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Doug Berger's Library tagged "secular humanism"   View Popular, Search in Google

Feb 05, 16

"As it happens, I think this dismissive, minimizing attitude is exactly the problem. When it comes to sexism in the atheist community, the biggest problem isn’t the relatively small (but noisy and persistent) mob of screeching trolls and harassers. The biggest problem is the much larger bloc of people who don’t engage in such behavior themselves, but are willing to tolerate it, and who think that whether a person is sexist should form at most a very small part of your opinion of them. It’s the people who believe that if a celebrity author or scientist is effective at promoting atheism, that’s all we ought to care about, not anything else they say or do. (You may notice the analogy with the way that moderate religion can protect and enable dangerous fundamentalism.)

This ties back to what I’ve written about what is up for debate in the secular community. We engage in fierce give-and-take about a whole world of topics, and it’s right and proper that we should. But when it comes to equality and respect for our fellow human beings, there ought to be no question. If anything, we ought to consider that the highest priority, not an irrelevant 1% leftover that can be swept under the carpet."

Jan 30, 16

"This is thrilling and long overdue. But it’s also a phenomenon that could easily recede, as it has many times before after periods of progress: in the early fifties, when television was brand-new; in the seventies, the era of “Roots” and Norman Lear; and again in the early nineties, post-Cosby, when black sitcoms thrived. One observer understood this ephemeral quality more than most: P. Jay Sidney, an African-American actor who built a four-decade career in television, all the while protesting network racism, in what Donald Bogle’s book “Primetime Blues” recounts as a “one-man crusade to get African-Americans fair representation in television programs and commercials.” Sidney is a footnote in history books, while other activists of his era are heroes. But he was there when the medium began, appearing on TV more than any other black dramatic actor of the time. Even as his résumé grew, Sidney picketed, he wrote letters, he advocated boycotts, he taped interactions with executives, lobbying tirelessly against TV’s de-facto segregation. In 1962, he testified before the House of Representatives. Nothing made much headway; he grew disgusted and disaffected. By the time Sidney died, in Brooklyn, in 1996, he had largely been forgotten, a proud loner who never got to see his vision become reality. “People today benefit from things that were sacrificed years ago,” his ex-wife Carol Foster Sidney, who is now eighty-seven, told me. “And they haven’t a clue.”"

Jan 21, 16

In January 2011, the library opened in a small storefront in downtown Indianapolis.

Framed prints of his drawings and artwork adorn the walls. A bizarre sculpture of Vonnegut by Latvian artist Ivars Mikelsons is arranged in the corner.

One of the most striking features of the library is a wall-sized mural commissioned by Allen. The four-panel painting is set up like a timeline, starting with the entry, “13.7 billion years: The universe is born and growing fast. Parents unknown.”

Dozens of entries chart the flow of human existence, Vonnegut’s family history and his own life.

Jan 15, 16

"But Christie’s entire argument is based on the persistent myth that crime is spiking under Obama, spurred on by police brutality protests.

Christie wasn’t the only one buying into that claim. Fox Business host Neil Cavuto’s question was just as misleading as Christie’s response.

“I wonder what you make of recent statistics that show violent crime has been spiking, sometimes by a double digit rate, in 30 cities across the country,” Cavuto said, before alluding to the so-called “Ferguson effect” as a cause.

It’s an argument that Christie and other presidential candidates including Ted Cruz have also made in the past — that increased scrutiny of the police after high-profile shootings in Ferguson, Baltimore, and other U.S. cities has caused police to slow down enforcement, leading to an increase in crime. But it’s a completely unfounded argument. "

Jan 15, 16

"Then again, you’ve always got that Black guy you knew in high school – you heard he’s never had a problem with police, so police brutality must not be an issue. Or your cousin’s co-workers wife, who’s Asian and doesn’t mind questions about where she’s from. And don’t forget that Latina you once found in a YouTube comments section, who takes hypersexual stereotyping as a compliment.

The existence of exceptions to the rule is no reason to dismiss the experiences of so many others, and talking about white privilege doesn’t mean saying that every single white person has one experience, and every single person of color has another.

