The Reason Review - Volume 1 Issue 62016/DEC/04
Welcome to The Reason Review 1-6.
Hope you all had a good Thanksgiving and/or Friendsgiving.
As the year draws to a chilly end, we approach the days of the Winter Solstice and Festivus, with upcoming local events for both. Naturally, this also means "War On Christmas" news articles will be making the rounds, and we have a couple of those.
We also have an opinion piece by local Zouhair Mazouz on critiquing religion, a report and an opinion piece on the Black atheist experience, and a video conversation between counter-apologetics maestro Matt Dillahunty and renowned atheist author Richard Dawkins. A cringe-worthy video of a visit to a creationist "museum" as our classic feature rounds off this one.
Editor of The Reason Review
Contact editor: email@example.com
Contact SSOMIT: firstname.lastname@example.org
Sign up for SSOMIT Announcements (includes The Reason Review): http://mailman.mit.edu/mailman/listinfo/ssomit-announce
Boston Secular Solstice 2016FRI DEC/09 8PM
The Boston Secular Solstice will be celebrated at 8pm on Friday in the MIT Chapel. The event traditionally consists of speeches and participatory siinging.
HCHAA FestivusFRI DEC/09 5PM
The Humanist Hub, 30 JFK Street, Cambridge, MA
The Harvard Community of Humanists, Atheists, and Agnostics will be hosting Seinfeldesque Festivus festivities at The Humanist Hub, complete with a traditional pole.
The Disproof Atheism Society: Disproofs of God from the Free Will DefenseWED DEC/07 7:30PM
Boston University Photonics Center, Room 442, 8 St. Mary’s St, Boston, MA
At this Disproof Atheism Society event, Dr Hugh LaFollette will be presenting his paper "Plantinga on the Free Will Defense" for a discussion about why the free will defense to the logical problem of evil not only fails but also disproves God. Recommended primarily for those interested in philosophy.
Judge Rules Against Christian Teacher Who Displayed Bible Verses in Classroom
FFRF said they had learned about the classroom displays from an anonymous student and were acting on that student's behalf. "Teachers should strive to conduct their classes in an inclusive manner so that students can participate fully without compromising their own personal beliefs," wrote FFRF Staff Attorney Rebecca Markert to Superintendent Kane.http://www.christianpost.com/news/judge-rules-against-christian-teacher-who-displayed-bible-verses-in-classroom-122361/
Documentary on “ex-Muslims” sparks contentious debate at Portland State
Sadia sent Freethinkers of PSU a written statement. It read in part, “Islam’s Non-Believers was such an important documentary because for the first time ex-Muslims have been given a face and a voice. It has made us human.”http://www.theexmuslim.com/2016/11/25/documentary-ex-muslims-sparks-contentious-debate-portland-state/
Oil City VFW Just Says 'No' to Atheists
The bench in question, the Tyrants Bench, contains the quotation “Men Who Aren’t Governed By God, Will Be Governed By Tyrants.” The atheist group felt the wording on a public park likely violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and does not fairly consider veterans who are also atheists.http://www.exploreclarion.com/2016/11/15/oil-city-vfw-just-says-no-to-atheists/
Falwell Jr. says Trump offered him education secretary job
Falwell told The Associated Press on Saturday that Trump offered him the job last week during a meeting in New York. He says Trump wanted a four- to six-year commitment, but Falwell says he couldn't leave Liberty for more than two years.http://bigstory.ap.org/8bd25b9c668c4d22b3aace76434821f5
Meeting with Trump emboldens anti-vaccine activists, who see an ally in the Oval Office
Wakefield and a small group of like-minded activists spent nearly an hour with Trump in the closing months of the presidential campaign. “I found him to be extremely interested, genuinely interested, and open-minded on this issue, so that was enormously refreshing,” Wakefield said.https://www.statnews.com/2016/11/30/donald-trump-vaccines-policy/
Kenai borough Assembly votes — again — to change invocation rules
The change would return the Assembly's policy to what it looked like earlier this year — a first-come, first-served system that allows anyone to sign up to give an invocation before a meeting. That was how it worked before an atheist and, most notably, a satanist delivered invocations over the summer, leading to conversations about whether there should be a stricter set of rules.https://www.adn.com/alaska-news/kenai/2016/11/23/kenai-borough-assembly-votes-again-to-change-invocation-rules/
Michigan town removes nativity scene due to sustained FFRF effort
The Freedom From Religion Foundation had initially sent a letter to the city in 2007 objecting to the nativity scene. It was taken down briefly, then was put back up in 2009 as part of a new City Council policy. Since then, FFRF had been doggedly persistent, writing several letters over the years pointing out the constitutional problems with the display.https://ffrf.org/news/news-releases/item/28024-michigan-town-removes-nativity-scene-due-to-sustained-ffrf-effort
It’s blasphemy to oppose having prayers in meetings, blasts councillor
