Weekday Coffee: September 25

Coffee

I've been taking a breather this week, but never fear, my Atlas Shrugged series will resume tomorrow. In the meantime, some quick links:• Help atheist blogger and ex-Quiverfuller Vyckie Garrison save her house! She's in financial trouble caused largely by her divorce from an abusive husband, which in turn happened because she lost her faith. She needs to raise $23,000 to save it. If you need more incentive, here's her outstanding speech from the 2014 American Atheists national … [Read more...]

The Mabus Problem: Fighting Anonymous Harassment on Social Media

Gargoyle

I'm not much of a video gamer (I spend my free time writing!), but I've been following the work of Anita Sarkeesian, a media critic whose non-profit group Feminist Frequency critiques sexism in popular culture, with a special focus on video games. Her series Tropes vs. Women in Video Games points out lazy, sexist clichés that game designers resort to repeatedly: damsels in distress, women in refrigerators, scenes of sexual violence just to make the game world darker and "grittier", and so … [Read more...]

The Fallout in Ferguson

FergusonProtest

I've been gripped by the stories and images coming out of Ferguson, Missouri since last week. This suburb of St. Louis has been wracked with unrest since Michael Brown, an 18-year-old African-American teenager, was shot to death on a city street by a police officer - while he was standing with his hands raised in surrender, according to three eyewitnesses. The killing has stirred up the community to righteous fury, and the police have harshly cracked down on the ensuing protests.In many … [Read more...]

Photo Sunday: #NMOS14

Last Thursday, my wife and I attended one of the National Moment of Silence rallies that were held across the country to protest the shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, and all other deaths from police brutality and overreach. This one was at Union Square in Manhattan. There was an immense, diverse crowd; the tone was angry and grieving, but peaceful.Though I had been half-expecting the NYPD to show up in force, there was no show of strength by the police at the scene. (There was a … [Read more...]

The Richard Dawkins Facepalm Watch, Vol. III

Facepalm2

I used to admire and look up to Richard Dawkins; I really did. But it's becoming harder for me to remember why. Over the last few years, my esteem for him has sunk lower and lower in response to a steady stream of callous, ill-thought-out or just plain ignorant remarks he's made. And last week, he hit a new low:Learned a useful new phrase this week: Social Justice Warrior. SJWs can't forgive Shakespeare for having the temerity to be white and male.— Richard Dawkins … [Read more...]

Facing Up to Atheism’s MRA Problem

Thistle

We've known for a while that there's an ugly strain of aggressive anti-feminism within the larger atheist community. Now it appears that we know where they congregate: the "men's rights activist" subgroup on Reddit ran a survey of their members, which found that the vast majority (94%) identify as atheist or religiously indifferent.That came as a surprise to me, although the other numbers were more or less what I'd have expected. MRAs are overwhelmingly white (98%), between the ages of 17 … [Read more...]

Atlas Shrugged: The Gini Coefficient

Monstrance

Atlas Shrugged, part II, chapter IAfter Hank chases off the government crony who wants to buy his metal, the chapter shifts to a series of vignettes with him and Dagny. They're arranging increasingly frequent liaisons whenever Hank is in New York, and as the looter-run economy contracts around them, Dagny looks forward to her time with him more and more:The only pride of her workday was not that it had been lived, but that it had been survived. It was wrong, she thought, it was … [Read more...]

Atlas Shrugged: Bonsai People

Bonsai

Atlas Shrugged, part I, chapter XAlthough Hank is back at his mills, Dagny hasn't given up searching for the inventor of the motor. Her latest clue takes her to Oregon, where she's looking for Lee Hunsacker, the president of a shell company that owned the Twentieth Century Motor Company when the Community National Bank of Madison made the loan that failed and resulted in the collapse of both bank and factory. Dagny finds him living in poverty in a filthy hovel:"I never had a chance!" … [Read more...]

Living Wages, Living Work: A Humanist Sermon

A few days ago, progressive blogs reported on the "McResource Line", an instantly infamous (and quickly-disappeared) website created by McDonald's to offer comically insensitive health and financial advice to its 1.8 million employees, who collectively earn $7.75 an hour on average.Among the stress-reducing tips on this site were: quit complaining about your low-wage job ("Stress hormone levels rise by 15% after ten minutes of complaining"), chew gum, sing songs, and go to church ("People … [Read more...]

Building a Better Secular Movement

Overlook

This post will have to be my last word on this for the time being, because all this ugliness and nastiness takes an emotional toll, and I really want to get back to writing about happier things. But the events of the last few days have convinced me that our secular community, the one I love and want to see thrive, has some serious problems that need to be confronted and resolved.When I see a problem, my instinct is to fix it. So, what can we do to fix this one? I have three … [Read more...]


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