Archive for March 2010

Johann Hari on Religious Support for Evil *

Mar 19th, 2010 | Filed by

Enforced ‘respect’ extends beyond religious ideas to religious institutions – even when they commit horrendous crimes.… Read the rest

Dennett and LaScola Study of Nonbelieving Clergy *

Mar 19th, 2010 | Filed by

‘Don’t you think a God could come up with a better plan than that?’ Why yes, as a matter of fact.… Read the rest

The Unseen Unknowable Has No Place in Science *

Mar 19th, 2010 | Filed by

When reason gets uncomfortably close, that’s when the desperate appeal to fuzzy thinking starts.… Read the rest

I knew I was not a cow, a chattel

Mar 18th, 2010 6:08 pm | By

In Ethiopia, men grab little girls, rape them and then marry them. The little girls don’t like it.

even though she was eight years old, she suspected at once what was happening. She had heard whispers that, when a girl is considered ready for marriage, a man will seize her, and rape her, and then she must serve him for the rest of her life. “That was the culture,” she says. But it wasn’t her culture: like all the other little girls, she didn’t want it. “I started screaming and tried to run out of the hut,” she says…She was taken back to his home, held down in front of his family, raped, and taken to be married the

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That was then, this is now

Mar 18th, 2010 12:20 pm | By

The pope is not a modernist, nor is he any kind of pluralist. He is not one to think that morality improves over time.

When he was crowned Pope nearly five years ago, Benedict promised to clean up the Church. He would not be a showman Pope like John Paul II, he would not flog himself around the world addressing huge stadiums. The Church under his guidance would not have expansiveness as its goal, but purification.

He had a reformist phase in his youth, but he got over it.

…around 1968, he rejected all that and became a counter-revolutionary warrior, dedicated to liberating the Church from trendy nonsense and restoring the purity which he saw the reform movement as

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Russell Blackford on Evolution and Morality *

Mar 18th, 2010 | Filed by

Our evolved psychology may impose limits on what real-world moral systems can realistically demand of us.… Read the rest

‘The Decent People of Armagh’ Applaud Brady *

Mar 18th, 2010 | Filed by

‘It was a different era back then and a lot of things happened that shouldn’t.’ Eh? But morality is absolute!… Read the rest

Pope Promised Purification of the Church *

Mar 18th, 2010 | Filed by

But events of recent weeks suggest that corruption is rooted close to its heart. … Read the rest

Race Relations at UC San Diego *

Mar 18th, 2010 | Filed by

First there was the ‘Compton Cookout’ to mock Black History Month – then there was the noose…… Read the rest

Johann Hari on Rape-Marriage in Ethiopia *

Mar 18th, 2010 | Filed by

She was 8. A stranger raped her, then married her the next day. She ran away but was sent back. Multiply.… Read the rest

Polluting Australia

Mar 17th, 2010 5:49 pm | By

The usual – the Australian media are united in their scorn and loathing for atheists – at least for atheists who actually collect in one spot to talk about atheism. I don’t suppose the united Australian media pour scorn on people who collect in one spot to talk about theism – in, you know, churches and mosques and similar – but atheists doing that are an affront to all decent people.

Honestly, I must be clueless; I keep being surprised by the level of unreasonable hostility, distortion and plain rage people allow themselves to express about something that ought to be as ordinary as milk. Clearly it really isn’t permissible, except purely formally, to be overtly and explicitly atheist … Read the rest

No Foreign Sperm for Turkish Women *

Mar 17th, 2010 | Filed by

Women who seek sperm or egg transplant abroad can face one to three years in prison.… Read the rest

Turkey Threatens to Expel 100,000 Armenians *

Mar 17th, 2010 | Filed by

Nobody accuses us of genocide and gets away with it. Just ask Hrant Dink.… Read the rest

Victims React to Brady’s Apology *

Mar 17th, 2010 | Filed by

‘The notion of careful reflection is nonsense – he’s had 35 years to reflect on what he did then.’… Read the rest

Barney Zwartz Gives Atheists Some Free Advice *

Mar 17th, 2010 | Filed by

Be less strident, less dogmatic, more humble.… Read the rest

Brady Apologizes for ‘Asking’ Children to Shut Up *

Mar 17th, 2010 | Filed by

BBC keeps saying children were ‘asked’ to sign vow of silence. Victims say they were made to sign.… Read the rest

Religious Belief Cannot Trump Gender Equality *

Mar 17th, 2010 | Filed by

Tension between gender equality and religious rights in rulings by Quebec’s human rights commission.… Read the rest

Andrew Brown on Why Brady Must Go *

Mar 17th, 2010 | Filed by

It’s moral luck. He was a small cog at the time, but justice demands that he go now.… Read the rest

Oh and by the way new atheists are evil yeah?

Mar 16th, 2010 4:17 pm | By

Michael Ruse did a piece on God and morality for Comment is Free Belief and talked sense for nine paragraphs, then in the tenth and last went completely random and gratuitous and childish.

God is dead. The new atheists think that that is a significant finding. In this, as in just about everything else, they are completely mistaken. God is dead. Morality has no foundation. Long live morality. Thank goodness!

Stupid, isn’t it. Frightful man – always spoiling for a fight. Everyone says he’s like that in real life, too.… Read the rest

Robes and furr’d gowns hide all

Mar 16th, 2010 3:46 pm | By

Hitchens doesn’t altogether see things the way Damian Thompson does.

On March 10, the chief exorcist of the Vatican, the Rev. Gabriele Amorth (who has held this demanding post for 25 years), was quoted as saying that “the Devil is at work inside the Vatican,” and that “when one speaks of ‘the smoke of Satan’ in the holy rooms, it is all true—including these latest stories of violence and pedophilia.” This can perhaps be taken as confirmation that something horrible has indeed been going on in the holy precincts, though most inquiries show it to have a perfectly good material explanation.

I had the same thought when I saw the exorcist piece. The Devil is at work inside … Read the rest