Archive for 2010

My Jesus is bigger says Polish priest *

Nov 7th, 2010 | Filed by

He looks meaner, too.… Read the rest



Famous 900 foot Jesus appears in Polish town *

Nov 7th, 2010 | Filed by

Ok it’s 108 feet, but that’s close enough.… Read the rest



More news items

Nov 7th, 2010 9:22 am | By

Drat, the updating tool is misbehaving again, so I’ll post some News items here again.

Pope orders Spain to be more theocratic

No secularism, no gay marriage, plenty of incense and pointed hats.

Pope tells everyone what to do some more

Said children’s lives are “sacred and inviolable” but forgot to explain about protecting child-raping priests.… Read the rest



The closing of the Western mind

Nov 6th, 2010 5:27 pm | By

I’m reading Charles Freeman’s very interesting The Closing of the Western Mind, and in a nice bit of serendipity I happened on a long review he did of James Hannam’s God’s Philosophers at the New Humanist. Hannam is a Catholic and an apologist, and his book is apparently what one would expect from a Catholic apologist.

Yet for Hannam Catholic authority is never the problem. “However sympathetic we might be to his [Abelard’s] plight, the fact remains that he brought most of his problems on himself. His blatant hypocrisy and breathtaking arrogance ensured that he had a ready supply of enemies who were quite happy to see accusations of heresy to bring him down”. (P.59) Hannam has no understanding

Read the rest


New resource to confront misleading CAM claims *

Nov 6th, 2010 | Filed by

The Nightingale Collaboration seeks volunteers to help challenge misleading claims made by practitioners on websites and elsewhere.… Read the rest



Scientists Anonymous

Nov 6th, 2010 | By Allen Esterson

I recently chanced upon Scientists Anonymous: Great Stories of Women in Science (2005), by Patricia Fara, Senior Tutor and Director of Studies in History and Philosophy of Science, Clare College, Cambridge. Aside from her several popular books on science, Dr Fara is relatively well-known in the UK for her contributions to Melvyn Bragg’s BBC Radio 4 series “In Our Time”, on which she has featured on seven occasions in the years 2008-2010. Scientists Anonymous is published in the series Wizard Books (the children’s imprint of Icon Books), and is designed to be read by teenage schoolchildren. This to some extent dictates the style the author has chosen, and she succeeds in making it a very readable book.

As the title … Read the rest



Some things children should not be taught *

Nov 6th, 2010 | Filed by

Leaders at Soul Survivor meetings have told children that witch doctors can stunt the mental and physical capacities of children by cursing them.… Read the rest



Jerry Coyne reviews “What Technology Wants” *

Nov 6th, 2010 | Filed by

Technology is teleological, but evolution is not.… Read the rest



Hitchens on the phenomenology of cancer *

Nov 6th, 2010 | Filed by

It’s no fun to appreciate to the full the truth of the materialist proposition that I don’t have a body, I am a body.… Read the rest



Philosopher and psychologist discuss brain training *

Nov 6th, 2010 | Filed by

Through brain training we may be able to develop new ‘second’ natures, and reprogram our responses to things.… Read the rest



Alien epistemology

Nov 5th, 2010 4:55 pm | By

Am I being too obstinate and nitpicky about accepting (notional) evidence for a god? People are whispering in my ear to that effect, but I don’t think so. I’m not saying “No evidence would ever convince me no matter what” – I’m saying “I don’t at present see how anyone would know it was a god and not just a very surprising Something that we didn’t know about before and still have no idea how to explain.”

I’m having a hard time figuring out what kind of evidence would force me to accept the label “god” for a novel and surprising something – even if it were very very very surprising. Maybe I just haven’t thought hard enough. Maybe various … Read the rest



Joseph Hoffmann ponders the election *

Nov 5th, 2010 | Filed by

We can never count on the American people to do the right thing, whether they choose kings over republics or republics over kings.… Read the rest



Could there be evidence of a god? *

Nov 5th, 2010 | Filed by

Greta Christina says yes, but we need a coherent god-hypothesis to begin with.… Read the rest



How to write about gnu atheists: a guide *

Nov 5th, 2010 | Filed by

Gnu atheism shouldn’t be presented as an intellectual position. Repeatedly emphasize hostility to organized religion as the source of their disbelief.… Read the rest



Politics: sexism hasn’t disappeared yet *

Nov 5th, 2010 | Filed by

It discourages a lot of women from running for office.… Read the rest



News items

Nov 5th, 2010 11:17 am | By

Something is broken so I can’t post news items in News for the moment, so I’ll post them here.

Peace breaks out

Massimo holds out an olive branch.

Peace consolidates

Jerry returns the olive branch.

Frans De Waal on god-science shouting match

He would love to see a debate among moderates.… Read the rest



Priorities

Nov 4th, 2010 5:50 pm | By

Mehdi Hasan is annoyed with Roshonara Choudhry. She doesn’t get it – she doesn’t understand that Islam doesn’t approve of her going to her MP’s surgery for the purpose of stabbing him to death, nor of her actually sticking a knife in his stomach.

She is, for example, ignorant of the specific Quranic verses that she claims inspired her horrific and cowardly attack on Timms – “the main chapters about it are chapter . . . chapter eight and chapter nine, I think,” she says, pathetically. In fact, there are no verses in the Quran which justify such brutal, vigilante attacks on innocent civilians. Suicide bombings for example, are un-Islamic.

Oh tut – isn’t that awful. But if … Read the rest



Charles Freeman reviews “God’s Philosophers” *

Nov 4th, 2010 | Filed by

Hannam has no understanding of the intellectual inhibitions that arise from ring-fencing large areas of knowledge as “faith.”… Read the rest



Is Britain an anti-Christian country? *

Nov 4th, 2010 | Filed by

Of course not, but it’s fun to pretend it is and make a big fuss.… Read the rest



YouTube takes down al-Awlaki videos *

Nov 4th, 2010 | Filed by

There’s an issue with incitement to murder.… Read the rest