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The Dishonesty of TodayChristian.net

So, after my last post I eventually went back to read what PZ Myers had to say about those ten questions. Then I looked over his comment section a bit, as I sometimes do. (Pharyngula’s comments are not for the faint of heart) And somebody mentioned something that really caught my attention, if you go to the link Today Christian provides as the source of their allegedly unanswerable questions, you’ll find that this particular list was compiled by one Robert Nielsen, an atheist who answered them.

Nielsen compiled the list as his personal choice of some of the better questions, whether they were intended as honest inquiries or sneaky gotchas. He made good use of them, exploring them thoughtfully and sparking discussion in his comments. Then Today Christian stripped out his answers, added a snide preface that they could not be answered, and posted them. Without allowing comments. It’s breathtaking, really.

I’m a little surprised they still linked to the source. I guess they were worried they might be sued for plagiarism.

I feel like I should say more about it, but really, what else is there to say?

Thinking Influences Thinking

Looking over Pharyngula this morning I found that Professor Myers was answering another list of proclaimed questions atheists cannot answer. I was halfway thru when I decided that I wanted to blog my own answers, since I haven’t been writing much lately and apparently miss it. I decided this gradually as I read the list, there was no clear instant where I made up my mind, but I found myself comparing the first answer to pop into my head with the good professor’s, and finding substantial overlap. Enough that I started thinking I would have trouble keeping them from mixing in my head before I got them written down.

I stopped reading around question #4 and starting writing this instead. As so often happens, my mind wandered someplace interesting that I didn’t expect while considering the fairly mundane problem of eliminating bias from my writing.

My opinions may well have been colored by reading some of PZ’s responses before I wrote my own out, but while I was thinking about that it occurred to me that my responses have definitely been colored by his influence over the last five years or so, since I’ve started reading his blog.

PZ has been accused by several people of having a cult-like control over his regular readers, which may make him an unfortunate impetus for this line of thought. On the other hand, clearly his alleged mind-control isn’t too binding, since this is exactly the kind of thinking a proper cult leader would want to discourage! Read the rest of this entry

Real Rape

This is not a safe post. The links which follow contain real people sharing their stories of rape, and reading them made me feel seriously sick.

It started here, with one woman telling her story in a blog post. The times she was raped, the results of reporting or not reporting it, the reactions, the fallout. It’s hard enough to read just on its own. And then there are the comments, see people read the comments and felt a need to share their stories. So there are more on that site than just Elyse’s. But see, I didn’t go to the Skepchick site today, I saw that from this post on Pharyngula, which has a large and well-established crowd of commenters, who have also chimed in with their stories.

At this point I’ve read them all. I felt like I had to, like I somehow owed it to these people to read their stories.

And it’s awful.

There are so many of them, and there are so many similarities between them. Elyse talked about “the script”, and how it needs to be rewritten, and after you read ten or twelve of those stories you see her point. Because the parts that are most similar aren’t the rapes themselves, but the attitudes of everyone else. The third-parties, police and friends and family and witnesses, these are where you see the same things over and over. This is where there’s a script people are following.

I don’t have any witty snark or words of wisdom to add. I just feel hollow and sick after reading all those stories. I’m going to finish up here, take a shower, and curl up with a book.

I will, however, first post a few hopefully useful links. Here’s a summary of the Crystal Clear Consent rules that the Pharyngulite Horde are working on, with links to the ongoing discussion and refinement of same. And here’s a link to a useful part of the National Domestic Violence Hotline website which I also found in the comments and thought was worth passing along.

That’s all I have for now. Feel free to comment, but don’t expect me to respond tonight.

Take care of yourselves, and take care of each other.

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