Archive for November 2010

The Independent on Hitchens v Blair *

Nov 28th, 2010 | Filed by

To make sure that religion is indeed a positive force, Blair teaches about it at Yale.… Read the rest



The Guardian on Hitchens v Blair *

Nov 28th, 2010 | Filed by

Hitchens landed “blow after blow, many of them decidedly low – especially those about circumcision or women’s rights.” Eh?… Read the rest



Transcript of Hitchens-Blair debate *

Nov 27th, 2010 | Filed by

Blair points out that “there are many situations in which wrong has been done, without religion playing any part in it at all.”… Read the rest



Polygamy in Canada Should Remain Illegal

Nov 27th, 2010 | By Homa Arjomand

Polygamy is illegal in Canada but to date no one has been arrested or faced the consequences for being in a polygamist relationship.  This inaction has led to no enforcement of the law.  Such policies allow polygamist families to legally enter Canada by declaring the first wife as the legal wife and the second, third and fourth “wives” as dependents along with their children. Young girls are pushed into polygamy relationships by the leaders of their parents’ religion.  A wave of women involved in polygamy fled from Bountiful (BC) and presented their case publicly.  Books and articles were written by these brave women.  They discussed the effects of polygamy on their lives and their children, they talked about women’s oppression, … Read the rest



I decided I wanted to see the beautiful colors of life

Nov 27th, 2010 5:01 pm | By

Ever pondered what it’s actually like to wear a niqab?

“I had to wear the full niqab when I was 8 years old,” she says of the face veil worn by women here. “I couldn’t breathe. I saw the world in dark colors. I fell down because I couldn’t see when I walked. Men should put this on for one day. They would change their thinking. They don’t know how horrible it is under sun, heat and sweat. It’s a kind of torture. I decided I wanted to see the beautiful colors of life — red, blue, green. Not black.”

It’s like what you think it’s like. It’s horribly hot and uncomfortable. It impedes your vision and makes you … Read the rest



The most sacred thing

Nov 27th, 2010 1:41 pm | By

In other news, a teenage girl was arrested for burning a booklet. The booklet was a translation of the Koran, so she was arrested “on suspicion of inciting religious hatred.” She wasn’t sent to have a talk with the head teacher, she was arrested. She is currently out on bail.

Catherine Heseltine, chief executive officer of the Muslim Public Affairs Committee, said burning the Koran was one of the most offensive acts to Muslims that she could imagine.

She said: “The Koran is the most sacred thing to over a billion Muslims worldwide.”

“You can see that in the way Muslims treat the Koran, washing before touching it and in many Muslim homes you will find it on

Read the rest



Yemen: a barefaced advocate for women’s rights *

Nov 27th, 2010 | Filed by

“I couldn’t breathe. I saw the world in dark colors. I decided I wanted to see the beautiful colors of life — red, blue, green. Not black.”… Read the rest



UK: girl, 15, arrested over Koran-burning video *

Nov 27th, 2010 | Filed by

She was arrested “on suspicion of inciting religious hatred.”… Read the rest



Officers would be likely to be alarmed

Nov 27th, 2010 12:47 pm | By

Apparently in the UK it’s illegal to make “offensive” comments about Allah. I wonder if that law applies to “offensive” comments about God too – they are supposed to be the same man, after all, even if Malaysians are forbidden to use the first word to mean the second unless they are Muslims.

A man has been fined for making offensive comments about Allah during the English Defence League protest in Leicester.Lee Whitby was found guilty of using racially aggravated abusive words during the protest in the city centre on Saturday, October 9.

Alexandra Blossom, prosecuting, said the comments made were bound to cause harassment, alarm or distress because of Leicester’s multicultural society and the fact the words

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£415 fine for “offensive comments” about Allah *

Nov 27th, 2010 | Filed by

Prosecutor said the comments were bound to cause harassment, alarm or distress because of Leicester’s multicultural society.… Read the rest



Hitchens defeats Blair in audience vote *

Nov 27th, 2010 | Filed by

Blair talked the usual wool, Hitchens noted the usual difficulties.… Read the rest



PZ on GQ and “Jerry’s Kids” *

Nov 27th, 2010 | Filed by

We get a throw-away gimmick of having smart people stand next to popular entertainers, as if glitz were infectious.… Read the rest



Iran is about to execute Shahla Jaahed *

Nov 26th, 2010 | Filed by

Shahla is one of many victims of a misogynist and tyrannical regime.… Read the rest



Believers are desperate for atheist approval *

Nov 26th, 2010 | Filed by

They think their religion is a special snowflake.… Read the rest



HRW on rights abuse in Western Sahara *

Nov 26th, 2010 | Filed by

Moroccan security forces repeatedly beat and abused people they detained following disturbances on November 8, 2010 in El-Ayoun.… Read the rest



Jesus and Mo throw a party

Nov 26th, 2010 | Filed by

But attendance is sparse.… Read the rest



Salman Rushdie in conversation with Maria Tatar *

Nov 26th, 2010 | Filed by

The scholar of folklore talks to “the powerful creator of a new syncretic mythology that offers an alternative to the clash of civilizations.”… Read the rest



UK: plan to measure national well-being *

Nov 25th, 2010 | Filed by

Potential indicators include how people view their own health, levels of education, inequalities in income and the environment.… Read the rest



Facebook wants to trademark the word “face” *

Nov 25th, 2010 | Filed by

Face! Face face face face face face. Face face face face face. Face. Come and get me.… Read the rest



See those abs? Buy these cigarettes.

Nov 25th, 2010 2:53 pm | By

And since I’m revisiting things, I’ll revisit another one: the make science look cool by putting random guys in photos with rappers thing.

(Disclaimer: I don’t object to the thing itself; it probably doesn’t actually hurt anything; I object to treating it as a serious way to improve Murkans’ attitude to science.)

Here’s what I hate about the whole idea: it is about manipulation instead of argument or persuasion. It has, by design, no substance at all. It’s openly and proudly just a stupid advertsingy “look at this and feel like this so buy this” type of item. I hate that kind of crap, and I especially hate it when it infiltrates areas that are or should be all Read the rest