P.Z. Myers, the most famous atheist outside of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse and the prolific content provider for one of the most trafficked individual blogs on the web, has changed platforms. He's leaving ScienceBlogs.com and becoming his own blog overlord at freethoughtblogs.org. His blog, Pharyngula, joins another SB deserter, Dispatches from the Culture Wars by Ed Brayton, as well as four others. I had only heard of one of these, Chris Rodda, who has contributed to Talk2Action.org and has recently become the Senior Research Director for the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, a very worthy organization. Her blog is called This Week in Christian Nationalism, which should give you a flavor for what's it about. Wow! That's a lot of Freethought links. Have at 'em!
Also, a new organization is launching today in Olso, Norway, the World Congress of Free Thought. One of the speakers is Maryam Namazie, who has posted her speech on her blog. (h/t Jerry Coyne) An excerpt:
If you look at Christianity today it’s not that the tenets, dogma, and principles have changed since the days of the inquisition and witch burnings. What has changed is its social and political influence in society, in people’s lives, and in its relation with the state, the law and educational system. To the degree that it has become undermined, that is the degree that people have managed to free themselves from the clutches of religion, and in having happier lives and a better society. Progressive human values have been achieved at the expense of Christianity and religion. The same has to be done with Islam and Islamism.Of course it is much more complicated than that, but for a 10-minute speech, it gets to the heart of things.
It turns out these two things are connected! Myers, part Norwegian himself, is going to the 2011 World Humanist Congress, also in Olso on August 12-14.
UPDATE: Religion Dispatches has a new article, United Nations Affirms the Human Right to Blaspheme, by Austin Dacey. Fun fact: Half of all European countries have laws making blasphemy illegal. I also found out that the Word Humanist Congress is held every three years and 2011 is the 18th Congress. It is sponsored by the International Humanist and Ethical Union, and their website has lots of information about the Congress. Note: This UN statement does not address hate speech laws, which are also common in the Western world. For instance, in Canada you can be arrested for saying certain things in public. Thank the First Amendment for not allowing either blasphemy or hate speech laws to be passed in the United States. Note on note: Hate crime laws do exist in the U.S. Hate crime laws are an issue of debate between people who consider themselves freethinkers.