This is your brain on metaphors *

Nov 15th, 2010 | Filed by

Robert Sapolsky on how the brain links the literal and the metaphorical.… Read the rest

Aung San Suu Kyi aims for peaceful revolution *

Nov 15th, 2010 | Filed by

She told the BBC she hopes for a non-violent end to military rule.… Read the rest

Cathy Grossman compares atheists to Fred Phelps *

Nov 15th, 2010 | Filed by

Atheists note hateful passages in the bible, therefore, atheists are comparable to Westboro Baptists.… Read the rest

Tony Blair says religion must have a place in politics *

Nov 15th, 2010 | Filed by
The religious dimension of politics cannot be ignored because it is a reality that must be accommodated, he said.… Read the rest

Talking to Hitchens

Nov 14th, 2010 5:46 pm | By

Some great stuff in Andrew Anthony’s long interview with Hitchens.

In America it’s been suggested by some religious types that his condition could prompt a revision of his atheism. It’s not a hypothesis to which he grants much respect.

“So now I know that there’s another life in my body that can’t outlive me but can kill me, it’s the perfect moment to gratefully acknowledge that I’m a product of a cosmic design? Who thinks up these arguments? Actually it’s an insulting question: ‘I hear you’re dying. Well wouldn’t it be a good time to get rid of your beliefs?’ Try it on them and see how they would like it. ‘Christian, right? Cancer of the tits?’ ‘Well, yes,

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Jesus and Mo tease the barmaid *

Nov 14th, 2010 | Filed by

Faithy-waithy faith-head, na na na na na.… Read the rest

Hearing from Tiresias

Nov 14th, 2010 1:17 pm | By

The old Tiresias trick comes in handy sometimes. The neurobiologist Ben Barres started out as Barbara, and he reports on what it’s like to be an intelligent woman.

The top science and math student in her New Jersey high school, she was advised by her guidance counselor to go to a local college rather than apply to MIT. She applied anyway and was admitted.As an MIT undergraduate, Barbara was one of the only women in a large math class, and the only student to solve a particularly tough problem. The professor “told me my boyfriend must have solved it for me,” recalls Prof. Barres…

Although Barbara Barres was a top student at MIT, “nearly every lab head I asked

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Former woman on women in science *

Nov 14th, 2010 | Filed by

Prof. Barres’s experience suggests that if women are less competitive, it is because that trait has been beaten out of them.… Read the rest

Andrew Anthony talks to Christopher Hitchens *

Nov 14th, 2010 | Filed by

He’s said before that his life is his writing, but perhaps it would be more accurate to say that his life is an argument in which writing takes the lead role.… Read the rest

Afghanistan: a girl dares to go to school *

Nov 14th, 2010 | Filed by

She wants to be a politician. The neighbors call her venomous names.… Read the rest

Mona Eltahawy on Saudi Arabia and women *

Nov 14th, 2010 | Filed by

Once again, women are the cheapest bargaining chips, thrown on the table to silence and appease allies and “major donors.”… Read the rest

Ten paces in each direction

Nov 13th, 2010 6:55 pm | By

What’s Karl Giberson talking about?

He’s saying gnu atheists are wrong to say that religious believers are stuck in the past and unable to change. Then he says there are some religious believers like that, but there are some clueless non-religious people, too. Then he says that some of the religious believers who refuse to accept scientific findings that they don’t like are educated but just don’t want to accept scientific findings for religious reasons.

Oh. So…how is that not what gnu atheists say? How does what Giberson says show that gnu atheists are wrong to say that? Here’s how he explains believers’ reasons for saying no thanks to parts of science:

Mohler is educated and does not hold

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The devil is the latest thing

Nov 13th, 2010 12:12 pm | By

The US Catholic church is giving the gnu atheists support for their claim that science and religion are not epistemically compatible. Very obliging and civil of them, I must say.

There are only a handful of priests in the country trained as exorcists, but they say they are overwhelmed with requests from people who fear they are possessed by the Devil.

Now, American bishops are holding a conference on Friday and Saturday to prepare more priests and bishops to respond to the demand. The purpose is not necessarily to revive the practice, the organizers say, but to help Catholic clergy members learn how to distinguish who really needs an exorcism from who really needs a psychiatrist, or perhaps some pastoral

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Exorcism revival for US Catholics *

Nov 13th, 2010 | Filed by

Bishops are holding a conference to help priests learn to distinguish who really needs an exorcism from who really needs a psychiatrist.… Read the rest

Aung San Suu Kyi released from house arrest *

Nov 13th, 2010 | Filed by

Her release comes six days after the political party supported by the military won Burma’s first election in 20 years.… Read the rest

Blogger Walid Husayin arrested for “heresy” *

Nov 12th, 2010 | Filed by

He is suspected of posting “atheistic rants” on English and Arabic blogs and creating three Facebook groups where he spoofed the Koran.… Read the rest

Walid Husayin could get life in prison for atheism *

Nov 12th, 2010 | Filed by

He lives in the West Bank, and he said rude things about Islam on Facebook…until the authorities found him.… Read the rest

Woman topples Orthodox law disinheriting her *

Nov 12th, 2010 | Filed by

Her parents left her their house, but her brother – the first-born son of an Orthodox rabbi – claimed the religious right to lock her out.… Read the rest

Gentlemen: declare your agenda

Nov 12th, 2010 1:41 pm | By

There are a couple of indignant people replying to my and others’ comments on Charles Freeman’s reply to James Hannam at the New Humanist. They are indignant about my claims about the Templeton connections and possible agenda of some of the historians who write about Science ‘n’ Religion. One uses the pseudonym “Thiudareiks,” which is Theodoric in Saxon or Old German or something, so I don’t know anything about that one. But the other is one Humphrey Clarke, who…

has a long admiring review of the very book at issue at a blog called Quodlibeta, or Bede’s Journal. Who else blogs there? Why…

James Hannam, that’s who. So far Humphrey Clarke hasn’t bothered mentioning that fact. Ho hum.… Read the rest

Offensive to or deviations from

Nov 12th, 2010 1:24 pm | By

Is Indonesia a beacon of free speech and open discussion? Not exactly.

…just seven months ago, Indonesia’s highest court issued a landmark ruling widely considered to be a major setback to speech and religious rights. The Constitutional Court upheld the constitutionality of Indonesia’s Blasphemy Act, which criminalizes speech or acts considered offensive to government-approved religions as well as “deviations from teachings of religion considered fundamental by scholars of the relevant religion.”

So if someone should say that Mohammed was actually a very liberal feminist kind of guy who never said that women should be beaten for disobedience…that would be a crime in Indonesia? Interesting.

The Blasphemy Act provides for both civil and criminal penalties for those who insult approved religions

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