Liberty | One Law for All | No Religion

The title of this blog has been changed from "The Rational Fool" to "Is|Ought". It has also been moved to a custom domain: http://is-ought.org. Atom/RSS subscribers and followers, please note the new feed address: http://feeds.feedburner.com/is-ought/posts. Thank you for your patience during this transition.

Forced Marriage

Judge Orders Man To Marry His Girlfriend And Write Down Bible Verses Or Go To Jail | ThinkProgress

Ah, where is this? Must be in Saudi Arabia, but wait... write down Bible verses... hmm, it can't be, can it? Kenya, perhaps? It has got to be one of those failed states, where there is no rule of law, and judges can punish anyone according to their whims and fancies.

What, in Texas? You are kidding, right? Whatever happened to the First Amendment and the separation of church and state, you ask. Well, that's what the Freedom From Religion Foundation is asking in its complaint filed against Judge Randall L. Rogers of the County Court Law2 at Tyle, TX/Smith County.



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The Chimera of Freedom

From Moscow art smashed as Orthodox activists denounce 'blasphemy' - Yahoo News  -
The Manege exhibition centre was the scene of one of the most famous Soviet-era crackdowns on contemporary art. In 1962, then-Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev visited an exhibition of abstract painting at the gallery and angrily denounced the artists as “fags” and “bastards.” In 1974, the authorities sent in a bulldozer to destroy an improvised exhibition in a park in southwestern Moscow by avant-garde artists.

So it was in the era of communist dictatorship. Now, it's once again religion's turn. Nothing much has changed, has it?
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What is Buddha?

Myanmar Sentences 3 to Prison for Depicting Buddha Wearing Headphones - NYTimes.com:

YANGON, Myanmar — A bar manager from New Zealand and two Burmese men were sentenced to two years in prison in Myanmar on Tuesday for posting an image online of the Buddha wearing headphones to promote an event.

The court in Yangon said the image denigrated Buddhism and was a violation of Myanmar’s religion act, which prohibits insulting, damaging or destroying religion. "It is clear the act of the bar offended the majority religion in the country,” said the judge, U Ye Lwin.

A monk asked Sriniva San, "What is Buddha?". Sriniva said, "A few million bits and a pair of headphones" - my adaptation of a koan from The Gateless Gate (Wumenguan)

Is religion acting like a cornered rat?


H/t The Morning Heresy, Center for Inquiry
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The Color of Relativity

India's Daughter and BBC – Belgian Professor speaks out:
The fallacy of hasty generalisation is commonly used in propaganda and the politics of fear. Now, it is part and parcel of the discourse about rape in India... India and the West could together look for solutions to the problems that we share. Instead, Western commentators reproduce old colonial stories about India as an immoral culture.

Oops! Do I see a "hasty generalization" lurking somewherwe in there? Hint: It's not only "India as an immoral culture".

If I were to respond to this article, will it be a response from an Easterner or a Westerner? After how many years as a US citizen do I qualify as a "Westerner"? How many generations should have passed before Leslee Udwin's India's Daughter is not deemed an "old colonial story about India as an immoral culture"? When is Einstein's "General Theory of Relativity" a White idea, and A.R. Rahman's "Maa, Tujhe Salaam" a Muslim song?

Ah, well, "identity" is a statistical fiction anyway, so let's stop belaboring that of the messenger, shall we? What is left?

In empirical analysis, identifying outliers (read also as deviants) and how to deal with them is a difficult problem. There is no incontrovertible solution, and practical modeling remains a black art. If you are unfamiliar with the statistics of outliers but interested, you may read this for starters: Outlier.

Rapists are outliers and rape is a deviant phenomenon, anywhere in this world, including in India. So is murder, pedophilia, and terrorism. How we deal with it, what laws we enact and enforce to curb the deviants, requires a rigorous and thoughtful analysis. And, do not expect everyone to agree with the conclusion. I know, because I have dealt with it often at the risk of several years of data collection, modeling and analysis being thrown into the trashcan.

One thing for sure. Do not can it before debate and analysis. Certainly not because the data was collected by a "Westerner", modeled by a colonialist's compatriot's great grand child, presented by a human with a womb, or whatever.

Unfortunately, that's exactly what the Government of India did by banning the film.

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India's Daughter

India’s Modi takes on rape issue in his first Independence Day speech - The Washington Post:

Today, as we hear about the incidents of rapes, our head hangs in shame,” Modi
said. “I want to ask parents, when your daughter turns 10 or 12 years
old, you ask: ‘Where are you going? When will you return?’ Do parents
dare to ask their sons: ‘Where are you going? Why are you going? Who are
your friends?’ After all, the rapist is also someone’s son. If only
parents would decide to put as many restrictions on their sons as they
do on their own daughters.”

Think about this for a minute. What did Leslee Udwin's India's Daughter show that's different from what Modi said?

Will the Home Minister of India look into this speech, and ban it
please, so the "prestige" of the nation is protected? Thank you.


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