"I was very disturbed to discover that at the commencement of the meeting all those present were asked to stand and share a moment of prayer." Mr Addis said it was a "huge presumption" to assume that "every person in the room subscribes to the same religious viewpoint.http://www.secularism.org.uk/news/2016/11/its-blasphemy-to-oppose-having-prayers-in-meetings-blasts-councillor
Florida Atheist Sets Up Anti-Trump Festivus Pole At City’s Christmas Display
“Wrapped with an upside-down American flag (acknowledging the majority of Americans who didn’t vote for the Pumpkin In Chief), this year’s pole is shorter, a shout-out to Donald’s tiny hands,” Stevens said via email. “We’ve donned Distresstivus with the infamous Make America Great Again red cap, and fastened it all together with a big ol’ safety pin.”http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/trump-festivus-pole-florida_us_5840f83ae4b09e21702dfa30
Bangladesh arrests killer of secular blogger, publisher
Khairul had started to collect information about the duo since January 2015 and provided it to the outfit's Askari section (armed wing) to carry out the killings, he added. "Seeing CCTV footage, Khairul has identified four people involved in blogger and secular writer Avijit's killing and we are analysing the information," Baten said.http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/south-asia/Bangladesh-arrests-killer-of-secular-blogger-publisher/articleshow/55388092.cms
Atheists protest after being barred from visiting children's home
The President of Atheists in Kenya, Harrison Mumia, in the letter to the Ministry of Public Service, Youth and Gender Affairs alleged that the department has banned them from visiting NEST Children’s Home in Limuru.
Why female genital mutilation still exists in modern Singapore
Most Singaporeans have little idea of the procedure's existence in the city-state, but it is observed, typically among Malay Muslims, who make up some 13% of the total resident population. Sunat Perempuan, as it is known in Malay, is usually carried out on girls before the age of two, who normally have the tip of the clitoris cut, with a tiny piece of skin sometimes removed.http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-37819753?post_id=10155889855375534_10157735100105534
Black atheists matter: How an increasingly vocal group of freethinkers is taking on religion
New black atheists are not content to personally reject religion but instead have a goal of spreading freethought to the broader black community. For example, the author Sikivu Hutchinson and the founder of Black Nonbelievers, Mandisa Thomas, argue that religion hurts the black community by promoting sexism, patriarchy and homophobia.https://www.rawstory.com/2016/12/black-atheists-matter-how-an-increasingly-vocal-group-of-freethinkers-are-taking-on-religion/
How I turned my back on Islam and became an atheist campaigner
"We wanted to change the conversation around apostasy which was highly politicised and remained within the remits of what theologians think about it. "We wanted to define our own experiences and make the institutions which seek to protect us, aware of the challenges affecting apostates in Britain today."http://www.plymouthherald.co.uk/how-i-turned-my-back-on-islam-and-became-an-atheist-campaigner/story-29855803-detail/story.html
Zouhair Mazouz -- Getting It Wrong About Islam: Check Your Secular Privilege, Liberal America
Such is the pervasiveness of America’s polarized political discourse on Islam post-9/11. Whatever stances the right-wing espouses, liberals are compelled to advocate for the total opposite. What is lost in between is a crucial discussion on the role of religion in perpetuating injustice and violence in countries governed by Islamic law. As Republicans and Democrats settle their scores, nuance and context take a backseat.http://www.wbur.org/cognoscenti/2016/12/01/liberals-islam-zouhair-mazouz
Ali A. Rizvi -- ‘Atheist Muslims’ could be the key to defeating Islamic terror
Both of these narratives miss the mark. One assumes that Muslims are inherently violent because Islam is inherently violent. The other paints the act of criticizing Islam as bigotry against all Muslims. The key distinction both sides miss is that Islam is an idea. Muslims are people.http://nypost.com/2016/11/26/atheist-muslims-could-be-the-key-to-defeating-islamic-terror/
Brandon Withrow -- What It’s Like to Be Black and Atheist
“Unlike atheists of yesterday, we’re for the most part… vocal. Exodus focuses on African Americans and their exodus-exit from the church. It’s honest, raw, and intimate.”http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2016/11/20/what-it-s-like-to-be-black-and-atheist.html
Shamila Ghyas -- Why the world needs secularism
If we don’t want extremists to take over our country and turn it into their own personal kingdom, if we don’t want them to sit on thrones shouting “off with their heads” every time someone opens their mouth, if we don’t want to see the literal version of Game of Thrones around us, secularism is the only way to ensure that does not happen.http://nation.com.pk/blogs/22-Nov-2016/secularism
Richard Dawkins and Matt Dillahunty In Conversation
One of the most respected scientists in the world and the biggest draw in secularism, Richard Dawkins always generates impressive crowds when visiting North America. Secularism is sweeping America as a movement, and Richard Dawkins is the catalyst who galvanizes it. Matt Dillahunty is the current host of the webcast and cable access television show "The Atheist Experience," and from 2006 to 2013 served as the president of the Atheist Community of Austin. He is also a founder of the comprehensive counter-apologetics Wiki "Iron Chariots."https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MNCzd6_ce0I
