Making Monsters, Free Speech & The Right to Die

I'll be posting another actual ATNT post tomorrow. For now, I just want to indicate other posts I've written recently.


At my friend Martin Pribble's blog, I contributed a little essay dealing with why it hurts proper inquiry, as well as ourselves, to turn people into entities worthy of attack - especially given this common tactic on the internet. 

When we make monsters out of others, it is not only our target that loses her humanity, but us as individuals, too. In order to morph someone into a caricature, into a non-person, into nothing but a Bull’s-eye for the arrows we launch from the moral high-ground, we need to ourselves erode what makes us normal, often pleasant, often good people.


We strip away any hint of humanity so that they become a target, a monster, removed of any traits of being a person with actual feelings, actual values. Far easier to just grasp his skin and rip it off, than grab his hand to walk down uncomfortable paths. Far easier to shoot offensive bullets atop the silo walls, than to open the gates for newcomers, unless they dress, think, speak exactly like those within. When we’re more interested in making monsters than making friends, it’s an indication we’ve given up the search for truth. Reality does not care about what’s comforting and voices that hurt us could contain a position we’d not considered, a viewpoint that undermines our convictions because those convictions could be wrong. To assume all outside our camp are just wrong – absolutely – is yet another way we make ourselves into monsters: those who often do the most damage are those who are perfectly certain.


I wrote two long posts which I felt were too long for the blog. You can find them at the Tubmlr blog, which I find the most elegant-looking blog platform.

In this first Tumblr post, I examine and critique an argument by the Director of Islamic Centre for Africa about his concerns on blasphemy, censorship and free speech - as per the recent attacks and the awful film. I find his arguments bad and his suggestions childish.


In this second Tumblr post, I examine Laurence Clark's strange post against the right to die. What particularly irritates  me about this post is that such arguments and views don't actually help anyone: neither those who are for the right to die, nor those against. Clark's arguments are strange, reactionary, lack evidence and reach too far.


I hope you'll read them, but I do realise they are quite lengthy. I'll post a new blog tomorrow.

Image Credit: Boris Karlov/Wikipedia

LinkedIn meets Tinder in this mindful networking app

Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.

Getty Images
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.

No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.

Keep reading Show less

Think you’re bad at math? You may suffer from ‘math trauma’

Even some teachers suffer from anxiety about math.

Image credit: Getty Images
Mind & Brain

I teach people how to teach math, and I've been working in this field for 30 years. Across those decades, I've met many people who suffer from varying degrees of math trauma – a form of debilitating mental shutdown when it comes to doing mathematics.

Keep reading Show less

A world map of Virgin Mary apparitions

She met mere mortals with and without the Vatican's approval.

Strange Maps
  • For centuries, the Virgin Mary has appeared to the faithful, requesting devotion and promising comfort.
  • These maps show the geography of Marian apparitions – the handful approved by the Vatican, and many others.
  • Historically, Europe is where most apparitions have been reported, but the U.S. is pretty fertile ground too.
Keep reading Show less

How KGB founder Iron Felix justified terror and mass executions

The legacy of Felix Dzerzhinsky, who led Soviet secret police in the "Red Terror," still confounds Russia.

Getty Images
Politics & Current Affairs
  • Felix Dzerzhinsky led the Cheka, Soviet Union's first secret police.
  • The Cheka was infamous for executing thousands during the Red Terror of 1918.
  • The Cheka later became the KGB, the spy organization where Russia's President Putin served for years.
Keep reading Show less