August 31, 2012

A Question for Atheists About Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving prayer

I received the following question from a reader, and I thought it was one that would benefit from some input from the rest of you:
I am an outspoken atheist and all of my family members know my position on god & religion. My question is every year I go to my cousins house for Thanksgiving dinner and they insist on a group prayer (poor people are catholics) and I don't want to participate. At the same time this is family and I don't want to offend. This coming holiday I am considering not going (I really don't like that option) My wife says I should just suck it up and stay quiet but I don't agree. I am sure there are many Atheists out there that have the same problem as I do. Your thoughts please as you are much more articulate that I am.
I'll share my thoughts on the matter, but I'm sure some of you will have different opinions on this, and I'd love to hear them.

August 30, 2012

Atheist Tactics: Persuasion vs. Social Control

TacticsMany of the disagreements atheists have about our tactics have to do with how we communicate and the fact that different methods of communication may be better suited for some goals than they are for others. For example, "don't be a dick" is excellent advice for accomplishing some goals but maybe not for others. In this post, I take a look at two goals for communication within the atheist community and between atheists and religious believers. By understanding what we are trying to accomplish, we could be in a better position to select effective tactics.

August 29, 2012

Many Christians Do Not Believe in Prayer


With Hurricane Isaac moving into the area, I've lost count of how many references to prayer I've seen on Facebook and Twitter. There is nothing quite like a little fear to elicit delusional beliefs. And yet, it is a good reminder that many Christians - including the predominately Southern Baptist majority surrounding me - do not share Pat Robertson's conviction that natural disasters are divine punishment for whatever he considers sinful. At least, they don't share this view when they or their loved ones are the ones being threatened.

Many of the prayer references have been the standard fare you would expect (e.g., "I'm praying we don't have any damage," or "I'll be praying you make it through this okay."). I do not put much stock in these statements, as they are little more than Christianspeak. I suspect that relatively few of the people making such statements will actually pray as they describe. We could replace "praying" with "hoping," and little meaning would be lost.

August 28, 2012

How to Disagree in the Atheist Community

Someone on the internet is wrong2

Most atheists, secular humanists, freethinkers, and skeptics pride ourselves in making an effort to be rational in our thought and communication. We do not always succeed, but we generally try. Or do we? In looking at a number of blog posts on prominent atheist blogs, comments left on these blogs, and Twitter interactions by well-known atheists, one could be forgiven for asking.

We have discovered that the Internet is ideal for one-directional forms of communication (e.g., videos, blog posts) and not well suited for complex argument. Dueling blog posts where two or more bloggers respond to each other over a length of time may be interesting to some but are likely to lose many others. Moreover, they are almost certain to attract trolls. Facebook and Twitter have a way of dumbing-down communication, often reducing things to crude metrics (e.g., "likes" or retweets) and oversimplifying to the point where communication breaks down. So much of what begins with lofty goals ends in childish insults.

August 27, 2012

Isaac Threatens

Ttropical storm isaache projected course of Tropical Storm Isaac has shifted a bit toward Louisiana since my initial post. Based on my location in Mississippi, the size of the storm, and this new track, widespread power outages are being predicted. That was one of the worst things about Hurricane Katrina in my area - losing power meant losing air conditioning and water in an unbearably hot and humid Mississippi summer. I'm really not looking forward to a repeat of that, but I suppose that was nothing compared to what the people along the coast faced. I'll have to keep that in mind when I am tempted to complain.

After trying to watch some of the news coverage of the approaching storm, I've realized that I still have a bit of post traumatic stress leftover from Hurricane Katrina. Even though my rational mind knows better, I feel physically ill just thinking about it. I can't watch more than a few minutes of news without having to turn it off. Definitely not an adaptive response.

It doesn't help that almost everyone I know around here is officially freaking out. People were holding it together fairly well until today. I guess I was too. Now I'm just hoping that it won't be nearly as bad as everyone seems to be suggesting and that I'll just feel stupid for believing the hype.

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Atheist Community vs. Atheist Movement

I'm not sure anybody enjoys admitting they were wrong, but it is something we must do from time to time. I'm recognizing that I've made some mistakes in how I've used the terms "atheist community" and "atheist movement" as if they meant the same thing. They aren't the same, and I think it may be important to understand the differences. Doing so may even help to prevent some of the conflict we've encountered.

