All entries by this author

More Breezy Optimism

Feb 22nd, 2006 6:27 pm | By

And speaking of religious tyranny and the optimistic idea that truth will triumph ‘in the end’, there is this little problem.

A growing number of science students on British campuses and in sixth form colleges are challenging the theory of evolution and arguing that Darwin was wrong. Some are being failed in university exams because they quote sayings from the Bible or Qur’an as scientific fact and at one sixth form college in London most biology students are now thought to be creationists. Earlier this month Muslim medical students in London distributed leaflets that dismissed Darwin’s theories as false. Evangelical Christian students are also increasingly vocal in challenging the notion of evolution.

It’s unfortunate when people who are wrong … Read the rest

Clerical Gits

Feb 22nd, 2006 5:55 pm | By

Meanwhile, religious tyranny is flexing its nasty poxy muscles at us. It is letting us know that it will decide what we can think and say, and that’s enough out of you thank you very much.

The pope for one.

In the current international context, the Catholic Church remains convinced that to encourage peace and understanding between peoples and individuals it is necessary and urgent that religions and their symbols be respected, and that the faithful not be subjected to provocations injuring their outlook and religious feelings.

Oh does it. Is that what the Catholic Church remains convinced. That religions must be respected, and the faithful must not have their religious feelings injured. Religions must be respected because – erm … Read the rest

But When is That?

Feb 22nd, 2006 5:18 pm | By

Here’s a terrific piece, which I found via Lipstadt’s blog, that is all about exactly what we’ve been discussing, as well as a good deal more.

Let me tell you why my grandfather, Alfred Wiener, began this collection. It was because he believed in the power of truth. He believed that the facts would win in the end. He was not a pacifist – you need to be ready to meet force with force. But lies must be fought with truth.

Daniel Finkelstein’s grandfather was clearly an admirable man (no, there is no ‘but’ coming). I agree with him in a way, perhaps the most salient way; but (there’s the but) I don’t agree in another. (At least, … Read the rest

Amartya Sen on Multiculturalism *

Feb 22nd, 2006 | Filed by

There is no way of escaping foundational questions if multiculturalism is to be fairly assessed. … Read the rest

Irving Tests Belief in the Power of Truth *

Feb 22nd, 2006 | Filed by

Hard to hear Irving without wishing to be armed with something tougher even than the truth.… Read the rest

Religious Tyranny at its Most Blunt *

Feb 22nd, 2006 | Filed by

Imam says UN should impose law condemning insults to religion on all countries.… Read the rest

Pope: ‘Respect’ for Religion ‘Urgent’ *

Feb 22nd, 2006 | Filed by

‘Necessary and urgent that the faithful not be subjected to provocations injuring their outlook and religious feelings.’… Read the rest

Aaronovitch Reports from a Parallel Universe *

Feb 22nd, 2006 | Filed by

Dan Brown apologizes and promises to become a monk in a silent order.… Read the rest

AAAS Invites Teachers to Annual Conference *

Feb 22nd, 2006 | Filed by

Teachers say finger-wagging parents insist they abandon biology textbooks for biblical creationism or ID.… Read the rest

Creationism on the Rise in the UK *

Feb 22nd, 2006 | Filed by

Most medical and science students could be creationists, says biology teacher at sixth-form college.… Read the rest

Saying What He Doesn’t Think

Feb 22nd, 2006 12:02 am | By

The Irving sentence raises some issues that are, it seems to me, not very well grasped by discussing them in the usual terms of the freedom or right to express an opinion or say what one thinks or similar. Because the thing about Irving is that, surely, he doesn’t actually hold the opinion he peddles, he doesn’t think what he claims to think. He falsifies the record, as the libel trial judge found. Well if he falsifies the record, he doesn’t do it in a trance or a fugue state, presumably – he knows he’s doing it, it seems fair to assume – so if he knows he’s doing it, he doesn’t really believe what he’s saying. If he knows … Read the rest

Deborah Lipstadt on the Irving Sentence

Feb 21st, 2006 4:03 pm | By

What a good thing it is that Deborah Lipstadt has a blog. It is, needless to say, full of interest right now. She was floored yesterday by Irving’s sentence. She gave us her first thoughts and then further thoughts, she was summoned to talk to the BBC and then unsummoned because they switched to bird flu. Livelier than the average blog, you must admit – and also involved in centrally important issues. Truth, for instance, and evidence, and documentation, records, history, lies and the uncovering of lies.

After having a long conversation with a reporter who was in the courtroom, I have learned that it seemed to him – quite clearly so – that the judge was really

Read the rest

The Pope of Holocaust Deniers *

Feb 21st, 2006 | Filed by

But not all Jews welcome the sentence. ‘Personally I prefer to treat him with disdain.’… Read the rest

The Historian Who Rejected Plain Facts *

Feb 21st, 2006 | Filed by

Would-be martyr using free speech arguments to peddle myths.… Read the rest

Ian Traynor in Vienna *

Feb 21st, 2006 | Filed by

Irving was arrested after returning to deliver more speeches despite being barred from Austria.… Read the rest

‘I Made a Mistake’ Didn’t Do the Trick *

Feb 21st, 2006 | Filed by

Lipstadt says, ‘The one thing he deserves, he really deserves, is obscurity.’… Read the rest

Irving Revises History for the Jury *

Feb 21st, 2006 | Filed by

Hard to claim he stopped being a Holocaust denier in 1992 after 2000 libel case exposed his distortions.… Read the rest

Lipstadt on the Irving Verdict *

Feb 21st, 2006 | Filed by

Irving can’t claim ‘to have changed his mind in the 1990s when he took me to court in 2000.’… Read the rest

David Irving Sentenced to Three Years in Prison *

Feb 21st, 2006 | Filed by

Deborah Lipstadt dismayed. ‘The way of fighting Holocaust deniers is with history and with truth.’… Read the rest

Distortions Are Not Worth Debating

Feb 21st, 2006 | By Deborah Lipstadt

Deborah Lipstadt looks at the decision by the editors of the student newspaper of Northwestern University, The Daily Northwestern, to publish an article by Arthur Butz.

Things at Northwestern seem to be going from bad to worse. Electrical Engineering Professor Arthur Butz has, after many years of total obscurity in anything but the world of Holocaust deniers, once again grabbed headlines by praising Iranian President Ahmadinejad for his Holocaust denial. Mr. Butz has as much expertise on the history of the Holocaust as I do on building bridges. But he has tenure and this means that, as long as he does not introduce this false information into his classroom, he cannot be fired.

But Butz is an old story. … Read the rest