19 September 2011

Belated Weekly Recap: Strange Matter, evolution book ban, and honor killings in the UK?

I've been a bit busier than expected for the past week.  To tell the truth, I've mostly been out enjoying the fresh air with my wife and our dog, and just haven't had much time or energy left over to spend at the computer.  Blogging has consequently been on the back burner until now.

Posts going up within the week sometime in the near future (I swear upon Russell's Teapot):
You can't prove it's not there!
  • a retrospective post about ten years of September Elevenths and the War on Terror
  • a statement of my political principles as a left-libertarian centrist (partly a response to The Heathen Republican)
  • a fun post in which I make up completely absurd claims and conspiracy theories
  • possibly a Skeptic Freethought post as well, if I think I've come up with something worthy
At least I'm only 24 hours late on my Weekly Recap.  Let's do this.

Godless Quote of the Week

"We know that we need to offer the kinds of emotional and social support people get from religion — hence the atheist meetup groups and communities popping up all over the country and all over the world. We know that we need to provide secular philosophies for dealing with death, suffering, morality, meaning, other big questions of life . . . We talk about it ad nauseum. We strategize about it. We bicker about the best ways to do it. We sink time and money and countless hours of hard work into it.  We’re on it."
  • Secular activist and blogger Greta Christina, in response to a critic's assertion that atheists spend all their time sitting around trying to prove religion wrong.

Sunday Suggestion Monday Mention!

This week I'm recommending Strange Matter, a blog of social commentary and random thoughts by Chana, perhaps the friendliest and most kindhearted humanist I've had the honor of meeting.  She also happens to be the president of the campus Secular Student Alliance affiliate at the University of Chicago.

If you're interested in detailed, longer-than-one-page posts about gender equality, philosophy, helping the downtrodden, and leading a good and happy life without religion, go check it out.  Her blog may only be updated once every month or so, but when she does the posts well worth reading.

Weekly Absurdity, part one: "Imagine, Huxley.  A hundred and fifty-two years from now, this will still be controversial!"

Evolution may be a contested topic in the court of public opinion, but that hasn't stopped science from expanding its wealth of knowledge.  Browse the science section at your local bookstore or library and you'll find no shortage of good books about the greatest show on Earth.  So why weren't any American publishers willing to print Daniel Loxton's book Evolution: How We and All Living Things Came to Be out of fear it was too controversial?

Answer: because it's geared toward children.  Good heavens, we wouldn't want kids to learn how nature works at such a young age - they might start comparing it to Bible stories and realize that they're either false or not meant to be taken literally!

Well, if stubborn Americans won't let you do something because they're clinging to backward nonsense, there's always Canada.

(Via Dren Asselmeier)

Weekly Absurdity, part two: Forced marriages and honor killings in "First World" countries?

Drawing by Edel Rodriguez
Every now and then we hear a horror story come out of Afghanistan or Saudi Arabia about a young Muslim woman (or even girl) being executed by her own family members for the crime of being raped or not cooperating in an arranged marriage, usually attributed to religious fundamentalism or devotion to some barbaric cultural tradition.

Sometimes the horror story hits closer to home.
". . . a gang of men, including two cousins, reportedly trapped Banaz in her home, tortured and raped her, and strangled her with a shoelace before stuffing her body into a suitcase and abandoning it in another town."
This happened in South London, United Kingdom.  While the article doesn't mention anything that horrific happening this side of the Atlantic, it does give examples of girls in immigrant families being coerced into arranged marriages here in the United States.

Such stories erode my hopes for humanity, but I'm at least encouraged by the fact that many of us have left such terrible practices behind.

(Via Razib Khan)

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Creative Commons License