Moving forward to freedom in the bedroom

Several years back, I wrote about the UK’s plan to block all pornography by default and, before that, mentioned their past treatment of BDSM activities. I can now say something positive about the UK as they have recently declared that several sexual acts, particularly BDSM related, are no longer classed as obscenity. This is a great step forward which resolves some oddities in UK law where certain sexual acts were fully legal to perform but illegal to show in pornography. It’s especially good as we should not be classing activities as illegal if they have no victim. It’s absurd to suggest that a legal activity becomes illegal once on film. Continue reading


Quicklinks: Animals and food

Tauriq Moosa has a new essay looking at the ethics of keeping animals in captivity. He claims that it is not always wrong, and I’d agree that there are times when it can be right. It seems as though we’d disagree exactly how often that is but he does bring up a number of points that are worth thinking about.

The other two links concern animals as food; something that I see fellow South African Jacques Rousseau thinks should end in his lifetime: Continue reading

The UK porn block and the concept of obscenity

I made a passing reference the to the UK’s new plan to block all porn but I decided that it, and obscenity in general, required a more thorough examination. In short, David Cameron feels that UK internet service providers need to block all porn by default to protect children. In short, again, that idea is stupid. It’s stupid partially because it will not work and partially because the mindset behind it is one that should not be accepted. Continue reading

The world’s Muslims: religion, politics and society part 1

This serves as a follow up to one of my previous posts, Necessary criticism is not “Islamophobia,” where I gave a briefly discussed the accusations of Islamophobia levelled at some atheists and maintained that it’s not Islamophobic to be concerned about, and criticise, certain ideologies. In addition, I showed the real-world problems certain interpretations of Islam could cause, using events in Bangladesh as an example.

Following on that there are two links I learned of through WEIT that are worth reading. One is from an ex-Muslim who gives his perspective on Islamophobia. Continue reading

Do non-human animals have culture and morality?

Dolphins (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Obviously if you’ve read some of earlier posts you’ll now I think some of them do. Not all animals of course but some of them. I tried to convince you with my post on animal intelligence, specifically focussed on intelligence in animals other than primates, but I’ve since heard some more stories which I think are useful for expanding on some of the points I made there. This time I will be using some primate examples, since hopefully you’re convinced there is intelligence in other animals, as well as expanding on dolphins. Continue reading

BBC morality survey

The BBC is running a survey entitled Test Your Morality. It’s purpose is to look at a new theory of morality, the ‘Human Superorganism Theory,’ which says that people behave as if they were part of a larger organism when they are organised into groups. Our morality is then based on the expectation of being punished by the rest of society and differences in morality are due to different ‘tuning’ of our moral sense depending on our role in the superorganism.

They want as many people as possible, from all over the world, to take the test and if you have some time it’s not much of a problem. It does take a while though and you do have to register on the BBC website. Continue reading

Speed kills, arrive alive

The title comes from the Arrive Alive project which aims to make South African roads safer. On the one hand it’s a very simple view of things, speeding itself doesn’t kill and there are places where people drive faster than in South Africa and still have fewer accidents. The problem has less to do with driving speed and driving ability and attitudes. In favour of the slogan is that higher speeds do make it harder to control the vehicle, reduce time to react and increase the severity of a crash. Most people probably understand this already, yet they still speed. In fact people can get really upset when they can’t go as fast as they want, though the irony never wears thing when you watch someone zoom past you, weaving through traffic, only to stop behind him at the first red light. So the question then is should you allow people to go past you when you are already driving at the speed limit? Continue reading