Global Quickies: 2012.08.25

I have to be honest with you guys, I’m not sure I’m happy to be back so soon with more Global Quickies. Thanks to your links and a bunch of crazy stuff going on around the world, I had no problem compiling news items for this edition of Global Quickies. And that’s precisely the problem. Am I suppose to be thankful for the weird Mexican anti-education cult or Egyptian men going on a groping spree? Anyways, you can read all the interesting items I have for you after the jump:


Thanks to the Filipino Freethinkers, a Senator was caught plagiarizing from an American antivax blog in a speech against the new Reproductive Rights Legislation. He first said there would be no reason for him to quote from just a blogger, then he said he wasn’t sorry because blogs are public domain (and an excellent source for his hateful speeches, since he seems to have plagiarized from 5 other bloggers in several of his speeches). So, what arguments was he copying-but-not-plagiarizing from an antivaxxer? That there’s scientific proof that “…those (mothers) who take pills but still get pregnant have more abnormal children and lower I.Q.”. Their scientific studies are really just quoting out of context from the books of Barbara Seaman, who would have been appalled at Senator Sotto’s use of her research to restrict women’s reproductive Rights. Check out the amazing coverage of this story and a detail examination of Seaman’s studies and books at Filipino Freethinkers.


MEXICO (Via Javier and Paul)

A Christian religious sect in the tiny Mexican town of Nueva Jerusalem has prevented kids from going back to school after the summer break because they’re against education. Back in July, they burned down the two local schools by order (via psychic channeling) of Our Lady of the Rosary, saying that they were the work of the devil. In a bizarre story of religious fanaticism, paranormal beliefs, and political bribery, the town has been left in the hands of the sect’s religious leader since it was founded in 1973 in exchange for votes. The leader receives messages from beyond through a transmitting device (religious figures, dead presidents, etc) during mass, telling the town who to vote for, not to read newspapers, watch TV, playing soccer, or study.

Teachers and students not belonging to the sect are still not able to return to class in the houses that had been volunteered as classrooms. State government officials have said they’ll use force if needed (oh, dear FSM, please don’t let them fuck it up). The Catholic Church, which does not recognize the sect, has said it’s an affront to try to impose a religious belief to children going to elementary school, taking away their right to an education.


IRAN (via a bunch of you)

You probably have all seen this by now, but I had to include it. Some Iranian universities are banning women form 77 different majors, while men are being banned from nursing school. The banned fields for women are mostly STEM, where 70% of the graduates are women. The decision is said to come directly from the universities (not the government) in an attempt at gender balance, since Iran has the highest ratio of female to male undergraduates in the world, according to UNESCO. The Minister of Science, Research and Technology said that universities are taking into account the needs of society and the job outlets for their graduates. Then he backpedaled and sent letters to the universities asking for justification for their decisions. Whatever the reason, this is not acceptable.



A friend of mine was taking a walk on the streets of Cairo with her boyfriend when a man came up to her, squeezed her breast and ran away.  Apparently, she’s not alone. According to a 2008 survey by the Egyptian Center for Women Rights, 83% of Egyptian women, and 98% of foreign women experience sexual harassment in Egypt. And this harassment is at its worse on public holidays, where groups of men (and boys) chase women (and girls) in public places to grope them. Although people organized to protect women from attacks during this year’s Eid Al-Fitr (the celebration at the end of Ramadan), setting volunteers on the subway and creating a harassmap, and some arrests were made, the harassment continues. Here’s a video where some of the harassers caught on camera are confronted.

Thanks to everyone who sent in links. Keep them coming!


Born and raised in Mexico City, Daniela has finally decided to abdicate her post as an armchair skeptic and start doing some skeptical activism. She is currently living in Spain after having lived in the US, Brazil and Italy. You can also find her blogging in Spanish at

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  1. I LOVE that this global quickies series is being done.

    The only hard part about it is it leaves us at a loss for what to do to help the people in these situations.

  2. Yeah, thanks for this Daniela. Even if we don’t feel we can directly help people in countries other than our own (though I bet we can if we try), at least we can see that the same issues are present everywhere to a greater or lesser extent. It’s a good reminder of the work that needs to be done globally to improve the lives of women (and, as a result, everyone!).

    Maybe someday soon the Global Quickies (and all of Skepchick) will be nothing but great stories of how equality and respect are spreading far and wide!*

    *(I can hope, can’t I?)

  3. Daniela,

    Those anti vaccine people are going to get a lot of people killed, perhaps even their own children. I really wish people believing that nonsense.

  4. Well, fighting nonsense in your own countries helps everyone.

    Antivaxxers and creationists originated in the UK and the US and are now infiltrating other countries. Homeopathy is accepted in many countries with the excuse that it is sold in Europe. Even places where there’s a ton of local traditional woo you can find woo from all over the world.

    There are things you guys can do. Keep fighting scams and nonsense in your own countries. It might not rid the rest of the world from all the local troubles, but it might keep new ones from coming in. The fake bomb detectors are a great example. They were made in the UK and sold to a bunch of countries. UK skeptics exposing the scam in the UK helps skeptics in other places in their efforts to get the authorities to stop using them.

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