All entries by this author

AAAS Issues Statement Against ‘the Wedge’ *

Feb 20th, 2006 | Filed by

Veiled attempts to wedge religion into science classrooms are a disservice to students, teachers.… Read the rest

Blackmore and Midgley Discuss Memes *

Feb 20th, 2006 | Filed by

Midgley seems to miss the point rather…… Read the rest

Inept Review of Dennett’s Breaking the Spell *

Feb 20th, 2006 | Filed by

Leon Wieseltier defends ‘thoughtful believers’ and other familiar totems.… Read the rest

We Ought to Pay Closer Attention *

Feb 20th, 2006 | Filed by

We need to remember how freedom is lost, and what it is like to live where it has been lost.… Read the rest

Why Review a Book When You Can Sneer?

Feb 20th, 2006 | By Brian Leiter

The New York Times has done it again: they’ve enlisted an ignorant reviewer to review a philosophical book. The reviewer is Leon Wieseltier, the literary editor at The New Republic. The book is Daniel Dennett’s latest book, a “naturalistic” account of religious belief. Whatever Mr. Wieseltier knows about philosophy or science, he effectively conceals in this review. The sneering starts at the beginning:

The question of the place of science in human life is not a scientific question. It is a philosophical question. Scientism, the view that science can explain all human conditions and expressions, mental as well as physical, is a superstition, one of the dominant superstitions of our day; and it is not an insult

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Misdirected Outrage: The Strange Case of ‘Gay Muslims’

Feb 20th, 2006 | By Edmund Standing

Imagine, for a moment, a few implausible scenarios. Imagine if a group of ethnically Jewish German nationalists had petitioned Hitler, stating themselves to be National Socialists, but also Jewish, and demanding the right to make a presentation at the Nuremberg Rally about their experiences as Jewish Nazis. Would we expect Hitler to comply with their wishes? Of course not, because Nazism is thoroughly anti-Semitic, and the very idea of a Jewish Nazi is absurd. Now imagine if a group of men wanted the chance to make a presentation at a lesbian conference about their experiences of life as male lesbians. Would we expect them to be taken seriously? Clearly not. Again, the identity that they propose is self-contradictory and illogical. … Read the rest

The Anatomy of Lunacy

Feb 19th, 2006 6:27 pm | By

Allow me to explain. I’m a little vague about the way the RSS feed works, on account of I don’t have it myself. I forgot (or perhaps never knew, despite having been told) that people who subscribe to the RSS feed get the whole N&C – I mistily thought they (you) got a notification, rather than the thing itself. Jeremy reminded me of how it actually works and said that it’s normal practice when making a big change to put a time on it, so that it doesn’t look as if I’m cluelessly trying to sneak a change in when the RSS makes that impossible. I deleted two paragraphs yesterday and substituted a much shorter one, saying ‘oh look, I’m … Read the rest

Sing it, Deeyah

Feb 19th, 2006 5:30 pm | By

Oh, really; how pretty. How perfectly lovely.

A Muslim pop singer has been forced to hire bodyguards to protect her during a visit to Britain next month after she received a string of death threats from religious extremists. US-based Deeyah is due in London next month to promote a new single and video, released tomorrow. But the track “What Will It Be?” has already outraged hardline Islamists here as it promotes women’s rights.

Yes, well, you can see why that would outrage people, promoting women’s rights. Women can’t, shouldn’t, mustn’t have any rights, because the whole point, or almost the whole point, of hardline Islamism is to take rights away from women. Take that away and what’s left? Okay, … Read the rest

MP Ann Cryer: Imams Should be Aware of Rights *

Feb 19th, 2006 | Filed by

Says all imams should be made aware of how women are treated in the UK before being allowed in.… Read the rest

Fanatics Tell Deeyah: We’ll Kill You *

Feb 19th, 2006 | Filed by

Track that promotes women’s rights has outraged hardline Islamists. Men spit at her in the street.… Read the rest

Poll: 40% of Muslims Want Sharia in UK *

Feb 19th, 2006 | Filed by

40% of British Muslims surveyed backed introducing sharia in parts of Britain, 41% opposed it.… Read the rest

Gilbert and George Don’t Take on the Theocrats *

Feb 19th, 2006 | Filed by

Fear of being murdered is a perfectly rational one, but it is eating away at cultural elite’s myths.… Read the rest

Annoyed Iranians Re-name Danish Pastries *

Feb 19th, 2006 | Filed by

Now called ‘Roses of the Prophet Muhammad’ peace be upon his apple filling.… Read the rest

Sixteen People Killed in Nigerian Cartoon Protests *

Feb 19th, 2006 | Filed by

Witnesses said most of the dead were from Maiduguri’s minority Christians. … Read the rest

Not Too Sweet

Feb 18th, 2006 7:35 pm | By

The book has arrived, and the result was an immediate and dramatic improvement in the weather. So that’s the end of that tedious story, at last.

But this piece brought a little of my colour back, even before I opened the mailbox at midday (the post comes late around here).

Among those who decline to show the caricatures, only one, the Boston Phoenix, has been forthright enough to admit that its editors made the decision “out of fear of retaliation from the international brotherhood of radical and bloodthirsty Islamists who seek to impose their will on those who do not believe as they do. This is, frankly, our primary reason for not publishing any of the images in question.

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Ronald Dworkin on Free Speech *

Feb 18th, 2006 | Filed by

‘Free speech is a condition of legitimate government.’… Read the rest

Onora O’Neill on Freedom of Speech *

Feb 18th, 2006 | Filed by

We may doubt that powerful media should enjoy unconditional freedom of expression.… Read the rest

Is This a Parody? *

Feb 18th, 2006 | Filed by

No problem, no caving in to pressure, no worry about beheading thing, model of moderation.… Read the rest

The Cartoons are ‘Essentially Racist’ *

Feb 18th, 2006 | Filed by

But are they?… Read the rest

AI on Execution of Children in Iran *

Feb 18th, 2006 | Filed by

Girl sentenced to death for stabbing to death one of three men who attempted to rape her.… Read the rest