Archive for 2010

Gita Sahgal Publishes a Statement *

Feb 7th, 2010 | Filed by

Defence of the torture standard has been allied to political legitimization of individuals and organisations on the Islamic Right. … Read the rest

Richard Bartholomew on Gita Sahgal *

Feb 7th, 2010 | Filed by

Amnesty has suspended her in the wake of the article.… Read the rest

Gita Sahgal and Amnesty International *

Feb 7th, 2010 | Filed by

Sahgal suggests AI supports Begg and Cageprisoners out of fear of being branded racist and ‘Islamophobic.’… Read the rest

The Role of Program Code in Climate Research *

Feb 7th, 2010 | Filed by

We really do need to be sure that we’re not getting any of our sums wrong.… Read the rest

The People Speak on Autism and MMR *

Feb 7th, 2010 | Filed by

My kids aren’t vaccinated and they don’t have autism. Explain that, smarty! [The Onion]… Read the rest

As Close as Private Eye Gets to a Mea Culpa? *

Feb 7th, 2010 | Filed by

For its ‘largely uncritical and unquestioning adherence to the Andrew Wakefield school of junk science.’… Read the rest

Ben Goldacre on the Wakefield MMR Verdict *

Feb 7th, 2010 | Filed by

Wakefield is being blamed by journalists as if he were the only one at fault; the media are equally guilty. … Read the rest

Jesus and Mo on the Moderate Majority *

Feb 7th, 2010 | Filed by

A graceful job of moving the goalposts.… Read the rest

Amnesty International and Cageprisoners

Feb 7th, 2010 | By Gita Sahgal

This morning the Sunday Times published an article about Amnesty International’s association with groups that support the Taliban and promote Islamic Right ideas. In that article, I was quoted as raising concerns about Amnesty’s very high profile associations with Guantanamo-detainee Moazzam Begg. I felt that Amnesty International was risking its reputation by associating itself with Begg, who heads an organization, Cageprisoners, that actively promotes Islamic Right ideas and individuals.

Within a few hours of the article being published, Amnesty had suspended me from my job.

A moment comes, which comes but rarely in history, when a great organisation must ask: if it lies to itself, can it demand the truth of others? For in defending the torture standard, one of … Read the rest

Drive-by insults

Feb 6th, 2010 4:48 pm | By

Andrew Brown does love to yank the chain of non-believers.

Judges are paid to discriminate among prisoners before them, and to distinguish those for whom prison is the right treatment from everyone else. Defendants of otherwise good character should obviously get different sentences to habitual recidivists. The real disagreement is whether being a devout Muslim (or Christian) is in itself a sign of good character. Cherie Booth seems to be arguing that it is, though less important than his previously spotless record.

Right, Cherie Booth seems to be arguing that it is, and by implication that its absence is a sign of bad character, or else why mention it at all? She didn’t say ‘you have a spotless record … Read the rest

Taliban Blow Up Girls’ School in NW Pakistan *

Feb 6th, 2010 | Filed by

They are opposed to girls’ education.… Read the rest

Mary Midgley Sets ‘Neo-Darwnists’ Straight *

Feb 6th, 2010 | Filed by

She’s still fretting about the metaphors.… Read the rest

Ethnomathematics *

Feb 6th, 2010 | Filed by

Yes, really.… Read the rest

Girl Buried Alive and Awake for Talking to Boys *

Feb 6th, 2010 | Filed by

Medine Memi was found in a sitting position with her hands tied, in a small hole dug outside her home.… Read the rest

Enlightenment, Yes *

Feb 6th, 2010 | Filed by

The counter-Enlightenment was really the anti-Enlightenment.… Read the rest

Skepticism is not Enough *

Feb 6th, 2010 | Filed by

David Mikics finds Derrida most instructive in his failure to move from doubt to any feasible ethics or politics.… Read the rest

This confusion of the epistemic with the political

Feb 5th, 2010 4:58 pm | By

Jerry Coyne and Orac have commented on Chris Mooney’s article on how to deal with anti-vaxxers but I’ll just add a thought.

Mooney asks what it would take to make the “vaccine-autism debate” (which isn’t a real debate) go away.

A Lancet retraction isn’t going to do it, that’s for sure. For vaccine skeptics, that’s just more evidence of corruption and collusion in the medical establishment. Indeed, I doubt any individual scientific development has the strength to move these folks—because we aren’t dealing with a phenomenon that’s scientific in nature.

Quite right; we’re dealing with irrational immovable conviction. What to do?

Instead, I believe we need some real attempts at bridge-building between medical institutions—which, let’s admit it, can often seem

Read the rest

No ripples on the pond

Feb 5th, 2010 2:23 pm | By

Chris Mooney is seeking suggestions for his new gig.

I may as well make clear I am not going into this with the goal of having big arguments with leading New Atheists about science and religion.My position on this topic is well known…

No of course not – arguments are never what he wants. What he wants is to say what’s what, and have everybody listen quietly and nod soberly and say ‘Good idea, I never thought of it that way, I shall put your suggestions into effect immediately.’ He’s not at all interested in what people who don’t agree with him say. And if his position on this topic is not well known, that’s certainly not his fault, because … Read the rest

The place for a woman is either at home or in the grave

Feb 5th, 2010 2:15 pm | By

Pakistan. A 13-year-old girl.

My brother used to tell me that the place for a woman is either at home or in the grave. I was always restricted to home. He said: “If you leave the house I’ll cut off your head and put it on your chest.” My brother had been to the local school and beaten the girls and the teachers. He said anyone who wanted to study was a friend of America. I wanted to be a doctor. I wanted it so much that once I dreamt I was sitting in a hospital, working as a doctor. I wanted to help the poor, those who cannot afford medical fees.

Oh no – that’s not what her … Read the rest

Life With the Taliban *

Feb 5th, 2010 | Filed by

‘My brother used to tell me that the place for a woman is either at home or in the grave.’… Read the rest