Call For Writers!

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The Rationality Unleashed! Project is expanding rapidly, so we’re currently looking for more writers for our various project. Please see the project and topics below.

Rationality Unleashed!

Racial inequality

Feminism

Israel/Palestine

Economics

Third Parties (New political parties in America)

International Correspondence

Environmentalism (science based, please)

We’ll accept pitches for any other topic. These are simply the primary ones we’re looking for right now.

 

The Foodentists

Diet

Nutrition

Food Fads

Countering Food Babe, Dr. Oz, Natural News, Et Al

 

The Fish Tomato

This site is pure satire. We’re looking for writers to write about topics in science and skepticism in a hilariously satirical way.

 

If you’re interested, email us at admin@rationalityunleashed.net

We’ll need an email address, wordpress account name, a bio and photo/avatar you want used on your bio and posts, and a writing sample if you have one. If you haven’t written before, that’s fine, just let us know. We welcome new writers.

 

Contributor: Robert Sacerich

Robert is a Bioethics and Ethical Philosophy student at Cleveland State University, as well as blogger and science advocate/activist. He has worked extensively within the secular community for various secular nonprofit organizations and public communication causes. He writes about science, technology, politics, human rights, feminism, religion, and any other topic that catches his eye.

See his full bio!

Thank you for reading Rationality Unleashed! You can “like” us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter @rationalityunle. For any questions, concerns, or comments beyond what can be placed in the comments section of the blog, email us at admin@rationalityunleashed.net.

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Palestinian Activist Casey Kasem Dies at 82

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While I normally stay way from celebrity stuff in my writing, I think this is important. Casey Kasem was best known for his work as a DJ, and rightly so. He had a voice that no one could forget, and it was hard not to feel at ease while listening to it. After a bitter battle between his children and his second wife, he was taken off artificial and passed away, poetically, on Father’s Day morning.

That, however, isn’t the story that I think should be told. Casey Kasem should be remembered more for his activism.

As a Palestinian American, he spoke out for the rights of Palestine and against the occupation by Israel. He even involved himself in active protests over the years. There’s a great article in People from 1990 that discusses his activism, and how much he spoke against anti-Arab nationalism in America.

He was also a longtime vegetarian who refused jobs that supported the meat industry.

So, this is my short eulogy for a radio personality who was known for the top 40 countdown, but should be remembered for his moral activism that lives on through his children.

Contributor: Robert Sacerich

Robert is a Philosophy of Science and Bioethics student, as well as blogger and science advocate/activist. He has worked extensively within the secular community for various secular nonprofit organizations and public communication causes.

See his full bio!

Thank you for reading Rationality Unleashed! You can “like” us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter @rationalityunle. For any questions, concerns, or comments beyond what can be placed in the comments section of the blog, email us at admin@rationalityunleashed.net.

Deconstructing Men’s Rights Activism

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I think that Cracked said it best, on their report on Men’s Rights Activism, when they said “Men’s Rights Activism began as the natural response of American males to the growing threat of feminism, in much the same way that burning your house down is the natural response to the threat of ghosts. In both cases, a better solution would be to walk away and let a less emotionally fragile man deal with the situation.”

The Men’s Rights Movements is actually quite a few fractured groups of men fighting against that horrible act of women asking to be treated as equals, or as MRAs actually put it “Those uppity bitches wanting to take what’s mine!” Yes, I’ve actually had someone use that line, sad though it may be.

On their face, they appear to be addressing real world problems such as….wait…hold one….nevermind. None of their issues are issues, and many are just horrible soapboxes to be on. Let’s take a look.

Child Custody

They are often on about how custody battles are always in the favor of the mother, and men never get the chance. They even use lack of custody to justify not paying child support.

In reality, men far less often even ask for custody. When they do, and push for it, they very often get it.

Divorce

They claim that men are discriminated against in divorce hearings, for being male. Given the realities of custody, that men far less often ask for it, and our societal standards of women as caregivers for children, when you figure in time and expense of caring for children, women tend to end up far worse off, financially, in divorce results.

