Weekday Coffee: Skepticon Edition

I've spent this past weekend at Skepticon 7, and I'm still recovering (especially from the Skeptiprom dance party on Saturday night). In the meantime, here are some links I picked up from the weekend's talks:• My favorite talk of the convention was by Ben Blanchard, who spent a year working abroad with the Foundation Beyond Belief's Humanist Service Corps. He dug wells in Cambodia and Ecuador, helped build latrines in Haiti, taught science to children at the Kasese Humanist Primary … [Read more...]

Maher, Harris and Atheist Islamophobia

Kaaba

Last week on Bill Maher's TV show, Maher, Sam Harris and Ben Affleck sparred over Islam and whether it's prone to violence:"Freedom of speech, freedom to practice any religion you want without fear of violence, freedom to leave a religion, equality for women, equality for minorities, including homosexuals, these are liberal principles that liberals applaud for," Maher continued, "but then when you say in the Muslim world this is what's lacking, then they get upset."... "How about the … [Read more...]

Boko Haram Is an Islamic Terrorist Group

I would have thought some facts were too obvious to need proving, but if these past few years of atheist blogging should have taught me anything, it's that no excuse is too far-fetched for those who bend over backwards to excuse religion from blame for every evil it gives rise to. Such is the topic of today's post.Boko Haram is, of course, the violent insurgency in Nigeria that's gained global infamy after it kidnapped several hundred girls and vowed to sell them as slaves, the latest … [Read more...]

Can We Have an Intervention for Richard Dawkins?

AreciboNobel

They say the first step to getting better is recognizing when you can use some help, and I really think Richard Dawkins needs someone to sit down with him and explain a few things. Lately, it seems that every time he says something about Islam (or feminism), he's embarrassingly prone to putting his foot in his mouth. Witness this unfortunate example from earlier today:All the world's Muslims have fewer Nobel Prizes than Trinity College, Cambridge. They did great things in the Middle … [Read more...]

World News Roundup

FoundationBeyondBelief

I can't write about every story that crosses my radar, as much as I'd like to. But so much that's noteworthy has been happening in the world lately, I'm overdue for a catch-up post.First, there's a glimmer of good news: the Dáil, the lower house of Ireland's Parliament, easily passed a bill that (slightly) relaxes the draconian, no-exceptions abortion ban that killed Savita Halappanavar. The upper house, the Seanad, still has to approve it, but since the government controls both houses by a … [Read more...]

Weekend Coffee: May 5

Coffee

• A Christian fundamentalist couple that believes in faith healing has now killed two of their children by refusing to seek medical care for them. This likely violates the terms of their probation, agreed to in 2011 after the death of their first child, in which they agreed to obtain medical care for any of their other children who needed it.• John Paulk, the former chairman of the "ex-gay" ministry Exodus International, has recanted. In a statement, Paulk said he no longer … [Read more...]

Opposing Imperialism and Islamism

AmericanSaudiFlags

There was a searing editorial in the Times the other week, dictated by one of the men still being held prisoner at Guantanamo Bay. A hunger strike is spreading among the detainees there, which strikes me as an understandable response of men driven to despair by endless and indefinite imprisonment in a legal black hole. (The military authorities are retaliating with the barbaric and intensely painful measure of forced feeding.)When the accused Boston bomber Dzokhar Tsarnaev was captured, … [Read more...]

Why the New Atheism Isn’t Islamophobic

Kaaba

In the past few weeks, there's been a barrage of attacks on the so-called New Atheists, accusing them of inciting bigotry against Muslims or of fostering irrational hatred for Islam. This charge has been laid by Murtaza Hussein on Al Jazeera, Nathan Lean on Salon, and Glenn Greenwald on The Guardian, among others.Now, it's true that some high-profile New Atheists have made serious missteps when speaking about Islam. But it's equally true that New Atheism is a freewheeling, disputatious, … [Read more...]

What’s the Purpose of Topless Protests?

WomanInProfile

Note: This post is SFW; links may not be.Last month in Tunisia, a young activist named Amina Tyler posted a topless photo of herself online, with the phrases "My body belongs to me, it doesn't represent anyone's honor" and "Fuck your morals" written across her torso. (Here's the original photo.) When the Ukrainian feminist group Femen declared April 5 a day of international topless protests in solidarity, it caused a furor, and not just in Tunisia.To me, the point of Amina's protest (and … [Read more...]

Followup on the Atheists of Bangladesh

BangladeshAtheistsLogo

In my post on Monday, I said I'd write an update if I found out about anything else that could be done to help the Bangladeshi bloggers imprisoned for their atheism. I have a few more suggestions for how to do that.The International Humanist and Ethical Union is promoting the #HumanistSolidarity hashtag on Twitter for people to show their support, and has a list of ideas for what to say if you contact Bangladesh's embassy in your country. The American Humanist Association is also suggesting … [Read more...]


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