Blargh

I should post stuff, but instead I kind of just want to curl up into a ball and hide in a corner for a while. Dealing with school is stressful. Dealing with roommates is stressful. Dealing with family is stressful. There are too many things, and I can’t handle all of them at once. I am just a little ball of stress right now, so I think I’m going to go play minecraft for a while and then sleep, and holy crap, am I actually being a responsible blogger and actually posting about why I’m not posting?

Anyway, I totally have lots of ideas to write about, it’s just not happening right now. I’ll probably have a real post up some time in the next week, though.

Explaining Asexuality

So, in spending a lot of time with my family over the holidays and being out about everything (except my atheism), I found myself doing a fair bit of education about asexuality. It wasn’t even the first time I’ve tried to explain asexuality to some of my family members, but they just didn’t quite get it the first time around, or in some cases the second or third. Honestly, I don’t understand why some people have such a hard time understanding asexuality. I had a hard time understanding it at first because I wasn’t sure what sexual attraction was, having never experienced it, but surely it must be easier for people who do know what sexual attraction is to understand what the statement “does not experience sexual attraction” means?

This may have been a rather naive assumption. Sexual attraction, it seems, is rarely experienced by itself in isolation from other related feelings/states (e.g. libido, romantic attraction), and it is probably conceptually difficult to sort it out from all the other things it usually goes along with. So when you ask someone to consider that someone does not experience sexual attraction, they might assume that person has no libido because sexual attraction and libido are intertwined in their thinking. And low libido is something that is often considered a problem to be fixed (and sometimes it is), so the person assuming that low libido is the cause of a person’s lack of sexual attraction will assume that their asexuality is a problem to be fixed. This person will then tell the asexual in question things like “it might just be your depression” or “have you had your hormones checked?”.
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Do You Believe in Evolution?

No, don’t answer. It’s totally a trick question. It’s like asking “Do you believe in string theory?” or “Do you believe in photosynthesis?” or “Do you believe in the ideal gas laws?”. It would be silly, because we generally don’t talk about any of these things in terms of belief. They are scientific theories. They are either correct or they are not. Time and experiments and empirical evidence will show which. Whether or not people believe in them has absolutely no relevance to whether or not they correctly explain something useful about the way the world works. The only thing that makes evolution any different is that people who see it as conflicting with their religious beliefs have sought to discredit it and dragged it into the conversation about belief. And now people are so used to hearing evolution talked about in the realm of belief that they don’t think to question whether it even belongs in there or not.

Now, I’m not saying that anybody has to accept the theory of evolution (although “because it conflicts with my religious beliefs” is just as bad a reason not to accept evolution as it was for people not to accept that the Earth revolves around the sun*). There are plenty of reasons to accept a theory or not. Many theories are proven wrong, in whole or in part, by later scientific discoveries. If new data is found that contradicts a theory, scientists will adapt and develop a new theory or change the old one. That’s what science is all about. You fit the theories to the data, not the other way around. But just because we know that scientific theories might not be correct or complete is no reason to dismiss them. It just means that the scientific theories we have are the current best explanation we have for the way the world works. Perhaps we’ll improve upon those explanations some day, but for now they’re the best we’ve got (and for a scientific theory, that means that there is lots of evidence backing it up and it probably makes useful predictions that can be used in a variety of applications, so please don’t dismiss any scientific theory as “just a theory”, because there is nothing “just” about scientific theories).

So yea. Evolution. It’s a scientific theory. Let’s talk about it like we would talk about any other scientific theory. Whether or not you ‘believe’ in a scientific theory is a red herring.

That is my rant for the day about the way that evolution gets (mis)discussed.

* See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Galileo#Controversy_over_heliocentrism for more information.

No, Really, I Still Blog Here

So, I will probably start doing regular posts again fairly soon. Regular as in weekly. Ish. Visiting family over the holidays has not exactly been conducive to blogging over the past month (also I suck at telling people when I won’t be on the net for a while for whatever reason). There’s not much I really have in mind for an actual blog post at the moment, except to say that I really hate pretending I’m not an atheist, and I look forward to being in a situation where I don’t feel forced to hide my beliefs or lack thereof. It’s really just not something I can stand to do for very long when I’m being told to pray about things, like ohno what if I eventually have sex with someone even though I am ace and have absolutely no interest and what will god think is the ‘wrong’ type of person to have sex with when I am trans, even though being trans does not, in itself, appear to contradict my family’s religious teachings? Thank FSM for that last bit though–I had no idea until after I came out. I’m pretty sure not believing in any gods contradicts my family’s religious beliefs big time though… and it is such a trial to hold my tongue if atheists actually do come up in conversation, along with all of the typical misconceptions that it almost literally pains me to let slide. Happily, this is not something that comes up often, and I am still rather busy being happy that I can openly speak my mind about LGBT things now, at least. Also, what is a blog for if not a convenient place to talk about things that one cannot talk about to anyone in meatspace for a time?