Archive for June 2011

Jerusalem rabbis condemn dog to death by stoning *

Jun 18th, 2011 | Filed by

They thought it was the reincarnation of a lawyer who once insulted them.… Read the rest

New Humanist podcast

Jun 18th, 2011 | Filed by

Kenan Malik on Sam Harris on morality; Richard Wilson on African humanists campaigning against witchhunts in Nigeria and Malawi.… Read the rest

Shehrbano Taseer takes up her father’s cause *

Jun 18th, 2011 | Filed by

She has found that many Muslims, even moderate, liberal ones, are extremely sensitive about blasphemy.… Read the rest

Goldacre and others check health reporting *

Jun 18th, 2011 | Filed by

What they find is not reassuring.… Read the rest


Jun 17th, 2011 5:06 pm | By

I have a new project. My new project is to convince people on the left that they must work together with Tea Partiers.

This may seem like a difficult thing to do, but I like a challenge. There are many urgent problems in the world, such as countless people who still have the wrong kind of light bulbs, and the only way those problems can be solved is if I – yes I, I alone, I personally, I bravely yet gently yet determinedly yet lovingly – build a bridge between the left and the Tea Party. The division between the left and the Tea Party is divisive, and when there is divisiveness, problems don’t get solved, because people don’t work … Read the rest

Believing Bullshit

Jun 17th, 2011 12:24 pm | By

Stephen Law has an excellent (and entertaining) new book, Believing Bullshit. It discusses eight “intellectual black holes” that can yank people into various delusional convictions. He names them “Playing the Mystery Card,” “‘But It Fits!’ and The Blunderbuss,” “Going Nuclear,” “Moving the Semantic Goalposts,” “I Just Know!,” “Pseudoprofundity,” “Piling Up the Anecdotes,” and “Pressing Your Buttons.”

They’re all good, but I think my favorite was “Pseudoprofundity,” maybe because it reminded me of my old Guide to Rhetoric, which alas disappeared in the transition from the old B&W to the new one. The subheads are very reminiscent: State the obvious; Contradict yourself; Deepities; Trite-nalogies; Use jargon; Postmodern pseudoprofundity.

He’s good on Karen Armstrong (in the “Moving the Semantic … Read the rest

Kuwaiti woman wants law permitting slave girls *

Jun 17th, 2011 | Filed by

“Religious scholars said that for the average, good religious man, the only way to avoid forbidden relations with women is to purchase slave girls.”… Read the rest

The F word *

Jun 17th, 2011 | Filed by

Faitheist.… Read the rest

Tory MP tells archbish to stop shouting at govt *

Jun 17th, 2011 | Filed by

Points out that MPs will be debating “the place of the Church of England in a reformed, mainly elected Second Chamber.”… Read the rest

Saudi Arabia: women test driving ban *

Jun 17th, 2011 | Filed by

Women in Saudi Arabia are also banned from voting and from leaving home without a male guardian.… Read the rest

Tea Party summer camp for Tampa *

Jun 17th, 2011 | Filed by

Will teach “principles” such as “I work hard for what I have and I will share it with who I want to. Government cannot force me to be charitable.” … Read the rest

A ‘witch girl’, Esther, rescued for the second time

Jun 16th, 2011 | By Leo Igwe
A ‘witch girl’, Esther, rescued for the second time

Yesterday, I rescued for the second time an 8 year old girl, Esther Obot Moses who was branded a witch and exiled by her family in Nsit Ubium in Akwa Ibom state in Southern Nigeria.

Some weeks ago, I was informed by my local contacts that Esther, who was handed over to the Ministry of Women Affairs of the Akwa Ibom state government for proper care and rehabilitation, had returned to the ‘lunatic’, Okokon, who kidnapped her some time ago.

I met Esther and Okokon wearing pants in the same filthy house where I found them in January this year. Esther looked depressed and traumatized. Okokon, who is believed to have some mental problems, lives alone in a dirty two-room … Read the rest

New Books in Philosophy podcast *

Jun 16th, 2011 | Filed by

Peer-to-peer discussions with philosophers about ideas in their newly published books. Co-hosted by Carrie Figdor and Robert Talisse.… Read the rest

NCH is not a wedge *

Jun 16th, 2011 | Filed by

How can it be defensible to oppose something that seeks to promote quality in education, and that is publicly committed to accessibility?… Read the rest

Grayling explains NCH plans and intentions *

Jun 16th, 2011 | Filed by

Why must independent initiatives be demonised or blocked because of our anxiety about what is happening in the public domain?… Read the rest

Grayling will not become BHA President *

Jun 16th, 2011 | Filed by

The ridiculous controversy over the NCH got in the way, so he decided to step aside.… Read the rest

Vancouver: riots after Bruins win Stanley Cup *

Jun 16th, 2011 | Filed by

Witnesses said some people took out their anger on nearby cars. Human intelligence in action.… Read the rest

What’s the panic about sharia, asks clown *

Jun 16th, 2011 | Filed by

They’re all about freedom.… Read the rest

Islamist bullying in Tower Hamlets *

Jun 16th, 2011 | Filed by

Teachers say they feel “under pressure” from Islamists who have campaigned to enforce the compulsory wearing of hijab for Muslim girls.… Read the rest

Michelle Goldberg on Michele Bachmann *

Jun 16th, 2011 | Filed by

Lots of politicians talk about a sinister homosexual agenda. Bachmann seems genuinely to believe in one.… Read the rest