Our rights to life, liberty, property, and the pursuit of happiness
can only be secured by a state strictly separated from religion

30 April 2012

The Daily Show on Personhood

By Diana Hsieh

The Daily Show mocks the "personhood" movement:

The Daily Show with Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Bro-Choice
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical Humor & Satire BlogThe Daily Show on Facebook


"Can I be tried for past crimes? Because, I have to tell you, I'm like Sperm Hitler."

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27 April 2012

Man Rapes New Bride with Chloroform

By Diana Hsieh

Man jailed for using chloroform to rape his new bride:

A husband who raped his new wife after knocking her out with chloroform when she refused him sex has been jailed for eight years.

The man, 35, tied her to a bed with a scarf and used the anaesthetic twice during their six-week marriage. His wife, a Bangladeshi ­immigrant, 23, first turned him down on their wedding night because she was too nervous.

The husband had denied the two rapes in Poplar, East London.

At the Old Bailey, prosecutor Richard Hearnden said: “She says she was forced to marry him. “The period of time between the defendant first meeting her and the marriage ceremony was extremely short.”
Just eight years?!?

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25 April 2012

The Magic of Personhood

By Diana Hsieh

I got a laugh out of this image demonstrating the creation of a person:



(Via Rational Hub.)

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24 April 2012

Afgan Schoolgirls Poisoned

By Diana Hsieh

There's a very real war against girls and women going on in Afghanistan:

At least 140 Afghan schoolgirls and female teachers were admitted to a local hospital Tuesday after drinking poisoned water, said local health officials, who blamed the act on extremists opposed to women's education.

The victims range in age from 14 to 30 and were taken to a hospital in Afghanistan's northeastern Takhar province after their school's water tank was contaminated, according to provincial health department director Dr. Hafizullah Safi.

No deaths were reported, but more than half the victims partially lost consciousness, while others suffered dizziness and vomiting
It's not the first time: "In 2010, more than 100 schoolgirls and teachers were sickened in a series of similar poisonings."

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18 April 2012

How Not To Argue Against Environmentalists

By Diana Hsieh

Pro-tip: Don't attempt to dismiss concerns of environmentalists by claiming that the earth has been around for 6000 years, and that's a long time, so surely this mine won't cause any problems. I kid you not.

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17 April 2012

The Price of a Secular Society

By Diana Hsieh

I love this quote by John Lewis, from his 2006 post Theocracy and Precedent:

But while explicit calls for socialism remain among only a small group of leftists, our country has nevertheless adopted socialist policies impossible three generations ago. The encroachment of religiously-based laws can accomplish a similar theocratic result in less time, if not opposed in a principled way. Fines against the media for 'indecency,' and 'faith-based' initiatives, are cases in point; all such censorship and religious socialism set precedents for even greater attacks on our freedom in the future. The price of a secular society is eternal vigilance against such laws, and intransigent opposition to the ideas and people that make them possible.
Check out the blog of The Objective Standard here.

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12 April 2012

Video: Is Public Breastfeeding Indecent?

By Diana Hsieh

In Sunday's Philosophy in Action Webcast, I discussed public breastfeeding. The question was:

Is breastfeeding children in public wrong? My wife and I want to have kids, and one question we have concerns public breastfeeding. Is it immodest or improper to breastfeed in public? Should stores permit or forbid it on their premises? Should public breastfeeding be restricted or banned by law as indecent?
My answer, in brief:
People ought to support public breastfeeding, even if they prefer not to look at it. It's not a sexual act, and mothers should be able to feed their babies when they're out and about.
Here's the video of my full answer:
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Join the next Philosophy in Action Webcast on Sunday at 8 am PT / 9 am MT / 10 am CT / 11 am ET at www.PhilosophyInAction.com/live.

In the meantime, Connect with Us via social media, e-mail, RSS feeds, and more. Check out the Webcast Archives, where you can listen to the full webcast or just selected questions from any past episode, and our my YouTube channel. And go to the Question Queue to submit and vote on questions for upcoming webcast episodes.

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10 April 2012

The Disciple

By Diana Hsieh

Lately, I've been re-reading the Greek Bible (a.k.a. "The New Testament") while listening to Prof. Luke Timothy Johnson's lecture course, Jesus and the Gospels. Johnson is a believer, unlike Bart Ehrman. But he's a scholarly, thinking Roman Catholic -- not a knee-jerk Biblical literalist. So I'm enjoying the course far more than expected.

When William Stoddard recommended the poem "The Disciple" by Rudyard Kipling on another comment thread, I was intrigued! Better yet, I was not disappointed on reading the poem.

The Disciple
Rudyard Kipling

He that hath a Gospel
To loose upon Mankind,
Though he serve it utterly--
Body, soul and mind--
Though he go to Calvary
Daily for its gain--
It is His Disciple
Shall make his labour vain.

He that hath a Gospel
For all earth to own--
Though he etch it on the steel,
Or carve it on the stone--
Not to be misdoubted
Through the after-days--
It is His Disciple
Shall read it many ways.

It is His Disciple
(Ere Those Bones are dust )
Who shall change the Charter,
Who shall split the Trust--
Amplify distinctions,
Rationalize the Claim;
Preaching that the Master
Would have done the same.

It is His Disciple
Who shall tell us how
Much the Master would have scrapped
Had he lived till now--
What he would have modified
Of what he said before.
It is His Disciple
Shall do this and more....

He that hath a Gospel
Whereby Heaven is won
( Carpenter, or cameleer,
Or Maya's dreaming son ),
Many swords shell pierce Him,
Mingling blood with gall;
But His Own Disciple
Shall wound Him worst of all!
In the years that I've been studying the history and texts of early Christianity, I've grown to love and appreciate the Gospels as literature. They're rich, complex, and philosophical. I've also developed some sympathy for Jesus -- as much as I disagree with every bit of his preaching -- because his message was so quickly and wildly distorted by his followers. To use Bart Ehrman's language, there's a gap between the religion proclaimed by Jesus and the religion about Jesus. And it's huge.

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04 April 2012

Video: Outing Anti-Gay Politicians as Gay

By Diana Hsieh

In Sunday's Philosophy in Action Webcast, I discussed outing anti-gay politicians as gay. The question was:

Is it wrong to "out" a hypocritical anti-gay public figure who is secretly gay? Some conservative politicians have taken strongly anti-gay positions, but are secretly gay themselves. If one learns of this, is it wrong for gay activists to publicly "out" them? What if they don't engage in public hypocrisy, but are just quietly "in the closet"? Should activists respect their privacy in that case?
My answer, in brief:
People who publicly advocate meddling in other people's private choices should not expect others to respect their private hypocrisy. They should be exposed, as a matter of justice.
Here's the video of my full answer:
If you enjoy the video, please "like" it on YouTube and share it with friends via social media, forums, and e-mail! You can also throw a bit of extra love in our tip jar.

Join the next Philosophy in Action Webcast on Sunday at 8 am PT / 9 am MT / 10 am CT / 11 am ET at www.PhilosophyInAction.com/live.

In the meantime, Connect with Us via social media, e-mail, RSS feeds, and more. Check out the Webcast Archives, where you can listen to the full webcast or just selected questions from any past episode, and our my YouTube channel. And go to the Question Queue to submit and vote on questions for upcoming webcast episodes.

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