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Saudi Cleric Pummeled On Twitter For Claiming Driving Damages Women's Ovaries 408

An anonymous reader writes "CNN reports, "Sheikh Saleh Al-Loheidan's widely derided remarks have gone viral ... 'If a woman drives a car,' Al-Loheidan told Saudi news website sabq.org. 'it could have a negative physiological impact. It would automatically affect a woman's ovaries and that it pushes the pelvis upward.' ... 'We find that for women who continuously drive cars, their children are born with varying degrees of clinical problems.' The controversial comments were widely interpreted throughout Saudi Arabia as an attempt to discourage women in the country from joining a popular online movement urging them to stage a demonstration by driving cars on October 26. 'This is his answer to the campaign,' Saudi women's rights activist Aziza Yousef told CNN. 'He's making a fool of himself. He shouldn't touch this field at all.' Al-Loheidan's words have been ridiculed mercilessly via social media. An Arabic Twitter hashtag called '#WomensDrivingAffectsOvariesAndPelvises' was quickly created to make fun of Al-Loheidan — underscoring just how widely the call for Saudi women to defy the driving ban has resonated thus far. And while numerous conservative voices have supported Al-Loheidan, many Saudis believe this was an extremely clumsy way of trying to counter the popularity of the October 26 campaign.'"
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Saudi Cleric Pummeled On Twitter For Claiming Driving Damages Women's Ovaries

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  • by Ragnarok89 ( 1066010 ) on Monday September 30, 2013 @10:44AM (#44991939)
    And driving is bad as opposed to sitting when: reading? eating? watching TV? listening to the radio? any of the other myriad of activities done while seated? What an idiot.
  • you know... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by buddyglass ( 925859 ) on Monday September 30, 2013 @10:54AM (#44992067)
    As crazy and wrong as this guy is, his claim isn't completely out of left field. One of my physics teachers in high school (who had worked as an engineer at Bell Helicopter) related the story that, apparently, some of the helicopters initially used in the Viet Nam conflict happened to vibrate at the resonant frequency of the human kidney, causing pilots to experience organ damage. They had to add material to the seats to cancel out the vibrations. Here's a page from the Canadian equivalent of the U.S.'s OSHA:

    http://www.ccohs.ca/oshanswers/phys_agents/vibration/vibration_intro.html [ccohs.ca]
  • Re:Self-driving cars (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Captain Hook ( 923766 ) on Monday September 30, 2013 @11:02AM (#44992145)
    of course not, because the issue is not really about driving it's about independance.
  • by ArcadeMan ( 2766669 ) on Monday September 30, 2013 @11:13AM (#44992289)

    If Sarah Silverman had said it, we would be laughing at her joke because that's a stupid thing to say.

  • Re:You can't judge (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 30, 2013 @11:19AM (#44992359)

    A culture isn't "valid" or "invalid". That's meaningless. We CAN judge whether a culture has immoral beliefs and practices. This is a very clear case in which we can see immoral beliefs and practices, and the mental gymnastics the cultural leaders have to do to defend them.

    Actually no we can't. Morality is a product of culture, therefore one culture cannot objectively judge the morality of another.

    Some cultures are more "successful" than others (as measured by quality of life, and propagation of their cultural identity). But that tells us nothing of "morality", or "validity".

  • by Sponge Bath ( 413667 ) on Monday September 30, 2013 @11:23AM (#44992407)

    He must be a liberal democrat!

    His unscientific view of women's anatomy more closely resembles that of Republican Todd Akin, who claimed women have magic body parts that prevent conception when "legitimately" raped.

  • Re:eh... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by NeutronCowboy ( 896098 ) on Monday September 30, 2013 @12:01PM (#44992831)

    When you actually look at the demographics [nytimes.com], the Tea Party crew are actually more educated than the average American

    Let's make sure we know what educated means in this context: more degrees than a similar population of average Americans would have. To some extent, this matches my experience: tea partiers - or those who espouse the libertarian aspect of the Tea Party - have more money than average, and have at least a Bachelor Degree, if not a Master. No PhDs among the ones I know though.

    However, there's one area where they are spectacularly ignorant, to the point where I'm starting to think that there's some specific cognitive effect at work: they all think that they made it on their own in the world, think that Government should be run like a business and think that the purpose of Society is to make their life better. Keep in mind though that they the vast majority come from wealthy families, have businesses that fail, are full of cronies and family members, experience how shoddy and shady businesses can be, and live in one of the most stable environments in the world.

    Even the mainstream Tea Partiers that I know - or at least those who profess no ideological attachment, but pretty much recite Tea Party and Republican political platforms verbatim - indulge in a massive misunderstanding of how society operates, what the role of government is or even what made their own success possible. Top that off with a complete lack of understanding what the debt ceiling is (a badly set up part of the budget process), and even the "moderate" Tea Partiers can come across as complete lunatics. For my friends who are part of this group, I treat them like the crazy uncle - they're always welcome, but certain topics are forbidden, unless everyone consents to "lively" debates until 4 AM.

