The ongoing impact of 9/11

Photo: the “Tribute in Light” memorial in New York

On the morning of 9/11 my late wife Anne was working in Leinster House as a parliamentary personal assistant. She rang me to tell me to turn on the television. She had an intern from New York working with her. As the Twin Towers collapsed on global television, the intern was devastated, not knowing whether any of her family or friends were among the 3,000 people murdered. Many of the mourning families will never see the bodies of their loved ones.

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7 years of Atheist Ireland​ information tables

Photo: 7 years of Atheist Ireland information tables

Saturday 7th of September 2019 was the seventh anniversary of Atheist Ireland’s monthly information tables outside the GPO in Dublin. We hold them on the first Saturday of every month.

We also hold information tables in Cork and Galway, and last month we had our first Teach Don’t Preach information table on secular education.

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How do atheists and Christians justify morality?

Photo: Victory of Joshua by Poussin

David Quinn of the Iona Institute has written a blog post taking issue with my statement that: “I believe we should treat every individual person with the same respect and dignity and love.” David agrees with this, but says that as an atheist I cannot justify believing it.

David says that some atheists say that we should treat each other with respect because we are a social species, and our ancestors evolved to survive through cooperation.

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Discussing sex and gender online

Thank you for the responses to my recent post on biological sex and socially-constructed gender. If you haven’t already read it, you can read it here.

There was a mix of positive responses describing it as a balanced article, some critical questions which I will respond to in my next few posts, and the usual minority of personally abusive posts.

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I am vegan because of ethics, not memes

Photo: Hugletts Wood Farm Animal Sanctuary

There is a meme doing the rounds on Twitter with the caption “Vegan: I don’t eat meat because I respect nature.” Then the word “Nature:” followed by a photo of a hawk swallowing a live rodent.

I’m not going to reproduce the photo, because why would I want to circulate a photograph of a sentient being struggling for its life in its final moments? I’ll publish a happier picture instead.

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Biological sex and socially-constructed gender

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:

  1. Supporting the rights of biological women and transgender people
  2. The contested language of sex and gender and man and woman
  3. The interaction of biological sex and socially-constructed gender
  4. The idea of gender reinforces harmful stereotypes about sex
  5. The balancing of rights regulates social behaviour, not self-identity
  6. Public facilities that are reserved to protect and help women
  7. Sports that are reserved to enable women to compete fairly
  8. Attempts to close debate by demonising people who disagree

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