Results tagged “free speech” from onegoodmove

Links With Your Coffee - Tuesday

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  • Culture Is Essential by Peter J. Richerson and Robert Boyd

    excerpted from Not By Genes Alone: How Culture Transformed Human Evolution

    The American South has long been more violent than the North. Colorful descriptions of duels, feuds, bushwhackings, and lynchings feature prominently in visitors’ accounts, newspaper articles, and autobiographies from the eighteenth century onward. Statistics bear out these impressions. For example, over the period 1865–1915, the homicide rate in the South was ten times the current rate for the whole United States, and twice the rate in our most violent cities. Modern homicide statistics tell the same story. . .

    Nisbett and Cohen support their hypothesis with an impressive range of evidence. Let’s start with statistical patterns of violence. In the rural and small-town South, murder rates are elevated for arguments among friends and acquaintances, but not for killings committed in the course of other felonies. In other words, in the South men are more likely than Northerners to kill an acquaintance when an argument breaks out in a bar, but they are no more likely to kill the guy behind the counter when they knock off a liquor store. Thus, Southerners seem to be more violent than other Americans only in situations that involve personal honor. Competing hypotheses don’t do so well: neither white per-capita income nor hot climate nor history of slavery explain this variation in homicide.

    Interestingly, this difference in behavior is not just talk; it can also be observed under the controlled conditions of the psychology laboratory. Working at the University of Michigan, Nisbett and Cohen recruited participants from northern and southern backgrounds, ostensibly to participate in an experiment on perception. As part of the procedure, an experimenter’s confederate bumped some participants and muttered “Asshole!” at them. This insult had very different effects on southern and northern participants, as revealed by the next part of the experiment. . .


  • Blasphemy
    The West screwed up badly when the denunciation of the fatwa on Salman Rushdie was not closer to unanimous. (I will never forget or forgive the shameful silence of some writers who shunned the invitation to join in a firm but not hostile rebuke.) The West screwed up badly again when the Danish cartoons were not reprinted world-wide. What many didn’t understand was that the staged riots were a political strike against moderate Muslims, not non-Muslims. The “tolerance” urged by many voices outside the Muslim world played into the hands of the radical Islamists. Now we get a third chance to come to the aide of moderate Muslims all over the world, but so far, I haven’t heard much outcry.

  • Cectic - A New Sign

  • 'Admitting that you have no religion is not politically correct' by PZ Myers, Pharyngula - RichardDawkins.net
    A budding new freethought group at Wilfrid Laurier University made a dreadful mistake in their application: they actually admitted that their goal was "to promote science, freedom of inquiry, skepticism, and a good life without the need for superstition or religious belief." I don't know about you, but I think that final clause is rather an essential one for a freethought group, and is an important premise to lay out clearly. On the other hand, when was the last time you saw one of the ubiquitous campus religious groups state that they want to promote science, reason, skepticism, and open inquiry? They generally seem to be dedicated to the opposite.

    But anyway, student administrators dithered and fussed and fretted over it, and finally issued a denial with this bit of petty handwringing:

    While the Campus Clubs department understands the goals and visions of your organization, they are not compatible with the guidelines of what may be approved and incorporated into our department. While the promotion of reason, science and freedom of inquiry are perfectly legitimate goals, what is most in question in regards to your club's vision is the promotion of "a fulfilling life without religion and superstition". While this university is indeed technically a secular institution, secular does not denote taking an active stance in opposition to the principles and status of religious beliefs and practices. To be clear, this is not meant to say that the promotion of science and reason are illegitimate goals. But due to the need to respect and tolerate the views of others, the Campus Clubs department is unable to approve a club of this nature at this time. If you wish to adjust and rethink your club's application and vision, you may resubmit a revised proposal at any time.

Protest

A little audience participation on the Bill Maher show. Don Davis weighs in.




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