Elevatorgate and Schrodinger’s Rapist

In which I talk about Elevatorgate, racism, rape culture, and Schrödinger’s rapist.



Rebecca Watson should not have said “…guys, don’t do that.” When she did, she claimed that all men are rapists and this doesn’t take into account that the man might have been harmlessly interested in her. Additionally, by doing this, she reinforces the idea that all women are precious helpless objects that must be protected.



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Weekly Announcement — 9/8/13

Welcome, new Freethinkers! I know that many of you are new, having just met us at Gobblerfest or the info booth outside of D2. Because of this, I’ll be giving a more detailed description of this week’s events.


Tuesday, Sept. 10 from 7:00-8:30pm: Meet the Freethinkers! This is the same time and place as our normal weekly meetings, but instead of having a particular speaker or discussion topic, this meeting will be for giving everyone a chance to get to know each other. We will have board games, food, materials for drawing/coloring, and plenty of discussion on whatever anyone wants to talk about. If you have a board game that you think people might be interested in playing, feel free to bring it in! We will be in Squires Student Center, Brush Mountain B.

Wed, Sept. 9 at 8:00pm: This Wednesday, our secular support group will be having its second meeting.

Are you struggling with your religious identity? Do you find yourself becoming sad, angry, or isolated because of your religious beliefs or lack thereof? Are you feeling lost or confused as your religious views are rapidly changing?

Freethinkers at Virginia Tech organizes a weekly Secular Support Group to help with these (and similar) issues. If you are having or have had these problems, feel free to come to the meeting to support and get support from your fellow Hokies.

The meeting’s attendance and discussions are confidential and will be moderated by John Gray Williams, a Safe Zone trainer with a Master’s degree in life/career counseling for college students. The next meeting is on Wednesday, Sept. 9 at 8:00 pm in the Shenandoah Conference Room (314) in Squires Student Center. That room is on the 3rd floor at the end of the hallway where the LGBTA office is located.

Friday, Sept. 13 at 10:10am: Friday morning, the Breakfast Club will be meeting in the large first floor dining hall in Turner Place. When it comes to people with different beliefs, people often talk past each other instead of with each other. The Breakfast Club seeks to change that. It provides a safe place to engage with the different beliefs and ideas that people have, rather than ignoring them. It provides a chance to learn how to communicate across different religious and political cultures. This week, the discussion will be on politics. The Young Democrats and Libertarians at VT have been invited to participate. In subsequent weeks, the discussion will alternate between religion and politics. If you go,  you can find the group by looking for the person in the magenta(pink)  hat.


As there are many new people to this listserv, I’d like to say something about our group’s non-discrimination policy. All people are welcome to attend club meetings and events regardless of ability, need, background, lifestyle, culture, national origin, race, religion, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, veteran status, political affiliation, or economic circumstances. We strive to create an environment where people of completely different opinions, backgrounds, and identities can come together and learn from each other. Because of this, we have a rule regarding bigoted language: its use is not welcome at our meetings or events, though it may be discussed in the abstract. Ideas may be investigated, questioned, or challenged, but people need to be met with all due dignity and respect.

Visit our Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/groups/24398461218/) for more information.

Freethought Nation

Founding Fathers (Michael Allen Smith)

In the months leading up to the start of Fall semester, the Roanoke Times opinion pages hosted an illuminating exchange over the cultural dispositions and motivations of the Founders and the role of prayer in U.S. government. Bob Crawford began the discussion with a review and rebuttal of some of the most common arguments made in support of (by definition state-sanctioned) official prayer at government meetings, including an argument from tradition or precedent, an argument from founding principles, and an argument from neutrality or inclusivity (that is, the case for open-access prayer, which is currently sanctioned by the Roanoke County Board of Supervisors, as opposed to non-sectarian prayer, which the similarly-situated Forsyth County, NC, to which the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals put a sternly worded end). Crawford concludes,

It is time we all understand that it is only by prohibiting our government from prescribing or supporting any religious position that our Constitution secures our freedom to hold our own religious views.

Comment on Crawford’s editorial here.

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What do we want from a Viewpoints on Social Science and Religion panel?

Old Rugged Cross (flickr)

Last semester, Free@VT hosted a panel entitled “Viewpoints on Science and Religion”. As faculty co-advisor–to-be Zack Lewis explained in his opening remarks, one main purpose of the panel was to illustrate, for the largely student and resident audience, how people who are not philosophers or theologians can engage in a respectful and critical exchange about their disagreements on religion. By this measure the event was quite a success. A review by Ryan Pfeifle in the Collegiate Times described the event as “a fantastic opportunity to listen to the opinions of several of our own professors discuss a very divisive topic”, and went on to highlight the importance of such events:

In a world so polarized in views, we need to have rational discussions or debates like this to serve as a model through which our own debates can also take shape.

These discussions open a window into the rationality and thoughts of those who may feel differently from our own convictions, which helps in the understanding of other stances.

They also have the fantastic potential of tackling some of the subjects that make most individuals uneasy and ideas that most would prefer not to debate about at all.

We are now in the early stages of planning a sequel event. Rather than return to the science–religion discussion with new faces—while it is something we may eventually do—this time we plan to bring together faculty in the social sciences to discuss their views on religion, how these views intersect with their disciplines, and the questions they have for each other.

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kaiju versus jaegers at the Lyric Theatre

Gipsy Danger Jet Jaguar vs Onibaba Megalon (WikiZilla)

Tonight several of us are going to the newly digitized Lyric Theatre to live or relive the awesomest of the summer’s homages, Pacific Rim! We’ll head to the 21:30 (9:30pm) showing after tonight’s regular discussion meeting.

Now, there are many, many good reasons to see this movie, and to see it on the big screen (here is a shamelessly cherry-picked favorable review by Matt Zoller Seitz), and i’d like to share a couple of my own. They emanate from my own passions, so you may not share them…but, hey, i’m the one blogging today.

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