Once again, it’s about talking about a system that disadvantages groups of people."

Jan 10, 16

"This is a philosophy that sees absolutely no value in anything that can't be turned into a buck. The debate is framed so that the environmental movement is forced to argue from a moral high ground of beauty and legacy, while the opponents argue from an economically "practical" background.

Private enterprise cannot make a profit on something until there is scarcity. So as long as clean air is available to all, then the free market has no interest in doing anything but polluting it. The reason is because the current free market, capitalist, economic model exists to commodify natural resources and turn it into consumer goods, while externalizing expenses by doing things like trashing the planet.

However, once the atmosphere is polluted to the point that people with money can't breath, then the free market will create a solution - but only for those it can make a profit from. The poor die slowly.

You don't have to chose between the environment or jobs. Studies prove that if you chose to sacrifice the environment, you also chose to sacrifice your local economy."

Jan 04, 16

"One day before his son joined the armed invasion of the federal wildlife preserve, Clive Bundy published a press release supporting the Hammonds which explains why he believes their sentences are illegal.

The United States Justice Department has NO jurisdiction or authority within the State of Oregon, County of Harney over this type of ranch management. These lands are not under U.S. treaties or commerce, they are not article 4 territories, and Congress does not have unlimited power. These lands have been admitted into statehood and are part of the great State of Oregon and the citizens of Harney County enjoy the fullness of the protections of the U.S. Constitution. The U.S. Constitution limits United States government.

As a constitutional matter, this is gobbledygook. The Constitution provides that “Congress shall have power to dispose of and make all needful Rules and Regulations respecting the Territory or other Property belonging to the United States.” Moreover, the Supreme Court unanimously held in Kleppe v. New Mexico, that this constitutional provision provides that “the power over the public land thus entrusted to Congress is without limitations.” The federal government may own land, it may enact regulations governing that land, and it may do with its own land as it chooses, regardless of whether that land is within the borders of a state."

Jan 02, 16

"Allowing certain citizens to break the law negates the purpose of having laws in the very first place."

Dec 06, 15

"Islamic extremism, like Christian fundamentalism, has a life of its own, and it’s evolving as we speak. The New Atheists’ contribution to this debate is to have taken fundamentalists of all stripes at their word and to have suggested that it is not only the particular interpretation of holy books that is problematic but the existence of holy books themselves: that fundamentalism cannot be detached from religion but is an outgrowth (or mutation) of it.

The argument may be an old one, but it’s worth repeating, and if their readers get a bit of knowledge on the way about recent developments in cell biology or genetics or the expanding fossil record or physics, well, then, so much the better….

There’s no doubt Dawkins can be a jerk. His interventions on the subject of Western feminists – whom he seems to want to indict on the grounds that they’re not living in Afghanistan – are, to put it delicately, feeble.

But my strong sense is that his real crime is to have confronted us – good women and men of the left – with a question we aren’t quite able to answer, and which, frankly, we’d rather wasn’t asked: What do we feel about religion now that it is more commonly associated with minorities subject to widespread prejudice?"

Dec 03, 15

"The only way 355 mass shootings in 336 days becomes an acceptable reality is if we accept it.

And if we do, we can no longer blame Islamic State or Al Qaeda or the axis of evil for threatening the American way of life.

We will have destroyed it ourselves. "

Nov 19, 15

"It’s time for us to acknowledge the problem with Dr. Phil. It’s easy to demonize people such as Dr. Oz, who promote obvious, quantifiable pseudoscience. But there’s another doctor in town arguably doing the same kind of harm. Psychology is also a science, and therapists are licensed for the very reason that only certain people have the knowledge and talent to do it, and even those that do need training to do it effectively. Everyone is entitled to give insight and advice, but positioning yourself on national TV with the misleading title of “doctor” is something altogether different. Something possibly sinister. "

Oct 30, 15

The organizers messed up when they put a pro-Gamergate panel on the schedule, even though it had been organized specifically as a counterpoint to a panel making the apparently controversial claim that online harassment is bad and hurts people (especially women). They messed up again when they ignored the warnings of people like Arthur Chu, Brianna Wu, and Caroline Sinders, who have experienced Gamergate harassment first-hand and know the warning signs when they see them.

