Religious Violence Isn’t a Mental Illness, and Neither Is Misogyny

Sexism

In the wake of the mass shooting in California last month, committed by a killer who left a long, misogynist manifesto vowing to punish women for not dating him, many pundits and commenters have strained to blame something other than sexism for his rampage. The most common claim is that the shooter, Elliot Rodger, was mentally ill, that the illness was the real cause of his killing, and the misogyny is just what his disturbed mind happened to latch onto as an excuse; if not for that, it would … [Read more...]

TV Review: Cosmos, Episode 12

CosmosEpisode12

(I've decided to review the new Cosmos series hosted by Neil deGrasse Tyson that's airing on Fox. If you missed it, you can stream full episodes online.) Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey, Episode 12, "The World Set Free" For its penultimate episode, Cosmos returns to the subject of climate science, a familiar variation on a sermon it's already preached more than once. I have some mixed feelings about this. With the series pressing against time constraints, I worry about the lost opportunities … [Read more...]

New on AlterNet: Catholicism’s Demonic Revival

My latest column is up on AlterNet, Why Do Many Christians Still Literally Believe in Demons and Satan? In it, I sum up the Harvard Black Mass fracas and place it in a wider context, showing how Pope Francis and the Catholic church are pushing a major revival of belief in the demonic. Read the excerpt below, then click through to see the rest: The Harvard Satanist fracas shows the immense hypocrisy of the Catholic church and its spokesmen. In their battle against the contraception mandate, … [Read more...]

Atlas Shrugged: Offshore Accounts

TropicalIsland

Atlas Shrugged, part II, chapter II All the movers and shakers, including Hank and Lillian, have showed up for James Taggart's wedding in New York. Dagny is also there, and obviously she and Hank have to keep up the pretense that there's nothing between them. This makes Hank grit his teeth at his inability to, I don't know, have sex with her right there on the ballroom floor: ...he wondered why he stood here, he wondered who had the right to demand that he waste a single irreplaceable … [Read more...]

The Supreme Court’s Ignorance on Secularism

GavelAndJustice

I'm coming late to the subject, but I wanted to circle back and talk about the Supreme Court's ruling in Town of Greece v. Galloway, where a 5-4 conservative majority held that official prayers before town meetings are constitutionally permissible. Make no mistake, this is a bad ruling, although not as bad as it could possibly have been. The one consolation is that the court didn't slam the door completely, as they could have done and have done in other cases; they didn't wipe out the right … [Read more...]

Male Entitlement Is a Deadly Drug

When I wrote about atheism's MRA problem, I wrote that it was imperative to drive these sexists off because of the harm they do through harassment and threats against women. Now there's a much more graphic and horrible example of the threat posed by misogynists: a mass shooting in the California town of Isla Vista this weekend, in which seven people died including the shooter. The apparent killer left a video monologue ranting about how he had been unfairly spurned by women, whom he accused … [Read more...]

Atlas Shrugged: The Marital Contract

WeddingRings

Atlas Shrugged, part II, chapter II Following his illegal meeting with Ken Danagger, Hank Rearden is still in his hotel room in New York, eagerly anticipating a night of adulterous sex with Dagny, when he has a surprise visitor: When the door of his room flew open without warning, he did not quite hear or believe it, at first. He saw the silhouette of a woman, then of a bellboy who put down a suitcase and vanished. The voice he heard was Lillian's: "Why, Henry! All alone and in the … [Read more...]

Reminder: NY Debate This Weekend!

Last December, I debated Andrew Murtagh at the Midtown Scholar in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. I'm pleased to announce that this weekend we're holding a part 2, this time on Long Island, New York. If you're in the area, come out and see us! The sparks will fly (in a friendly way, of course) as we go head-to-head about the existence of God, the proper role for government in our lives, and all that other fun stuff. (Also, Andrew now has his own blog on Patheos.) Here are the … [Read more...]

On Paying Your Atheist Speakers

Money

I was at Women in Secularism 3 this last weekend, a fantastic and nearly flawless conference put on by the Center for Inquiry. I greatly enjoyed every part of it (including Ron Lindsay's opening speech). I intend to write a longer report later, but first: On a Sunday panel, there was a question from an audience member about how to start up a conference of their own, and one of the panelists' suggestions was to look for people who'll come speak for free. This drew some dissent from people … [Read more...]

TV Review: Cosmos, Episode 11

COSMOS_111_3-large-photo-960x540

(I've decided to review the new Cosmos series hosted by Neil deGrasse Tyson that's airing on Fox. If you missed it, you can stream full episodes online.) Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey, Episode 11, "The Immortals" As the new Cosmos approaches its final episode, it's about time that the series started looking back on the ground it's covered and drawing some larger lessons. This episode accomplished that, and while it treads into more speculative territory than earlier outings, I think that's … [Read more...]


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X