Education

They actually believe that men are oppressed in education, thanks to feminism. I’m not even sure what to say about this. It’s so not based in reality that it’s not even wrong. It’s just bizarre. How often do we hear that males are far better for STEM fields than females? How many athletic scholarships are there for males as opposed to females? Such a silly assertion.

The Criminalization of Marital Rape

This one’s great. They’re angry because feminists want to make marital rape illegal. Rape has to do with consent. If there is no consent, then it is rape. It doesn’t matter if the person is your spouse. Marriage does not give you universal rights over someone’s body. Even the thought of that blows my mind. If this is really a sticking point for you, if you are angry because you should have the right to do what you want to your wife at any time, you need to check yourself in for a mental health evaluation. You aren’t well.

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There’s a pretty large list of other topics, but they are so silly they aren’t even worth mentioning. Let’s look, now, at the leaders of the movement. It seems that, at least according to Wikipedia, a whole lot of their “causes” come from Warren Farrell. He’s a big name in the movement, and a very loud anti-feminism voice. So, we’ll start with him.

Warren Farrell

Wikipedia says that “He is now recognized as one of the most important figures in the modern men’s movement.” In fact, he used to be a feminist, and on the board of NoW.

According to Farrell, “Everything went well until the mid-seventies when NOW came out against the presumption of joint custody [of children following divorces]. I couldn’t believe the people I thought were pioneers in equality were saying that women should have the first option to have children or not to have children—that children should not have equal rights to their dad.”

So wait…his problem, his big overriding issue, that drove him from feminist to rampant misogynist, and building a movement against feminism, was…..joint custody.

Wow.

Since then, he’s written books and campaigned against feminism, and build the men’s rights movement quite a bit.

Oh, but he gets better.

In 1977, he was interviewed in Penthouse Magazine about…incest. It seems he fully supports the idea. Here’s what he had to say.

“When I get my most glowing positive cases, 6 out of 200, the incest is part of the family’s open, sensual style of life, wherein sex is an outgrowth of warmth and affection. It is more likely that the father has good sex with his wife, and his wife is likely to know and approve — and in one or two cases to join in.”

And…

“First, because millions of people who are now refraining from touching, holding, and genitally caressing their children, when that is really a part of a caring, loving expression, are repressing the sexuality of a lot of children and themselves. Maybe this needs repressing, and maybe it doesn’t. My book should at least begin the exploration.”

Oh, and also…

“Second, I’m finding that thousands of people in therapy for incest are being told, in essence , that their lives have been ruined by incest. In fact, their lives have not generally been affected as much by the incest as by the overall atmosphere. My book should help therapists put incest in perspective.”

And even…

“Incest is like a magnifying glass, in some circumstances it magnifies the beauty of the relationship…”

And finally…

“Since the father otherwise extends very little attention to his daughter, his sexual advances may be one of the few pleasant experiences she has with him.”

Let’s not forget, this man is one of the founders and a well regarded icon of the Men’s Rights Movement. This is the foundation of the movement itself. That speaks volumes.

Paul Elam

This is the current big name in Men’s Rights Activism, and runs A Voice for Men. He can be quoted saying “they are stupid (and often arrogant) enough to walk though [sic] life with the equivalent of a [sic] I’M A STUPID, CONNIVING BITCH – PLEASE RAPE ME neon sign glowing above their empty little narcissistic heads.”

More recently, he attempted to hold a conference in Detroit, but after lying about death threats to the hotel they were being hosted at, it appears the hotel dropped them and they had to find another venue…which they also lied about.

He’s also quoted here, “feminism, consumer products, psychology, media, advertising, politics and social custom [have] all merged into one Great Big Bitch Machine; [and] the modern female psyche is nothing more than a product of that machine.”

W.F. Price

W.F. Price runs The Good Men Project. The project itself is nowhere near as horrible as the rest, but he can be quote here, commented on the death of a 22 year old.

