Archive for October 2008


Oct 30th, 2008 1:26 pm | By

Norm has an interesting comment on Ron Aronson’s ‘Choosing to Know’ – but I take issue with it. I wonder if that’s because weird beliefs are more abundant over here, where Aronson and I live, than they are over there, where Norm lives. I wonder if people who believe weird things are more familiar to us than they are to Norm. Lucky Norm if so.

I’m not sure that asking in a general way why people hold weird beliefs – or, otherwise expressed, why they believe things that aren’t true – can yield a single and satisfying answer.

I take issue with that because I think holding weird beliefs and believing things that aren’t true are two different things, which … Read the rest

Women as Bombers Once Thought Immodest *

Oct 30th, 2008 | Filed by

‘We were created to become martyrs for God,’ says insane woman.… Read the rest

Israel and Settler Threats *

Oct 30th, 2008 | Filed by

Reports of violence by the right-wing activist groups have increased in recent months.… Read the rest

Barak Calls for Crackdown on Settler Violence *

Oct 30th, 2008 | Filed by

There has been an increase in attacks on Palestinians during this year’s olive harvest. … Read the rest

Normblog on Aronson on Choosing to Know *

Oct 30th, 2008 | Filed by

The obstacles to knowledge, both within us and without, are many and various.… Read the rest

Purdy Loses Assisted Suicide Case *

Oct 30th, 2008 | Filed by

Wants her husband with her but fears he may be prosecuted, says she may have to go earlier than she wanted.… Read the rest

Tens of Thousands of Refugees in DR Congo *

Oct 30th, 2008 | Filed by

Some observers say that the fighting in eastern DR Congo is really over control of mineral resources.… Read the rest

BBC Editorial Complaints Unit Upholds Complaint *

Oct 29th, 2008 | Filed by

‘Even in its amended form, it conveys a significantly inaccurate impression, and I am therefore upholding your complaint.’… Read the rest

Anthony Cox on BBC Churnalism *

Oct 29th, 2008 | Filed by

Churnalism – rewriting press releases rather than news reporting – is common at BBC online news.… Read the rest

Duplicate Publication is a Serious Problem *

Oct 29th, 2008 | Filed by

If you think there are two trials showing that something works, that’s more impressive than if there’s just one.… Read the rest

Ben Goldacre Asks: More Crap Journals? *

Oct 29th, 2008 | Filed by

You’re not supposed to take everything in an academic journal as read, final, and valid.… Read the rest

Assisting Suicide Could Be Prosecuted *

Oct 29th, 2008 | Filed by

‘If the DPP does publish guidelines it will make it more likely that the decision will be made to prosecute.’… Read the rest

All we see

Oct 28th, 2008 12:09 pm | By

Theological ruminations in letters to the Guardian.

…there is nothing to lead any person to postulate a teapot circling the sun, but look around – all we see came from somewhere and although such a thought does nothing to prove the existence of a creator, it makes such a being worthy of consideration.

Well yes, all we see came from somewhere, but the question is where. ‘A creator’ could mean any number of things; there is no more reason to leap from ‘somewhere’ to ‘God’ than there is to leap from ‘somewhere’ to Jennifer or Bubbles or Squirrel Nutkin. ‘A creator’ could be a machine or a natural process or software or mice or some entity that we can’t … Read the rest

CFI London Has a Website *

Oct 28th, 2008 | Filed by

Coming up: ‘Weird Science’ with Ben Goldacre, Stephen Law, Richard Wiseman, Chris French.… Read the rest

3d International Congress on Islamic Feminism *

Oct 28th, 2008 | Filed by

Good luck.… Read the rest

Indonesian Child Protection Agency Investigates *

Oct 28th, 2008 | Filed by

Under the Indonesian law, a woman must be at least 16 years old to marry.… Read the rest

Outrage as Cleric Marries Girl, 12 *

Oct 28th, 2008 | Filed by

Will wait until his ‘wife’ reaches puberty before poking her; fierce reaction to the marriage within Indonesia. … Read the rest

Indonesia: Cleric Marries Girl, 12 *

Oct 28th, 2008 | Filed by

Plans to marry two more, age 7 and 9; says it’s ‘in accordance with the prophet’s teaching.’… Read the rest

In which tank?

Oct 27th, 2008 5:46 pm | By

It’s very interesting that so many Republicans have decided to supprt Obama. Colin Powell; a number of talking heads including Peggy Noonan; a lot of conservative newspapers. Fox News is in a constant state of worked-up fury at the putative fact that the media are all in the tank (as they like to say) for Obama. Well maybe they are, but if they are, I’m pretty sure that is not purely for party-political reasons. In fact it’s pretty obvious that it’s not just for party-political reasons. It has an enormous amount to do with plain competence, and especially with respect for competence. We know what the other thing is like, and Katrina is the one-word sign for that. It is … Read the rest

Acid in the Face, Oil Money in the Wallet *

Oct 27th, 2008 | Filed by

The battle for equal rights for Muslim women is the great civil rights cause of our time.… Read the rest