Link Round-Up 2/20/2015

From defending Darwin from the accusation of racism and proving that French laws are hypocritical, from Tunisia’s Essebsi to Saudi Arabia’s Salman, from elections in Nigeria to Khamenei, here is the newest link round-up from On the Margin of Error. Read more

The House Arrest of Green Movement Leaders: Four Years On

Today it has been four years since Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi, the leaders of the Green Movement which sparked after the fraudulent elections of 2009, and Zahra Rahnavard, prominent reformist and feminist and Mousavi’s wife, were put under house arrest. This is extremely important for Iran’s present and future. In this post (The House Arrest of Mousavi, Karroubi, and Rahnavard Can Determine the Future of Rouhani’s Administration) I have explained the history of these three people, and their… Read more

Because of Sanctions, UMass Won’t Accept Iranian Students in Certain Programs

The University of Massachusetts, in Amherst, has announced that it will not accept Iranians in certain academic programs and they should not apply. This decision was made because the sanctions caused many Iranians to be denied VISA after their acceptance. For long Iranian reformists have argued that these sanctions harm the people while the western governments were trying to sell to us this idea of “smart sanctions” that harm the regime and not the people, but this decision finally brings the true venomous nature of these sanctions to light. Read more

50 Shades of Grey: Let It Go

Some people expect 50 Shades of Grey to be other things than that, like, a good guide to healthy relationships, or a manual of how to do safe BDSM, or to be a good representative of BDSM, or similar worries, and to these people I say that you are attempting to milk a male cow. It’s a porn book. It’s not meant to be educating anyone, and really, if anyone is making judgments about BDSM or relationships based on this book, it’s the fault of that person and not the book. There’s nothing worthier in this world but to fight abuse. But at the same time, people need a break and an outlet for their fantasies. We shouldn’t confuse these two things together. Read more

In the Wake of Chapel Hill Shooting, Let Us Not Resort to Atheist Tribalism

We must refrain from tribalism at this moment. Our first instinct should not be to protect our tribe. When you want to say the shooter today wasn’t a real atheist, or you want to minimize or shrug away his connection to atheism, remember all the times you ridiculed “no true Christian/Muslim” arguments, and don’t make the same mistake. Let us simply condemn the attacks, and expresses solidarity, rather than attempt to defend our tribe instinctively. We expect Muslims and other religious people (rightly so) to look at their community critically and do not let it fester hatred. We have the same responsibility towards them and the humanity. We need to be critical of ourselves, be diligent of the possibilities of hatred and bigotry within our own ranks, and if we’re not, we will lose all moral legitimacy when we expect religious people to do so. Read more

You Catch More Flies with Shit

So if we want to make atheism appealing to the largest number of people possible, what should we do? Should we be diplomatic and kind and civil, or should we be harsh and relentless? Can we catch more flies with honey or with vinegar? Actually, if our goal is attracting a large number of people, we must make simplified and asinine arguments, things watered down to meaningless buzzwords and easy-to-remember catch phrases. I’m not saying this is something limited to… Read more

RIP Assia Djebar (1936 – 2015), Great Author and Feminist

Novelist Assia Djebar, an ardent defender of women’s rights in her native Algeria, has died aged 78. Read more

Who Will Be the Next Chairman of Iran’s Assembly of Experts?

The Assembly of Experts is a legislative body in Iran which is tasked with choosing and monitoring the Supreme Leader. It is very important to know who will be the next chairman of the Assembly, because it would show who has the upper hand in Iranian politics now. This is a very important question for the future of Iran. There are three men who have been mentioned as possible cases, and I tell you here who they are and what their election would mean. Read more

Give This Novel to Anti-Vaxers to Read

Nemesis is the last novel written by Philip Roth. It is a novel about death, loss, grief, and absolute despair. All anti-vaxxers should read this novel because: (1) It’s great and everyone should read it, (2) It shows with an unequal force the horror of a world without a vaccine, that is, the polio vaccine. Read more

Denying Children Vaccination Should Be Illegal

Denying children vaccination is a form of child abuse, not a parenting style. Read more

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