Why Is Sam Harris So Bad at Talking About Islam?

Atheist Sam Harris is in the news again. Again, he is criticized for being Islamophobic, and again prominent atheist bloggers have come to his defense. [Read more…]

What Words Should Activists Use?

Write or say anything about a currently-controversial political topic, and you are likely to swiftly be drawn into a discussion about words: “I don’t think you/we should use word x. We should use word y instead! It’s more understandable / welcoming / less threatening / more common.” These discussions can be frustrating: often I want to discuss the [Read More…]

In Defense of Debates

Last week I debated god. Not as in “I had a debate with the Creator of the Universe,” although that would have been cool. Rather as in “I had a debate about the existence of god with a Christian apologist.” This was new to me. While I enjoy debates immensely, and while I’ve been a [Read More…]

Free Speech 2: What Is Free Speech and Why is it Good?

This is the second post in a series exploring the concept of free speech and its relationship to political protest, particularly relevant to recent discussions regarding the disruption by protesters of Donald Trump rallies. First post here. What Does the Right to Free Speech Entail? The right to freedom of speech is an idea about [Read More…]

Boy Scouts of America: Still Bigoted

I was a Boy Scout for about two seconds. I liked the toggle and felt there was something swishy about the pseudo-military uniforms, which oscillate wildly between butch and high camp depending on the wearer and the situation. I also liked our school Scout Leader, who was a charming man who always dressed impeccably and [Read More…]

No I Am Not OK

In some ways I’m not a stereotypical Englishman. I don’t have that legendary English reserve, or much of a discomfort with feelings. I try to live my life like an open book, and when I’m happy, grateful, excited, or in love I want to share that. I try to be a joyous influence in others’ [Read More…]

Who Gets a Platform on the College Campus?

When I was an undergraduate, the Cambridge Union invited Jean-Marie Le Pen – then Leader of the National Front Party of France – to debate immigration. Le Pen is a highly polarizing figure: a darling of the French right wing, and a demon to the left. Seen (rightly, I think) as a race-baiting, foreigner-hating, anti-semitic, [Read More…]