The Atheist CommunityCommunity

When I refer to the atheist community, I am using the term in a global way to characterize all of us who identify as atheists. If you identify yourself as an atheist, you are part of the atheist community. This is true even if you never engage in activism, meet with other atheists, or do anything whatsoever to call attention to your atheism. As one who identifies with atheism, you belong to the community.

August 26, 2012

Here Comes Isaac

A092352W5 NL smt the time I'm writing this, Tropical Storm Isaac is nearing the Florida Keys and on a trajectory expected to take it into the Gulf of Mexico sometime Monday. Based on the forecast models I'm seeing, it looks like Isaac is predicted to strengthen to hurricane force before making landfall along the Gulf Coast. It also appears that it has Mississippi and Alabama in its sights.

I am hoping Isaac will not prove the be the threat it is predicted to be, but I think I'm reasonably well prepared. I need to put gas in the car and make sure I have enough cash on hand, but that should be it. I try to maintain my preparedness throughout the year by stocking up on supplies before I'll need them.

I have to admit being somewhat puzzled that my Christian neighbors are also stocking up on supplies. Why would they need to take emergency preparedness seriously? Wouldn't praying to their "god" be sufficient? It is almost as if they don't really believe what they claim to believe.

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I Am Not Looking for a Substitute Dogma


Staks (Dangerous Talk) had a great post recently about how some in the atheist community seem to want to replace religious dogma with some sort of secular alternative.
But lately there has been a growing orthodoxy within our community. People who believe that there is only one reasonable opinion to any given issue and if you deviate from that opinion in only a minor detail, then you are a blasphemous heretic. Of course they would never use those words. But their dogmatic view of reason is little different than the dogmatism of religious believers in my opinion.
I have noticed this too, and I consider it a problem. The moment we refuse to acknowledge that we might be wrong about any given issue, we surrender our claim to reason.

August 25, 2012

Lying By Sam Harris

LyingI just finished reading Sam Harris' Lying. It is not one of his better known books, probably because it isn't about atheism, but I enjoyed it. It is very brief, comparable to Letter to a Christian Nation in length. Harris' central thesis in Lying is that lies, even "white lies," do more harm than good and should be avoided. He argues that such lies damage the very relationships we often think they protect, undermine trust, and deprive our friends and family members from the opportunity to engage reality. I can't say I agreed with Harris here, but it certainly was a thought-provoking read.

In addressing "white lies" we use to spare the feelings of others, Harris tackled a couple of the most common scenarios where we feel tremendous pressure to lie. One involved receiving a gift we don't like. I suspect we've all been there. He suggests that we politely tell the truth rather than pretending to like something we can't stand. The other involved the classic question, "Does this dress make me look fat?" Again, Harris suggested that we should come far closer to the truth than how most of us respond.

Threatening Others Cannot Be Tolerated in the Atheist Community

threatHemant Mehta (Friendly Atheist) brings us the disturbing story of the two American Atheists billboards that went up in Charlotte, NC, ahead of the Democratic National Convention. They are down now after the company owning the billboards received threats. It would have been one thing for American Atheists to stand up to those making threats, but it makes sense that the billboard company would not be ready to do so. After all, it isn't their fight.

This incident reminded me of something I've been meaning to address here. Threatening to harm someone is not acceptable. It is not just another tactic; it is criminal. It is not acceptable when Christians use threats to intimidate those who would work with atheists. It is not acceptable when Christians use threats to bully atheists and other groups directly. And it is certainly not acceptable when atheists threaten each other over feminism or other differences of opinion.

I agree completely with those behind Atheism+ on this point: threatening others has no place in this community. It crosses the line from free expression to criminal behavior, and it cannot be tolerated. I'll continue to defend your right to disagree with others in the atheist community, and I do not approve of the attempts to marginalize you for doing so. But threatening others has no place in this discourse.

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August 24, 2012

Reactions to Atheism+

atheismplusI shared my initial reaction to atheism+ here. Some of the posts telling me how wrong I was have raised some good points that require additional thought on my part. Others seemed to be responding to something very different than what I wrote, so I'm not sure how to respond to them. In any case, I thought I'd do a quick link dump of some reactions I've seen to the atheism+ proposal:

Atheism Plus (Reason Being)
"Humanism and "Atheism+": What's the Difference? (Love, Joy, Feminism)
Growing Pains & Labels (Emilyhasbooks)
The Backlash Against Feminism (In Living Color)
Atheism Plus (Atheist Ethicist)
"Atheism Plus"? (The A-Unicornist)
The "New Wave of Atheism" (Dead-Logic)
The new Atheism Plus religion begins (Is God a Squirrel?)
So, Atheism+ eh? (The Athefist)
Superskepticalihumanisticatheistplus (Cubik's Rube)
Atheism Plus or Minus (Too Many Questions)
It's Just Atheism, Part II (or Why A+ Already Exists) (Left Hemispheres)
The New Wave of Atheism (Skeptic Freethought)
Atheism Doesn't Need a Plus (Bitchspot)

