gallinggalla: (Default)

I see that noted atheist AC Grayling has decided to start himself a private college, and has invited other noted atheists, such as Richard Dawkins and Steven Pinker, to teach.

Several public universities in England have apparently raised their tuitions to £9,000 a year, which is pretty freakin' steep in a country where the government is cutting back aid programs left and right. So I'm really glad that AC Grayling and friends are helping out:

Grayling said he was motivated in part by fears that government cuts to university humanities and arts courses could leave "the fabric of society poorer as a result".

So what's annual the tuition at New College Of The Humanities? £18,000. Right. That tuition looks to make Grayling and Dawkins a lot richer, but I don't think the fabric of society will be any richer.

But, at least we can count on New College to be intellectually honest, right? After all, we religious folk are just dumb rocks who have to believe in sky daddies because we miss our mommies, right? But atheists have got the ethical way of living nailed down. Nah, they'd never commit plagiarism. They'd certainly never ever copy course syllabi verbatim from public universities.

"Every university is worried about students plagiarising essays," said Justin Champion, a senior historian at Royal Holloway college, who spotted that the titles of modules he wrote were reproduced on the New College website.

"Here we have a whole degree programme being plagiarised. I personally feel quite insulted because I wrote quite a lot of the syllabus. If the University of London didn't exist and public money hadn't been used to draw up these syllabuses, they wouldn't have been able to do this, or they would have had to invest a lot of money."

If, as AC Grayling claims, New College is offering "added value" – enough to justify £18,000 tuitions – you'd think they'd take the trouble to develop their own course syllabi.

Oh, did Grayling et al engage in due diligence regarding their business model? ... Nope. Seems they're running this project on a hope and a prayer. Ironic, that. (I'm sorry, but £10m in private equity funding seems like peanuts when it comes to funding a brand new college, no matter how small.)

Not to mention that the four leading lights of NCH (Grayling, Dawkins, Pinker, and Ferguson) are white men. Great effort at diversity, there. I'm sure that POC and women will feel like their views, perspectives, and research will be taken seriously.

Dawkins et al think that people of faith have a God delusion. (Nice bit of ableism, that.) Personally, I think that some fundamentalist atheists are suffering from hypoethicalism. Might want to seek treatment for that, y'all, because you're starting to look like fools.

gallinggalla: (Default)

"Be Muslim for a month in Istanbul: pray five times a day and fast".

A chance to be immersed in Islam, particularly Sufi traditions and the mystic Rumi - without having to convert


A social enterprise is offering individuals the opportunity to immerse themselves in Islam, without having to convert, through a trip to Istanbul that takes in the regular sights and sounds but also includes prayers at dawn and midnight and lessons on Islam and its basic practices.

It draws heavily on the country's Sufi traditions – with a particular emphasis on the poet and mystic Rumi. Ben Bowler, from the Blood Foundation, which runs the project, said: "We wanted to focus on Rumi because he is a unifying figure. Turkey has a relatively open brand of Islam and Istanbul is an existing tourist destination."

"There is a willingness to engage with the west. We might not have found it in the Middle East or parts of south Asia. If we were in Saudi Arabia it would have been harder."

So, let's see:

  • Find a Muslim country that is friendly to the West, because we sure don't want to challenge non-Muslim Western people's world view of what Islam should look like. Check!
  • Make sure said country has a big cosmopolitan city and lots of touristy stuff to do, cuz we don't want to make it this Muslim-for-a-day thing too hard. Check!
  • Present praying five times a day as a contest. Check!
  • Charge typical tour-package fees (the £600 doesn't include airfare) to keep the riff-raff out. Check!
  • Lie by calling it "Muslim for a month" even though it's for nine days Check!
  • Focus on Rumi and Sufism, because those are the easiest for non-Muslim Westerners to "get into" and mis-appropriate for the cachet of being all advanced and open-minded. You know, that ally-cred thing. Check!
  • Put a liberal "we're doing this to increase understanding" spin on it so that non-Muslim Westerners don't have to feel guilty about appropriating Islam. Check!
  • Hey! Look! No commitment! Get your instant Islam fix! Check!

Yeah. Something that pisses me off is people wanting to get spiritual quick-fixes without doing the work or making a commitment, and somehow it always winds up being people with relative privilege cherry-picking the easy parts of non-dominant religions and cultures. I mean, how many "Be Christian for a month" tourist packages do you see?

It's like Madonna thinking that she's a special and enlightened honorary Jew because she practices a fake commercialized newage Kabbalah scrubbed clean of its years of study and torn violently off from Judaism. (Although, it seems Kabbalah isn't good enough for her any more; easy come easy go, I guess.)

It's like people saying they're Buddhist because they meditate and have a little shrine in their living rooms, complete with thousand-dollar gold-plated Buddha statues. As best I understand it, Buddhism is a way of life that encompasses compassion, non-violence, anti-oppression, and anti-materialism. Kind of like Islam, Judaism, and Christianity are. But that stuff is just so hard, and who wants to do that when you can just spend twenty minutes a day sitting with your legs crossed before you go to your job where you push subprime mortgages onto poor people?

If you want to take up a faith or a belief system, do the work of living it.

gallinggalla: (Default)
You are a noted male anti-MRA/MGTOW writer who's built up a rather large following at your blog. You're invited to write a series of articles at a major feminist blog.

In one of the articles, commenters make two simple requests: Fix a misspelling, and replace the word "idiot" with one of the suggested alternatives that is not ableist.

There's two scenarios for how you can handle this.

Scenario 1: You fix both the spelling error and the ableist language, and post a short note of correction and apology. This takes you a few minutes, then the thread goes back on track.




Scenario 2: You fix the spelling error and utterly ignore the request to remove the ableist language. A commenter [yours truly] points out that you have a pattern of ignoring or belittling requests to remove ableist language. She's a bit angry, because you've been doing this during your entire time as guest author at the blog, but she keeps it civil (if a bit sarcastic).

You proceed to go on a huge tear, posting one defensive comment after another after another, and standing by as another commenter posts comments that are outright cruel to PWD and survivors of sexual assault (and also racist), until (much too late) a moderator steps in, bans the commenter, and gives you a rude awakening.

It seems to me that following scenario 1 involves a lot less energy – both yours and that of your readership – and doesn't provide a growth medium for trolls like Diane K. Then again, I suppose, David, your special snowflake privilege is just so precious that it's worth it to spend hours writing all those defensive, self-justifying comments and antagonizing your readership in the process. It leads me to believe that you aren't interested in social justice, and that ManBoobz is nothing more than a sophisticated Nice Guy™ game. I will treat you and your blog accordingly.

ETA: ... And you continue to be defensive, and openly mocking of PWD who spoke up against your ableism, even after the moderator tells you you're out of line!!


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August 2012

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