In a world dominated by magical thinking, superstition and misinformation, give yourself the benefit of doubt. This is one skeptic's view of the Universe; natural wonders and supernatural blunders.

"Tell people there’s an invisible man in the sky who created the universe, and the vast majority believe you. Tell them the paint is wet, and they have to touch it to be sure."

-George Carlin

“If people are good only because they fear punishment, and hope for reward, then we are a sorry lot indeed”.

-Albert Einstein

“Skeptical scrutiny is the means, in both science and religion, by which deep thoughts can be winnowed from deep nonsense.”

-Carl Sagan

The person who is certain, and who claims divine warrant for his certainty, belongs now to the infancy of our species. It may be a long farewell, but it has begun and, like all farewells, should not be protracted.

-Christopher Hitchens

 

How Astrology Is [kinda] Like Racism

Both astrology and racial stereotypes are based on a framework of belief that basically says: “Without even meeting you, I believe something about you. I can expect this particular sort of behavior or trait (stubbornness, laziness, arrogance, etc.) from members of this particular group of people (Jews, blacks, Aries, Pisces, etc.).”

When an astrologer finds out a person’s astrological sign, he or she will bring to that experience a pre-existing list of assumptions (prejudices) about that person’s behavior, personality and character. In both cases, the prejudices will cause people to seek out and confirm their expectations.

Racists will look for examples of characteristics and behaviors in the groups they dislike, and astrologers will look for the personality traits that they believe the person will exhibit. Since people have complex personalities (all of us are lazy some of the time, caring at other times, etc.), both racists and astrologers will find evidence confirming their beliefs.

Of course, astrologers are not racists. But the belief systems underlying both viewpoints are identical: prejudging individuals based on general beliefs about a group. If we do not assume that African-Americans are lazy, Arabs are terrorists, or Asians are scholastic geniuses, why would we assume that Cancers are emotional, Aries are born leaders, or Geminis are optimistic non-conformists?

Jews ordered to register in east Ukraine

Jews in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk where pro-Russian militants have taken over government buildings were told they have to “register” with the Ukrainians who are trying to make the city become part of Russia, according to Israeli media.

Jews emerging from a synagogue say they were handed leaflets that ordered the city’s Jews to provide a list of property they own and pay a registration fee “or else have their citizenship revoked, face deportation and see their assets confiscated,” reported Ynet News, Israel’s largest news website….

Virginia KKK Leader: We’re Not Racist, We’re Just Misunderstood Christians

According to Klan imperial wizard Frank Ancona, the KKK is just misunderstood because of a “few rogues.”

Which Republican public relations firm is handling the Ku Klux Klan PR these days? They seem to be undergoing a “rebranding,” that overused euphemism for papering over their past in order to renew interest in their future.

Raw Story:

“We don’t hate people because of their race. I mean, we’re a Christian organization,” Frank Ancona, an Imperial Wizard of the Traditional American Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, told WWBT on Thursday.

He insisted that the KKK had been unfairly maligned for its acts of violence against black people in the United States.

“Because of the acts of a few rogue Klansmen our Klansmen are supposed to be murderers and want to lynch black people, and we are supposed to be terrorists, and that is a complete falsehood.”

Awwww, they’re just misunderstood. All of those photos of them burning crosses on lawns and the lynchings that actually did happen? Just a big fat lie.

At any rate, their rebranding is not going particularly well. Perhaps that’s related to the flyers they’ve been leaving in Virginia neighborhoods. Here are some of their marketing pitches:

One of those fliers says “many people have experienced the blacks firsthand” and have seen the “savagery and animalism in many of these people.”

The flier that went to Chesterfield residents says the organization’s mission is “exalting the Caucasian race and teaching the doctrine of white supremacy.”

“That does not mean that we are enemies of the colored and mongrel race, but it does mean that we are organized to establish the solidarity and to realize the mission of the white race,” that flier reads.

Ancona said some misconceptions come from the fact that the organization is open exclusively to white, native-born Christians and that it has rituals and ceremonies that mysterious because they are known only to Klan members.

