Vatican plays down pope’s condom remarks *

Nov 21st, 2010 | Filed by

Vatican spokesman Fr Federico Lombardi said it was a big fuss about nothing.… Read the rest

Vatican rushes to clarify pope’s condom remark *

Nov 21st, 2010 | Filed by

He didn’t mean that. All he meant was. Fixation. Disordered sex. Courageously, important contribution, clarifying and deepening.… Read the rest

The vote on amendment to UN resolution *

Nov 20th, 2010 | Filed by

For: China, Russia, most of Africa, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, Bangladesh, Iran, Iraq. Against: Europe, Anglophones, India, most of Latin America.… Read the rest

UN: gays deleted from resolution against arbitrary killings *

Nov 20th, 2010 | Filed by

In 2008, Uganda attempted a similar amendment that was defeated, so the vote this week was a step backwards.… Read the rest

Mormons say it’s not a sin to be gay *

Nov 20th, 2010 | Filed by

The church still insists that followers resist having gay sex and they oppose same-sex marriage, but this is a step.… Read the rest

There will be happiness, though muted

Nov 20th, 2010 5:02 pm | By

So a lawyer (male) writes to a judge (female) about possibly needing a brief recess in an upcoming trial because his “beautiful daughter, married and with a doctorate no less” was about to produce a baby.

Should the child be a girl, not much will happen in the way of public celebration. Some may even be disappointed, but will do their best to conceal this by saying, “as long as it’s a healthy baby.” My wife will run to Philly immediately, but I will probably be able to wait until the next weekend. There will be happiness, though muted, and this application will be mooted as well.

However, should the baby be a boy, then hoo hah! Hordes of friends

Read the rest

Marc Alan Di Martino reviews Why Truth Matters *

Nov 20th, 2010 | Filed by

An essential guide to the perplexities of postmodernism.… Read the rest

Algerian victims of armed fundamentalism

Nov 20th, 2010 11:57 am | By

The Letter to the Center for Constitutional Rights makes some compelling points.

The Center for Constitutional Rights was the only human rights organization to support the victims of fundamentalist armed groups as it did in the case brought by Rhonda Copelon against Anouar Haddam [spokesman of the Islamic Salvation Front],while other human rights organisations ignored these victims and abandoned them, on the ground that they were not victims of the state but of non state actors.

That state of affairs would seem to risk creating an impression that victimization by non state actors is somehow less bad than the other kind. Non state actors can still be highly organized and effective, as everyone knows.

Today, CCR is betraying these same

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Barbara Forrest on pro-science Louisianans *

Nov 20th, 2010 | Filed by

Louisiana has citizens who are trying to stop the damage that the Louisiana Family Forum and their allies are doing to Louisiana science education.… Read the rest

Fickle Politics and the fear of a Hindutva planet *

Nov 20th, 2010 | Filed by

Gradually Hindutvaism became the cause célèbre of the trendy left liberal intelligentsia in parts of the Guardian and the New Statesman.… Read the rest

Why CCR sued to represent Awlaki *

Nov 20th, 2010 | Filed by

CCR Legal Director explains, but his characterization of Awlaki is incomplete.… Read the rest

SIAWI Letter to the Center for Constitutional Rights *

Nov 20th, 2010 | Filed by

Do you only defend Muslims when it is the American government that threatens them, and not when Muslim fanatics do?… Read the rest

WLUML statement on Asia Bibi *

Nov 20th, 2010 | Filed by

Pakistan: Ensure the safety of Asia Bibi and her family and repeal Pakistan’s Blasphemy Laws.… Read the rest

Tragic end of a sock puppet

Nov 19th, 2010 5:43 pm | By

A sock puppet goes to jail.

A lawyer was sentenced Thursday to six months in jail after being convicted of an ultramodern crime that was all about antiquity: using online aliases to harass people in an academic debate about the Dead Sea Scrolls.

Oh gosh, who would use online aliases to harass people in an academic debate? I never heard of such a thing.

Prosecutors said Golb crossed the line between discourse and crime by using fake e-mail accounts and writing blog posts under assumed names to discredit detractors of his father, a scholar. Golb said the writings amounted to pointed parody and academic whistle-blowing that he felt were protected by free-speech rights.

Oh yes? There’s a free speech right … Read the rest

Sock puppet gets six months in jail *

Nov 19th, 2010 | Filed by

He sent emails in someone else’s name, admitting to plagiarism; claimed to think that was “parody, irony, satire.”… Read the rest

Israel: “bastard clause” de-fathers infant *

Nov 19th, 2010 | Filed by

The law forbids a woman to remarry for at least 90 days after being divorced or widowed.… Read the rest

Johann Hari on religion and cruelty *

Nov 19th, 2010 | Filed by

No, we don’t respect your desire to needlessly torment animals because some hallucinating desert nomads did it centuries ago.… Read the rest

Jesus and Mo go for a drive *

Nov 19th, 2010 | Filed by

Mo’s peripheral vision is not what it might be.… Read the rest

The instruments of torture *

Nov 19th, 2010 | Filed by

Jerry Coyne visits the Palace of the Inquisition in Cartagena, and takes pictures. Warning: graphic horrors.… Read the rest

How Ronald Numbers reports an incident

Nov 18th, 2010 4:49 pm | By

I’ve learned a bit about Ronald Numbers now, and what I’ve learned does not make me inclined to respect him.

I’m reading a little book from Yale University Press, The Religion and Science Debate: Why Does it Continue? (2009). Essays by Kenneth Miller and Alvin Plantinga among others – and by Ronald Numbers. His essay is called “Aggressors, Victims, and Peacemakers.” One of the peacemakers is, of all people, Michael Ruse. Michael Ruse! Ruse is notoriously belligerent and rude; he prides himself on it, he boasts of it, he preens himself on it. Numbers illustrates Ruse’s peacemaker qualities by telling us about an email exchange he had with Daniel Dennett – but he does so in a totally misleading way.… Read the rest