Faith and superstition are not harmless

Critics of faith and superstition are often accused of intolerance and radicalism. But should we really be tolerant of everything? Are faith and superstition really harmless as some like to claim? How do we avoid the tolerance of intolerance? Should we leave the faithful and superstitious alone or should we fight for a world where these are things of the past and everybody is shocked they were ever socially accepted?

Continue reading “Faith and superstition are not harmless”

Can minorities be racist? Yes. But it’s usually not as bad.

Hate crime, battery charges filed in ‘sickening’ Facebook Live attack on disabled man

On one end of the spectrum, PC leftists say there’s no such thing as reverse racism because minorities can’t be racist. At all. Ever. On the other extreme, alt-righters say racism against oppressed minorities is as bad as racism against privileged majorities and therefore the very categorization of racism into “reverse racism” and “regular racism” is inherently racist because it suggests one may be worse than the other. I’m usually skeptical about such black-and-white statements, so I would like to propose the truth lies somewhere in between. Continue readingCan minorities be racist? Yes. But it’s usually not as bad.

The burkini ban and the dangers of political polarization Our generation’s aversion to dialogue is too dangerous. It’s time we stop antagonizing and ignoring conservatives or else we are all doomed.

Woman forced to remove burkini in France

As everybody knows, last month France started enforcing an extremely controversial ban against the so called “burkini”. The ban was eventually overturned, but the debate is still very much alive. In the age of social media, when we all live in echo chambers ¹, I still haven’t had a chance to talk to a person who is actually in favor of the burkini ban. But the mere mention that “it’s hypocritical to display so much outrage towards this and then turn a blind eye to the culture of forced modesty in Muslim communities around the world” or that “I can understand why this ban appeals to the masses” is already enough to trigger some progressive liberals and turn them into paranoid anti-Islamophobia police (or, as Maajid Nawaz would call them, regressive leftists). Continue readingThe burkini ban and the dangers of political polarization Our generation’s aversion to dialogue is too dangerous. It’s time we stop antagonizing and ignoring conservatives or else we are all doomed.

Six facts free speech fundamentalists love to ignore

You keep saying you defend free speech. I do not think it means what you think it means.Freedom. An apparently simple concept that you’d think people understand pretty well, after all it’s a fundamental human right. But no. It’s probably the concept people abuse and misuse the most when discussing about politics, law and the role of the state. People defend all sorts of nonsense in the name of freedom. This madness must stop. So let’s take some time to think about it. Continue reading “Six facts free speech fundamentalists love to ignore”

Why Django Girls? Is it always immoral to treat people differently?

Django Girls StickersIn February and March this year Django Girls will be organizing free Django workshops for women in cities all over the world. As a Python/Django developer and feminist myself, I naturally applied as a coach. What for some may seem like a great initiative, however, is attacked by others as a gross display of hypocrisy and misandrist double-standard. In this article I hope to explain why supporting such events doesn’t imply you hate men or seek to overthrow patriarchy and install a regime of female supremacy. Continue readingWhy Django Girls? Is it always immoral to treat people differently?

Gender quotas

The subject of gender quotas was trending in Brazil a few months ago and I wrote about it in Portuguese. Now that the same topic has sprung in Romania, it’s time to write an English version. As should be no surprise, there’s a strong backlash against the idea of quotas and affirmative action in general. The anti-quota arguments are typically the same: that this type of approach is “anti-democratic”, “unjust”, “discriminatory”, “unequal”, etc. Although I agree that this is not an ideal solution, these arguments hardly sustain themselves. It may even be that there are legitimate reasons for us to be skeptical about quotas and affirmative action, but the aforementioned ones are certainly not in this category, and I’ll explain why.

Continue reading “Gender quotas”

The tragic consequences of biological determinism There probably are biological differences between groups of people, but the moral cost of making the wrong assumptions should keep us skeptic.

I’ve always been a zoology lover. I grew up watching Animal Planet and comparing the behavior of humans to that of other animals. I ended up not pursuing a career in the area, but reading and watching video-lectures about biology has been one of my oldest and most constant hobbies. I am a fan of Darwin, Dawkins, Frans de Wall and Sapolsky. I always try to find the biological origins of human social behavior and, although I recognize both sides of the nature vs. nurture dilema, I must admit I have a bias towards the former when it comes to personal interest and curiosity. Lately, however, I’m a bit disillusioned. I’ve noticed that many still rely on factoids of the field to defend racist and sexist claims, the inevitability of certain social hierarchies and the maintenance of the status quo, sadly causing many on the other side to, as a defense mechanism, reject behavioral biology altogether. But is it really the case that by giving credibility to this science we inadvertently give basis for these supremacist and deterministic arguments? Is to reject it altogether really the only solution? Continue readingThe tragic consequences of biological determinism There probably are biological differences between groups of people, but the moral cost of making the wrong assumptions should keep us skeptic.

Everyday hate speech in Romania

In Romania it’s common for people to condemn the accent from other regions without any pudency. And many don’t do it jokingly, they really mean it. They call people with accents “peasants” and “rednecks” that destroy the Romanian language and nobody reacts, it’s socially acceptable. Openly complaining about gypsies with strong language is even more common. Some even say they’re a “spoilt race” that is genetically damaged, although these tend to be more extreme than the majority. But even the less extreme ones seem to find it normal when they hear it. They’re used to it, and even if they disagree with the choice of words, they wouldn’t defend gypsies because, after all, all they do is steal, beg and destroy the reputation of Romanians in Western Europe. Continue reading “Everyday hate speech in Romania”

Atheism is becoming politically incorrect and we have to stop it

Good Guy AtheistThe atheist movement has seen a somewhat recent boom. Some say it was triggered by the 9/11 attacks and call it the “New Atheism” movement. There are many great things about atheists speaking out and forming a community. It encourages other people to “come out of the closet”, it raises awareness about discrimination against religious minorities, mob rule, threats to secularism etc. On the other hand, many criticize the movement for its aggressiveness, arrogance and lack of diplomacy. Some even claim that atheists shouldn’t be outspoken at all. They say they’re being more religious than the believers they criticize, and attack any atheist association as being hypocritical and turning atheism into a cult. Continue reading “Atheism is becoming politically incorrect and we have to stop it”

Proud of being a straight, white man

Straight white manMany people complain that black people can talk about “black pride” but that white people can’t. That a band called “Black City” is cool but one named “White City” with Caucasian members is racist. Or that a parade of gay pride is acceptable but one of straight pride is not. That the media turns to women on their day and some even receive flowers and chocolate, but that nobody remembers men on their day. Indeed, all of this seems to be true. However, many people usually criticize this as something illogical and hypocritical, an unfair double-standard. Is it really so? Let’s give it some thought. When did these movements begin? Why did minorities start to have this attitude in the first place?

Continue reading “Proud of being a straight, white man”