The objectivity of oppression

Boodle . . . oops!

Rebecca Reilly-Cooper

In my post yesterday on intersectionality and identity politics, I tried to argue that the internal logic of identity politics is flawed, and though motivated by good intentions, can’t actually yield a practical vision of politics that makes people’s lives better. I now realize that there is an assumption in this argument that I didn’t elaborate on sufficiently, and yet is crucial to the point, namely: the fact that oppression is objective. This is a fact that many intersectionalists seem to want to deny. Yet they can’t, because the very fact that we can talk about oppression at all relies upon its being in some sense objective.

Suppose Joey claims that Chandler has broken his arm. Joey might be in the best position to know how his arm feels, and so the first thing we need to do is listen to Joey and find out how his arm feels…

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Two tickets to the art show

A few of our friends in Los Angeles attended the opening of an artistic event in which people are being named-and-shamed either for saying truly hateful and despicably abusive things, or else for merely disagreeing, occasionally both, and quite often something in between.

See if you can determine the inclusion criteria for yourself, from the photos below…








Another Pastafarian gets a driver’s license picture

woot, Shawna!

Why Evolution Is True

This is at least the third such incident I’ve heard of: a Pastafarian—an atheist with noodly tendencies—named Shawna Henderson in Oklahoma, got her driver’s license picture taken with the Sacred Headgear (a colander) atop her head. That, apparently, is legal. Here’s the story from KFOR News, and her driver’s license:

As PuffHo reports:

Hammond told KFOR that she is an atheist who believes that unbelievers should be able to express their views.

“I’m glad I was able to do it. It’s hard living as a non-religious person in Oklahoma. It felt good to be recognized that we can all coexist and have those equal rights,” she said.

A screenshot of her license:
Screen Shot 2014-09-13 at 11.16.27 AM

Quite fetching, I’d say.

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Oklahoma woman claims spaghetti strainer as religious headwear in license picture



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ENID, Okla. – It may sound like a joke but an Enid woman says her Oklahoma driver’s license features a unique symbol of her religious freedom.

It may even prompt a giggle, but for Shawna Hammond, the spaghetti strainer is a symbol of freedom.

“It doesn’t cover my face. I mean you can still see my face. We have to take off our glasses, so I took off my glasses,” Hammond said.

According to the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety’s rules, religious headpieces cannot cause shadows on your face and the photograph must present a clear view of your face.

“I asked if I could wear my religious headwear and he said, yes, it just couldn’t have any logos, or any type of writing. I told him it didn’t, and I went out to my car and got my colander,” said Hammond.

Hammond says she walked back into the…

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Blue Ball Skeptics – Episodes 6 & 7

James brandishes the now-infamous thumb

James brandishes the now-infamous thumb

For the next two episodes, Chas and Damion talk with James Garrison, the founder of the Oklahoma Skeptics Society. We discussed all manner of profoundly skeptical things, such as how to form a local skeptics group and how to quickly convince a Sasquatch to release his grip on your valuables.

Part One (Episode 6)

Part Two (Episode 7)


The continuing decline of American religiosity

Good news, godless heathens!

Why Evolution Is True

The Richard Dawkins Foundation website highlighted a post by Tobin Grant, a professor of political science at Southern Illinois University whose interest is the sociology of religion, and who writes about it at the site “Corner of Church and State” at the Religion News Service.

Grant’s post reports 61 years of measuring “religiosity” (the degree of religious belief) in the US, using statistics he developed in a 2008 paper (reference and free download below). In that paper, Grant combined 14 indices of religiosity into one, and developed a way to not only present that statistic in a way comparable among years, but to check its reliability. (You can read about the “validation” of his measure, the Aggregate Religiosity Index [ARI] in the paper at the bottom.

The components of the ARI are the indices below; the “correlation in the right column is the correlation of each component of the index with…

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