Weekend Bonus Music: Hard Believer

I was going to put up a Friday Night Music post, but I've been traveling this weekend and didn't have the time. So, here's a weekend bonus with two great songs.My post on First Aid Kit two weeks ago was popular, but as Jeremy Shaffer pointed out in the comments, they don't just make lovely music - they're unapologetically secular, too. Listen to the lyrics of this beautiful song, "Hard Believer", from their debut studio album The Big Black and the Blue:And for a 2-for-1, I was elated … [Read more...]

Atlas Shrugged: Good Men Are Hard to Find

Rose

Atlas Shrugged, part II, chapter IXDagny gets a letter from Quentin Daniels, the physicist she hired to work on reconstructing the motor. He tells her that he's reached the end of his rope and that he intends to cease his efforts, because "I do not wish to work in a world that regards me as a slave... I would not take it upon my conscience that anything produced by my mind should be used to bring them comfort."When she reads the letter, she frantically calls Daniels, who confirms his … [Read more...]

Anti-Vaccination Fever Rages On

After washing your hands, vaccination is probably the simplest and best medical advance in human history. But in spite of overwhelming evidence of its efficacy at preventing death and disease, irrational fearmongering is persuading people to skip shots for themselves and their children, and we're now paying the price.In the U.S., 2014 was the worst year for measles in more than a decade, due to an outbreak in an Ohio Amish community spread by a missionary returning from overseas. And 2015 … [Read more...]

Four More Solutions to Twitter Harassment

GuardianStatues

The CEO of Twitter, Dick Costolo, made headlines last week when he admitted in a leaked memo that his service has a serious harassment problem which they've done a terrible job of dealing with:We suck at dealing with abuse and trolls on the platform and we've sucked at it for years. It's no secret and the rest of the world talks about it every day. We lose core user after core user by not addressing simple trolling issues that they face every day. I'm frankly ashamed of how poorly we've … [Read more...]

Alabama Speaking Recap

MobileSSATalkFeb2015

This past weekend, I spoke at the University of South Alabama in Mobile, courtesy of the local Secular Student Alliance affiliate, SSA at USA. This was a milestone for me: the first time I've ever been invited to speak about atheism in the Deep South!Making a public case for atheism in Alabama may seem like going into the lions' den, but as you can see for yourself, I'm alive and well. (The SSA at USA has hosted other speakers before me, and the group's president, Amye, told me that all of … [Read more...]

Atlas Shrugged: Kiss with a Fist

Atlas Shrugged, part II, chapter IXI've said this before, but it bears repeating: Hank Rearden is an awful human being.He's jealous, possessive, self-centered and misogynist. He has a short fuse and a violent temper. He makes a point of never caring about anyone's welfare but his own. He feels contempt and disgust for his family. He cares about nothing but work, is disgusted by charity and socializing. He cheats on his wife, lies to her about it, and threatens to beat her when she finds … [Read more...]

A Christian vs. an Atheist: On God and Government, Part 10

This is part 10 of my "Think! Of God and Government" debate series with Christian author Andrew Murtagh. Read my latest post and Andrew's reply.Hi Andrew,Well, this little conversation of ours is titled "Of God and Government", after all, and so far we've focused more on the God part than on the government part. I'm glad to get into the other side of things, but I want to return briefly to something you said in the last installment that will be relevant to our new topic.Last time, I … [Read more...]

Marriage Is Suffering and Suffering Is Good: A Catholic View

BirthControlPills

Last week, I wrote about the crushing burden of fear and guilt about sex that women labor under in Orthodox Judaism. Taught to fear pleasure, to shun knowledge and to regard their own bodies as sinful vessels, they often end up in loveless and unhappy marriages, trapped by religious rules that bar them from happiness and affection.But I don't want to give the impression that Judaism is the only religion which has irrational, anti-humanistic rules about sex, and Catholicism has some uniquely … [Read more...]

Friday Night Music: First Aid Kit

Johanna and Klara Söderberg, two sisters from Stockholm with amazing voices, make up the indie-folk duo First Aid Kit. I've been listening to them around the clock since coming across them late last year. Here's a track from their lush, orchestral, country-influenced 2014 album, Stay Gold: … [Read more...]

Atlas Shrugged: Objectivist Mating Rituals

Atlas Shrugged, part II, chapter IXWhile Francisco is being cryptic at Dagny about the disappeared capitalists, their conversation is interrupted by a surprise visitor:The sound they heard was the turning of a key in the lock of the entrance door. The door opened and Hank Rearden came in....Francisco had risen to his feet, as if in the unhurried, automatic manner of a d'Anconia trained to the code of courtesy. There was nothing that Rearden could see in his face. But what she saw … [Read more...]


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