Archive for January 2005

Katha Pollitt Asks: Jesus to the Rescue? *

Jan 27th, 2005 | Filed by

‘God’s politics tend to be the politics of the people who claim to speak for him.’… Read the rest

Antony Flew’s Flawed Science *

Jan 27th, 2005 | Filed by

Gerald Schroeder on the physics of Genesis – it’s a joke, right?… Read the rest

Hitchens on Jihad in the Netherlands *

Jan 27th, 2005 | Filed by

Victims not just secular artists but people of Muslim origin who do not accept homicidal fundamentalism.… Read the rest

Teachers and Their Pesky Personal Preferences *

Jan 27th, 2005 | Filed by

‘She had an attitude like because she has a PhD we were wrong and don’t know as much as her.’… Read the rest

Wedging Creationism into the Academy *

Jan 27th, 2005 | Filed by

Barbara Forrest and Glenn Branch on a case study of the quest for academic legitimacy. … Read the rest

Lather Up, Joe

Jan 26th, 2005 10:44 pm | By

I’ve been thinking some more about this idea of ethical commitments as the best argument for treating religion differently from other systems of thought. I didn’t make clear enough in yesterday’s post that both Amy Gutman and Jonathan Derbyshire think that argument fails, despite being the best one available. I’m not taking issue with Jonathan, I’m just trying to poke at the idea to see where it gives. One place it gives, as Jonathan mentioned, is the fact that religion is not the only source of ethical commitments. But I think there are other places.

For one thing – ‘ethical commitments’ sounds like an individual item. It sounds like something that goes with the self, and matters to the self. … Read the rest

Religion Must Remain Open to Criticism *

Jan 26th, 2005 | Filed by

The law will serve to create martyrs – laws which criminalise free speech always do. … Read the rest

New Laws Will Keep Freedom to Insult Religion *

Jan 26th, 2005 | Filed by

Director of Public Prosecutions warns against inflated expectations of what law will do.… Read the rest

‘Politically Incorrect’ History *

Jan 26th, 2005 | Filed by

Civil Rights Act bad, Black Codes and Japanese internment good. And this is a best seller.… Read the rest

“Chief” Objections: Racism, Rhetoric and Native American Mascots on College Campuses

Jan 26th, 2005 | By Phil Mole

The recent success of the University of Illinois at Urbana’s basketball team has distracted attention from a longstanding and contentious issue: the status of school sports mascot Chief Illiniwek. The Chief is one of the last remaining college team mascots modeled after Native Americans – the kind usually portrayed by white students wearing face paint and “traditional” native costumes. The school’s Board of Trustees has debated the fate of the Chief for more than a decade, but a resolution seems no closer. Despite recent statements about the need to retire the Chief, the university continues to delay progress toward this goal. It may be a good time to review this controversy, since doing so may reveal much about the nature … Read the rest

Taking Words Seriously

Jan 25th, 2005 10:59 pm | By

Jonathan Derbyshire has an interesting post that’s relevant to that last post, and to many of the posts lately.

“Is religious identity special?” This is a question Amy Gutman poses in her excellent new-ish book, Identity in Democracy. And of course it’s a question many people have been asking themselves recently…As far as specifically religious identity groups are concerned, Gutman’s view is that they should not be treated with special consideration. However, and this is very important, she takes seriously, as some liberals do not, the reasons why it is argued that religion should be given such consideration. The best argument for according religion special consideration in democracies, in Gutman’s view and mine, is that the “ultimate ethical commitments of

Read the rest


Jan 25th, 2005 7:34 pm | By

Well, this makes things admirably clear. There’s a useful absence of fuzz and wool and disguise about this crowd.

Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi is a controversial Islamic scholar who approves of wife-beating and believes in traditional family values. The Mormon church, having abandoned polygamy more than a century ago, believes in traditional families too. With that much in common, they have joined forces to “defend the family” and fight progressive social policies at the United Nations. Other members of the holy alliance include Cardinal Alfonso Trujillo, who campaigns against condoms on behalf of the Catholic church, and Mahathir Mohamad, the dictatorial former prime minister of Malaysia who sacked and jailed his deputy for alleged homosexuality.

‘Traditional’ families – meaning…? Don’t … Read the rest

Anti-theism the Key to Understanding Hitchens *

Jan 25th, 2005 | Filed by

His ‘defection’ from the left is rooted in his hatred of religious fascism.… Read the rest

Talibanization of Bangladesh? *

Jan 25th, 2005 | Filed by

Possible to observe the increased political and religious repression in everyday life.… Read the rest

Humanists Worry About Religious Hatred Law *

Jan 25th, 2005 | Filed by

Law still protects religion but not belief; blasphemy law remains.… Read the rest

‘Rolling Stone’ Rejects Proselytizing Ad for Bible *

Jan 25th, 2005 | Filed by

Not in the business of publishing advertising for religious messages, manager says.… Read the rest

Conservative Christians and Muslims Unite *

Jan 25th, 2005 | Filed by

To ‘defend the family’ by fighting progressive social policies.… Read the rest

Lost Classical Library Buried Under Ercolano? *

Jan 25th, 2005 | Filed by

Euripides, Sophocles, Aeschylus, Aristotle…? Start digging!… Read the rest

Zarqawi Declares War on Iraqi Election *

Jan 24th, 2005 | Filed by

‘We have declared a bitter war against the principle of democracy and all those who seek to enact it.’… Read the rest

Carl Zimmer on Stem Cells and Neanderthals *

Jan 24th, 2005 | Filed by

How do fans of Intellgent Design or Young Earth creationism make sense of these scientific results? … Read the rest