Oct 02, 15

"Father Lombardi, in his statement, played down the meeting and said it had been arranged by the Nunciature, the Vatican Embassy, in Washington.

“Pope Francis met with several dozen persons who had been invited by the Nunciature to greet him as he prepared to leave Washington for New York City,” Father Lombardi said.

He added: “Such brief greetings occur on all papal visits and are due to the pope’s characteristic kindness and availability. The only real audience granted by the pope at the Nunciature was with one of his former students and his family.”"

Oct 02, 15

"The point Obama is making is clear: We spend huge amounts of money every year fighting terrorism, yet are unwilling, at the national level, to take even minor steps (like requiring background checks on all gun sales nationally) to stop gun violence.

"We spent over a trillion dollars, and passed countless laws, and devote entire agencies to preventing terrorist attacks on our soil, and rightfully so," Obama said. "And yet we have a Congress that explicitly blocks us from even collecting data on how we could potentially reduce gun deaths. How can that be?""

Oct 01, 15

"Why, exactly, is the Vatican being so weird about this meeting between Pope Francis and Kim Davis?

There are two possibilities. One is that somebody brought her to the Vatican embassy here in Washington and simply presented her to the pope without much internal discussion.

So basically, “Hello pope, here’s this lady who was a conscientious objector, isn’t that sad?” And the pope said “Oh, courage [to you], God bless you. Here’s a rosary!”"

Aug 12, 15

"For decades now, evangelical Christians have opposed gay rights. They have painted gay people as dangerous, as child molesters, and as incapable of forming loving relationships. They have argued against efforts to protect gay children from bullying and have inflicted “conversion therapies” that include electric shock on gay teens and adults. They have opposed gay, lesbian, and bisexual individuals’ right to marry and continue to lobby against local nondiscrimination ordinances.

And yet, in spite of all of this, comparing an evangelical baker asked to make a wedding cake for a gay couple with a Jewish baker asked to make a cake with a swastika on it puts the evangelical in the position of the party that has been hated, exiled, and killed for who they are. And indeed, this is exactly what evangelicals are trying to do. They want to paint themselves as the ones who are discriminated against, oppressed by the all-powerful gay lobby."

Aug 07, 15

"The frontrunners continued that trend in the second debate – largely sticking to rants against Planned Parenthood and immigrants – until an unfortunate question from a viewer brought God back into the debate.

Chase Norton, who submitted his question via Facebook, said, “I want to know if any of them have received a word from God on what they should do and take care of first.”

Enter U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas."

Jul 30, 15

"One of their options is no longer on the table. Today, the State Supreme Court basically told Pruitt: We weren’t kidding with our earlier decision. The monument is still unconstitutional."

Jul 22, 15

"So what should empathy be replaced with? Bloom and Davidson proposed two things. One is “rather cold-blooded, rational cost-benefit analysis,” Bloom said. “Go after not what gives you buzz, but what really helps other people." For example: Instead of giving to a child beggar in India, and thereby reward the criminal organization that likely put that child there, donate to Oxfam. The recommendation dovetails with the rising “effective altruism” movement, which The Atlantic’s Derek Thompson recently described as “munificence matched with math.”

Of course, this sounds a lot less emotionally fulfilling than helping someone you have a connection with. That’s where the second potential empathy replacement comes in: compassion. To do good, Bloom said, “we need an emotional push. But the push need not come from empathy. It can come from love, from caring, from compassion, from more distant emotions that don't come from being swallowed up in the suffering of others." "

Jul 12, 15

"Governmental use of such symbolism, however, is another matter entirely. When a sizable portion of the population reasonably construes a symbol as being hateful, decency dictates that it be removed from the governmental realm. In the meantime, Southerners with a fixation on Confederate symbols might want to take a cue from their German counterparts. There are ways of remembering one’s ancestors and honoring the noble aspects of one’s culture without also exalting the despicable."

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