The Hypocrisy of Tolerance at the Touro Synagogue

I'm on vacation this week in New England. Yesterday I visited the Touro Synagogue in Newport, Rhode Island - the oldest Jewish synagogue in North America, dating back to the colonial era. It was founded by Jews fleeing a long history of persecution in Europe: first the Alhambra Decree expelling them from Spain, then the Inquisition, which harried them from Portugal to the Caribbean. They settled here in Newport and built a synagogue, which survived the Revolution, when most of the city was … [Read more...]

#BeyondMarieCurie: Women in STEM & Medicine

In a bid to give women scientists other than Marie Curie the recognition they're too often denied, science editor Melissa Vaught asked for contributions to a Twitter hashtag, #BeyondMarieCurie, listing women with noteworthy achievements in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Here's the first version of the list:[View the story "#BeyondMarieCurie: Women in STEM & Medicine" on Storify]I suggested a few other names that weren't already there:Some others: Annie Jump Cannon, … [Read more...]

Weekend Coffee: January 18

• From Valerie Tarico, how religion can let loose humanity's most violent impulses. A thoughtful essay that almost perfectly captures my views on the link between religion and violence.• "Tim is patient, Tim is kind. Tim does not envy, Tim does not boast, Tim is not proud. Tim is not rude, Tim is not self-seeking, Tim is not easily angered, Tim keeps no record of wrongs. Tim does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth."• Alex Malarkey, a boy who wrote a … [Read more...]

Weekend Coffee: January 10

Coffee

• A can't-miss account of Charlie Hebdo's first editorial meeting since last week's horrific attack.• One-man outrage band Bill Donohue didn't kill anyone at Charlie Hebdo, but he's understanding and sympathetic towards the Muslims who did. They made fun of the Pope, after all!• "The right to blaspheme religion is one of the most elemental exercises of political liberalism."• The "radical feminism which has assaulted the Church and society since the 1960s has left … [Read more...]

The Suppression of Richard Dawkins

Following up on our little contretemps in September, Richard Dawkins has granted an interview to Kimberly Winston of Religion News Service about the remarks that have made him infamous to pro-social-justice atheists. And although he seems a bit chastened, he insists he has no regrets:"I don't take back anything that I've said," Dawkins said from a shady spot in the leafy backyard of one of his Bay Area supporters. "I would not say it again, however, because I am now accustomed to being … [Read more...]

Rosetta’s Comet Rendezvous

Rosetta2

The last few weeks have offered atheists and progressives ample reason to feel discouraged. Down on Earth, anti-rational fundamentalism runs riot, and angry, reactionary conservatism seems stronger than ever. But in spite of all this, in spite of the many obstacles that encircle us and limit us, humanity is accomplishing great things among the stars.The latest of our successful cosmic explorers is the Rosetta spacecraft, a mission of the European Space Agency. Launched in 2004 (!), Rosetta … [Read more...]

Rebutting Reasonable Faith: A Feminized Atmosphere

I haven't responded to William Lane Craig's column in a while, but this question was too good to pass up:Dear Dr. Craig,I have usually found your words to be a source of information and reassurance in my Christian faith... So I was really disappointed, almost shocked, when I read your newsletter of April of this year in which you casually stereotypes [sic] men and women, and complain that the church is becoming increasingly feminized, and has difficulties in attracting men.The … [Read more...]

Weekend Coffee: November 2

Coffee

• After serving most of a ten-year prison sentence for tax evasion, Kent Hovind was due to be released next year... but now the government is pressing new charges, saying that he filed fraudulent liens in an attempt to stop them from seizing his property as part of the punishment for his original conviction.• Virgin Galactic's experimental rocket plane SpaceShipTwo crashed during a test flight in the Mojave Desert, killing one of its two pilots. It's a tragic setback and a … [Read more...]

#Gamergate: The New Face of Misogynist Terrorism

Gargoyle

Last month, in "The Mabus Problem", I mentioned the violent threats against feminist media critic Anita Sarkeesian. The threat campaign hasn't let up, and as she continues to speak out, it's gotten even worse. Last month, there was a bomb threat against an awards ceremony that planned to honor her. Sarkeesian didn't blink at the threat, and the event went on as planned (with some extra police protection). But now, for the first time, she's had to cancel a talk.The talk in question was going … [Read more...]

Marriage Equality Isn’t Just for Same-Sex Couples

Scales

Last week, marriage equality made another giant stride in the United States. Three federal circuit courts covering different parts of the country had ruled against same-sex marriage bans; the supporters of those bans had appealed to the Supreme Court, but the Court turned those appeals down. By doing so, it made those decisions final. This means that eleven states under the jurisdiction of those three circuits - Virginia, Indiana, Wisconsin, Oklahoma, Utah, Wyoming, Colorado, Kansas, West … [Read more...]


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