“Four years of college buys women precious little time in the mating market. … I’d guess … about exactly as much time as it takes for them to complete it, because their pool of future mates tends to go through the same process … That’s to say that she has her best shot to land a good match up to perhaps 25.”

And here…

The problem with young women today is that they internalize this “anything is possible” attitude and don’t lose it until it really is too late for many of them. They think they can do better at 30 than at 22, which, in most cases, is simply wrong. Some might say that family and men are not a priority for these girls, but women for whom this is really true throughout life are an insignificant minority. In fact, most women are holding out precisely because they think they can get a better man later, perhaps when they have a better job and work with more powerful men.

But these girls are not going to change fundamentally, and in their early 20s are at the peak of their beauty while still retaining an innocent charm. Nothing about their looks or personality is going to make them more appealing at 30 than at 22, and the men available to them are not going to get any better, either….

The point is that neither men nor women change fundamentally past a certain point, and the same guys young women have available in their early 20s are generally the same guys that will be available at 30, only they will be older and, due to marriage, there will be far fewer of them.”

And then…

“Time tends to accelerate past a certain age, and the 25-year old woman soon finds herself 30, and then 35, and at that point she’s got precious little of it left. Perhaps at 22 she was laughing about the “comical” notion that it could ever be too late, but after a certain point it is no longer comedy, but tragedy, and her laughter turns to tears.”

And finally…

“[M]en do age better than women. I looked around at the women and they all just looked old to me. I could not imagine myself with any of them. They had lost whatever charm they had and I found attractive the last time I had seen them. Almost all of the men that were there with their spouses were with younger women. …

As for the women specifically, while they all seemed old, I noted that the happiest of the lot talked about their family. Some of them were married, some of them divorced, but in both cases they talked about their kids. They were clearly the most fulfilled. Many of the other women than I knew had pursued consuming careers were not at the reunion. Those that were, and who did not have children, had a whiff of pain on their faces. They seemed to be looking around and suddenly forced to face the consequences of their choices.”

Sadly, these aren’t his only horrible comments. There are so many more.

mensrights

 

Now, let’s look at the actions of the Men’s Rights Activists recently, to see what their intentions look like.

False Rape Reporting

In December of last year, Men’s Rights Activists on Reddit found out that Occidental College has an online form for rape reporting. Making the assumption that this was used to falsely report rape, regardless of actual reality, they started spamming it with false rape reports, in an effort to discredit women who are actually…reporting…rape….

Canada MRA Lectures

The MRA has, a couple of times, held lectures at the University of Toronto, that speak vehemently against Feminism. They spouted righteous indignance against the Feminist protests of these lectures, calling out the militancy of protesting them.

Praise of Marc Lepine

A couple years ago, an MRA blogger came out (with a lot of support) praising Marc Lepine. In 1989, Marc Lepine, at  École Polytechnique in Montreal, killed 28 people in the name of fighting Feminism.

Fake Death Threats

The MRA group planning the Detroit rally lied about death threats to raise an extra $25k for their rally. They claimed to need it for security. They have yet to prove those threats.

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Now, I’d say that everything above speaks volumes about the movement. I assure you, however, that the members are worse. Here are some examples, taken from MRA sites, pages, and groups:

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Many more can be found here, at The Real Face of Men’s Rights Activism

Now, given all of this, it should be pretty clear that the Men’s Rights Movement isn’t designed or run with any noble or moral cause. It’s there to attack women and attack feminists, while glorifying its leaders.

And THAT is worth fighting against.

Contributor: Robert Sacerich

Robert is a Philosophy of Science and Bioethics student, as well as blogger and science advocate/activist. He has worked extensively within the secular community for various secular nonprofit organizations and public communication causes.

See his full bio!

Thank you for reading Rationality Unleashed! You can “like” us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter @rationalityunle. For any questions, concerns, or comments beyond what can be placed in the comments section of the blog, email us at admin@rationalityunleashed.net.

