Archive for April 2011

Lots of Satanism on the internet *

Apr 7th, 2011 | Filed by

Thus need for lots of exorcists. Jobs for Catholic priests! And in the nick of time, too…… Read the rest

Independent talks to critics of Templeton prize *

Apr 7th, 2011 | Filed by

Dawkins, Kroto, Coyne, and Grayling point out that in religion, faith is a virtue, while in science, faith is a vice.… Read the rest


Apr 6th, 2011 5:16 pm | By

Must stop must stop must stop. Must stop arguing with ridiculous guy on Facebook who calls Ibn Warraq, Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Wafa Sultan “racists” because he dislikes them. He’s lily white himself of course. Must stop must stop must stop.

He’s a “humanist,” according to him. He’s yet another anti-gnu. He’s a chump. Must stop must stop must stop.

I did a podcast interview earlier this afternoon with Johan Signert of the Swedish Humanists.

I’m invited to the Let the Light Howthelightgetsin thingy at Hay on Wye. I just might do it.… Read the rest

Hitchens on Karzai and Jones *

Apr 6th, 2011 | Filed by

The terrible thing about indiscriminate violence and religious hysteria is how much damage a little of it can do.… Read the rest

Pertussis closes Waldorf-based private school *

Apr 6th, 2011 | Filed by

The local Health Care Director unambiguously stated that lack of vaccinations caused this outbreak and that the children affected were unvaccinated.… Read the rest

You get what you pay for

Apr 6th, 2011 12:19 pm | By

Jerry Coyne’s take on the Templeton Prize is slightly different from Mark Vernon’s.

Templeton plies its enormous wealth with a single aim: to give credibility to religion by blurring its well-demarcated border with science. The Templeton Prize, which once went to people like Mother Teresa and the Reverend Billy Graham, now goes to scientists who are either religious themselves or say nice things about religion.

That’s why it really is a form of bribery. It’s open, transparent, accountable bribery, as opposed to back-room under the table bribery, but it is bribery: the prize rewards a predetermined ideological viewpoint, as opposed to research or inquiry or art. It rewards various versions of the claim that religion and science somehow work … Read the rest

A turning point in the god wars

Apr 6th, 2011 11:34 am | By

Mark Vernon is excited that Martin Rees won the Templeton Prize. He sees it as deliberate revenge for something Richard Dawkins said.

Last year, Dawkins published an ugly outburst against the softly spoken astronomer, calling him a “compliant Quisling” because of his views on religion. And now, Rees has seemingly hit back. He has accepted the 2011 Templeton prize, awarded for making an exceptional contribution to investigating life’s spiritual dimension. It is worth an incongruous $1m.

Funny kind of hitting back – it’s not as if Rees awarded himself the prize. It’s also not as if accepting the prize is a way to rebut what Dawkins said. As a matter of fact, it’s more like agreement … Read the rest

Mark Vernon on Templeton and evil gnus *

Apr 6th, 2011 | Filed by

Dawkins called Rees a quisling. Now Rees has “hit back” by winning the Templeton prize. This is a turning point in the God wars. Wut?… Read the rest

Jerry Coyne on Templeton and its implications *

Apr 6th, 2011 | Filed by

When it gives the prize to someone like Dawkins, who doesn’t go to church and is not prepared to say nice things about religion, then…… Read the rest

Jerry Coyne on the Templeton travesty *

Apr 6th, 2011 | Filed by

Templeton plies its enormous wealth with a single aim: to give credibility to religion by blurring its well-demarcated border with science.… Read the rest

Ian Sample interviews Martin Rees *

Apr 6th, 2011 | Filed by

“I’ve got no religious beliefs at all. Of course some of the winners have, but I think not all of them.”… Read the rest

Martin Rees wins controversial Templeton Prize *

Apr 6th, 2011 | Filed by

The astronomer royal has accepted the annual prize from the Templeton Foundation, which critics say makes a virtue of belief without evidence.… Read the rest

Strange boatfellows

Apr 5th, 2011 5:28 pm | By

Anthony Grayling is not an enemy of new or gnu atheism, though I suspect some people would like to shoulder him into that category. He won’t be shouldered though. He’s very polite about it, but he won’t be shouldered.

The little jokes and kindly bearing can make Grayling sound quite benignly jovial about religion at times, as he chuckles away about “men in dresses” and “believing in fairies at the bottom of the garden”, and throws out playfully mocking asides such as, “You can see we no longer really believe in God, because of all the CCTV cameras keeping watch on us.” But when I suggest that he sounds less enraged than amused by religion, he says quickly: “Well, it

Read the rest

Lauryn Oates on where the blame belongs *

Apr 5th, 2011 | Filed by

Jones should have simply been ignored, or perhaps satirized, for the fundamentalist bigot that he is.… Read the rest

Terry Glavin on the massacre in Mazar-i-Sharif *

Apr 5th, 2011 | Filed by

About three years ago, Shia Khomeinists and Sunni Wahhabists teamed up in their efforts at subversion in Mazar.… Read the rest

Literary criticism

Apr 5th, 2011 4:20 pm | By

Just for completeness, or pedantry.

You are simply hosting the Gnu atheist admirathon. No wonder B&W has been disowned by more rational voices.

Which more rational voices? Wally Smith? Chris Mooney? Tom Johnson? Josh R? Steph the Pixie?

Do you really think it’s the Feast of Reason?

Of course not. Did I ever say I did? No.

There is nothing any longer on B&W worth reading that isn’t cut from the same cloth.

Really? Not Leo Igwe? Not Allen Esterson? Not Phil Molé? Not Franco Henwood?

Sorry; I just don’t buy it. Even if you hate the blog part of B&W, there is plenty that’s worth reading.

It’s a hornet’s nest to any disagreement.

Mirror. Look in it.


Read the rest

Bishops agree

Apr 5th, 2011 3:12 pm | By

The headline on this article originally read

Bishops agree sex abuse rules

Just what we’ve always said!… Read the rest

Have you ever studied any world history?

Apr 5th, 2011 12:39 pm | By

Salman Rushdie thinks it’s funny, Russell Banks thinks it’s funny; I think it’s funny too. (So that means I’m as cool as Salman Rushdie and Russell Banks, right? Sure.)

Anyway. I thought this particular bit would speak to us today.

And he asks, “Kelly, have you ever studied any world history?,” and I’m, like, “Excuse me, but I happen to be wearing an imported Italian cashmere sweater.”
I’m totally stealing that.… Read the rest

Paul Rudnick: “I was Gandhi’s boyfriend” *

Apr 5th, 2011 | Filed by
And I say, “If someone punched me, I would throw my drink at them. I mean, maybe you should try that with the British.”… Read the rest

UK bus ad campaign to tackle “Islamophobia” *

Apr 5th, 2011 | Filed by

The Ahmadiyya Muslim Association is behind the campaign. Yes really.… Read the rest