Chapter 19

Dec 18th, 2010 1:55 pm | By

If you want to give yourself a shock, just search for Tony Walsh on Google News and behold the torrent of Irish coverage. Then start to read some of it. Read Mary Raftery’s article in the Irish Times.

Archbishops, bishops, chancellors, vicars general, parish priests – the list of senior clerics who knew of Walsh’s serial sexual abuse of children is virtually endless. From the very first complaints brought to the archdiocese, a bare two days after Walsh’s ordination in 1978, and for the succeeding 17 years, these pillars of the church sat on their detailed knowledge of Walsh’s abominable predations on children, shielding him from the law, deliberately deciding to keep his crimes hidden from the civil authorities.

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Scale of Walsh cover-up by church is breathtaking *

Dec 18th, 2010 | Filed by

Archbishops, bishops, chancellors, vicars general, parish priests – the list of senior clerics who knew of Walsh’s serial sexual abuse of children is virtually endless.… Read the rest

“Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repealed *

Dec 18th, 2010 | Filed by

It’s done!… Read the rest

Scientist alleges religious discrimination in hiring *

Dec 18th, 2010 | Filed by

University scientists wondered to each other in internal e-mails if Gaskell’s religion would interfere with the job, which included public outreach.… Read the rest

Dickens is not cozy hot chocolate reading *

Dec 18th, 2010 | Filed by

Great Expectations is a bitter, tragic novel.… Read the rest

Steiner Waldorf Schools Part 3: racism *

Dec 18th, 2010 | Filed by

Yet more reasons to think that Steiner schools are all based on pseudoscience: Steiner’s Spiritual Science.… Read the rest

Guardian leaks police documents on Assange *

Dec 18th, 2010 | Filed by

“The case against Assange is laid out in police material held in Stockholm to which the Guardian received unauthorised access.”… Read the rest

Israel: rabbi issues anti-Arab edict *

Dec 17th, 2010 | Filed by

Forbidding Jews to rent flats or sell property to non-Jews; Arab students are bullied and threatened.… Read the rest

Kenan Malik on Taimour Abdulwahab al-Abdaly *

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The more that liberals concede on free speech and Muslim sensitivities, the more that Islamists gain a spurious moral legitimacy.… Read the rest

Bad Faith awards 2010 *

Dec 17th, 2010 | Filed by

And the winner is – Sheikh Maulana Abu Sayeed, head of the UK Islamic Sharia Council.… Read the rest

The F word

Dec 17th, 2010 12:13 pm | By

The Hitchens-Blair debate was on one of the local public radio stations the other day, and I listened to a few minutes of it; something caught my attention that I hadn’t noticed at the time (because I mostly read it, and watched only a bit). What caught my attention (because it irritated the bejeezis out of me) was Blair’s insistent unctuous repetition of the word “faith.” It occurred to me that Hitchens used that word little if at all, and that I should check the transcript to see what the proportions were. They were as I suspected. It’s quite amusing to use the search function (CTRL + F) and see Blair’s sections speckled like measles with the highlighted word.

This … Read the rest

Rosenhouse on Dixon on Religion and Science *

Dec 17th, 2010 | Filed by

Conflicts over who is authorized to produce and disseminate knowledge are conflicts between science and religion.… Read the rest

Massimo Pigliucci on Objectivist politics *

Dec 17th, 2010 | Filed by

By far the weakest point of the Objectivist conception of rights is that they limit themselves to what are called negative rights.… Read the rest

Martin Gardner on Oprah and woo *

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She promotes, as frequent guests, people who preach views that are medically worthless and in a few cases can even lead to death.… Read the rest

Pamela Ronald on trying to counter woo on TV *

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Which is difficult when the producers cut all the examples (such as reduced insecticide use, disease resistant papaya, Golden rice).… Read the rest

“Rock star of science” peddles pseudoscience *

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Mehmet Oz is an alarmist about GM crops.… Read the rest

Going to a movie in which women are stoned to death *

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And some of the audience applauds.… Read the rest

Templeton asks: is atheism unnatural? *

Dec 16th, 2010 | Filed by

Why yes, it is. Thank you for asking.… Read the rest

Sensitive and complex

Dec 16th, 2010 12:00 pm | By

I can’t read this calmly; it makes me quake and gibber with rage. The European Court of Human Rights has ruled that Ireland is messing with the human rights of women by not allowing them to get abortions to save their lives.

Taoiseach Brian Cowen said the ruling raised “difficult issues” that needed to be carefully considered. Speaking in Brussels, he said it was much too early to make any decision on whether legislation would be required in light of the court’s decision.

Minister for Health Mary Harney said the Government [would] take legal advice. Acknowledging the judgment was binding on the State, she said the Government would have to come forward with proposals to reflect it. “However, this will

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Review of Science and Religion: A Very Short Introduction

Dec 16th, 2010 | By Eric MacDonald

[References to Dixon’s book are to location numbers in the Kindle edition. There are 2548 locations in the book, so those using the print edition should be able to access the general page vicinity of the quote based on the percentage of the book traversed at the location number indicated. This, by the way, raises a question for publishers of ebooks. They should include page numbers for the sake of scholarly reference.]

This is a worryingly confusing and confused book, as I shall try to show in detail. It purports to be a very short introduction to a field of academic study, and yet it does not really address the question of whether or not there is such a field. … Read the rest