It’s been a very sad week for most of us skeptics, given the recent updates that have been coming in regarding Christopher Hitchens’ condition. For those of you reading about this news for the first time, noted skeptical author Christopher Hitchens was recently diagnosed with oesophageal cancer during his book tour for Hitch-22 last June.
The cancer has since spread to his lymph nodes and lungs, and while we’re all remaining optimistic, we’re also being realistic, as is Hitchens, who’s taken the opportunity to lend his trademark rhetoric to contemplating his condition.
As for good news, Proposition 8 has recently been overturned in California. It may be a continent away, but I can only wish that the people in the Commission on Elections can take a cue from some of the sterner words that Judge Vaughn Walker, presiding judge over the case, had to say about Prop 8:
For the reasons stated in the sections that follow, the evidence presented at trial fatally undermines the premises underlying proponents’ proffered rationales for Proposition 8. An initiative measure adopted by the voters deserves great respect. The considered views and opinions of even the most highly qualified scholars and experts seldom outweigh the determinations of the voters. When challenged, however, the voters’ determinations must find at least some support in evidence. This is especially so when those determinations enact into law classifications of persons. Conjecture, speculation and fears are not enough.
Still less will the moral disapprobation of a group or class of citizens suffice,no matter how large the majority that shares that view. The evidence demonstrated beyond serious reckoning that Proposition 8 finds support only in such disapproval. As such, Proposition 8 is beyond the constitutional reach of the voters or their representatives.
Proposition 8 is a symbollic victory for gays in the sense that it has shown that a person’s core civil rights, as enshrined in the constitution, is not something that should be put up to a majority vote.
Speaking of gay news, Greta Christina has an hour-long speech at the recently concluded Secular Students Alliance conference in Ohio. The talk discusses what the atheist movement can learn from the LGBT when it comes to furthering our cause.
In any case, if you find any other interesting news for the week, make sure to post it at the News Thread.
Iran’s Mahmoud survives IED attack blames the usual suspects (via Yahoo News) Link
Old men in dresses throw hissy fit over Israel gay pride march (via Huffington Post) Link
Sudan punishes suspected gay cross-dressers…with a public spanking? (via news.com.au) Link
Iran’s Ayatollah says music against Islamic Law. I blame you, Justin Bieber (Via Guardian) Link
Porn invades Indonesian parliament – personnel so shocked they let it play for 15 minutes before cutting the feed (via BBC) Link
California overturns Proposition 8 (Via Pam’s House Blend) Link
Forsaken Lives: Criminalization of abortion leads to massive human-rights crisis in Philippines (via Pinoy Press) Link
Greta Christina: What Atheists Can Learn from the LGBT Movement :: (via SSA conference 2010) Link
The Psychology of Conspiracy Theories (via Wired) Link
Hitchens on cancer diagnosis: ‘Why not me? (via Anderson 360) Link