Archives for May 2013

Free Speech vs. Freeze Peach

Last month, a broad spectrum of feminist activists and organizations published an open letter to Facebook, demanding that the social-networking colossus crack down on pages that glorify or promote violence against women. Although Facebook's moderators had long disallowed anti-Semitism, gay-bashing and other kinds of hateful content, they often excused misogynist pages, even graphically violent ones, as mere "distasteful humor".If anything ever seemed like a David-versus-Goliath battle, it … [Read more...]

Book Review: God and the Atom

(Author's Note: The following review was solicited and is written in accordance with this site's policy for such reviews.)Summary: Written at an expert level; ordinary readers won't be able to keep up.Victor Stenger is a professor of physics and the author of many atheist books such as God: The Failed Hypothesis. His new book God and the Atom brings these domains together by arguing for the importance of atomic theory in disproving theism.Stenger's aim is to show that scientists … [Read more...]

Winning a Two-Front War Against Anti-Feminists

This past weekend, while I was attending Women in Secularism 2, I was also reading Kathryn Joyce's Quiverfull. Joyce's book is an outstanding piece of reporting on the network of fundamentalist Christian churches and preachers who teach that the only role of women in life is to get married, to be completely obedient to their husbands and to bear as many children as possible. Depending on how extreme they are, Quiverfull preachers and other members of the Christian patriarchy movement teach that … [Read more...]

Weekend Coffee: May 26

• Presenting the inaugural Patheos Atheists Blog Carnival! Dan Fincke has put together a list of some of the best recent writing from all of us. Go check it out!• From the Department of You Can't Make This Up: earlier this week, the pope made a surprisingly ecumenical comment about how even atheists can be good people. A Vatican spokesman then issued a follow-up in which he clarified that, just in case there was any doubt, we're still going to hell.• After the … [Read more...]

Atlas Shrugged: Unfortunate Implications

Atlas Shrugged, p.54-55I've said that Ayn Rand, although she never misses an opportunity to tell us that her characters are bold and heroic, only rarely shows us what it is they actually do on a day-to-day basis. We have to glean what her worldview would mean in practice from the little details that slip in around the edges. The next scene, with Dagny, is thick with these implications:Dagny Taggart was nine years old when she decided that she would run the Taggart Transcontinental … [Read more...]

My Interview with Thom Hartmann

As you know if you follow me on Twitter, last night I was on TV, being interviewed by Thom Hartmann for his show The Big Picture. I had a short segment discussing my latest AlterNet column on harassment of church-state plaintiffs.Watch it below:My appearance is at around 45 minutes into the show. If you'd like to skip directly to it, you can use this link. … [Read more...]

New on AlterNet: Harassment of Church-State Plaintiffs

My latest column is now up on AlterNet, Outrageous Attacks on Supporters of Church-State Separation: Death Threats, Murdered Pets, and Vandalized Property. In it, I report on the campaigns of harassment, persecution, and even criminal violence that are all too often waged against First Amendment advocates in religious areas of the country. Read the excerpt below, then click through to see the rest:As often happens in these cases, FFRF plaintiffs asked to have their identities concealed … [Read more...]

Women in Secularism 2 Wrap-Up

This past weekend, I was in Washington, D.C. for the second Women in Secularism conference, sponsored by the Center for Inquiry. As promised, here's my report.I was expecting the conference to be overwhelmingly attended by women, but I was pleasantly surprised that there was only a slight majority of women over men, maybe 55-45 or 60-40. That could just be a consequence of the fact that men generally outnumber women in the secular movement, but I don't think so, since I'm told the first WiS … [Read more...]

Some Sadly Necessary Remarks on the #wiscfi Intro

Hey everyone - I'm checking in from the final day of the Women in Secularism 2 convention in Washington, D.C. I'm going to write a full wrap-up later (and I enjoyed it enormously, I want to be very clear about that), but there's something that cast a cloud over this weekend, and I want to clear the air about it first.Although every other speaker this weekend was a woman, as you'd expect at a conference about women in secularism, Ron Lindsay, the president and CEO of the Center for Inquiry, … [Read more...]

Atlas Shrugged: Regulatory Capture

Atlas Shrugged, p.48-53Orren Boyle, Jim Taggart, Hank's friend Paul Larkin, and someone named Wesley Mouch are having a conversation over drinks in a bar on top of a skyscraper in New York City. Boyle is complaining bitterly about being snubbed by Taggart Transcontinental, insisting that his failure to deliver the rail they needed isn't his fault."My purpose," said Orren Boyle, "is the preservation of a free economy.... Unless it proves its social value and assumes its social … [Read more...]