Contemporary feminism needs a broader definition of “woman”

This is very “nice”, as in apt, or a “nice” fit. 😊 And not meaning at all soppy or compliant.


What is a woman, anyway? This question has been asked time and again, and still we don’t have a definitive answer. Why would that be? I have a theory: because under a system – patriarchy – which is invested in dehumanising females, the obvious response – “a female human” – would give the game away. Conscious of their own humanity, women might get uppity and stop letting men objectify their bodies, exploit their labour and generally piss about being violent. This would never do. Hence “woman”, unlike “man”, has to be really, really hard to define (so hard that you need a super-clever brain – the kind of brain that shares a body with a penis – to get it just right).

Mount Holyoke’s cancellation of its yearly production of The Vagina Monologues has given rise to a great deal of pseudo-philosophical babble regarding “reductive” and “exclusive” definitions of womanhood…

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Charlie Hebdo Reaction: Part 2, Know Your Enemy

If you are sick of the apologists for the Charlie Hebdo murderers, but also tired of having to think about that, read this and then you will be all done. It is superb.

The Gerasites

By David Paxton (@canyouflybobby)

Part 1 is here.

If you’re on Facebook you might know the feeling. Somebody you know socially, somebody you like, generally intelligent and sound, has freshly planted on their Facebook page the latest effusion of Greenwald or Hasan, Francois-Cerrah or Self. This can be tough to take. As it floats there like a turd in a swimming pool the ethics of whether or not to clean it up in public can weigh heavy. You might well restrain yourself until you see the depressing number of ‘shares’ and ‘likes’ and you read the ghastly comments underneath. This is something up with which you will not put.

If the person actually knew how stupid or dishonest it was they surely wouldn’t have posted it, but can you put your finger on exactly why it is stupid beneath the facade of nuance and balance?

There are experts…

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Executive producer of Al Jazeera English blows his cover, shows distress over widespread support for Charlie Hebdo victims

Leaked Al Jazeera English email! So, concerted propaganda after all. How surprising.

Why Evolution Is True

The National Review has published a leaked email from Al Jazeera executive producer Salah-Aldeen Khadr to his anchors and news correspondents. If you had any notion that Al Jazeera was an “objective” source of news about the world in general or the Middle East in particular, have a gander at this.  I’ve bolded bits of it, but what it says is that the newsroom should play up the notion that the Charlie Hebdo cartoonists were racists and that killing them was not an attack on free speech, that the purpose of the cartoons was not to make a point about religion but just to insult Muslims, and that the paper should discourage further publication of the cartoons (thus giving terrorists the victory they wanted). It’s disgusting, but gives a rare inside look at how “moderate” Muslims try to whitewash the extremist perfidies of the faith.

Thursday, January 08, 2015

Subject: AJ coverage…

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Glenn Greenwald and the hierophants of an alternate imperialism

This kicks ass. “Inverser Imperialism”, this fellow’s term for when I call The Third World Ideology. So another reblog about that phenomenon of wanting to squeeze every political thing into the rubric of “anti-imperialism”. A very throwback to the 1970s thing. That like toe socks we should abandon.

Politics ad Infinitum

A set of attacks happen in close proximity to your neighbourhood, and initially your response is emotive. Initially emotive and then analytical. You try to adduce from these attacks the reasoning that underpins them. You try to explain the casus belli of these horrendous atrocities. In reaction to the mainstream declaration that these admittedly atrocious acts are “acts of terror”, you investigate the meaning of the word ‘terror’- its functional significance. As a righteous opponent of the establishment, you feel obligated in trying to understand the intentions of these acts. This, in reaction to the establishment’s pronouncement that these acts are the acts of primitive, unconscionably savage bedouins. You side with the oppressed in reaction against their oppressors, you understand their reaction to be oppressed in reaction against their oppressors condemning their reaction, and continuing to oppress them. You are in essence an anti-imperialist, an unflinching critic of a nefarious…

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This is an excellent post about Charlie Hebdo and the culture of self-censorship, and what Pascal Bruckner and others call “the racism of the anti-racists” and that annoying insistence by some people on the left and liberals that darker skinned people can somehow never be villains. Including that having that attitude both excuses crimes like the Charlie Hebdo massacre and assumes that all Muslims are reactionary.



‘Je suis Charlie’. It’s a phrase in every newspaper, in every Twitter feed, on demonstrations in cities across Europe. The expressions of solidarity with those slain in the attack on the Charlie Hebdo offices are impressive. They are also too late. Had journalists and artists and political  activists taken a more robust view on free speech over the past 20 years then we may never have come to this.

Instead, they have helped create a new culture of self-censorship. Partly, it is a question of fear, an unwillingness to take the kind of risks that the editors of Charlie Hebdo courted, and for which they have paid such a heavy price. But fear is only part of the explanation. There has also developed over the past two decades a moral commitment to censorship, a belief that because we live in a plural society, so we must police public discourse about different…

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Look, men, I’m being reasonable

Look, men, I’m being reasonable.

