The Morning Heresy 5/22/12: The Antidote

May 22, 2012

Your daily digest of relevant news and links from Paul Fidalgo

We're only at the beginning of The Great Content Generation I predicted would be spurred by the Women in Secularism conference. Here are a lot of great reactions from bloggers around the atheosphere. See yesterday's Heresy for more immediate roundups, and the Twitter hashtag #wiscfi continues to spring up with reactions, photos, and witticisms.   

Jen McCreight has stars in her eyes over the conference:

I can’t stress enough how wonderful I thought WIS was. It was one of the most fun, enlightening, informational, and moving conferences I’ve been to. The material was so refreshing. 

According to Ashley Miller, the conference could easily have been titled "The Secularism for Social Justice Conference" (emphasis mine):

. . . when people in charge of important organizations speak on a panel at TAM to say that social justice isn’t and shouldn’t be within the purview of skepticism, or people in my local atheist group leave because they think it is inappropriate that someone posted a link to a story about the Rally Against the War on Women because who cares about that feminist bullshit, or important people in the movement tell me not to bother submitting something to TAM if it has anything to do, even tangentially, with women’s issues, I start to doubt why I am even involved. This conference was the antidote to that. 

Skeptical Seeker tracks 5 big takeaways from the conference, including this one, which was a big one for me too:

Misogynistic beliefs are a lot like religious (or any other) beliefs. It can be difficult to recognize such beliefs in oneself, and it may take many encounters to finally stop these patterns of thinking. 

Ophelia Benson, on the absurd perception of women as too nice and/or too stupid for the secularist movement, gives marching orders:

This [perception] is not something that’s easy to change. I know this, because I know feminists have been trying to change it since at least 1970, and in some ways it’s worse than it was then. Younger generation – your task is plain. Get to it. Thank you. 

Self-described "daughter-spawn" Skatje Myers is beginning her own roundup of the conference, and at the end of her first post makes a tough observation:

Jen [McCreight] mentioned getting emails from women warning her about which male speakers at secular conferences that women should avoid. And from my talking with other people at the conference, it sounds like there are quite a few stories of well-known speakers being misogynistic or sleazy. That’s a problem. It’s a problem that anyone is behaving that way, and it’s a problem that they’re not being called out on it. 

(By the way, the Morning Heretic agrees. I'm a little nauseated by the idea that bad-actors might be finding safe haven in secularist conferences. It warrants serious inquiry.) 

Skatje's dad was jealous he couldn't be there 

In other news...

Oh snap, y'all, there's a new Point of Inquiry episode. You know, that show that Business Insider calls one of the 10 best podcasts. This week we've got Johan Braeckman on Islamic creationism 

Via Austin Dacey at the CSI website, there's actually a big to-do about whether it's okay to have the Quran on your iPhone because, for one thing, you might take your iPhone into the bathroom with you  

As a fellow with New Jerseyan roots, I am depressed over these poll results [PDF]. Only 51% accept evolution??? Gag me. 

Two child-raping priests in Philadelphia, now in their 70s, to be punished with a "supervised life of prayer and penance." That'll show 'em. 

At Teen Skepchick, Mox gets stabbed repeatedly, on purpose, and it doesn't help anything 

Pakistan shuts down Twitter over Muhammad cartoons (this never gets old, I guess) 

Notre Dame joins the Legion of Doom 

LDS gears up to go after marriage equality in Washington state 

Emotional interview by Rachel Maddow of NAACP president Ben Jealous on the organization's backing of marriage equality 

Agnostic James Kirk Wall pushes back against Neil deGrasse Tyson's definition of agnosticism, calling his distinction with atheism one of "attitude" 

Andreas Harsono in NYT rebuts the notion that Indonesia is a model of democracy 

CSI's Joe Nickell on Nessie, who, in much-talked-about sonar images, really seems to be millions of zooplankton 

Temple of the Future rebuts Greta, saying that while social justice is awesome, you don't get there from atheism, but from humanism

Quote of the Day     

Soraya Chemaly speaks to the girls of the world in a powerful, must-read piece:

   . . . know that you are strong and powerful. Use your reason. Trust your instincts. Seek out those that would support you and, yes, know your place: on the field, in the street, on the bus (in the front), in school, at work and in public office. You are not alone and you are brighter than the sun.

Linking to a story or webpage does not imply endorsement by Paul or CFI . Not every use of quotation marks is ironic or sarcastic, but it often is. 

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