More Sexism and Anti-Feminism in the Atheist Community

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I was on JT Eberhard‘s page today. He posted a nice shout out to Seth Andrews and Matt Dillahunty, and got a few pleasant and fun responses from there. Then entered Drakulian Rathburn, who has a lot of mutual friends as myself in the atheist community, with a strangely combative comment for the thread.

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So, I asked the obvious question. How, exactly, was A+ designed to cause division? That led to quote a bit foot stomping and refusing to support his claims, while of course making more and more claims without basis.

It didn’t take long, however, for him to bring feminism into the mix.

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He bounced away from the topic for a minute, but after being pushed further for evidence, he went straight into feminism with a fury. The level of ignorance was amazing to watch.

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Then he must have finally gotten really upset with being asked to actually prove his assertions, so he just went for it, damn the consequences.

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It was at this point that he blocked me. But it didn’t end there! He has a friend!

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So, where should I start? The problems here are too many to count.

First, if you claim to be a rational, thinking person, and you refuse to uphold the burden of proof, and make more claims instead of providing evidence for claims you’ve made, then you’re lying; you are NOT a rational, thinking person. You’re an ideologue.

Second, Feminism does not promote the superiority of anyone. It promotes equality. If you don’t know at least that about Feminism, then you haven’t studied enough to even talk about the subject.

Third, something like a “safe space” created for women to not feel subjugated or harassed isn’t created for the benefit of men. It shouldn’t be created for the benefit of men. If you’re biggest argument against a safe space for women is that it doesn’t benefit men…you are the problem.

Fourth, if you’re arguing about Feminism and you start calling women “twats” or other derogatory terms, you lose any credibility in the discussion. You’re a misogynist who has nothing to add to any meaningful discourse.

Finally, if you want to debate someone, and you open the conversation by insulting them, you’re a spiteful toddler who shouldn’t be allowed in public unsupervised.

Contributor: Robert Sacerich

Robert is a Philosophy of Science and Bioethics student, as well as blogger and science advocate/activist. He has worked extensively within the secular community for various secular nonprofit organizations and public communication causes.

See his full bio!

Thank you for reading Rationality Unleashed! You can “like” us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter @rationalityunle. For any questions, concerns, or comments beyond what can be placed in the comments section of the blog, email us at admin@rationalityunleashed.net.

An atheist that Believes

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That’s right, folks. You read it correctly. More to the point, a recent CNN article “Meet the Atheist … who believes in God” was published on 6/10/14.

 

Meet Frank Schaeffer and his opinion piece to CNN.  Mr. Schaeffer has written one of the most vocabulary challenged articles on the subject of belief and non-belief that I have seen in quite some time.

 

Let’s have an excerpt from the first twelve sentences:

 

“All the public debates between celebrity atheists and evangelical pastors are as meaningless as literary awards and Oscar night. They are meaningless because participants lack the objectivity to admit that our beliefs have less to do with facts than with our personal needs and cultural backgrounds.

The words we use to label ourselves are just as empty. What exactly is a “believer?”. And for that matter what is an “atheist?” 

Who is the objective observer to define these terms. Maybe we need a new category other than theism, atheism or agnosticism that takes paradox and unknowing into account.Take me, I am an atheist who believes in God.

Let me explain. I believe that life evolved by natural selection. I believe that evolutionary psychology explains away altruism and debunks love, and that brain chemistry undermines the illusion of free will and personhood. I also believe that a spiritual reality hovering over, in and through me calls me to love, trust and hear the voice of my creator.”

Mr. Schaeffer says that we need a new term that describes a person that doesn’t have a belief in a day to day, in your face, fire and brimstone, old testament god. But, this same person might also believe that there is a being behind the scenes. One that brought about the beginning of everything, but then decided to step back and just let things develop as they may . The question to the answer of 42 of Douglas Adams’ fame, if you will. Interesting and provocative argument for the academics to sit down and debate about a new term for this new and exciting concept that you have come across.