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fMRI Study of Inconceivable Cosmic Horror

This makes an excellent introduction to fMRI research. 😉

Eric Linus Kaplan


ABSTRACT: Popular author Howard Phillips Lovecraft speculated in the early 20 c. that certain experiences gave rise to inconceivable cosmic horror, as if something were fundamentally, hideously wrong with the very nature of reality, a grotesque feeling, hovering at the borders of thought and beyond, as of nails on a chalkboard, but worse, inconceivably worse, as if for one moment the veils that allow us to live our lives without going mad were lifted and we heard the loathsome opera of trillions of gibbering malefic voices laughing insanely at the futility of human hopes for respite from the mocking ghoul smile of the abyss. To test this we ran a functional MRI (fMRI) of 50 sophomores while they were exposed to either a neutral stimulus, a positive stimulus (a ten dollar i-tunes gift card) or a symbol of subtle and awful wrongness that was obtained from a certain obscure group…

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On The Controversial Field of Brain Imaging

This is phenomenal. The Controversial Field of Brain Imaging If you have ever seen or read a story about fMRI brain research you need to read this. He lays out, with a beautiful clarity, the problems and limitations of the extremely dubious fMRI technology and experimental methodology. And he said it was a great deal more calmness and then I could have.

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Lyme Disease Superstition


A blog called Science-Based Medicine recently had a post on ghastly naturopaths chatting on Reddit about injecting people with hydrogen peroxide! Diluted yes, but still. It’s a poison. And no, injecting people with hydrogen peroxide has zero medical benefit. Ever.

But within this rather blandly stated exposé the writer, a surgeon, made a sneering throwaway comment about “chronic Lyme disease”. Now, Lyme disease is a real disease, no one disputes that. (What kind of world are we living in where that sentence needs to be said or even makes sense?) But a small group of Assholes Doctors (and I don’t mean proctologists) have convinced themselves, in defiance of rational thought, that some people who get Lyme disease after treatment still think that they have it when they don’t. Here’s the thing: the people who “think” they still have Lyme disease still have symptoms and are still positive for it on the Lyme disease test.

Seems the Asshole Doctors have decided the wimpy two weeks of antibiotics that are the standard treatment for Lyme (a duration some doctor pulled out of his ass when the disease was discovered 30 years ago) is for sure, enough, for everybody. Even though infection treatment doesn’t work like that. Drug treatment for TB is given until the TB is gone. Drug treatment for AIDS is given for life. The drugs we have are supposed to be used in a way that is effective not that conforms to some timetable in a book.

The people who, quite sensibly, believe they are still ill have positive Lyme tests. What do the Asshole Doctors say about that? ‘The test isn’t very good. It has all these problems… ‘ Now, for all I know these problems are real. Or made up. But the Asshole Doctors don’t dispute the test results when it’s finding new cases of Lyme. Only after the magic two weeks. Then it’s’oh the test is poor!’ So we know what kind of docs we are dealing with here. (Hint: Assholes.)

I think one (only one?) objection to the Lyme test was it can be positive if you have some other microbe. Fair enough. Cross-reaction. That’s a thing. But as is typical in Medical Bad Reasoning the Asshole Doctors don’t realize that went two things are possible: Lyme not cured yet or cross-reaction, that doesn’t mean you (Asshole Doctor) get to choose one. This isn’t shopping! It means either could be true and you need something else to tell you which. That’s logical reasoning 101. But then the MCAT (the med schools’ LSAT) is the only test of that sort, which include the GRE and engineering and management ones, that does not have a test of logical reasoning. And it shows.

If I was a doctor with a patient who after a wimpy two weeks antibiotics wasn’t all better I would be utterly unsurprised. If after three months they were still infected I’d wonder if their immune system was buggered in someway. But I certainly wouldn’t reach for the idiotic “all in your head” explanation. A non-medical, unscientific myth no better than astrology. With MDs like this who needs a naturopaths? (To have hideous superstitious weirdos providing “medical” care.)

Some patients are treated till cured, even when it takes years. And guess what? When the symptoms go, the lab tests are negative. This is completely straightforward. Get the disease, have the symptoms. Get test. Test positive. Given drugs. When they have worked, no symptoms, test negative. It doesn’t get any simpler.

The Asshole Doctors are in the grip of a nonrational myth. Patients “imagining” they are ill. The “imagining” is undefined and cannot be made to make sense. The uncomprehending zeal of the doctors who promote this myth makes them appear disturbed. This sort of superstitious nonsense is not something we can afford in medicine. And especially not in what wishes to be Science Based Medicine.

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Gout Stupidity

In early October the Colbert Report had a clip of two CNN employees talking about Kim Jong-Un. Apparently he has gout. So CNN guy says “which is caused by too much booze and rich food”. WTF? Thanks for that breaking news: from the 18th century! Gout, which is very painful, is uric acid crystals forming in the synovial sac of fluid inside your big toe joint. Synovial sacs are part of joints. What makes the crystals is some screwup in a complex chain of biochemical steps. (We are made of biochemical steps.) What you eat has sweet FA to do with it. In fact what you eat, unless you eat poison, has nothing to do with any disease. Booze, which is a poison, can damage your liver. It doesn’t damage your big toe.

So, Colbert? Nothing to report. CNN? Get it together. Don’t have reporters freelancing medical BS on the air!!! Kim Jong-Un? Couldn’t happen to a nicer dictator.

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10/28/2014 · 9:35 pm