Yes, that could certainly have something to do with it. There’s nothing particularly racist about excluding anyone who isn’t white, now is there?

X

Stop calling criticism of Islam ‘Islamophobia’

The strategic construction of “Islamophobia,” which is rooted in the word Islam and not Muslim, serves more than a mere lexical purpose. It is designed foremost to associate voluntary religious belief with involuntary skin color, appealing to widespread and legitimate revulsion to racial prejudice, and further to equate bigotry against Muslims with criticism of Islam, blurring any distinction between these two very different actions. While the prejudging of all Muslim citizens as suspicious and untrustworthy is indeed comparable with other forms of racial and religious bigotry, the study and refutation of Islam’s claims to moral and philosophical authority is a just and necessary enterprise, fully compatible with a pluralistic society that values religious liberty. This is because freedom of belief, if it is to have universal and consistent meaning, must include the freedom to criticize beliefs and believers — a concept that is foreign to the social and political world view of Islam.

Beyond its intrusion upon intellectual inquiry, blind tolerance of anti-Western attitudes in the form of fundamentalist Islam has direct repercussions for the health and security of the West. For instance, the killing, assaulting, and intimidating of gay men in Amsterdam by Muslims enraged by homosexuality, the fatwa against Salman Rushdie for the offense of writing The Satanic Verses, the Danish cartoon affair, and the recent attacks upon American embassies in Libya and Egypt, are all examples of violence related to these clashes. It is doubtless that our unwillingness to pursue a battle of ideas with the Islamic religion for the sake of political correctness will lead to more physical confrontations in the future. And since the word Islamophobia implies disapproval of such critical engagement, it ought to be entirely banished from discourse.

In addition to “Islamophobia,” the earnest employment of the term blasphemy, and its advancement by Islam’s apologists as a tenable concept, is a clear enemy of open and secular society. Free expression, which constitutes the bedrock of the West’s process of deliberating controversial questions of value, cannot be balanced or reconciled with the idea of sacred and unchallengeable beliefs, since it contradicts the first principle of free speech: that even the most profane dissent must be protected. Most importantly, the creeping influence of terms like blasphemy and Islamophobia is undignifying to both Muslims and non-Muslims for two reasons. First, it colludes with Islam’s attempt to infantalize its adherents — convincing them that critical thought, especially about the matters of faith, is immoral. Second, it presumes that Muslims, particularly in the West, are not mature enough to handle criticism of their chosen beliefs, and that their subcultures are reducible to archaic texts and practices. This is the real injustice, involving the basest abandoning of scruple and succumbing to cowardice, and can only be rectified by ditching this thoroughly nonsensical expression.

brokefashionaddict:

its ironic
i am born in with a lovely tan
but am ridiculed for my dna
whilst
the ridiculers
give themselves cancer
attempting to achieve the color of gold
that runs through my skin

dworkinclasshero:

mycypherkeepsmoving:

Power Structure of Oppression

always good to reblog but maybe relevant in relation to the question i just reblogged??

dworkinclasshero:

mycypherkeepsmoving:

Power Structure of Oppression

always good to reblog but maybe relevant in relation to the question i just reblogged??

(Source: coraxon)

progressivepost:

This is an example of White Privilege, and racism too. She doesn’t even bother understanding the difference between the ethnicity called Arab and the religion called Islam.
No one, Ann, needs to explain anything to you.

Ann Troll-ter

progressivepost:

This is an example of White Privilege, and racism too. She doesn’t even bother understanding the difference between the ethnicity called Arab and the religion called Islam.

No one, Ann, needs to explain anything to you.

Ann Troll-ter


(Source: johnsaidathing)

New Atheism should be able to criticise Islam without being accused of Islamophobia

For a community that is often portrayed as aggressive and pugitive, New Atheism has recently been on the backfoot, defending itself from claims dreamt up by those who should – and, surely, in many cases do – know better.

This time round, the scientific and intellectual elite of Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins and the late Christopher Hitchens have found themselves accused of Islamophobia. The whole sorry saga was conveniently summarised in last Friday’s Independent. In short, recent pieces at salon.com and on Al Jazeera’s website have argued, in the words of columnist Murtaza Hussain, that the likes of these prominent atheists are giving a veneer of scientific respectability to today’s Islamophobic bigotry.