The Most Important Election Ever

Obama romneyIn the run-up to every single presidential election I can recall, I have been told by many people that the upcoming election is the most important election of our lifetimes. Every single one. I'm not exactly surprised that it is happening once again. I'd have to be a fool not to have expected it. So is this election really the most important ever? I'm not so sure. In at least one respect, it may even be relatively trivial.

As the decades have slipped by, it seems to me that the gap between the Republican Party and the Democratic party have narrowed in some important ways. Undoubtedly, the two main parties are still very far apart on some of the wedge issues. But take a look at the relationship of both parties to Wall Street. The Democratic Party cannot even pretend to the party of the people very well these days. Corporate bailouts and the abolition of financial regulation have happened on their watch too. Same for defense spending. And looking at Obama's record (as opposed to what he says he wants to do), we'd have to say that the parties are now comparable on civil liberties and taxes.

August 23, 2012

It Would Be Nice If Everyone in the Atheist Community Agreed With Me

It would be nice if everyone in the atheist community agreed with me and shared my values. It would also be absolutely devastating for the success and survival of the community. You see, I'm not infallible. I'm far from perfect, and I make mistakes. Lots and lots of mistakes. I can be overly emotional, insensitive, biased, and thoroughly mistaken about all manner of things. And I can do all that in a single day.

August 22, 2012

That's Offensive

taking offense

Here in the U.S., most of the pressure we face aimed at constraining our speech is social rather than legal or governmental. This is not true everywhere (e.g., countries that enforce strict blasphemy laws and jail dissidents for expressing unpopular views), but it does appear to be the case here. While we can each think of examples where one's speech would carry legal consequences and involve the application of state power (e.g., threatening to kill a high-ranking government official), these are not things with which most of us must be concerned regularly. Social pressure, on the other hand, is a fact of life.

August 21, 2012

I Might Be Wrong

being wrongPick any single post I've ever written on any subject here at Atheist Revolution. I might have been wrong. I do not know everything, and I make mistakes. But far more important than that, my opinions are are nothing more than my opinions. They are not above reproach, even when deeply held. They are merely my opinions, and I do not get to be the ultimate authority on anything.

This is how freethought is supposed to work. We are supposed to be interested in open dialogue, even when it involves messages with which we may disagree. We are supposed to remain open-minded and accepting of the possibility that we may be wrong. We are supposed to remember that even our most cherished opinions may be wrong.

Back to School

Back to schoolMost of the K-12 schools where I live have been back in session for at least a week or two, and classes at the university where I work resume this week. I'm already missing the free time I'm about to lose. But that isn't what I want to talk about here. Instead, I want to address one of the things I always love about the start of a new academic year: eager new students who haven't yet burned out.

The wide-eyed undergrads finding their way around campus are always fun to see (except for how they inevitably remind me that I'm not getting any younger). But I particularly look forward to meeting the new graduate students who are beginning their master's or doctoral program. These are the students in whose training I will be most involved. And given how much time I will invest in them, I really want them to succeed. I want them to be the best scientists and/or professionals they can.

August 20, 2012

Results of Reader Poll to Gauge Interest in a Forum

pollI had a poll up here recently asking whether readers would use an Atheist Revolution forum. Before I took the time to look into what would be involved in setting up such a forum, I thought it made sense to ask whether you thought you might use it.

I admit to being somewhat ambivalent about the idea. I think it would be cool to have an active forum where readers could interact on topics of interest. It could be fun, and it would certainly give me some great ideas for posts. On the other hand, it seems like there are already so many atheist forums and social networks that promoting a new one seems futile.

August 19, 2012

The Freethought Bullies Meme


My primary goal in this post is to summarize the nature and development of the "freethought bullies" meme. I do this for two reasons. First, I have seen quite a few people on Twitter asking about it and what it means. And second, it has recently been made clear to me that a few of the bloggers writing for Freethought Blogs see the meme as primarily being the result of male privilege and irrational reactions to their efforts to introduce feminism to the atheist community. For example, see this post by Lousy Canuck in which he suggests that the meme is about people being upset by anti-harassment policies. These bloggers may be correct, but I fear that they are missing something important in the narrative they have constructed. I'd like to suggest that they consider expanding their views a bit with another possibility.

