Jan 212013
A message of support for Ophelia Benson and Natalie Reed

I prefer to stay out of on-line warfare. But sometimes you just have to stand up and be counted. These are two people within the freethought communities who for some reason have been attracting unbelievably vicious on-line attacks. Not from people who might be expected to be inherently opposed to the concepts of “freethought”, but from apparent insiders. I’m not objecting to the particulars of any disagreement. If you are on-line some people will disagree with you and criticise your position, and they have a right to do so. (I don’t claim to agree with everything these victims say). But . . . . . . . . . . [Read complete post]

Jan 182013

I’ve just read a super article by Valerie Tarico about the challenges that the Internet (and especially the Web) poses for religion: Religion may not survive the Internet. It reminded me of an article (that Valerie Tarico won’t have seen or known about) that I wrote on my website some time ago: Religions in future. One of my themes was similar. Global communication undermines a number of the methods that religions rely on to sustain the ignorance and delusions of their existing and (more importantly) their future followers. Here are some quotes from my article (there is a lot more . . . . . . . . . . [Read complete post]

Oct 102012

My reaction to the shooting by the Taliban of Malala Yousafza, the 14 year old “education for girls” activist in Pakistan, was “what the fuck?” This wasn’t a child casually caught in the cross-fire. This was a targeted assassination attempt because of what she represented and what she was trying to achieve. Enlightened people don’t need to be told that “education for girls” is high priority globally in the 21st Century. (Along with its partner, “equality for women”). But it is worth expanding on this to show why it is “high priority” as well as simply “right”. The argument from morality . . . . . . . . . . [Read complete post]

Oct 062012

I have said a number of times: “Islam, identified by the Koran and Hadith, is incompatible with Universal Human Rights and incompatible with the 21st Century” It is worth showing more evidence for this claim. Islam and Universal Human Rights – freedom of expression I’ll use quotes from a recent (5th October) article from a Pakistan newspaper: “Leaders of religious parties at an All Parties Conference (APC) have demanded of the rulers of the Muslim countries to move a resolution in the United Nations (UN) for an international legislation against the blasphemers…. “A communiqué issued on the occasion … demanded . . . . . . . . . . [Read complete post]

Sep 172012

The violence claimed to be a response to a dodgy film about Muhammad, and political comments accompanying the violence, reveal a mountain of incomprehension: While many of us speak in post-Enlightenment language, others speak in pre-Enlightenment language. While many of us favour a post-Enlightenment world, others favour a pre-Enlightenment world. While many of us think the word “Enlightened” is a compliment, others think it is an insult. Among the political comments: Even during the protests, some stone throwers stressed that the clash was not Muslim against Christian. Instead, they suggested that the traditionalism of people of both faiths in the region conflicted . . . . . . . . . . [Read complete post]

Sep 052012

I hope this doesn’t become a regular occurrence. Jennifer McCreight, aka BlagHag, aka @jennifurret on Twitter, has been bullied and verbally abused into giving up blogging. When Rebecca Watson suffered like this, I posted in my Message of support for Rebecca Watson: “I hadn’t thought that supposedly rational people would even think such nasty things. But publishing those views, in such a sustained and apparently coordinated manner, suggests that “enlightenment” is not an aspiration for those people. That is the biggest condemnation I can think of.” The same applies in this case. As I said there to Rebecca Watson: Illegitimum . . . . . . . . . . [Read complete post]

Aug 222012

It is good to have wider acceptance that “atheism” isn’t an end-point, and that much more is needed. Here are some of the recent posts about “Atheism+”: Jen McCreight: Atheism+ Jen McCreight: Atheism+: It’s time to walk the walk Jen McCreight: Why Atheism+ and not Humanism? Greta Christina: Atheism Plus: The New Wave of Atheism Greta Christina: Is “Atheism Plus” Just Secular Humanism? Greta Christina: Why Atheism Plus Is Good for Atheism Ashley Miller: The difference between “atheism+” and humanism But why isn’t the discussion under one of the following names? Secular Democracy + Humanism + Social Justice + Human . . . . . . . . . . [Read complete post]

Aug 032012

There is a lot of publicity about the Muslim women who are competing for the last remaining countries to have women in their teams. Much of the publicity is positive, of course. But there are also views that those countries are behaving unacceptably by making it so hard for those women, and it would have been better to ban the countries, or at least not accept the restrictions imposed on those women. The bravest women at the Games: Muslim athletes who battled to get to London – and for whom the taking part really does mean more than the winning . . . . . . . . . . [Read complete post]

Jul 262012

I’m just making a point of logic here, using the following case. (The details don’t matter). Muslim leader loses Sharia law fight over divorce settlement You can’t use sharia law in divorce deal: Muslim hospital consultant told to pay ex-wife maintenance despite claims he owes her nothing under Islamic rules Dr Al-Saffar said after the case: …. ‘Family law in this country is biased against Muslim people.’ No! In this case, UK Family Law was in favour of equality for Muslim women. It is often a case that equality laws are biased against specific religious positions, and so can be . . . . . . . . . . [Read complete post]

Jul 242012

As usual when people pursue a single issue, logic fails and the plot gets lost. That is the case with what David Gauke, a Treasury minister said, and/or with the discussion that followed it: David Gauke: we shouldn’t ignore hidden economy Paying tradesmen cash in hand morally wrong, says minister Money Morals: Is it really morally wrong to pay my cleaner in cash? How ‘morally wrong’ is it to pay cash-in-hand? “David Gauke, a Treasury minister, told The Daily Telegraph that home owners who allow workmen to evade VAT or income tax were forcing others to pay more”. To show . . . . . . . . . . [Read complete post]