Friday, June 17, 2011

What's So "New" About the New Atheist Movement?

It Began with a Telephone Call

In 2003 a study was conducted by the American Mosaic Project, which was to be the first in a series of national studies of race, religion and diversity. In a random telephone sampling of 2,081 households nationwide, 90% of those polled thought that those of Caucasian descent and those of African descent could share their vision of society. Approximately 80% responded with the inclusion of Hispanics, Jews and conservative Christians. Over 70% felt the same way about immigrants in general. 64% even believed the same of Muslims, in spite of the study taking place in the wake of the attacks on 9/11/01.

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Book reviews: The New Atheism: Ten Arguments That Don't Hold Water, by Michael Poole

In this on-going debate regarding the existence of an all-powerful consciousness, Michael Poole takes on what he believes is the crux of the Atheist argument. He chooses ten statements believed to be the main argument in favor of Atheism and then attempts to refute each of them. He admits early on that this refutation is based on the Judeo-Christian concept of a monotheistic deity.

This particular point seems to leave the author open to more criticism than if there were more of a general refutation. On the surface this would seem to provide a good dialogue for both sides to consider the arguments of each. Unfortunately, because of the specificity of his critiques, he seems to fall into the same traps as those he claims the “New Atheists” do when making their arguments.

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Friday, June 10, 2011

Women's Empowerment in the Workplace: Why Equality Doesn't Cut It

When Peggy McIntosh wrote her ground-breaking treatise on white privilege her beginning statements outlined that the impetus for her ability to notice these privileges was born out of her research on male privilege in general. It was this inception which allowed her to extend her understanding of a hierarchical society to include white privilege as a whole. Meaning that, while men in general have intrinsic privileges that women do not, white women are also intrinsically over-privileged, with relation to black women and men because of their color.

Her premise in “Unpacking the Invisible Backpack” mentions a school-mate and colleague, who puts it quite succinctly,

“Whites are taught to think of their lives as a morally neutral, normative, and average, also ideal, so that when we work to benefit others, this is seen as work which will allow “them” to be more like ‘us’.”

While she was referring to the on-going problem of racial privilege, it also quite aptly describes the innate problem with the emergence of women’s rights with in a man’s world.

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Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Is the Existence of Suffering a Good Reason to be an Atheist?

Murder; war; disease; poverty; hunger; from the beginnings of human civilization these things have plagued humanity. Throughout time humans have beseeched a multitude of sources for explanation and assistance against these trials, to no avail. There has been no single solution to any of these problems; and no certain answer has come from any ethereal or physical realm beyond our planet.

People and communities all over the globe each have their own explanations. It is difficult that both wonder and horror could come from the same source; so, as a compromise for this counter-intuitive state of things, many presuppose that an Omni-benevolent being created the wonder and that an Omni-malevolent being must be the catalyst for the horror. In order to sleep at night, the Omni-benevolent creator is always more powerful.

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Monday, June 6, 2011

Female Genital Mutilation: The Facts

Female Genital Mutilation sometimes called Female Genital Cutting, is a practice where reconstructive surgery is performed on various parts of the vagina tissue with the intent to reduce sensation to the area. It has been suggested that Female Genital Mutilation could also be a significant factor in the acceleration of the spread of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and full-blown Aquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) through numerous mechanisms. There are many variants of this procedure and as many goals. The World Health Organization has divided the most common types into Four Basic Types.

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Saturday, June 4, 2011

What Atheist Parents are Teaching Their Children

As Richard Dawkins has pointed out on many occasions, children are not born into political parties. No one ever refers to a small child as the, “Republican girl” or “Democratic Boy” over there. Although being raised in a strong politically minded household certainly has an effect on children; it is not uncommon for a child to grow up, examine the issues for themselves, and become an entirely different political affiliation than their parents. While this may cause some bickering at family dinner table, only in the most extreme cases does it tear families apart or cause an irreparable rift.

When speaking about a child’s religious upbringing, however, there is a noticeable difference in the initiation process.

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