Archive for April 2009

Dear mummy Nature

Apr 30th, 2009 12:18 pm | By

I saw a horrible thing on tv last night, in a PBS show about the Kalahari. There are flamingos that nest in in an area of the Kalahari which slowly dries out during the nesting season, with the result that the chicks have to walk a hundred miles through the desert to get to water. They have to walk. A hundred miles. Through a desert. It’s as ridiculous as it sounds. They’re small, they’re feeble, it’s burning hot. It takes weeks.

250,000 leave; some years not one chick makes it.

Good planning! Wouldn’t you think the adults would manage to think ‘gee, maybe we should find a better place to nest’? Or that, failing to think that, they would … Read the rest



Tough Enough? *

Apr 30th, 2009 | Filed by

The claim of courage in the commission of deeply immoral acts is to be deplored and not admired.… Read the rest



Ben Goldacre on Swine Flu and Hype *

Apr 30th, 2009 | Filed by

Media pundit-seekers wanted him to say it’s all hype. But it isn’t. But they wanted him to say it is.… Read the rest



No One Investigated the Origins of Waterboarding *

Apr 30th, 2009 | Filed by

The consensus was possible because no one investigated the gruesome origins of the techniques.… Read the rest



Garzon Opens Guantanamo Investigation *

Apr 30th, 2009 | Filed by

Judge Garzon cites universal justice: crimes committed in one country may be prosecuted in another.… Read the rest



Spanish Court To Investigate Bush’s ‘Torture Team’ *

Apr 30th, 2009 | Filed by

Chuckie Taylor was convicted in the US for crimes committed in Liberia.… Read the rest



HRW on Testing Justice *

Apr 30th, 2009 | Filed by

The backlog of untested rape kits in Los Angeles County is larger than previously reported. … Read the rest



Kristof Asks: Is Rape Serious? *

Apr 30th, 2009 | Filed by

The refusal to test rape kits seems a throwback to antediluvian skepticism about rape as a traumatic crime. … Read the rest



Where I left off

Apr 29th, 2009 6:24 pm | By

Oh all right – I quit too soon. It’s too annoying to leave.

[A]ttacking them in broad and often hilarious strokes…allows him to develop an extended interpretive summary of what he describes as mainstream Christian doctrine, a subject about which (as he repeatedly reminds us) the Ditchkins duo, along with the Western intellectual elite in general, knows almost nothing. Eagleton’s terminology is deliberately provocative, and some Christians won’t find his account of their beliefs, colored as it clearly is by the Catholic “liberation theology” of his youth, to be mainstream at all.

Well exactly – a great many Christians won’t find his account of their beliefs to be mainstream at all. So in what sense is he justified in pitching … Read the rest



One wit spots another

Apr 29th, 2009 4:59 pm | By

Terry Eagleton has at least one fan anyway.

Eagleton…is determined not to commit the same elementary errors he ascribes to such foes as biologist Richard Dawkins and political journalist Christopher Hitchens. (Those two, collectively dubbed “Ditchkins” by Eagleton, are the self-appointed leaders of public atheism and the authors of bestselling books on the subject, Dawkins’ “The God Delusion” and Hitchens’ “God Is Not Great.”)

He gets it right by saying Eagleton ascribes these elementary errors, but then he promptly labels Dawkins and Hitchens ‘foes’ – why are they foes? Because Eagleton doesn’t like what they’ve written. That doesn’t really make them his foes, it just makes them people he is quarreling with. ‘Foes’ is more ascribing. And then, what is … Read the rest



Judge Calls Claim Absurd *

Apr 29th, 2009 | Filed by

Feminism is no more a religion than physics, and at least the core of the complaint therefore is frivolous.… Read the rest



NY Court Rejects Men’s Studies Lawsuit *

Apr 29th, 2009 | Filed by

Plaintiff claimed Columbia was violating the first amendment because ‘feminism is a religion.’… Read the rest



Review of Eagleton on ‘New’ Atheism *

Apr 29th, 2009 | Filed by

Calls it a fascinating, original, prickly work of philosophy.… Read the rest



Secular Summer Camp *

Apr 29th, 2009 | Filed by

But where are the camps for children who don’t want to go to camp?… Read the rest



Ireland Considers Blasphemous Libel Amendment *

Apr 29th, 2009 | Filed by

A new crime of blasphemous libel is to be proposed in an amendment to the Defamation Bill.… Read the rest



New Hampshire Senate Passes Gay Marriage Bill *

Apr 29th, 2009 | Filed by

It is unclear whether the governor will sign the bill or veto it.… Read the rest



Paul Krugman on Looking Forward not Backward *

Apr 28th, 2009 | Filed by

Laws aren’t supposed to be enforced only when convenient.… Read the rest



Steven Lukes on the Right to Judge Others *

Apr 28th, 2009 | Filed by

Who are we to apply our standards to the adherents of other moral and religious systems?… Read the rest



Ronald Aronson on the Rise of Atheism in America *

Apr 28th, 2009 | Filed by

The impressive increase among those willing to check atheist or agnostic is dramatic tribute to the success of the ‘new atheist’ writers.… Read the rest



Guardian to Charles: Shut Up or Step Down *

Apr 28th, 2009 | Filed by

Charles is circumventing the proper procedure by exploiting privilege he enjoys purely through fluke of birth.… Read the rest