Archive for October 2009

Shuggy on ‘Postmodern Theology’ *

Oct 17th, 2009 | Filed by

Funny that Paul took so many days off from apophatic theology.… Read the rest

‘I Feel the Children Will Later Suffer’ *

Oct 17th, 2009 | Filed by

A Louisiana justice of the peace refused to issue a marriage license to an interracial couple.… Read the rest

What the Vatican will allow us to say

Oct 17th, 2009 11:34 am | By

A priest who works for something called ‘the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace’ doesn’t like the way secularists use the word ‘tolerance’. He says that ‘neutrality toward world views cannot be truly tolerant and respectful’ – which could be because he is inflating ‘tolerant’ to mean ‘respectful’ and ‘respectful’ to mean ‘obedient’ or ‘groveling’ or ‘slavish.’

When secularized citizens act in their role as citizens, they must [not] deny in principle that religious images of the world have the potential to express truth.

Ah yes – you’d like that, wouldn’t you. You’d like us to stop – when acting in our role as citizens, which presumably means doing anything at all public, such as writing for magazines or … Read the rest

In the shadows

Oct 16th, 2009 5:17 pm | By

Oh dear, poor Tony Blair.

A couple of days ago Matthew Parris went to visit the bones of St Thérèse of Lisieux which are paying a neighborly visit to Westminster Cathedral. It was all very festive.

Already there was a near-carnival atmosphere surrounding the bones. A temporary fish-and-chips stall had sprung up beside a smoothies-and-coffee tent.

And that’s not the only treat.

Next, a big notice. “The Plenary Indulgence … A plenary indulgence is the complete remission of the temporal punishment due to sin.” Apparently Pope Benedict has declared a special grant of indulgences to pilgrims to these relics at Westminster. “One plenary indulgence may be gained each day and may be applied either to a soul in Purgatory

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Two Die at Arizona ‘Spiritual Retreat’ *

Oct 16th, 2009 | Filed by

The resort offers colon cleansing, healing by harnessing the consciousness of a dolphin, ‘vortex experiences.’… Read the rest

ASA Upholds Complaint Against Danone Ad *

Oct 16th, 2009 | Filed by

Viewer challenged the claim that Actimel was ‘scientifically proven to help support your kids’ defences.’… Read the rest

30 Republicans Vote Against Rape Amendment *

Oct 16th, 2009 | Filed by

Government has no business telling corporations not to force employees to sign away their rights!… Read the rest

Matthew Parris Visits the Relics of ‘St’ Thérèse *

Oct 16th, 2009 | Filed by

And there he bumps into Tony Blair.… Read the rest

There Should Never, Ever Be an Ayn Rand Revival *

Oct 16th, 2009 | Filed by

All bargains in a market system are characterised by an information deficit on one side or the other.… Read the rest

An Open Letter to Sen. Jeff Sessions and the 29 Other Male Republican Senators

Oct 16th, 2009 | By Phil Molé

Dear Male Senators:

All of you recently heard testimony about the case of Jamie Leigh Jones, a young woman who was sexually assaulted in 2005. Ms. Jones had been working for defense contractor Halliburton/KBR in Baghdad, Iraq when she was drugged and raped by seven co-workers. After reporting her rape to the company, she was kept locked in a shipping container without food or water for approximately one day and warned that if she left Iraq to receive medical treatment, she would lose her job.

Halliburton later informed Ms. Jones that her employment contract prohibited her from bringing sexual assault charges to court, and would require her to settle her complaints through private arbitration. Although the 5th Circuit Court of … Read the rest

What is interesting and what is not

Oct 15th, 2009 5:26 pm | By

Another thought from Tom Clark on supernaturalism.

If one takes the “ontological features” of consciousness, free agency, rationality, and moral knowledge to be fundamental to reality – as resident in an all powerful God – then of course it’s no surprise that God’s favored creations should also possess such features. But absent independent evidence-based reasons to believe in God, and given competing naturalistic explanations that meet high standards of coherence, verifiability, transparency and simplicity, Moreland’s supernatural hypothesis has little appeal for those wanting to know how things really work. It’s their evidential and methodological constraints that make naturalistic explanations worth pursuing, and it’s the lack of such constraints that makes the supernatural hypothesis facile, uninteresting and ultimately empty.

That’s … Read the rest

Open Parachute on 50 Voices of Disbelief *

Oct 15th, 2009 | Filed by

Defending science, respect, sensitivity of religious belief, defending scientific epistemology, and more.… Read the rest

The BCA Accusation Could End the Case *

Oct 15th, 2009 | Filed by

If Singh accuses the BCA of defamation they will have to justify their allegation as a fact.… Read the rest

Phil Plait on Weird News in the Singh Case *

Oct 15th, 2009 | Filed by

The BCA quickly removed the defamatory accusation from its press release, but it’s still out there.… Read the rest

Good News for Scientific Inquiry and Free Speech *

Oct 15th, 2009 | Filed by

Defeat for Singh would set a dangerous legal precedent, could deter others from exposing pseudoscience.… Read the rest

BCA Alleged Malice in Simon Singh Case *

Oct 15th, 2009 | Filed by

‘This is a shocking and serious (and indeed defamatory) accusation.’… Read the rest

BCA Claims Singh ‘Maliciously Attacked’ BCA *

Oct 15th, 2009 | Filed by

‘BCA would never seek to stifle legitimate open scientific debate.’ Oh obviously not.… Read the rest

Confound the Unbelievers

Oct 15th, 2009 | By Paula Cerni

Dinesh D’Souza is a bestselling conservative who in previous books has praised Ronald Reagan and blamed the left for 9/11.[1] In his latest he answers the atheists, humanists, materialists and rationalists who are knocking religion down. Why bother, if, as he believes, ‘God is the future, and atheism is on its way out’? (:11). Because, as he explains in a recent interview, atheism is for the first time a serious option for young Americans.[2]

The God option, on the other hand, involves thoroughly confusing one’s readers. Take for example the argument that moral laws are ‘absolute’. According to D’Souza, this corresponds to the Christian idea of heaven and hell, places where we will be measured against a common standard and … Read the rest

Leave Barry Manilow out of this

Oct 14th, 2009 12:58 pm | By

I was reading Tom Clark on the emptiness of supernaturalism and was prompted (not for the first time) to think about the idea of objective morality.

…it’s difficult, perhaps impossible, to find in impersonal Nature any sort of validation for our moral intuitions, intuitions which evolutionary accounts suggest had adaptive value, whether or not they reflect objective values. Yet we ordinarily suppose our moral norms do reflect something objective, something that’s independent of them but which they accurately reflect. This moral logic says murder is objectively and intrinsically wrong, period, so we’re right to strongly feel that it’s wrong.

We do strongly feel that murder is wrong, but that’s because we’re the kind of beings we are; a different kind … Read the rest

Simon Singh Wins Ruling in Libel Case *

Oct 14th, 2009 | Filed by

Eady’s decision reversed; had risked swinging the balance of rights too far against free speech.… Read the rest