Sunday, August 31, 2008
Swami Vivekananda - Universal acceptance of all religion
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
Gandhi on a secular state: (click here)
C.M. Naim on the rank and status of Indian Muslims (click here)
David Brooks on religion and secularism in today's U.S. political scene (click here)
Ayaan Hirsi Ali on Muslims in Europe (in mp3) (click here)
Monday, August 25, 2008
 Evolution and Religion: Darwin's God. By Robin Henig in the NYT Magazine, on Scott Atran's research on a Darwinian approach to evolution of religions.
 Richard Dawkins' book The God Delusion:
- Wiki - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_God_Delusion
- NYT review - http://www.nytimes.com/2006/10/22/books/review/Holt.t.html
- Root of all Evil, Part 1: The God Delusion , TV documentary [must-see video]
- Root of all Evil, Part 2: The Virus of Faith, TV documentary [must-see video]
 Darwin's Cathedral: Evolution, Religion, and the Nature of Society, by David Sloan Wilson.
- From a review: "Wilson is not a debunker. Unlike polemicists such as Richard Dawkins, he treats religious belief with respect, saying that it reflects ‘the healthy functioning of the biologically and culturally well-adapted human mind."
- Review and article in Evolutionary Psychology journal.
- Summary of a lecture on the book.
 Richard Dawkins on TED Talks: An Atheist's call to arms
Sunday, August 24, 2008
Last week, we decided to pick secularism as this week's topic. My question is:
What is the origin of various religions? What did they mean when they were formed? Have they changed – evolved/devolved over the period of time? Was various rituals part of the religion on day one? Does religion (and rituals) really mean anything in today’s world?
Here are few links:
Origin and development:
Religious Vs Non religious belief systems:
Pls read thru the various related pages on wiki...
limited preview book:
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
A few collected links from the Austin Openmike (that Subbu refers to) in his post are at:
 Gender bias, stereotypes, and sensitization [India] (links)
 More gender links...
 More links related to gender discussion
There are more links and posts related to sex education and assessing pornography from a feminist perspective. But those need not be related to this discussion today.
com/gi/dynamic/offsite.htm?zi= 1/XJ/Ya&sdn=womenshistory&cdn= education&tm=10&gps=122_166_ 1020_581&f=10&tt=14&bt=1&bts= 1&zu=http%3A//www.fair.org/ extra/9200/sports-bias.html
Can you elaborate on his original ideas?
His ideas about women, caste and communism were very original. His ideas on women were far ahead of today's feminists. He said the subordination of women was because they gave birth to babies. He said unlike the man, from the moment the baby started growing inside a woman, her thought process changed. According to him, man and woman become unequal from that point onwards. He spoke about equality even in those days but in a different way.
He also had a strong opinion on thali (mangalsutra).
He said thali should not be worn by a woman at all.
A bbc article on gender bias:http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/
Monday, August 11, 2008
A person who is transgenderred sees the world with both points of view
A link on harrassment
I would have encouraged a discussion on gender and religion, unfortunately, since the majority attending will be Hindu, i think this may be a skewed discussion.
Sorry for the really late notice. No excuses for my tardiness, just my humble apologies. Thus, if due to my tardiness, this post does not resonate with you, my regrets in advance.
Since we left off last week talking about Gender Bias as the subject to discuss this week, I found a few links (from the Austin Thu Open mike - thanks! - and elsewhere) which I have listed below
I'd like the discussion to be around gender equality. Are men and women really equal? Can men and women really do what the other can do? If not, are the different skill sets brought to society by men and women thus render the two sexes equal? If they are equal, why the historical bias? Is it only due to Man's strength superiority? If so, is might right? Or, to ask the same question differently, should might be right in a world of survival of the fittest?
Some links are below:
If Men Could Menstruate - by Gloria Steinem
This was the US point of view in the 50s!
"The zeitgeist in which Hillary floundered and “Sex” is now flourishing."; "Striving While Female – if it goes too far and looks too real — is still held to be a crime."
I would also encourage you to read the comments by others on the article above.
Another indian article - Seven Markers for Gender equality
more links coming...
Wednesday, August 6, 2008
- We will create a blog to document the links and learnings of the various topic during this exercise. This blog will be new and separate from Austin's version of Open Mike (http://thursdayopenmike.blogspot.com).
- We will join the same yahoogroups list as Austin's Open Mike group (firstname.lastname@example.org) [assuming Austin is okay with that].
- We will continue to meet at Red Rock Cafe on Castro&Villa in Mountain View, every Tuesday evening at 7PM.
- Some sample topics were suggested and Subbu to send out an email on the first of them later this week. The plan is for everyone to read and send out links ahead of time, so that we can discuss in a more informed and focused manner at the meeting. (More on topics later in this post.)
- We would like to narrow down the specific question we are trying to answer or get an opinion on before the meeting itself, so that one (albeit small) issue is completely discussed and threshed out, while allowing for discussion to organically move on to other topics. This is to ensure that there is some focussed learning instead of random desultory conversations.
- We would also like to have a way to review and see if our opinions and thoughts have changed, increased etc. from what they were about any topic prior to the discussion -- this is aimed at a way to track and see if the Open Mike is really working for each of us.
- The Open Mike is definitely a non-Asha event, and is also definitely not restricted to any geographical region (like India) either in topic or in members.
- All present to spread the word and invite everyone we know who might be interested in such an activity.
- Gender bias/perspectives/stereotyping/spousal-abuse(either direction)/affirmative action along gender lines
- Conservation -- energy/resources/environment
- Secularism -- why hate? [addendum: Why religion?]
- Is organic farming a good (economically viable) option for India?
- Why nation boundaries? why demarcations?
- Animal rights? why hunting? vegetarianism?
More clarity on topics will be developed as life goes on. For the next meeting, Subbu will formulate a question based on what he has suggested and send it out with a few links. For now, I've listed that topic as "Gender: bias or reverse bias?"
Tuesday, August 5, 2008
I was thinking we can meet at 7pm and discuss for say 90min on Tuesday evenings. This week, the plan is to go with:
Castro Street, Mountain View
But depending on who turns up, we can find a more convenient location as times goes on.
A note on topics:
There is no restriction on the topic, except that it needs to be something that folks can think about and formulate their own thoughts about it. For example, we could learn the history of nation boundaries, starting from a society where tribes demarcated their territories from neighboring tribes to the current day nation states and discuss what use nation boundaries really are. Another example could be how would you organize the Indian govt. political system for maximum democratic participation. These are just examples. Please send me an email about what you would like to discuss.
I am hoping this will be well attended. The more folks we have, the more inputs and varied viewpoints we will be able to gather. Please come, and please bring forward what you would like to discuss.