Archive for July 2009

Unscientific America and the ‘New’ Atheists

Jul 11th, 2009 | By P Z Myers

To return to Unscientific America again, I hardly touched on chapter 8, where they express their dismay at those uppity “New Atheists”. I am not going to address his personal criticisms of me — there’s no point, you obviously know I think he’s completely wrong, and the uncharitable will simply claim my disagreement is the result of a personal animus — so instead I’m only going to address a couple of other general points that Mooney and Kirshenbaum get completely wrong. They plainly do not understand the atheist position, and make claims that demonstrate that either they didn’t read any of the “New Atheist’s” books, or perhaps the simple ideas in them are too far beyond their comprehension.

This is … Read the rest

Padraig Reidy on Ireland’s Blasphemy Law *

Jul 10th, 2009 | Filed by

If it causes outrage to enough people, it’s blasphemy. … Read the rest

Religion, Science and the New Atheists *

Jul 10th, 2009 | Filed by

Conflict is at the heart of intellectual inquiry. When one side must pussyfoot around, inquiry is stymied.… Read the rest

How Science Journalism Works *

Jul 10th, 2009 | Filed by

Science journalist writes a careful article, editor guts and re-writes it and introduces mistakes.… Read the rest

Bishops Defend ‘Free Speech’ Right *

Jul 10th, 2009 | Filed by

To criticize ‘homosexual behavior.’ Also female behavior, black behavior, foreigner behavior?… Read the rest

Violence Against Afghan Women in Public Life *

Jul 10th, 2009 | Filed by

A society where rape is widespread and victims are more likely to receive punishment than perpetrators.… Read the rest

No Sex? No Food *

Jul 10th, 2009 | Filed by

An Afghan law which legalised rape has a new clause letting husbands starve their wives if they refuse to have sex.… Read the rest

Science is Also a Performing Art *

Jul 10th, 2009 | Filed by

A sublimely human activity and a central part of every culture that aspires to be more than a collection of subsistence breeders.… Read the rest

Letter to the Archbishop of Canterbury

Jul 10th, 2009 | By Eric S MacDonald

This letter was sent a week ago. The archbishop has had time to receive it and was informed that it will be published here.

Dear Archbishop Williams,

I have been trying for over two years to write this letter, and it never seems to come out right. Your recent
letter to the press, co-signed by Archbishop Nichols of Westminster and the Chief Rabbi of the United
Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth, Jonathan Sacks, spurred me on to bring this process to an
end. You will probably say, and with some justice, that you have more important things to consider, but
since what you said has led me to a settled distrust of all religion, I believe that you should at … Read the rest


Jul 10th, 2009 11:43 am | By

Does God hate women? Ooh, who would say such a thing? That’s disrespectful, and inflammatory, and evil, and crude.

An Afghan law which legalised rape has been sent back to parliament with a clause letting husbands starve their wives if they refuse to have sex…The women’s rights activist Wazhma Frough, who was involved in the review, said that conservative religious leaders had pressured the Justice Ministry to keep many of the most controversial clauses…”For example, if the wife doesn’t accept her husband’s sexual requirements then he can deny her food.” According to civil society groups, the law, which regulates the personal affairs of Afghanistan’s minority Shia community, still includes clauses which allow rapists to marry their victims as a way

Read the rest

Iran Solidarity *

Jul 9th, 2009 | Filed by

In June 2009 millions of people came out on to the streets of Iran for freedom and an end to the Islamic regime. … Read the rest

Dennett at the Cambridge Darwin-and-faith Bash *

Jul 9th, 2009 | Filed by

‘You keep saying this is an interdisciplinary effort—evolutionary theology—but I am still waiting to be told what theology has to contribute to the effort.’… Read the rest

The Myth of a Monolithic China *

Jul 9th, 2009 | Filed by

The Communists incorporated the idea of Han unity into a Marxist ideology of progress.… Read the rest

Criminalizing Criticism of Religion [pdf] *

Jul 9th, 2009 | Filed by

A growing punitive trend that is introducing new speech bans into national
criminal codes.… Read the rest

Ireland: Blasphemy Law a Backward Step *

Jul 9th, 2009 | Filed by

The proposed law incentivises outrage and it criminalises free speech.… Read the rest

Appeals Court Strikes Down ‘Plan B’ Rules *

Jul 9th, 2009 | Filed by

Federal judge overreached in siding with religious-freedom arguments over sale of Plan B.… Read the rest


Jul 8th, 2009 12:54 pm | By

Update: Thursday evening: that part could well just be Kwokkian fabulation. In other words, bullshit. Sheril isn’t entirely clear about it, but I think that’s what she’s saying. If I learn more, I’ll say more.

Oh gee, I was just a little premature with that. I was unaware that Kwok had claimed that Sheril Kirshenbaum herself had fed him an article about me (the recent Observer article). So it’s not just a matter of passively failing to remove comments including one that calls me a bitch, it’s a matter of actively helping the notoriously (and widely-banned) obsessive and vituperative and out of control John Kwok. They turn out to be bottom-feeders. I’m a little stunned…… Read the rest

Standards in triplicate

Jul 8th, 2009 12:28 pm | By

A small and trivial sub-point, that is nevertheless interesting because of what it seems to reveal about agendas and motivations and…scruples, or the lack of them. Chris Mooney yesterday told his readers he had deleted a comment and asked commenters to keep it substantive – ‘no personal attacks.’ Since then the notorious John Kwok has continued a stream of posts directed at me, which are as personal as anyone could wish for, including calling me a bitch. There they sit, unremoved, while Kwok adds more and more. Ho hum.… Read the rest

The Burka is a Cloth Soaked in Blood *

Jul 8th, 2009 | Filed by

Muslim women in the west who talk about choosing to wear the hijab implicitly dismiss the struggles of their sisters elsewhere.… Read the rest

Pope Warns of Dangers of New Medicines *

Jul 8th, 2009 | Filed by

Also warns of danger that atheism poses to ‘spiritual freedom.’… Read the rest