 

Of course, if you have made it to this point, you probably know exactly where I am going with this all. But in the interest of those that may have just stumbled across this post in your meanderings around the interwebz, there just so happens that there IS a term for people that believe as Mr. Schaeffer does: deism

 

Deism is: “not a specific religion but rather a particular perspective on the nature of God. Deists believe that a creator god does exist, but that after the motions of the universe were set in place he retreated, having no further interaction with the created universe or the beings within it. As such, there are a variety of common religious beliefs that deists do not accept.

 

As another bit of icing on the cake, Mr. Frank Schaeffer asked us to consider apophatic theology. Apophatic theology is an attempt to describe God by what cannot be said of Him. Many of the terms used to describe God’s attributes have within them an apophatic quality. For example, when we say God is infinite, we’re also saying is that God is not finite (i.e., not limited).” As Dr. Evil would say….”rrriight”. For those of you that having a working knowledge of logical fallacies, you may recognize the tautology inherent to that notion. For those a little less geeky about logical fallacies, a tautology (in formal logic) refers to a statement that must be true in every interpretation by its very construction. By defining God by what God is not, you can always arrive at the conclusion that you want to come to. Also, I find it highly dishonest by calling apophatic theology just “the theology of not knowing”. By being that ambiguous, the lay reader can all to easily draw a correlation between apophaticism and agnosticism. Although I cannot be 100% of Schaeffer’s motivation to word that as it is, but it smacks of an attempt to blur the lines between the two.

Here is one of Schaeffer’s claims that I found truly insulting:

“If you want to be sure you have “the truth” about yourself and our universe, then prepare to go mad. Or prepare to turn off your brain and cling to some form or other of fundamentalism, whether religious or secular.” As Tim Minchin put so amusingly in his song Storm:

“You’re so sure of your position
But you’re just closed-minded
I think you’ll find
Your faith in Science and Tests
Is just as blind
As the faith of any fundamentalist.

“Wow, thats a good point, let me think for a bit”
Oh wait, my mistake, its absolute bullshit.
Science adjusts its beliefs based on what’s observed
Faith is the denial of observation so that Belief can be preserved.”

Exactly. Absolute bullshit. I no more cling to anything in the secular world than I would to a deity. Nothing is truly beyond reproach. All it takes to change the mind of a skeptic is empirical data proving otherwise. A caveat though: the more fundamental the thing that is being questioned is, the greater the evidence must be. Pass that? Again, nothing is truly sacred to the skeptical atheist

And, at last, we come to the very LAST sentence in the article:

“You—like some sort of quantum mechanicals physics experiment—will always be in two places at once.”

Ahhhh, to bask in the glory of the bane of every religious or pseudo-scientific practitioner, quantum mechanics. If you are not one of the few theoretical physicists that have dedicated their professional lives to pulling apart that Gordian Knot, the instant you utter “quantum mechanics” in defense of or analogy TO your claim, I dismiss everything you have previously said and will be not be truly listening to anything that you will be saying.

Contributor: Jonathan Tindell

A native Floridian living in Pennsylvania, eight year veteran of the United States Maine Corp that is in support of responsible gun control, and salesperson in the Oil and Gas industry that believes in climate change, Jonathan is almost the definition of a dichotomy.

See his full bio!

Thank you for reading Rationality Unleashed! You can “like” us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter @rationalityunle. For any questions, concerns, or comments beyond what can be placed in the comments section of the blog, email us at admin@rationalityunleashed.net.

 

Sunday Best

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One only need to go to the store, a restaurant, or simply out driving, on a Sunday to be able to aptly refute the concept that being religious makes someone somehow a good person. I spent some time out today, and it really illustrated this fact better than I ever could with words alone.

In the course of about two hours, I encountered hundreds of people dressed in their Sunday Best. Now, these aren’t their formal wear, for weddings or funerals. There’s a palpable difference in clothing between that and what someone sets aside purely for the purpose of that Sunday ritual called church. They’re sporting crosses and Jesus t-shirts and all the trappings of being deluded by the divine.

