Friday 3 February 2012

Burnee links for Friday

The absurd whiteness of Be Scofield | Pharyngula
PZ Myers is tempted to dismiss yet more bashing of "New Atheists".

The hounding of 'Psychic Sally' is becoming a modern-day witch-hunt – Telegraph Blogs
The hounding of skeptics for their rational demand for evidence in support of extraordinary claims is becoming a modern-day witch-hunt. Witchfinder-General Brendan O'Neill is — at best — apparently happy to let "psychics" spread their delusions to vulnerable people, or — at worst — happy to let known frauds continue to defraud the vulnerable. – The President, the Pill, and Religious Liberty in Peril
This tenor of this article is similar to the attitude of the Catholic Church in the UK — complaining that their religious liberty is infringed, when what they really care about is that they're no longer allowed to discriminate unfairly. But there's another point apparent here. What US law seems to be saying is that employers must provide health insurance, which must include the availability of contraception. Mohler's article is objecting to employers having to pay for something (contraception) that may be against their religious beliefs, but as far as I can tell that is not what will happen. Employers will provide insurance, and that insurance will comply with the law. Employers will not, in fact, be buying contraception, any more than an employer buys the food bought with an employee's salary. If Mohler were a vegetarian and employed someone who wasn't, would he object to his employee buying meat? If Mohler hated football, would he object to his employee buying tickets for a football game? An employer pays an employee for work, skills and experience. What the employee does with the salary is the employee's own affair. If employment law requires an employer to pay for health insurance, any claim the employee makes on that insurance is likewise the employee's own affair.
(Via Chris Bolt.)

The believer’s inner needs | Butterflies and Wheels
Ophelia Benson reads Kenan Malik's talk with which he opened the CFI Blasphemy! Conference.

Too Westernized, secular and progressive to be authentic | Butterflies and Wheels
And goes on reading...