Atheist Experience -- 20.46 with Russell Glasser and Phil Session
The Atheist Experience episode 20.46 for November 20, 2016, with Russell Glasser and Phil Session. Recovering from Religion. Russell and Phil chat with author Darrel Ray about Recovering from Religion.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gffGCJUkojA
Atheist Experience -- 20.47 with Matt Dillahunty and Don Baker
The Atheist Experience episode 20.47 for November 27, 2016, with Matt Dillahunty and Don Baker. Troubling Theology. Don and Matt discuss some troubling theological questions and athests' responses to them.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wY_9KGdvHQU
Atheist Debates -- Debate Review vs Matt Slick
Part 1 of this debate review gives an analogy that covers the overview of this debate, followed by a discussion of how we decided on the topic. Why did I reject several suggested topics and why did I settle on "Is Secular Humanism superior to Christianity?"Part 2 of this debate review covers my thoughts on my opening remarks and begins to analyze Slick's opening remarks...did they address the topic? What's all this about brain fizz and certainty and truth...and is it relevant to which is the best strategy?Part 3 of this debate review covers the conclusion of Matt Slick's opening remarks and a very brief overview of the cross-examination (which isn't examined in full) as well as an answer to the burning question "What did you ask Matt Slick at the end?" ... As well as a final thought about this debate.Part 1: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=djbasNcOcDs
Part 2: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jYgwbyR8jYE
Part 3: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vxYElTniSpw
Polite Conversations -- Episode 19 - Robert Spencer
Robert has tweeted about this as some sort of plot to edit him to look bad... I can assure you that the content is pretty much unedited. I usually obsessively remove umms and Ahs.. but i even let most of those be for this episode. I may have taken out some dead air or repeated words, but thats about it.https://soundcloud.com/politeconversations/episode-19-robert-spencer
Friendly Atheist Podcast -- Ep. 137 - Ali A. Rizvi, Author of The Atheist Muslim
We spoke about whether someone can be culturally Muslim, whether there's something uniquely problematic with the doctrine of Islam, and what people like Reza Aslan get wrong about the faith.https://soundcloud.com/friendly-atheist-podcast/ep-137-ali-a-rizvi-author-of-the-atheist-muslim
ScathingAtheist 198: Secular Activist Edition
In this week’s episode, Dolores Umbridge gets appointed secretary of education, Heath consumes five leftover sandwiches during the recording, and Dan Arel joins us from the pre-nation of California to talk secular activism.https://audioboom.com/posts/5344417-scathingatheist-198-secular-activist-edition
Godless Spellchecker -- EP#93 – ALI RIZVI – THE ATHEIST MUSLIM
It’s a great pleasure to welcome the return of author Ali Rizvi (@AliAmjadRizvi) to The #GSPodcast. Ali will be talking about his excellent new book ‘The Atheist Muslim’. We also discuss Donald Trump, liberal complacency, the left/right divide and much, more!https://www.gspellchecker.com/2016/11/ep93-ali-rizvi-the-atheist-muslim/
Dogma Debate -- #280 – Atheists vs. Christmas
Taking calls from atheists celebrating Christmas; a moment of prayer with David (yes, he prays with you), the Salvation Army & Target.http://login.dogmadebate.com/podcast/280-atheists-vs-christmas/
Dogma Debate -- #281 – Christian Listener vs. David Smalley
Daniel Ray has been a listener of Dogma Debate for 2 years, and is a devout Christian. David and Daniel discuss demons, angels, talking animals, the bible, special revelation, depression, childhood, and the firmament in the sky. Daniel believes the universe points to Jesus, and that evil is NOT just the result of “free will.”http://login.dogmadebate.com/podcast/281-christian-listener-vs-david-smalley/
The Thinking Atheist -- Our 300th Show!
This very special 300th broadcast was recorded in Dallas, Texas on November 19th in front of a live audience at the DoubleTree by Hilton Dallas-Richardson. Special guests include: Matt Dillahunty, Sarah Haider of Ex-Muslims of North America, David Smalley of Dogma Debate, Aron Ra, and Recording artist Shelley SegalPODCAST: http://www.thethinkingatheist.com/podcast/our-300th-show
The Thinking Atheist -- Movie Review: The Atheist Delusion
The hosts of God Awful Movies join Seth Andrews for a review of Ray Comfort's new film, "The Atheist Delusion." They watched the movie...so you don't have to.http://www.thethinkingatheist.com/podcast/movie-review-the-atheist-delusion
Atheists at the Creation Museum
On October 5th, 2012, Seth Andrews joined a group of skeptics for a tour of Kentucky's infamous Creation Museum. These are the Top Ten Lessons he took away from that experience.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xVHWq0ZGE_Y
Feel free to share this issue and blog far and wide.
Discuss in the comment space below.
Email the editor with any questions or feedback.