And they are MEAN.

They would cut me off and scream at me from their car, in front of their children, also dressed for church. They play bumper carts in stores, because they have to get done fast, and nobody better get in their way! At a buffet, someone even nearly knocked my food out of my hand, so they could get to their table a second or two faster by cutting me off.

I heard profanity, vitriol, yelling at children, yelling at each other. It brought back distinct memories of the days, long ago, when I attended church myself.

This may be an anecdotal rant, but I’m sure many of you are sporting a knowing grin as you read, because you see it too.

As a non-believer, and a Humanist, I strive everyday to treat people with respect, and love an ethical and morally sound life, focusing on the human well being of those around me. My “Sunday Best” has nothing to do with clothing, or miming some words in some building with a cross. My “Sunday Best” is my everyday best.

Those who are Humanists and read this know what I mean. Those are religious and read this, consider the above words the next time you put on your “Sunday Best” and head off to church. Your religious fervor doesn’t make you a good person. Your actions do.

Contributor: Robert Sacerich

Robert is a Philosophy of Science and Bioethics student, as well as blogger and science advocate/activist. He has worked extensively within the secular community for various secular nonprofit organizations and public communication causes.

See his full bio!

Thank you for reading Rationality Unleashed! You can “like” us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter @rationalityunle. For any questions, concerns, or comments beyond what can be placed in the comments section of the blog, email us at admin@rationalityunleashed.net.

A disheartening experience with Dr. Lawrence Krauss

I recently attended the Northeast Conference on Science and Skepticism (NECSS). It was generally a wonderful experience. I loved meeting many of the people I have conversed with online in the real world and also meeting with many of my skeptical heroes ( I’m looking at you, SGU crew, George Hrab,Dr. Cady Coleman, and Julia Galef). But, I was also witness to a a bit of the disreputable side of our movement.

I introduce you to Dr. Lawrence Krauss. A prominent physicist and popular science communicator. Also, in my recent personal experience watching him talk at NECSS, a bit of a self absorbed curmudgeon. He also, in my opinion, is more than a bit sexist.

During his keynote speech, Dr. Krauss was correct in all of his science and physics,yet he came across as dismissive of the intelligence of the assembled crowd. With repeated statements like, “if you had paid attention in geometry class…” and, “had you listened to your physics teacher, you would remember this formula…”, I found him distasteful at the least and offensive at the most. Granted, we all might not have his aptitude to grasp physics at the level that Dr. Krauss can, but to demean his sympathetic audience? Not needed. Being smart does not give you license to be a smart ass.

The next day, He was the guest host of Rationally Speaking with Dr. Massimo Pigliucci and Julia Galef. This is where I had my biggest point of contention with Dr. Krauss. He all but ignored the two hosts. Dr. Pigliucci got polite (but sparse) conversation. Julia though, got none of this. Dr. Krauss either ignored her questions, only allowed her to get only barely into her question, or was nodding/shaking his head during her questions. It seemed to me, he was only tolerating her. I have listened to Julia during all of the RS podcasts. She is not worthy of dismissing and often asks questions that are true insights into the given subjects.

What really brought all of these thoughts into focus was my delving into the Skeptics Guide to the Universe archives.  The SGU crew had Dr. Krauss as a guest on episode #124. While listening to him speak back then, I can see why he became a popular science communicator. But it is amazing to see what seven years and popularity can do to a person.

 

Contributor: Jonathan Tindell

A native Floridian living in Pennsylvania, eight year veteran of the United States Maine Corp that is in support of responsible gun control, and salesperson in the Oil and Gas industry that believes in climate change, Jonathan is almost the definition of a dichotomy.

See his full bio!

Thank you for reading Rationality Unleashed! You can “like” us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter @rationalityunle. For any questions, concerns, or comments beyond what can be placed in the comments section of the blog, email us at admin@rationalityunleashed.net.