Since my recent lunch with my friend Graham Linehan, I have been learning more about the issues of biological sex and socially-constructed gender. Thank you to everyone who contacted me with constructive comments. In this article I am sharing my current opinions on the following topics:
Supporting the rights of biological women and transgender people
The contested language of sex and gender and man and woman
The interaction of biological sex and socially-constructed gender
The idea of gender reinforces harmful stereotypes about sex
The balancing of rights regulates social behaviour, not self-identity
Public facilities that are reserved to protect and help women
Sports that are reserved to enable women to compete fairly
Attempts to close debate by demonising people who disagree
In the past two years, violent thugs have twice attacked the Maryam mosque of the Ahmadiyya Muslim community in Galway, Ireland. During the first attack, they smashed windows while the community was at prayer. During the second attack, they vandalised furniture and books, and threw an Irish tricolour and family photographs out of the window. Local Muslim families are now frightened about their future safety.
Soheil Arabi is a 33-year-old Iranian blogger with a young daughter. He has been jailed and tortured since his arrest in 2013 for criticising Islam on Facebook. He was originally sentenced to death, which was revised on appeal to seven and a half years in prison plus thirty lashes if he studied Islam. Last year he had another three years added to his sentence.
I gave this talk this weekend at the Rationalist International Conference in Cambridge, UK
On a recent Saturday afternoon in Dublin, Atheist Ireland held our usual monthly information table, where we promote atheism and reason as more reliable world views than faith and dogma.
We discussed the improbability of gods with atheists, doubters, and religious evangelists. And we discussed the importance of separation of Church and State, both to protect the right to freedom of belief, and to minimise the harm that religion can cause, particularly in our State-funded schools.
Grania Spingies died on Sunday 16 June 2019, a week before her 49th birthday. She was a founding member and first secretary of Atheist Ireland, and a contributor to Jerry Coyne’s website Why Evolution is True. Her family and friends gathered to remember her in Glanmire, Cork, on Thursday 27 June.
We at Atheist Ireland were shocked to hear of the untimely death of our friend Grania Spingies, who died on Sunday 16 June 2019, a week before her 49th birthday. She was one of the founders and the first Secretary of Atheist Ireland, and one of the moderators of the online forum out of which Atheist Ireland evolved.
She died suddenly in Cork while visiting the doctor to discuss a stomach ailment, and we will not know what caused her death until we get the results of an autopsy. I would like to thank her friend Kathryn Moffat for letting us know the sad news.
This Friday, 24th May, we will elect Local Councillors, who will also be members of Education and Training Boards and the Boards of Management of ETB Schools.
Three weeks ago, Atheist Ireland wrote to all political parties, asking them to support the right of students to attend ETB schools without attending religion classes, and for students who do not attend religion classes to be given an alternative timetabled subject.