Archive for July 2009

Nigeria: Islamist Group Kills 150 People *

Jul 28th, 2009 | Filed by

Radical Islamists, who claim to be linked to al-Qaeda, have killed more than 150 people in two days of violence.… Read the rest

Charles Taylor Notices the Obvious *

Jul 28th, 2009 | Filed by

You can’t fit a serious argument onto the side of a bus. Who knew?!… Read the rest

Johann Hari Talks to Malalai Joya *

Jul 28th, 2009 | Filed by

‘Your governments have replaced the fundamentalist rule of the Taliban with another fundamentalist regime of warlords.’… Read the rest

Court Backs Gujarat Riot Probe *

Jul 28th, 2009 | Filed by

Court rejected a bid to delay the probe into the role of the chief minister in communal riots in 2002.… Read the rest

PZ Myers on Francis Collins *

Jul 27th, 2009 | Filed by

Collins does not trust the godless people in his communities because, to his mind, they are blind to good and evil.… Read the rest

Russell Blackford on Francis Collins *

Jul 27th, 2009 | Filed by

Folk metaethics is probably mistaken, whether an almighty law-giving deity exists or not. … Read the rest

Sam Harris on Francis Collins *

Jul 27th, 2009 | Filed by

It can be difficult to think like a scientist. But few things make thinking like a scientist more difficult than religion.… Read the rest

Coyne on Francis Collins, Science and Religion *

Jul 27th, 2009 | Filed by

By describing in the same talk the evidence for evolution and the ‘evidence’ for God, he is confusing his audiences.… Read the rest

M and K to ‘the New Atheist Blogosphere’ *

Jul 27th, 2009 | Filed by

They try to engage in a civil debate, but it’s hopeless, because ‘the New Atheists’ just don’t understand.… Read the rest

The first step is getting the facts right

Jul 27th, 2009 11:43 am | By

Mooney and Kirshenbaum have struck again. They’ve written a piece on their blog telling some entity unattractively called ‘the New Atheist blogosphere’ why TNAB is wrong and M&K are right. It’s a repulsive read, because (as usual but more so) it’s so willfully blind, so obstinately determined not to heed reasonable objections but instead to ‘frame’ them as irrational outbursts from Declared Enemies.

They’ve created this bind for themselves, of course. They spent a large chunk of their very short book blaming ‘New Atheists’ for American ignorance of science, and then labeled all criticism as coming from ‘New Atheists’ and therefore (in ways not always specified) tainted and wrong and thus safe to ignore. The problem there is that they’re … Read the rest

Sign, sign, sign your rights away

Jul 26th, 2009 5:15 pm | By

Doesn’t Scientology sound attractive. All you have to do if you want to be a scientologist is sign away all your rights, including the right to earn the minimum wage. Then if you leave or they kick you out – you have to give them some money.

7. BREACH OF COVENANT. If a staff member . . . breaks his agreement either by leaving staff before completing his commitment [either 2 1/2 or 5 years] or by violating his good standing as a Scientology staff member so that he is dismissed in accordance with policy, he or she shall remit forthwith to the Church a penance for violation of this covenant in accordance with the ecclesiastical policy of the

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The Scientology Contract *

Jul 26th, 2009 | Filed by

You too can become a scientologist provided you don’t mind signing all your rights away.… Read the rest

Solution: Blame Scientists, Add Fluff *

Jul 26th, 2009 | Filed by

The cause of scientific illiteracy in America is the aloofness of scientists. Next question?… Read the rest

Angry Jaffa Christians get Jesus Play Canceled *

Jul 26th, 2009 | Filed by

Amos Kenan’s satirical play deals with the nature of being Israeli and with the occupation.… Read the rest

Woman’s Whipping Sentence Prompts Backlash *

Jul 26th, 2009 | Filed by

A Sharia court sentenced her to six strokes of the cane and a fine for consuming alcohol a year ago.… Read the rest

Nick Cohen on Tory Hypocrisy *

Jul 26th, 2009 | Filed by

Reactionaries left and right.… Read the rest

An oxymoron is repudiated

Jul 25th, 2009 5:39 pm | By

The Economist has more sense than some people I could mention

It’s hardly a new charge against atheists, but it has come up again several times recently in the blogosphere: that today’s secularists, atheists, anti-theists and whatnot, including the publicly active ones, are “just as fundamentalist as the fundamentalists”…This trope needs to be laughed out of existence, immediately.

I’ve been working on it. Backup is welcome.

On one hand you have faith that makes people fly planes into buildings, genitally mutilate young girls, murder abortion doctors (in church), stone adultresses, outlaw certain forms of consensual sex or even just make it impossible to buy beer on Sunday in some states. On the other hand there is the atheist “faith” that

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Jonathan Derbyshire Profiles Amartya Sen *

Jul 25th, 2009 | Filed by

Sen taught Labour that the first question to ask about equality and inequality was ‘equality of what?’… Read the rest

Palin Ditches Job Amid Confusion, Criticism *

Jul 25th, 2009 | Filed by

The desire not to be a lame duck of dead fish hasn’t quite satisfied Alaskans.… Read the rest

Max Dunbar Reviews Karen Armstrong *

Jul 25th, 2009 | Filed by

Armstrong seems to associate all transcendent and mystical activity with religious faith.… Read the rest