Sam Harris is accused of advocating pre-emptive nuclear strikes on Muslims and the profiling of those who merely look like Muslims. Richard Dawkins has come under attack from calling Islam “the greatest force for evil today” and the late Christopher Hitchens has been described as having a bloodlust towards Muslims.

But, sadly, nuance and allegations of bigotry make strange bedfellows. Take Sam Harris. His 2003 book End of Faith catalogues the Qur’an’s long list of orders to murder and exhortations to avenge. He imagines a radical Islamist state acquiring long range nuclear weaponry, thus able to vent its rage against the west. Add in the possibility that it’s headed by an avowedly suicidal regime and nuclear deterrence becomes a worthless currency. Harris anticipates the possibility that in that situation the US may find itself having to press the button first. But it’s a scenario he hardly welcomes.

Surely, rational discourse should be permitted to tiptoe cautiously along the hallowed corridors of the house of Islam without the guards frogmarching it out, bellowing allegations of racism and bigotry. Cannot we not agree that the real issue is whether the critiques of Islam proffered by today’s prominent atheists are correct? For instance, does Islam fall short when it comes to women’s rights? Does it trample free speech while enforcing its own precepts, by the sword if necessary? By all means, apologists may disagree with the likes of Harris and biologist Jerry Coyne. But what signal is sent by a refusal to permit the issues to be even debated?

One can dream up allegations about any religion that are so obscene that no beliver should be expected to respond. But take the suggestion that Islam has some way to go before it promotes gay rights beyond the level of a misnomer. Or that its holy book, taken literally, demands an embrace of violence and reprisals that wouldn’t be tolerated by any humanist ethos.

These allegations, on their face, are wholly consistent with observation. What’s more, its tenets and precepts have real consequences and repercussions for all of us. What is it that leads apologists and liberal writers to nevertheless consider that Islam shouldn’t have to answer these charges, and that those who bring them are merely dressing their bigotry in a cloak of intellectualism? Biologist Jerry Coyne puts it this way:

“Critics of the New Atheists are free to take issue with their tone, but to dismiss them without addressing the substance of their arguments constitutes an implicit admission that they just might have a point.” You can see his point. Plenty of Catholics, Jehovah’s Witnesses and Anglicans surely feel aggrieved when their god is put under the microscope and found to be the product of unintelligent design. They challenge both what is said and, increasingly these days, the way it’s said. But they hardly consider that their faith is immune from suitable criticism. For Islam to claim special treatment is to imply that it’s unable to withstand such analysis…

Continue

stfueverything:

sandandglass:

Jessica Williams proposes applying New York’s Stop and Frisk policy to Wall Street bankers. 

Omg I love this. She is perfect.

And for those who resist that idea that we should think about something like these ‘stand your ground’ laws, I just ask people to consider if Trayvon Martin was of age and armed, could he have stood his ground on that sidewalk? And do we actually think that he would have been justified in shooting Mr. Zimmerman, who had followed him in a car, because he felt threatened?

Privilege is when you think something is not a problem because it’s not a problem to you personally.

– David Gaider 

(source: it was tweeted by @femfreq)

(Source: )

bestnamezrtaken:

toplioncub:

liftedandgiftedd:

3 people stealing the same bike [video]

smh…

Social experiment on the reactions people will have over three different people stealing a bike.

One white girl, a white guy and a black guy.

People gave the white guy a few glances and asked him what he was doing and he clearly made it known he was stealing the bike. - People did nothing.

The white girl got no reaction from most people walking past. When asked what she was doing, she clearly stated “I’m stealing this bike”. - People offered to help her.

The black guy, dressed in a similar way to the white guy, gets stopped countless times, people take photos of him, a crowd emerges, everyone is yelling at him, trying to stop him by taking his equipment, the police get called instantly and everyone seems to be hilariously emotional that this guy is taking a bike.

Interesting.

Co-Worker showed us this video a while back…pretty messed up.

(Source: ceojesus)