On October 10, 1967, the Outer Space Treaty came into force. It basically establishes space law and forbids countries who signed the treaty from stationing weapons of mass destruction anywhere in space. Most major countries have signed and ratified the document.

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Mary

Mary

Mary Brock is a scientist who works on drugs you've hopefully never heard of. She enjoys cooking to Blue Grass music, messing with her cats, and hosting the Boston Skeptics' Book Club. She was born in the South but loves living in New England (despite the lack of chocolate chip pizza). Mary does not use Twitter and don't even try to follow her, because she is always looking over her shoulder.

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20 Comments

  1. Profile photo of vexorian
    October 10, 2012 at 10:28 am —

    @[The “Great Man” Theory of Rape] – Had to be said.

  2. Profile photo of Grand Lunar
    October 10, 2012 at 10:52 am —

    The “Quick Note to Atheists” is a great article (I’d actually call it a memo to atheists, really).
    It does make one stop and consider what their position is.

    I have a question relating the quick note to the article about the shooting of that brave 14 year old.
    Can one criticize such an event in a manner consistent with the content of the memo? I.E, by not coming across as a bigot or a hater of Islam or anything else mentioned in the article?

  3. Profile photo of Wilson
    October 10, 2012 at 10:54 am —

    It’s funny reading the “Quick Note to Atheists” that I can agree with everything they say(though it was kind of hard to follow at some points) until the generalizations about white people and suddenly I’m emotionally up in arms(just like I was back when I was having my MRA-lite moment). Having a conversation with myself now about whether acknowledging privilege means that sometimes you take one on the chin to keep the conversation off yourself.

  4. Profile photo of Luna
    October 10, 2012 at 12:11 pm —

    Sigh. Of course rapists must be dealt with but there are several issues here and way too many “if”s. First of all, we have something (in our country, anyway) known as innocent until proven guilty. Don’t respond and twist my words around; I’m not saying rape is okay. I’m saying that we don’t assume guilt if someone hasn’t been tried, no matter what the “evidence”.

    And yes, I get the point of the article. Maybe these areas are harboring rapists. But we don’t know if Assange is one.

    Could Assange be a rapist scumbag? Yes! Sure! On the other hand if anyone is sure to be framed, it’s this guy. He’s trying to humiliate and expose the most powerful people in the world. Does anyone here really think they’d just let it go?

    Wikileaks is a great thing. It’s vital to expose dictators and military scandals. Which by the way could INCLUDE women being raped in the military or other dirty secrets.

    That’s seperate from Assange’s personal life. Maybe he’s a rapist. Maybe he’s not. Let’s keep the issues seperate.

    • Profile photo of James K
      October 10, 2012 at 3:32 pm —

      This is especially true when Assange hasn’t even been charged yet, as of now he’s merely wanted for questioning.

      The ideal situation would be for the governments of Ecuador, England and Sweeden to come to some arrangement whereby Assange can be questioned (and prosecuted, if necessary) on the rape case while agreeing that he not be extradited to the US. This would protect him from persecution by the American government for his Wikileaks work without protecting him for any sexual assaults he may have committed.

  5. Profile photo of Ginger
    October 10, 2012 at 2:37 pm —

    On the Quick Note to Atheists…
    #2 “Criticizing exclusively (majority) non-white religions is racist.” Do they mean if a person only criticizes primarily non-white religions or are they saying any criticism of a non-white religion is racist?

    #8 “Other people’s clothing is not your business.” Does this mean the author doesn’t approve of my expressing any opinion in any way about anyone’s clothing or what motivates it? Or we shouldn’t be for laws banning certain clothing or ever make fun of pope hats? This one is not clear to me.

    #24 “No religion is more ridiculous than any other.” Well I guess we need to define ridiculous. I don’t think it’s unreasonable to say one religion makes more egregious errors in its truth claims about the world than another. I can conceive of a religion that’s basically Try to be a good person, do these occasional simple rituals, and write in a gratitude diary every night. Is that not less ridiculous than Scientology? This labelling of bad judgments about the level of harmfulness or scientific accuracy of beliefs is the kind of idea that is used to try to shut up the non-religious from critiquing religion. In case someone can better define ridiculous.

    • Profile photo of harley
      October 10, 2012 at 3:21 pm —

      I share your concerns. I agreed with the authors views on racism and sexual freedoms, but the part about which religions you can and can’t criticize doesn’t sit well with me. I think every bit of woo out there deserves a skeptical eye.

    • Profile photo of LeftSidePositive
      October 10, 2012 at 8:54 pm —

      I agree. Another thing I had a problem with on the “other people’s clothing is not your business” is that it’s fine for not interfering with a PARTICULAR person (and not legislating your clothing preferences…), but really, human beings are social creatures and we care about each other and the effect that different ideas have on ours & each other’s lives. Speaking against something in the general sense, i.e. “I believe there are the following problems with wearing X, and people who are convinced by my views, when they read them on my blog and not shoved into their life via any other means, might not want to wear it” is not the same as “You, Julie, are wrong for wearing X.”

