Archive for May 2009

Roxana Saberi

May 31st, 2009 12:18 pm | By

Roxana Saberi talks to NPR:

“I learned a lot from the other political prisoners there, too — the other women — because after several weeks, I was put into a cell with them. Many of those women were there because they are standing up for human rights or the freedom of belief or expression.

Many of them are still there today; they don’t enjoy the kind of international support that I did. And they’re not willing to give in to pressures to make false confessions or to sign off to commitments not to take part in their activities once they’re released; they would rather stay in prison and stand up for those principles that they believe in.

They gave … Read the rest



Roxana Saberi Talks to NPR *

May 31st, 2009 | Filed by

‘Many of those women were there because they are standing up for human rights or the freedom of belief or expression.’… Read the rest



Ireland: Abusers Should Turn Themselves In *

May 31st, 2009 | Filed by

‘If they have any conscience they should come forward now,’ Justice Minister Dermot Ahern said.… Read the rest



Nick Cohen on Silencing Simon Singh *

May 31st, 2009 | Filed by

The consequences of letting the libel law loose on scientific debate are horrendous.… Read the rest



Does God Hate Women? *

May 31st, 2009 | Filed by

Do women hate God?… Read the rest



Book on Religious Misogyny Could Annoy People *

May 31st, 2009 | Filed by

Cherie Blair, for instance.… Read the rest



Woman Enslaved Her Daughters-in-law *

May 30th, 2009 | Filed by

‘It’s acceptable to treat women like this in other countries but not in our country, in England no.’… Read the rest



Varieties of Accommodationism *

May 30th, 2009 | Filed by

Russell Blackford offers a typology: NOMA; natural and supernatural; god of the gaps.… Read the rest



Jerry Coyne on Mixing Science With God *

May 30th, 2009 | Filed by

Accepting the existence of magic is not good science.… Read the rest



Pakistan’s Madrasas Under Scrutiny – Sort Of *

May 30th, 2009 | Filed by

Until the military decides that the madrasas are no longer useful, meaningful reform is unlikely.… Read the rest



Religious Partisanship and the Taoiseach *

May 30th, 2009 | Filed by

If critics of the indemnity deal are ‘anti-Catholic’ then supporters are pro-Catholic. Is that Ahern’s position?… Read the rest



Judge Refuses to Dismiss Prayer Day Lawsuit *

May 30th, 2009 | Filed by

Obama admin and National Day of Prayer Task Force filed motions to dismiss; judge rejected them as premature.… Read the rest



O tempora, o mores

May 30th, 2009 10:04 am | By

Times change. Customs change. Views on morality change. Customs and views on morality also vary from place to place. An older person from one place may well have different views on morality from younger people in another place.

But that doesn’t mean there is nothing to say about the customs and the views on morality, or that none are better or worse than any others, or that people who do cruel things have not in fact done cruel things. It may be understandable that they have done cruel things – but ‘understandable’ is not the same as ‘okay.’

[B]ehind closed doors the grandmother imprisoned her three daughters-in-law and used one as her slave for 13 years…The three women, who cannot

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All 77,701 words

May 30th, 2009 9:34 am | By

Young men at the Darul Uloom Haqqania madrasa spend their time memorizing all 77,701 words of the Koran.

Some people call it the University of Jihad. The fact that some of Haqqania’s graduates go on to become Taliban fighters and suicide bombers isn’t the school’s concern, said Syed Yousef Shah, the head of the 3,000- student madrasa. “One person may become a journalist, another a driver,” he said as he reclined on a pillow in a small meeting room in the school. “We can’t control what people do afterward.”

Well that’s bullshit. Granted, a madrasa can’t control directly what its graduates do later, but any school naturally shapes and influences what its graduates do later, by means of what … Read the rest



Old lines

May 29th, 2009 12:01 pm | By

Mark Vernon at Hay.

[N]ew lines are being drawn in the debate between belief and non-belief. In short, the initial dispute appears to be exhausting itself and in its place, a more subtle discussion is emerging. The question is no longer simply, Does God exist? That has never admitted of a final answer anyway. Instead, it is this: What would it be like to live in a world without God?

Oh please. That’s not a new line, for god’s sake. It’s not as if nobody has wondered or discussed what it would be like to live in a world without God until now! The question has never been simply ‘does God exist?’; who said it was? On the other … Read the rest



Nick Cohen on the Golden Age of Conspiracy *

May 29th, 2009 | Filed by

An ecumenical conspiracy theorist would rather believe that 2 + 2 = 5 than ever trust an official report. … Read the rest



More Smug Banal Tripe From Mark Vernon *

May 29th, 2009 | Filed by

Dawkins, theology, respectable, sophisticated, subtle, scientistic, genes, machines, longings.… Read the rest



Vatican: Abortion Worse Than Child Torture *

May 29th, 2009 | Filed by

‘What happened in some schools cannot be compared with the millions of lives that have been destroyed by abortion.’… Read the rest



You Have Got to Be Kidding *

May 29th, 2009 | Filed by

Face of Jesus in lid of Marmite jar. What?! That’s a face?!… Read the rest



Last Rites for the Catholic Church in Ireland *

May 29th, 2009 | Filed by

The Fianna Fáil Government and the religious orders struck a scandalously rotten deal in 2002.… Read the rest