Posts Tagged 'Blogs'

Women and Skepticism

If you’ve ever been to a meeting of skeptics, chances are you’ve noticed a big gap between the number of men and the number of women in attendance. When I started this blog I remember trying to think of what would set my point of view apart from the thousands of other skeptical blogs out there. All I could think of was that it might be interesting that I was formerly a believer of many of the things I now criticize, but it took some comments on my gender to make me realize that being a female skeptical blogger is actually pretty rare.

I’ve never gone and counted, but in my anecdotal experience most skeptical, atheist, and science-related blogs are written by men. So why is this? Skeptifem recently blogged about this, and her thinking was that it’s because women are busier, as we are generally tasked with looking after the kids or the home. I have no doubt that this contributes to the lack of ladies at skeptical gatherings, but I think there has to be more to it than that, otherwise we should expect women to also be underrepresented at things like Mind, Body, Spirit Festivals and in Church activities, no? Thankfully, PZ Myers recently posed the question on his blog:

So I’m going to try something a little different. Instead of telling you my opinion, I’m going to forgo the essential principle of blogging (which is “Me! Me!”) and just ask people, especially women, to leave links to their godless/skeptical feminist blog or make suggestions or gripe or tell me what these stupid male-dominated conventions have to do to correct the imbalance.

There was a lot of interesting discussion, so I recommend looking at the comments. Personally, I think it largely has to do with it being less socially acceptable for a woman to be outspoken, confrontational, and intellectual. I’m not sure what the solution is to this issue, maybe you can post your suggestions in the comments, but I think that promoting female skeptics is a good place to start. If more women are seen to be participating in skepticism at least online, then maybe we won’t be seen as a novelty simply by virtue of our gender.

So I’ve gone through the comments on that thread on Pharyngula and compiled this list of skeptical blogs/podcasts/websites that happen to be created by women (hopefully I didn’t miss any, there were over 600 comments). Enjoy!

Feel free to add more links in the comments!

I also want to take this opportunity to say that I’ve been wanting to find other contributors to this blog since my posts are so sporatic, and this whole topic of women in skepticism has made me think that it would be great to get some other women posting on my blog. If you’re interested (even if you want to cross-post from your own blog), shoot me an email through my contact page.

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Is It Wrong that Death is so Accessible to the Public?

I sent this link to Sociological Images, but just in case it doesn’t get posted there I’m copying my email here to hopefully get some of your opinions on the topic:

Good Afternoon,
I thought this related to your recent post about the LAPD exhibit:

I didn’t watch this video and won’t, but I read the post (Perez Hilton) and it sounds like a really disturbing video where a man is killed when he is tased and chokes on something. It makes me sick how easy it is to watch someone die on YouTube. I’m curious to hear what your take is on videos like this one being posted (don’t worry, this video doesn’t start playing when you open the link):

I don’t really know what to think about these types of videos being so accessible. On the one hand, it’s sad to think that people are being entertained by videos of tragic deaths. But I’ve heard it argued that we no longer face death, we separate ourselves from death and use euphemisms to describe it (passed away, no longer with us), so maybe it’s healthy to be exposed to death. I’m not convinced that that’s a good argument for videos like this one being out there for anyone to see.
Curious to hear your thoughts, big fan of your blog!
-Lindsay

What do you think of these types of videos?

Sociological Images (My New Favourite Blog)

I recently discovered this awesome blog, and since I’m really bad at describing things I’ll just copy and paste their description:

Sociological Images: Seeing is Believing is designed to encourage all kinds of people to exercise and develop their sociological imagination by presenting brief sociological discussions of compelling and timely imagery that spans the breadth of sociological inquiry.

I’m in love with Sociological Images, and it has made me think about the subtext when faced with certain images. Here are a few posts that I’ve enjoyed since I’ve started following this blog:

The Difference Between Male and Female Vegetarians: Self-Sufficiency!

1920 Proposal to Ban Female Drivers

Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and the Social Control of Mothers (this one interested me because there has recently been a bit of debate going on in the Winnipeg Free Press letters to the editor about sterilizing FAS mothers)

Guest Post: An Indigenous Olympics?

I’ve even been sending them things…here’s one I sent in that they posted:

Gender Non-Conformity is a Drag
What struck me as odd was that the comments thread on that post quickly turned to speculations that Shiloh might be transgendered. As if a biological girl would only choose to wear girl’s clothes.

Transgendered or not, Shiloh’s lucky to have parents that are open-minded enough to let her wear what she wants, in spite of the pressures of being in the spotlight.

I sent them another link maybe an hour ago and haven’t heard back yet as to whether it will be posted, but I’m going to copy and paste my email into another post, as I’m curious to hear your opinions on the topic.

I hope you enjoy this blog as much as I do!

It’s Been a Year Since I Lost My Religion

A year ago today my life began to change in a big way. On October 3, 2008 Bill Maher’s movie about religion, Religulous, was released in Canada. At the time I was a Christian, but I decided to see the movie because I was intrigued by the previews. I had never been exposed to such outright criticism of religion.

I didn’t know who Bill Maher was (honestly…people find this hard to believe), so I didn’t know what to expect. What I saw was a crass, in-your-face dump on faith. But rather than feeling offended I felt inspired by the closing scene of the movie. Maher said:

Faith means making a virtue out of not thinking…keeping mankind in a bondage to fantasy and nonsense that has spawned and justified so much lunacy and distruction.

The only appropriate attitude for man to have about the big questions is not the arrogant certitude that is the hallmark of religion, but doubt.

I started to allow myself to doubt my beliefs, and to consider that the Bible was probably just a fairy tale.

A short time after I had seen the movie I was in a book store and noticed Christopher Hitchens’s book God is not Great, and decided to pick it up. By the time I finished reading the book I was an atheist, and wondering how I ever believed in a god in the first place!

I was now very fascinated with the topic of religion, and picked up Richard Dawkins’ The God Delusion. Dawkins introduced me to the world of skepticism of all sorts of beliefs. I discovered that there was a whole online community of skeptics.

I filled up my iPod with podcasts that allow me to learn while I’m working:

The Atheist Experience
The Conspiracy Skeptic
Hunting Humbug 101
Point of Inquiry
The Skeptic’s Guide to the Universe
The Skeptic Zone
Skeptoid

I also got into reading blogs that kept me up to date on the big stories in the atheist and skeptical communities:

Bad Astronomy
Friendly Atheist
NeurologicaBlog
Pharyngula
Skepchick

And I’ve been doing my best to get a fairly well-rounded understanding of science. Some of my favourite books:

The Elegant Universe – Brian Greene
Death From the Skies! – Phil Plait
Quirkology – Richard Wiseman
Trick or Treatment – Simon Singh
The Selfish Gene – Richard Dawkins

I’m being opened up to a whole new, fascinating, mind-boggling, incredible, inconceivable, evidence-based, beautiful and awe-inspiring universe.

It has been quite a year! I’ve been taking in so much information that I needed to start this blog in order to articulate some of my thoughts, and to try to take part in what others in the skeptical community are doing. I’m learning and growing every day, and I can’t wait to see where I’m at in a year’s time.

If any of the people involved in the podcasts, blogs and books I mentioned above happen to stumble upon this blog entry, I just want to say thanks!

I think that the best thing that I’ve learned in the last year is the importance of science. Science is the most useful tool that we have, and I’m excited every time I see someone promoting it to the wider public. It seems to be on the increase and that’s so encouraging.

I’ve rambled on long enough, but I just felt the need to reflect on the past year. Thanks for reading!

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