U.S. East Coast had a vivid demonstration of what we're up against. New York City, where I live, was among the worst hit by Hurricane Sandy. On Monday night, Twitter had one apocalyptic image after another: lower Manhattan eerily darkened, a Con Ed transformer exploding on 14th Street, … [Read more...]


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