What I don’t defend about the Park51 Mosque

This past week, I twice wrote about the Cordoba/Park 51 mosque/community center at the Huffington post, both times hammering home the point that Rauf and his organization have a clear right to build two blocks away from Ground Zero. However, some people seem to have taken my support for property rights and my opposition to fear-mongering as evidence for an affinity for Islam, so I thought I would clarify.Jen, author of BlagHag, was visiting NYC this past week, and she made a point of … [Read more...]

Restricting Rhetoric, Mosques, and Gays

This post is part of a series on the politics and philosophy that underlie the fight over gay marriage.  You can see all the posts in this series at the gay marriage index.As the fight over the proposed Cordoba House mosque near Ground Zero has heated up, conservative Christians across the county are using this story to gin up support to block construction of mosques across the nation, regardless of their proximity to NYC. Anti-mosque activists, struggling to explain why Islam alone should … [Read more...]

Why should atheists get married?

Thanks to everyone who's been commenting on my series on Math and Morality.  I'll be returning to some of the outstanding questions soon (especially those posed by Dylan and Hendy), but I'm finishing work and moving out of DC this week, so I'm focusing this week more on politics than philosophy.  Don't forget, if you'd like to respond to a Monday Call to Arms in longer form as a guest blogger, please email me at leah (dot) libresco (at) yale (dot) edu.A lot of the arguments in the gay … [Read more...]

On what evidence?

This post is part of a series of responses to the comments on my ongoing series on math and morality.  You can check out previous posts in this series here.So having spent one post answering questions using my sight metaphor, I’m going to move away from it in this round of answers. (Remember, as George Box said, “Essentially, all models are wrong, but some are useful.”).Eitan said: [M]orality is clearly quite different than EVERYTHING else we know. If there were objective values, they w … [Read more...]

The Mormans Try for a Mitzvah

Thanks to everyone who weighed in on last week's Santa Claus debate.  I was very amused by how many other people had also tried to test Santa's existence as children.  As always, if you'd like to respond to a Monday Call to Arms in longer form as a guest blogger, please email me at leah (dot) libresco (at) yale (dot) edu.The debate over whether Christians should pray for Christopher Hitchens in his fight against cancer has been raging across the blogosphere. Prayers seem to fall into two c … [Read more...]

Humanist Symposium #57

Welcome to the Humanist Symposium, installment 57!  And just as an fyi, 57 is both an idoneal number and also the smallest number with exactly 10 representations as a sum of 3 distinct primes (thanks, WolframAlpha!)Humanists and the SelfCritiquing Humanity wrote a takedown of our modern culture of extreme individualism, which is posited as "one of the three basic unethical ideas which predicate almost all immorality in the world."Leah at The Whore of All the Earth shares the … [Read more...]

Introducing Weatherwax Wednesday

I'm starting a new weekly feature today, subject to modification depending on how it goes over. I plan to post a quote from Granny Weatherwax, a recurring character in Terry Pratchett's Discworld series on Wednesdays, along with a brief commentary. Please leave feedback in the comments. A little about Granny Weatherwax It may not sound as respectable as identifying with Scarlett O'Hara or Jane Eyre, but Esme Weatherwax is the literary character I’ve always felt closest to. To put it b … [Read more...]