What about that pope then eh? *

Dec 26th, 2010 | Filed by

Catherine Pepinster and Keith Porteous Wood discuss.… Read the rest

New violence in Jos, Nigeria *

Dec 26th, 2010 | Filed by

Previous violence between Christian and Muslim “ethnic groups” in the region has killed hundreds.… Read the rest

Martha Nussbaum on the fragility of goodness *

Dec 26th, 2010 | Filed by

Talking to Bill Moyers around…1988?… Read the rest

“Don’t laugh like a whore, this is Karachi” *

Dec 26th, 2010 | Filed by

Mahim Maher on reporting rape in Pakistan, saying “penis” in Pakistan, laughing aloud in Pakistan.… Read the rest

Dawkins on Ratzinger’s Thought for the Day *

Dec 25th, 2010 | Filed by

Ratzinger is guilty of promoting one of the most repugnant ideas ever to occur to a human mind: “Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness” (Hebrews 9:22).… Read the rest

The evidence is not absent

Dec 25th, 2010 12:34 pm | By

 Josh Rosenau says my post on how gnu atheism can Help is an exercise in sugary saccharine vigorous self-back-patting, and also lacking in evidence. It’s nice of him to Reach Out, but his reading is rather sloppy.

If she’d said that these effects might well follow, I’d have no real argument. They might (and also might not, I don’t know). The initial claim that gnus have already rendered religion “not altogether intellectually respectable” strikes me as the weak point in this argument, though.

Yes but the claim is not mine. I didn’t claim that. My claim overall is pretty much that “these effects might well follow.” I didn’t say that gnus have already rendered religion “not altogether intellectually respectable”; I … Read the rest

Dan Fincke on theistic evolution *

Dec 25th, 2010 | Filed by

To look at evolution scientifically is to recognize that even if there is a God, God does not intelligently guide evolution.… Read the rest

How “Hindu” is yoga after all?

Dec 25th, 2010 | By Meera Nanda

Yoga is to North America what McDonalds is to India: both are foreign implants gone native. The urban and suburban landscape of the United States is dotted with neighbourhood health clubs, spas and even churches and synagogues offering yoga classes. Some 16 million Americans do some form of yoga, primarily as a part of their exercise and fitness routine. Thus, when everyday Americans talk about yoga, they mostly mean physical, or hatha yoga, involving stretches, breathing and bodily postures, or asanas. Many styles of postural yoga pioneered by India-origin teachers are thriving, including the Iyengar and Sivananada schools, the Ashtanga Vinyasa or ‘power yoga’ of Pattabhi Jois, and ‘hot yoga’ recently copyrighted by Bikram Chaudhary. The more meditational forms … Read the rest

“Spiritual Fitness” is code for mandatory Christianity *

Dec 25th, 2010 | Filed by

There are spiritual fitness centers, spiritual fitness programs, spiritual fitness concerts, spiritual fitness runs and walks.… Read the rest

US Army: atheists unfit to serve *

Dec 25th, 2010 | Filed by

The US Army has taken the position that a soldier who does not feel connected to a deity is an incomplete person.… Read the rest

Pakistan: bomber kills people queuing for food *

Dec 25th, 2010 | Filed by

Pakistan’s Taliban said they were responsible for the attack on the distribution centre, used by the WFP and other aid agencies.… Read the rest

Breaking news: pope does Xmas eve homily *

Dec 25th, 2010 | Filed by

Calls for peace. Is 83. Kisses babies. Lit candle earlier. Will do lunch later.… Read the rest

Help is on the way

Dec 24th, 2010 5:14 pm | By

There’s another thing about the suggestion that Americans claim to be more religious than they really are for reasons to do with identity rather than belief, and how gnu atheism can Help.

It’s this. One thing gnu atheism is doing is relentlessly pointing out that religious belief is not altogether intellectually respectable. That means that religion no longer offers such a desirable kind of identity. It means the identity aspect is more mixed.

When you ask Americans about their religious beliefs, it’s like asking them whether they are good people, or asking whether they are patriots.

Yes, but now it’s also getting to be like asking them whether they believe in Santa Claus. It’s getting to be like asking them … Read the rest

Presentation of self in America

Dec 24th, 2010 12:52 pm | By

Americans tell pollsters they’re religious as all getout, very very very religious, as religious as it’s possible to be. But they’re not.

Beyond the polls, social scientists have conducted more rigorous analyses of religious behavior. Rather than ask people how often they attend church, the better studies measure what people actually do. The results are surprising. Americans are hardly more religious than people living in other industrialized countries. Yet they consistently—and more or less uniquely—want others to believe they are more religious than they really are.

Oh yes? Well if that’s true, it’s yet another reason gnu atheism is a useful and helpful thing. As gnu atheism spreads and seeps into the broader culture, people will begin to grasp that … Read the rest

Americans claim to be more religious than they are *

Dec 24th, 2010 | Filed by

If the data raise serious questions about self-reported church attendance, they ought to raise red flags about all aspects of self-reported religiosity.… Read the rest

Jafar Panahi’s reward for bringing cinematic glory to Iran *

Dec 24th, 2010 | Filed by

6 years in prison and a 20 year ban on making films, writing scripts, attending foreign festivals, giving interviews.… Read the rest

Jesus and Mo argue about epistemology *

Dec 24th, 2010 | Filed by

A piece of a story isn’t evidence for the veracity of the story. Meanwhile: nominate J and M for best comic.… Read the rest

NY Times has a vision of The Virgin Mary *

Dec 24th, 2010 | Filed by

It’s really really really true, the bishops said so.… Read the rest

Traditional medicine endangers Afghan lives *

Dec 23rd, 2010 | Filed by

Their “treatments” often result in serious injury, further illness or even death, especially among pregnant women.… Read the rest

Teeny weeny elfin godlings

Dec 23rd, 2010 4:58 pm | By

I like the way David Barash puts the matter.

the National Academy of Sciences came out with a report titled Science and Creationism, which stated that “…science and religion occupy two separate realms of human experience. Demanding that they be combined detracts from the glory of each.”

 Pace the National Academy of Sciences, however, I do not demand that “science and religion be combined”—quite the opposite.  Rather, let’s acknowledge the truth: Science and religion overlap substantially, notably whenever religion makes “truth claims” about the world.  And when that happens, time and again, religion has a long track record of being simply and irretrievably wrong.

That’s good, isn’t it. It’s not that they ought to be combined, it’s that … Read the rest