Question of the Week- 6/1/2016

Jun 1, 2016

Whether you’ll be at the Reason Rally in person, or keeping up online, what speaker or event at the Rally are you most excited about, and why?

Our favorite answer (non repeat winners only) receives a copy of “A Brief Candle in the Dark” by Richard Dawkins!

And please don’t forget to send in your submissions for Question of the Week! You can suggest a question by emailing us at Please remember this is for “Question of the Week” only, and all other comments should go to their respective threads under the Question of the Week itself. Thank you!

12 comments on “Question of the Week- 6/1/2016

  • 2
    bonnie2 says:

    National Anthem and Pledge of Allegiance

    Must confess to slightly raised eyebrows; I realize the issues are u.s. oriented, but still, seems awkward somehow.

    That said, Dog speed everyone.

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  • 3
    maria melo says:

    I assisted to the online stream.
    After the event I can report that I didn´t feel excited to listen to Carolyn Porco, it spoiled my day,

    There´s something that does not convice me about her speech: “a socciety is more sexist as far as it is more religious.

    Well consider sexism in Albania, even in the academic world related to science.

    It certainly would be much more” exciting” to have Richard Dawkins there, but just felt sorry for the whole mess related to his invitation.
    I am certainly one of those persons with hard feelings, never could avoid it from childhood (until a psychologist have noticed) and that I am aware of, well, it seems, cannot help but it really spoils my “excitment”.

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  • bonnie


    National Anthem and Pledge of Allegiance
    Must confess to slightly raised eyebrows; I realize the issues are u.s. oriented, but still, seems awkward somehow.

    I understand your reaction but I’ll just bet that most Americans don’t. The only reason I do understand this is because I’ve lived outside of the US and have noticed that Europeans don’t recite nationalistic, jingoistic oaths of fealty at the drop of a hat like we do here.

    At the Reason Rally last Saturday there was a pledge of allegiance that I chose not to participate in but I was one of the only people I could see that sat it out. The first Reason Rally had a very heavy handed pledge and then a military officer led a forceful oath that was so “Hitleresque” that after a few lines the crowd went silent and started looking around at each other for reactions and trying to figure out what the hell the point of that was. It was NOT appreciated by the crowd.

    Now given that, my atheist friend that went with me to the Rally both times has offered the explanation that the American atheists are accused by theists as being unpatriotic – no atheists in foxholes, etc. and that this public display of personal jingoism is a response to that accusation. Still, I just can’t stomach these displays of tribal loyalty.

    Also when I look up and down the street in my neighborhood, at least half of the houses have an American flag on display out front all year long. Why do they need to do that? Do we really need to be reminded on a daily basis, every five minutes, what our nationality is?

    Not that I’m the smartest person in the world but when I do need to know this information I seem to come up with the answer pretty quickly all by myself with no prompting whatsoever!!

    My nationality is not an accomplishment! I had nothing to do with the matter! I see no need to go strutting around congratulating myself and uttering oaths of support for policies that I reject.

    If I were to be honest about it I’d be the first one over the Canadian border if the going gets dangerously rough here and that goes for all of the young people in my family. George Bush and his evil cronies got too many good people killed for no good reason and this is very fresh in my memory. This is what I thought of when I saw thousands of people reciting that fascist oath last Saturday morning in front of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C.

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  • 7
    maria melo says:

    ” I’ve lived outside of the US and have noticed that Europeans don’t recite nationalistic, jingoistic oaths of fealty at the drop of a hat like we do here.”

    (LaurieB comment 6)

    Actually, i am not sure, maybe comparing with USA, Europeans are not so “nationalist” (their nationalism is not so obvious at least)-one aim of the EU is precisely to diminish “nationalism”, but instead, it is sometimes having the opposite effect ????? (that´s common to hear lately).

    By my own experience, I was never taught the Portuguese anthem at school, nor was I used to see flags everyday, everywhere- as in France for Instances- but my first year at school was exactely after the 1975 revolution, and by my experience I had never thought in terms of nationality, and latter in life, I felt a strong admiration for the Portuguese people finally, because I never felt any self recognition in a so gentle people, instead they that underesteem themselves while others do the opposite.
    I remember some dutch “friends” once came to Portugal and spent some holidays with us, they brought a magazine about the Netherlands to offer us, the first thing they did when they arrived was to laugh at the first glance /of what was perhaps a poor country)??I never could guess really),— when they left they told me” hope one day Portugal is going to be more like the Netherlands”….. they critized me not to want to travel and know the Netherlands, when finally I asked some of them if I could stay by her if I were to travel to there, the answer was “I don´t think it is a good idea”,….. from my bitter life experience I have noticed that the Portuguese people deserve my real sincere admiration, never saw a so universalist people, actually, so I really became kind “in love” for the Portuguese people, although not for nationalist reasons, if you may understand what I mean (the same feels the Iman of the Muslim Community of Lisbon that cames from Mozambique too. as me, so, we feel kind of the same feeling).
    And my BITTER life experience makes me really doubt about negative”nationalism” among Europeans.

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  • maria melo

    Oh dear, that is really a negative experience you’ve had with that person. I’ve been to your country and I found it to be beautiful and interesting and the people were genuine and friendly. I had a very good week there and came away with the best impression. It’s places like Portugal that I like to visit the most. The food is great, there is interesting history and architecture, natural beauty – your beaches are beautiful, and the people are friendly and welcoming. I think you know you’ve had some bad luck with those pompous asses who made you feel bad.

    Speaking of the beaches of Portugal, if I were there right now I’d invite you to have a glass of wine on the beach and watch the sun setting. Now that just wouldn’t be the same in Netherlands, would it!

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  • Re displays of nationalism, flags and stuff:

    Insecurity. Having to plaster your flag all over the place and repeat oaths of allegiance at every opportunity is a sure sign of a deep state of insecurity. Growing up, I noticed that the Northern Ireland protestant/unionist/loyalist community had their flags – well, the UK flag – all over the place, but in England, it was scarcely to be seen, just on government buildings and such, not hanging off every street corner. England was clearly more self-assured of its identity than were the flag-wavers of Ulster.

    But, on the other hand, the identity forged by common allegiance to the US flag and especially its constitution, that is no trivial achievement. Immigrants were welcomed, and their kids were schooled to be American first, and Polish, Irish, Italian, whatever, second. They were Irish Americans, not American Irish. The “melting pot” that forged the American identity was quite amazing. That it’s still a work in progress is clear, as long as racism and sectarianism among Americans means that there is not yet one agreed common identity. Those trying to impose their own religious strictures on others are about the most anti-american of all.

    So, yes, the Reason Rally needs its declaration of allegiance to the constitution of the nation where it is held. Now, push for this to replace prayers for the opening of other events…

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  • 10
    maria melo says:

    Well, thanks for cherishing me. I would certainly be very happy to have a glass of wine with you- or cofee, or beer,, or something- so please don´t forget to visit me, as a friend, not just to enjoy the sunshine.
    Yes I sometimes feel sorry for them, have they grown up yet? (when I was a teenager, I really thought the most important thing would be to become a sensitive person, that was really important to me).
    Really, have you been here, on holidays?

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  • 11
    maria melo says:

    [Removed by mods – not because we object, but because it’s probably better if your email address doesn’t appear on the internet so publicly. We’ll forward the content of your comment to Laurie privately.
    The mods]

    Sorry mods, I have no other way to tell

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