Skepticon: Ethics of (Ir)Rationality

Skepticon is off to a great start!

Thursday night consisted of a few of the early arrivers having a relaxed pre-convention hangout in the University Plaza hotel lobby. I ran into old friends, made new friends and sipped some pretty tasty scotch.

The first workshop I attended on Friday morning was led by Stephanie Zvan and James Croft. They presented Ethics of Rationality…or perhaps it was the ethics of irrationality. The workshop was very much a workshop; it was based on audience participation and discussion. Stephanie and James opened with the premise that irrationality can be unethical. They then invited all of us to give examples of arguments or issues that we believe use irrationality unethically. Suggestions included arguments for religion/belief in a god, war, pro-life campaigns and marketing, to name a few. We then spent some time ripping apart whether any of those topics in fact engaged in unethical uses of irrationality, and if so, how often or too what degree.

Continue reading “Skepticon: Ethics of (Ir)Rationality”

Skepticon: Ethics of (Ir)Rationality
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Look Who's In The News!

Stephanie Zvan from Almost Diamonds and a handful of my fellow Minnesota Atheists participated in an extensive interview with Canadian media La Presse. The article is in French, but the page seems to translate pretty well on Google Chrome. The interview is mostly in English with French subtitles, although there are a few moments of French narration (mock outrage: French!? I thought this was about ‘Murica!). The piece was done for an ongoing project called “Sur La Route Du Mississippi”, which is described this way by the site:

On the eve of the U.S. elections, journalist Isabelle Audet and cameraman Frédéric Guiro roam the Mississippi Valley from north to south, to meet the Americans.

I can’t figure out how to embed the video, so click on the link to be taken to the source. Way to represent, y’all!

 

Look Who's In The News!

Look Who’s In The News!

Stephanie Zvan from Almost Diamonds and a handful of my fellow Minnesota Atheists participated in an extensive interview with Canadian media La Presse. The article is in French, but the page seems to translate pretty well on Google Chrome. The interview is mostly in English with French subtitles, although there are a few moments of French narration (mock outrage: French!? I thought this was about ‘Murica!). The piece was done for an ongoing project called “Sur La Route Du Mississippi”, which is described this way by the site:

On the eve of the U.S. elections, journalist Isabelle Audet and cameraman Frédéric Guiro roam the Mississippi Valley from north to south, to meet the Americans.

I can’t figure out how to embed the video, so click on the link to be taken to the source. Way to represent, y’all!

 

Look Who’s In The News!

Blogging as Activism – Harassment Policies

For those people who think that blogging is narcissistic, self-centered prattling, that we’re yelling into a void, that we’re just whining and not working to make real change, Stephanie Zvan is here to prove that blogging can be activism and can lead to change of the best kind.

Over at her blog, Almost Diamonds, she posted about sexist behavior at conventions which leads to women and men feeling uncomfortable, and in cases, unsafe. Unchecked sexually-charged atmospheres have earned some conventions a reputation of being unwelcoming to women. Some – including myself – would argue that this is one reason why women have been slow to join active communities outside of the internet.  It is a controversial topic because it’s a serious topic, and unless you have personally witnessed or been a victim of this sort of unwanted attention, it’s easy to believe that it doesn’t exist, or that it’s not as pervasive as witnesses have been saying, that people are over-reacting or misinterpreting. It’s easy to think this way because not enough of us have been working to open all of our eyes to this issue. But Stephanie has a way to help change this: Harassment policies at conventions.

Continue reading “Blogging as Activism – Harassment Policies”

Blogging as Activism – Harassment Policies

I Did This Today

This was just a typical day for me, hanging out with Phil Ferguson (Skeptic Money), Greg Laden (X Blog), Jen McCreight (Blag Hag) – that’s me next – and Stephanie Zvan (Almost Diamonds). 

Back story: The Atheists Talk radio show had Jen in the studio for a live interview. Greg, Stephanie, Jen and myself chatted about our blogging, our activism and Freethought Blogs. Phil Freaking Ferguson – which is how he introduces himself* – from Skeptic Money happened to be in town, so he stopped by the studio to watch the show and ended up letting us drag him on the air for a few moments. And we took this snazy photo afterwards.

And then this afternoon I attended the Minnesota Atheists monthly meeting. Jen was the guest speaker; she gave a talk called “God’s Lady Problem”. By my estimation the talk had major three parts: Religion-based discrimination against women and a thought-provoking God-as-abuser analogy, the current War On Women that we’ve been fighting against in the US in recent months (the Catholic church birth control hubaloo, transvaginal ultrasounds, Terry England’s “women-slash-livestock” speech, etc), and lastly the lady problems that we run into in our own atheist communities. It was a solid, engaging, well-attended talk and the Q&A took up all of the allotted time and then some. Jen will be in Indiana for three more speaking engagements in this next week leading up to the Reason Rally. If you’re in the area, I’d recommend stopping by.

So this was a pretty dandy way to spend a Sunday, right?

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*Not intended to be a factual statement.

I Did This Today