      Otherwise, are we also inherently wrong for saying, “I think there are the following problems with believing in God, I have noticed the following adverse outcomes to those who believe in God and wouldn’t want people to experience this unnecessarily…” It’s okay to try to convince the world at large in public, otherwise the entire marketplace of ideas crumbles.

      Moreover, the simple claim that someone experiences something as liberating does not mean it actually IS liberating or empowering. These are both empirical social claims about relative power in the world, and ARE NOT THE SAME as “I feel good when I do X.” How liberated and how empowered you are are questions of what practical choices do you have in the world, what levels of trust and respect do you enjoy, what influence do you have, and what material, political, and social benefits you can attain. When people defend their choice to wear a headscarf by saying it hides their sexuality and lets them be seen as fully people instead of sex objects, it reinforces ideas that sexuality is degrading, that people can and should expect you to cover up if you want to be taken seriously, and that there’s a zero-sum game between sexuality and personal/intellectual merit. These are assumptions about the world that necessarily limit practical choice for you and for others, and that trades a short-term gain of feeling good for bigger issues about equality. (I’ll note that I feel very much the same way about people who swear 17 ways to Christmas that they’re waxing their pubes because it’s their genuine sexual expression, when deep down they know their partners will shame them and refuse them sex if they don’t. And Quiverfull women who insist that they are truly empowered by submitting to their husbands and seeking God’s way, until they decide the flattery of being told they’re saintly and self-sacrificing isn’t worth having no money, no opinions, and spending every waking minute cleaning a house, spanking, and cooking for 18 nightly!)

  6. Profile photo of swarly
    October 10, 2012 at 3:04 pm —

    I can’t really agree with the statement “no religion is more ridiculous than another.” Scientology is more ridiculous than Methodism. Scientology deserves more ridicule because its belief system is harmful and cultish.

    • Profile photo of catgirl
      October 10, 2012 at 7:11 pm —

      In which ways is Methodism less ridiculous or less harmful than Scientology?

      • Profile photo of Grand Lunar
        October 10, 2012 at 10:01 pm —

        Isn’t Methodism just another division of Christianity?

        From what I’ve read of it, it seems a world away from Scientology.

        In what manners does it do harm that you know of?

        I ask, because one of my favorite actresses is a Methodist. She seems very open on many issues, including the rights of the LGBT community.

      • Profile photo of swarly
        October 11, 2012 at 1:47 am —

        No one has ever been stalked because of official methodist policy, The methodist church doesn’t use an army of lawyers to sue anyone who leaves into bankruptcy, and methodism doesn’t seek to isolate its members and remove them from their families. Scientology has every characteristic of a dangerous cult while methodism doesn’t.

  7. Profile photo of punchdrunk
    October 10, 2012 at 3:18 pm —

    Simple. Be specific when calling out harms. Avoid blanket statements. Are you punching up or down? Are you sure? Check again.

    Atheism is ridiculous, and atheists are deluded sheep led by their leadership into blind arrogance and simplistic thinking. Atheistic governments have persecuted and tortured believers down through history. Disagree? Want specifics? No, because I’m right and you’re wrong and you obviously don’t have the superior intellect I possess. :P
    ^^^^^^^ Don’t do this!

    • Profile photo of Grand Lunar
      October 10, 2012 at 10:03 pm —

      “No, because I’m right and you’re wrong and you obviously don’t have the superior intellect I possess”

      Well, I’m laughing at the superior intellect.

      Khaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaan!
      :D

  8. Profile photo of criticaldragon1177
    October 10, 2012 at 8:07 pm —

    Mary,

    Malala Yousafzai is a brave young girl. I hope those monsters aren’t able to silence her.

  9. Profile photo of Madfishmonger
    October 11, 2012 at 12:28 am —

    That last unicorn costume is sort of rad.

  10. Profile photo of ragdish
    October 12, 2012 at 1:06 am —

    Thank you Machine Gun Bras.

    As a member of the proud Jatravartid race it brings me to tears when all of you callously criticize my beliefs with your Terran-centric earth privileged views. Finally, someone is brave enough to call out racism against those who are critical of my belief that universe was sneezed out of the nose of The Great Green Arkleseizure. It is your socially constructed homo sapien hegemony that dares to impose theories like the Big Bang or string theory. How dare you impose your cultural relativism as we execute our 14 year old girls who believe in your “gravity”. How many more of them do we need to push off a cliff to make them understand that it is their heresy that prevents them from floating.

    Now if you don’t mind I’d like to go blow my brains out and then float in the clouds with shimmering beings against a blue-black sky. And don’t you dare make fun of all that you racist bastards.

  11. Profile photo of banyan
    October 14, 2012 at 6:40 pm —

    A commenter to the “Just a Quick Note to Atheists” article said that the post made her “very uncomfortable” because she felt that the tone was antagonizing and not very productive. The author replied as follows:

    “Excuse me, did you really just attempt to tone-police me on my own blog? Get out of here. Get off my blog and off my internet and go sit in a corner and be wrong.”

    So since we’re not on her blog, I’d like to say that I find the tone of her article (and that comment) antagonizing and not very productive.

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