August 18, 2012

Reducing My Hypocrisy


Now that I have identified some of the ways in which I've been hypocritical, it is time to begin making some changes.
  1. I'm going to make an effort not to look the other way when I see atheists doing things I consider damaging to our community or for which I would never give religious believers a pass.
  2. The "Idiot of the Week" series has been retired. While I will not delete all 124 posts tagged with this label over the years, I have dropped the tag and have no plans to use it again. Calling people juvenile names isn't the answer.
  3. I'm going to review some of the recent discussion about civility and tone in the atheist blogosphere to see if I can learn anything that will help me do better in this area. So far, I think that the position Larry Moran outlined here is a good one.
  4. It is important to me that people feel welcome here, and I am going to make a greater effort to facilitate that. I expect this will start with a review of the comment policy, which has not been revised since July of 2009.

These will not be the entirety of my efforts, but I think they are a good starting point.

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Possible Reasons the Aan Petition Failed

Alexander AanOne of the frustrating things about activism is that it doesn't always work. And when it doesn't work, many are left feeling puzzled and discouraged.

As you are undoubtedly aware, many atheist groups heavily promoted an online petition asking the Obama Administration to intervene on behalf of Alexander Aan, the atheist in Indonesia who was sentenced to prison for admitting he was an atheist. As Hemant Mehta (Friendly Atheist) points out, many are now wondering why no more than 8,000 of the needed 25,000 signatures were obtained. So why could we only manage 8,000 signatures to support Aan?

August 17, 2012

Source of DMCA Complaints Revealed

dmcaAfter Justin Vacula and Girlwriteswhat received DMCA complaint notices, additional DMCA complaints were received by Elevatorgate, another blog critical of Freethought Bloggers/Skepchick. And now, the source of the DMCA complaints has been revealed as Surly Amy (Skepchick). So now we know.

According to the three recipients of the DMCA complaints, none were contacted via email by Surly Amy and asked to remove anything in advance of receiving the complaints.

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Introducing Skeptic Blogs

SblogoI am happy to welcome a new blog network to the atheist community: Skeptic Blogs. The Skeptic Blogs network is the brainchild of noted author John Loftus (Debunking Christianity) and aims to offer something different from what is found at other blog networks or team blogs.

According to their mission statement:
We seek to collectively provide a positive set of voices on behalf of science, reason, and skepticism. We take aim at critically examining the basis of religious faiths, their holy books, claims of miracles, and of the paranormal, without neglecting the adverse cultural impact they have on us. We will do so from a diverse set of perspectives and disciplines of learning.

August 16, 2012

Skepticism in the Audiophile Community

audiophileNot all atheists are skeptics, and not all skeptics are atheists. I happen to be both an atheist and a skeptic, and I have found that skepticism has many advantages even outside of atheism. In this post, I want to tell you about how I ran into some skepticism in what may seem like an unlikely place to find it: the audiophile community.

Believe it or not, my interests are not limited to atheism and progressive politics. I love music (mostly metal and classic rock), have a large collection, and am fascinated with technology to enhance my listening experience. That said, I'm no audiophile.

August 15, 2012

Atheists Using DMCA Complaints to Silence Other Atheists

SilenceJust when I think that the door can finally be closed on the freethought bullies saga, something happens that makes me realize that it is not going away anytime soon. An atheist blogger (Justin Vacula) who has been critical of a few of those writing for Freethought Blogs and Skepchick has been hit with a Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) complaint, prompting Blogger to automatically remove one of his posts. In addition, a YouTube user (girlwriteswhat) critical of Freethought Blogs has received two DMCA complaints that will force her to reveal her identity to those complaining or lose her account (see video).

I know how this looks, but I am not ready to claim that someone writing for Freethought Blogs or Skepchick has filed these DMCA complaints. The complaints may have originated with an extremely misguided supporter or two. And yet, their impact is clear: those who disagree with these bloggers are being silenced.

Regardless of what you or I may think of the Freethought Blogs community or Skepchick, I think we can agree that using the DMCA in this manner is potentially devastating to the online atheist community. MikeTheInfidel has effectively explained why Google's approach to DMCA complaints is problematic. Clearly, Google needs to develop a better way of handling this process. In the meantime, we need to make it clear to everyone in our community that this is an unacceptable way to resolve our conflicts.

Update: The source of the DMCA complaints has been revealed by one of the recipients.

