Archive for December 2004

Bloggers Jailed in Iran *

Dec 2nd, 2004 | Filed by

News websites also subject to repression.… Read the rest

Words, Words, Words

Dec 1st, 2004 10:35 pm | By

I knew there was a reason. I knew it, I knew it. Right – the next time someone tells me I’m an elitist and pompous and pretentious and a show-off and generally horrible and intolerable, merely because I accidentally use a word that one might not find in a five-year-old’s vocabulary – the very next time, I say, I will have an answer ready. It’s because I don’t yet have Alzheimer’s. Surely that’s a good enough reason! Surely even the most dedicated warrior for populism will recognize that not (yet) having Alzheimer’s is quite a sensible reason to use words one was foolish and malevolent enough to pick up by accident at some point. Surely. I didn’t mean to do … Read the rest

New Humanist Contest *

Dec 1st, 2004 | Filed by

Prize: a copy of The Dictionary of Fashionable Nonsense. Deadline 13 December.… Read the rest

Tess the Über Whiner; To the Damn Lighthouse *

Dec 1st, 2004 | Filed by

Jazz and actionless novels are okay if you like them, but if not…… Read the rest

Joan Bakewell in South Africa *

Dec 1st, 2004 | Filed by

Pieter-Dirk Uys and others accuse Mbeki of letting people die.… Read the rest

Mbeki Changes the Subject *

Dec 1st, 2004 | Filed by

From role of sexual violence in AIDS to supposed racism of mentioning the idea.… Read the rest

AIDS and Sexual Violence in South Africa *

Dec 1st, 2004 | Filed by

HIV activists say machismo is fuelling the epidemic, and women pay the price.… Read the rest

Taboo on Discussion of AIDS in Pakistan *

Dec 1st, 2004 | Filed by

Makes education, prevention and treatment difficult.… Read the rest

Gender Inequality and AIDS *

Dec 1st, 2004 | Filed by

Women in Africa infected at much higher rates; sexual exploitation a significant factor.… Read the rest

Introduction to Creationism’s Trojan Horse

Dec 1st, 2004 | By Barbara Forrest and Paul R. Gross


It used to be obvious that the world
was designed by some sort of intelligence.
What else could account for fire
and rain and lightning and earthquakes?
Above all, the wonderful abilities
of living things seemed to point to a
creator who had a special interest in
life. Today we understand most of these
things in terms of physical forces acting
under impersonal laws.We don’t yet
know the most fundamental laws, and
we can’t work out the consequences of
all the laws we know. The human
mind remains extraordinarily difficult
to understand, but so is the weather.
We can’t predict whether it will rain
one month from today, but we do know
the rules that govern the rain, even

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Letters for December, 2004

Dec 1st, 2004 | By

Letters for December, 2004.… Read the rest

Famous for Being Famous for Being Famous

Dec 1st, 2004 1:18 am | By

And now back to the cult. Because the cult is interesting, cultishness is interesting, and above all, this kind of hyperbolic giddy gushing cultishness in people who (to all appearances) pride themselves above all on critical thinking, on looking closely at rhetoric, on peering behind the screen, on criticising ‘philosophical presumptions,’ on knowing ‘how to read’ – is so interesting as to be almost hypnotic.

So, here we are at the London Review of Books and here is Judith Butler Superstar again, writing about Derrida again.

First there are two paragraphs of resounding banalities. Then we start the third:

It is surely uncontroversial to say that Jacques Derrida was one of the greatest philosophers of the 20th century; his international

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Redefining Atheism

Dec 1st, 2004 1:17 am | By

Okay, by way of a vacation from Butler and Derrida and the frenzy of renown – I’ll mutter a word or two about John Gray’s peculiar idea of what atheism is. I thought of doing it yesterday, but the review is so very full of strange assertions and idiosnycratic definitions that I felt slightly overwhelmed, so I put it off. It would take pages and pages to do it justice; I’ll just mention one or two points.

Generations of secular thinkers believed that as science advanced, religion would fade away. In fact, the opposite has happened. Religious faith is thriving, and the secular faiths of the Enlightenment everywhere are in retreat.

Everywhere? Everywhere? No they’re not. (And besides, what’s … Read the rest