  • by cold fjord ( 826450 ) on Monday September 30, 2013 @12:13PM (#44992979)

    Since like forever, the old men who are afraid of their womens getting loose have used the Korans, Bibles, Talmuds, etc to control their womens. Fear and Freedom don't mix well. Let's all be a little more brave and learn to tell all the batshit religious crazies to fuck off. I don't care if they do raise hell and blow stuff up - eventually there won't be enough left of them to matter.

    I seem to recall various atheist countries that were afraid of their people getting loose used Marx, Lenin, Stalin, Mao, Kim Jong Il, and others to control their people. One of the pioneers in suicide bombing were the Tamil Tigers, an essentially secular movement. Batshit crazy is crazy no matter the source. If Europeans don't get their birthrate up, eventually there won't be enough of them to matter. Guess who has the higher birth rate? Native European are on the self-chosen path to extinction, and they will take their values with them. The immigrants don't share them even though they share the land which may eventually be theirs.

    No Babies? [nytimes.com]

    In the 1990s, European demographers began noticing a downward trend in population across the Continent and behind it a sharply falling birthrate. Non-number-crunchers largely ignored the information until a 2002 study by Italian, German and Spanish social scientists focused the data and gave policy makers across the European Union something to ponder. The figure of 2.1 is widely considered to be the “replacement rate” — the average number of births per woman that will maintain a country’s current population level. At various times in modern history — during war or famine — birthrates have fallen below the replacement rate, to “low” or “very low” levels. But Hans-Peter Kohler, José Antonio Ortega and Francesco Billari — the authors of the 2002 report — saw something new in the data. For the first time on record, birthrates in southern and Eastern Europe had dropped below 1.3. For the demographers, this number had a special mathematical portent. At that rate, a country’s population would be cut in half in 45 years, creating a falling-off-a-cliff effect from which it would be nearly impossible to recover.

    Fertility statistics [europa.eu]

  • by Slashdot Parent ( 995749 ) on Monday September 30, 2013 @12:17PM (#44993019)

    I'm pretty sure he wasn't the only republican to agree with that philosophy.

    Well, considering the backlash that former Rep Akin received from the Republican Party after making his ridiculous commentary, I'd say that Akin's in a small minority. His shockingly ignorant statements cost him his seat, so I'd say he paid a fair price.

    Around the time that he made his commentary, I tried to understand what would make him want to believe such a thing that made no sense. What I think it boils down to is a basic conundrum for pro-lifers: You can't ban abortion in any effective fashion if you make an exception to the ban for rape and incest, because if you do, women who are seeking abortions will simply lie about the circumstances of their pregnancies in order to obtain legal abortions. Allow those exceptions, and you haven't outlawed anything. In order to address this loophole, it is necessary to outlaw all abortion for any reason (except, perhaps, if the mother will die if the pregnancy continues), but this position of eliminating the rape/incest exception is unpalatable to the American public.

    Once you understand the issue from their perspective, it's easier to see how they could believe such a ridiculous notion, that a woman's body will somehow prevent a pregnancy from occurring if she is raped violently (for brevity, let's ignore the 'legitimate/forcible rape' issue). They need some way to close that loophole, and this is one such way to do it: a belief that if a pregnancy occurred, then she must not have been raped. If that bit of medical fiction were true, then we could know that the pregnancy was not the result of rape, so no exception would be granted.

    So that's why such a theory is so seductive to some, in my estimation.

  • by fahrbot-bot ( 874524 ) on Monday September 30, 2013 @01:20PM (#44993739)

    You can't ban abortion in any effective fashion if you make an exception to the ban for rape and incest, because if you do, women who are seeking abortions will simply lie about the circumstances of their pregnancies in order to obtain legal abortions.

    In this context, the law could require her to file a police report where she would have to either fabricate an entire story or implicate an innocent man (with whom she actually had consensual sex). Both avenues would prove problematic for her.

    The larger point is that once one concedes an acceptable / allowable circumstance then limits are a case of relative ethics. Ultimately, it's either it's okay to kill something/one or it's not. If one says that the answer depends on the circumstances, then the answer (in my opinion) is actually "yes, it's okay to kill." In civil society, I accept that it's appropriate for the society/law determines under what circumstances it's allowed, but to argue it's "wrong with exceptions" is disingenuous - which is where the "pro-lifers" who also support the death penalty go wrong.

    I took an interesting class in college on biomedical ethics and we spent the whole time discussing (arguing) things like this or allocation of sparse medical resources (e.g. should a younger/older person get saved if only one can be), with the teacher playing Devil's Advocate offering contrary opinions / examples for *every* argument. The class was very hard and thinking clearly about this stuff is very hard.

    Personally, my position on abortion is: (1) I'm a male, so until I get a uterus it's not place to argue about this, and (B) a woman should have the right to control her own body, period (if men could get pregnant, I'm sure the right to contraception and abortion would be absolute - he said cynically).

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