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Taking a Look at American Atheists' Anti-Harassment Policy

American AtheistsI wrote this post about what should be included in an anti-harassment policy without looking at any of the policies adopted by various atheist groups. I thought it would be interesting to see how close the actual policies were compared with the five components I suggested should be part of an effective policy. Now I'm going to take a look at the Conference Code of Conduct developed by American Atheists and see how it compares.

August 14, 2012

The Business of the Mormon Church

MormonThe more successful a religion is, the more closely it seems to resemble a massive corporation. A successful religion tends to amass great wealth, and its leaders come to yield considerable influence. This influence often includes what we might characterize as political power.

When most of us think of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (i.e., the Mormons), we think of a religion rather than a business. Perhaps we'd better recognize it as both. According to Peter Henderson of Reuters, the LDS Church brings in roughly $7 billion a year in tithes and donations.

Where does all this money come from? Here's how Ryan Cragun, a sociologist at the University of Tampa, put it in the same article:
Most of the revenue of the religion is from the U.S., and a large percentage comes from an elite cadre of wealthy donors, like Mitt Romney.

What I Learned From My Time in the Boy Scouts

Boy ScoutsI was in the Boy Scouts for a couple years. It was my dad's idea. While I was initially willing to give it a try, it did not take long for me to learn that it was not for me. Unfortunately, my dad "did not raise a quitter," and so I was not permitted to leave until a couple years later. He had been a Scout in his youth and found it to be a positive experience. I just needed to stick with it, and it would surely be a positive experience for me. I was 13 or 14 when I was finally allowed to quit, and I've never had any regrets about doing so.

By the time I left, being associated with the Boy Scouts was one of the least cool things a 13 or 14 year-old boy could do. I tried as hard as I could to keep it a secret from my peers in school, but this proved impossible. And so one of the downsides of being in the Scouts was regularly being made fun of at school. Had I enjoyed being a Scout, this would not have been a big deal. But having to be the butt of jokes for doing something I didn't want to do in the first place was not much fun.

August 13, 2012

Where is Jesus When People Starve?

starvingIf there are people starving to death and if the Christian "god" or its zombie son are real, Christians have a bit of a problem. Philosophers have stated this problem formally in the form of the problem of evil. One of the oldest and simplest statements of the problem looks something like this:
  1. If an all-powerful and perfectly good god exists, then evil does not.
  2. There is evil in the world.
  3. Therefore, an all-powerful and perfectly good god does not exist.
Given the presence of evil, "god" is either not all-powerful or not perfectly good. One can certainly redefine "god" to lack either of these attributes, but this would bear little resemblance to the sort of deity in which Christians claim to believe.

August 12, 2012

Blogroll 3.0

Time for a blogroll update. You'll see several new faces and some old friends. Since I read a combination of blogs that are mostly focused on atheism and those that may have a different focus but still address atheist-relevant content regularly, I thought it might be helpful to try some categories.

I should also note that this is a list of blogs I read regularly that I think you may find interesting. It is not intended to be a comprehensive of every blog I read, for that would go on for pages.

August 11, 2012

Mocking Commenters at One Freethought Blog

When we were talking about whether a blogger was responsible for comments left by others, one of the points many of you raised was that even if a blogger is not responsible for the content of every comment, he or she does have some responsibility for the overall tone of the blog, a tone which will be reflected in the comments. I agree with those who raised this point.

A few minutes ago, I came across an example of how a blogger can set the sort of tone most of us would prefer not to see. And since she previously criticized me for being too general (a fair criticism of this post), I'm sure she will not mind being used as such an example.

After someone left a comment defining freethought, here's what Ophelia Benson (Butterflies & Wheels) had to say:


What sort of tone do you suppose this sets?

Update: For another example, see In Which I am Ridiculed by PZ Myers (Justin Vacula's Blog).

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Religiosity Raises Risk Among Sex Offenders

Priest AbuseOne of the most common objections encountered by atheists who report on child rape by clergy is that it is not fair to focus on clergy since this offense occurs in many other groups. They have a valid point in that clergy are certainly not the only group to engage in this despicable behavior; however, we typically retort that the involvement of religion is relevant. Certain aspects of religious doctrine may facilitate abuse. Abuse by a member of clergy involves a deep betrayal of trust, contributes to the low rates of reporting such crimes, is more likely to be concealed in systematic ways, etc.

