Maunderings

“A three-day-old human embryo is a collection of 150 cells called a blastocyst. There are, for the sake of comparison, more than 100,000 cells in the brain of a fly. If our concern is about suffering in this universe, it is rather obvious that we should be more concerned about killing flies than about killing three-day-old human embryos… Many people will argue that the difference between a fly and a three-day-old human embryo is that a three-day-old human embryo is a potential human being. Every cell in your body, given the right manipulations, every cell with a nucleus is now a potential human being. Every time you scratch your nose, you’ve committed a holocaust of potential human beings… Let’s say we grant it that every three-day-old human embryo has a soul worthy of our moral concern. First of all, embryos at this stage can split into identical twins. Is this a case of one soul splitting into two souls? Embryos at this stage can fuse into a chimera. What has happened to the extra human soul in such a case? This is intellectually indefensible, but it’s morally indefensible given that these notions really are prolonging scarcely endurable misery of tens of millions of human beings, and because of the respect we accord religious faith, we can’t have this dialogue in the way that we should. I submit to you that if you think the interests of a three-day-old blastocyst trump the interests of a little girl with spinal cord injuries or a person with full-body burns, your moral intuitions have been obscured by religious metaphysics.”

– Sam Harris, on stem cell research (via pakizah)

“It doesn’t much matter what line of argument you take as a woman. If you venture into traditional male territory, the abuse comes anyway. It’s not what you say that prompts it—it’s the fact that you are saying it.”

– Mary Beard, speaking at the British Museum in February. Rebecca Mead profiles the Cambridge academic and “troll slayer” in this week’s issue. (via newyorker)

Two Worlds

apoemaday:

by Raymond Carver

In air heavy
with odor of crocuses,

sensual smell of crocuses,
I watch a lemon sun disappear,

a sea change blue
to olive black.

I watch lightning leap from Asia as
sleeping,

my love stirs and breathes and
sleeps again,

part of this world and yet
part of that.

But then, the truth was never really the point. Thin women don’t tell their fat friends ‘You’re not fat’ because they’re confused about the dictionary definition of the word, or their eyes are broken, or they were raised on planets where size 24 is the average for women. They don’t say it because it’s the truth. They say it because fat does not mean just fat in this culture. It can also mean any or all of the following:

Ugly
Unhealthy
Smelly
Lazy
Ignorant
Undisciplined
Unlovable
Burdensome
Embarrassing
Unfashionable
Mean
Angry
Socially inept
Just plain icky

So when they say ‘You’re not fat,’ what they really mean is ‘You’re not a dozen nasty things I associate with the word fat.’ The size of your body is not what’s in question; a tape measure or a mirror could solve that dispute. What’s in question is your goodness, your lovability, your intelligence, your kindness, your attractiveness. And your friends, not surprisingly, are inclined to believe you get high marks in all those categories. Ergo, you couldn’t possibly be fat.

Kate Harding (via rhiannon-random)

another example of thin privilege, your body type doesn’t carry these negative synonyms

(via fatcatsandcurls)

Boy howdy it sure is frustrating when I say “It’s hard for me to find cool clothes on the rack in sizes that fit me” and my very slim friends say “Oh shut up it is not” It’s like, Wow, that is fascinating, I had no idea you had more experience shopping for my body than I do! Like, all these negative terms are so intrinsically associated with heavyset bodies that my small friends tell me I’m wrong when I say it’s difficult shopping in trendy boutiques where 80% of the stuff on the racks in a size 4, because they get the idea that that pretending I have the ability to squeeze into tiny clothes for tiny people will make me feel better about myself.

(via coelasquid)

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