But what if there was actually evidence from scientific studies that religiosity was associated with increased dangerousness among sex offenders, that clergy were more likely to get away with sex crimes than other groups of offenders, and that clergy used more force when committing their crimes than other sex offenders? With such evidence, it would be difficult to argue that religion was irrelevant.

August 10, 2012

Confronting My Own Hypocrisy

HypocrisyNobody gets up in the morning and plans to be more hypocritical that day. Hypocrisy is supposed to be something we try to avoid. And yet, far too few of us make an effort to spot our own hypocrisy. Even when it is pointed out by others, we react defensively because we do not want to see it in ourselves.

To my mind, part of what it means to be a freethinker is that I am obligated to take a look at myself from time-to-time. I've been doing so recently, and I have not been all that happy with what I've found. I've identified some areas of hypocrisy that need to be addressed.

Right-Wing Hate in the Sikh Tragedy

alleged Sikh shooterAs a group of people who tend to value free expression, it is understandable that discussing hate speech may make some atheists feel uncomfortable. Most of us have been accused of hate speech simply because the religious majority would prefer not to hear our opinions of their faith. We are sensitive to protecting the freedom of speech, and we have good reason to be. At the same time, it is becoming increasingly difficult to ignore the role of hate speech in far-right extremism.

Right-wing extremists hate those with different political views. They hate individuals of different races and nationalities. They hate women. They hate anything they consider "sinful," including something as natural as one's sexual orientation. They hate persons with different religious beliefs, and they most certainly hate atheists.

August 9, 2012

Would You Use an Atheist Revolution Forum?

I have been asked a few times over the years about adding a discussion forum to the blog. For an example of what I'm talking about, see the Friendly Atheist Forums. I imagine that a fair amount of work is involved in setting something like this up and even more in maintaining it, but I'm really just guessing. If this is something you'd like to see and that you think you'd use to interact with others here, I'm willing to look into it.

I've added a poll at the top of the sidebar where you can vote.

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How To Counter Absurd Messages


In the U.S., a religious person has the right to stand in a public location with a sign calling attention to his or her ridiculous beliefs. Of course, there are some limitations (e.g., a sign calling for the murder of a high-ranking government official wouldn't be well received). But aside from calls to violence, such displays are usually tolerated. However, this does not mean they must be ignored.

The next time you see a Christian extremist promoting such an absurd message, consider picking up your own sign and standing next to him or her. This sort of targeted mockery can be an effective way to counter destructive messages, especially when it can be photographed and shared.

H/T to Vexed&vomithexed (Update: link no longer working)

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August 8, 2012

Is a Blogger Responsible for Comments Left by Others?

CommentsI agreed with much of what Sam Harris wrote in his recent post, "Wrestling the Troll;" however, there was at least one point of potential disagreement I'd like to address. I say "potential disagreement" because I'm honestly not sure yet. I had already been thinking about this a great deal before Harris' post, but I'm still undecided. I'm interested to see what others think as I try to decide.

In his critique of PZ Myers, Harris wrote:
It is difficult to overlook the role that blog comments play in all this. Having a blog and building a large community of readers can destroy a person’s intellectual integrity—as appears to have happened in the case of PZ Myers. Many people who read his blog come away convinced that I am a racist who advocates the widespread use of torture and a nuclear first strike against the entire Muslim world. The most despicable claims about me appear in the comment thread, of course, but Myers is responsible for publishing them. And so I hold him responsible for circulating and amplifying some of the worst distortions of my views found on the Internet.
It appears that Harris is holding Myers responsible for the comments others make on his blog. Is it fair to hold a blogger responsible for the comments left by others on his or her blog?

August 7, 2012

Aurora Shooting Survivor Grants Interview to Secular Woman

Secular WomanThe following is a press release from Secular Woman:

In her first interview with a secular identity organization, Carli R., a survivor of the July shooting that claimed a dozen lives in Colorado, related her experiences to Secular Woman and offered encouragement to other atheist women: "[B]e proud of who you are. Self respect is something that has been a very important part of my own personal growth and development, as well as overcoming many big obstacles ... Stand your ground, be assertive, treat others as you would want to be treated, and be gracious."

Pat Robertson Could Be Right About Sikh Massacre

Pat RobertsonPat Robertson, a real Christian, believes that the Sikh temple massacre in Wisconsin happened because "atheists hate god." It made no difference to Pat whether the alleged murderer was actually an atheist. This was an opportunity for anti-atheist bigotry, and he took it. Pat has a long history of making inflammatory and insensitive statements, so it surprised no one that he decided to sound off about this tragedy.