All entries by this author

How to Be Wise *

Feb 12th, 2008 | Filed by

Don’t pretend to know what you don’t know. Watch out for the hemlock.… Read the rest



Murder Plot Against Danish Cartoonist *

Feb 12th, 2008 | Filed by

Danish police have arrested several people suspected of conspiring to kill a Danish cartoonist.… Read the rest



Crooked Timber Defends the Archbishop *

Feb 12th, 2008 | Filed by

He is merely muddling and tinkering to achieve ‘rough fairness’. Very rough.… Read the rest



Johann Hari on the Archbishop’s Sharia Problem *

Feb 12th, 2008 | Filed by

The claim that women can choose shows a near-total disconnection from the reality of Muslim women’s lives. … Read the rest



Ali Eteraz on Why Not Sharia *

Feb 12th, 2008 | Filed by

Sharia courts are outgrowths of local communities which exert ‘piety-pressure’ upon average believers. … Read the rest



Knowing better

Feb 12th, 2008 11:06 am | By

I had thought I could leave the poor archbishop in peace now…but another item or two has come along to drag me back to his doings. One is the Crooked Timber thread on the subject. Harry B is commenting on a piece by Minette Marin in the Sunday Times.

The comment about wooliness of mind is, presumably, a charge that anyone who recognises complexity is stupid, or something like that.

No, it isn’t. The archbishop’s speech is indeed woolly. I’ve already quoted from it more than enough to illustrate (and demonstrate) that, so I won’t quote any more. Joe Hoffman – who can handle complexity – called the speech badly reasoned mud. The speech is not simply a … Read the rest



No exceptions

Feb 11th, 2008 6:05 pm | By

The archbishop issued a clarification on Friday. He

sought carefully to explore the limits of a unitary and secular legal system in the presence of an increasingly plural (including religiously plural) society and to see how such a unitary system might be able to accommodate religious claims. Behind this is the underlying principle that Christians cannot claim exceptions from a secular unitary system on religious grounds (for instance in situations where Christian doctors might not be compelled to perform abortions), if they are not willing to consider how a unitary system can accommodate other religious consciences.

Fair enough. So here’s how to deal with that: Christians cannot claim exceptions from a secular unitary system on religious grounds. Problem solved. Nobody … Read the rest



Sharia for toddlers

Feb 11th, 2008 5:58 pm | By

It’s kind of the BBC to explain about sharia for us.

Sharia rulings have been developed to help Muslims understand how they should lead every aspect of their lives according to God’s wishes.

Well, not exactly – not according to God’s wishes, because no one knows what those are (or if there are such things); according to what they think are God’s wishes. The BBC tactfully skipped over that rather important difference, but that is what’s at stake here. Not God’s wishes but what believers believe are God’s wishes (and the rest of us don’t).

Apostasy, or leaving the faith, is a very controversial issue in the Muslim world and the majority of scholars believe it is punishable by death…The

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Cardinal Connell Withdraws Legal Challenge *

Feb 11th, 2008 | Filed by

Withdraws attempt to withold documents from Government inquiry into allegations of sexual abuse. … Read the rest



Manila Women Fight Contraception Ban in Court *

Feb 11th, 2008 | Filed by

Petitioners have had many more children than they wanted because they could not afford contraception.… Read the rest



Saudis Take Giant Step Toward Women’s Rights *

Feb 11th, 2008 | Filed by

A woman can now stay in a hotel alone as long as she carries identification. Whatever next?!… Read the rest



UN Calls for Women’s Rights in Saudi *

Feb 11th, 2008 | Filed by

A Saudi delegation told the UN committee that human rights in the kingdom were based on Sharia.… Read the rest



No Valentines in Saudi Arabia *

Feb 11th, 2008 | Filed by

No red items allowed, including flowers and wrapping paper. Rutting in the street thus prevented.… Read the rest



Archbishop Still Clueless About Secularism *

Feb 11th, 2008 | Filed by

Wants ‘Christians and people of other faiths’ to reflect on the putative relationship between law and religion.… Read the rest



The postmodernist archbishop

Feb 11th, 2008 10:51 am | By

I read the whole archepiscopal speech a couple of days ago; that makes two of the archbishop’s speeches I’ve read in their entirety in the last couple of weeks. That’s a lot of waffly Williamsese to get through. I would love to do a really thorough line-by-line fisking, because every line deserves it – but it would take forever, and would be a baroque kind of luxury, because no one is convinced by the archbishop anyway. So I’m not going to do a line-by-line job, but I could give you a few highlights. Would you like that? Okay then.

One item is that it takes him until the bottom of page 3 (of very closely-printed pages) to acknowledge the elephant … Read the rest



He’s just making it worse

Feb 11th, 2008 9:38 am | By

He just doesn’t get it.

Part of the “burden and the privilege of being the Church” in the UK meant, Dr Williams said, the clergy needed “some coherent voice on behalf of all the faith communities living here”…The relationship between law and religion was a subject on which “Christians and people of other faiths ought to be doing some reflecting together”, he added.

No it isn’t, because there shouldn’t be any such relationship, for reasons which the Archbish himself mentions in the speech – without, of course, perceiving them as reasons.

[A]s any Muslim commentator will insist, what is in view is the eternal and absolute will of God for the universe and for its human inhabitants in particular…[S]haria

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There is nothing woolly-liberal about communitarianism

Feb 10th, 2008 1:59 pm | By

Matthew Parris considers the archbishop dangerous.

It is not useful, it is not even interesting, to begin an argument on whether Sharia should be given some kind of status within British law, unless you think there are otherwise potential conflicts…Unless, therefore, Dr Williams is proposing that elements of Sharia should be tolerated even though they appear to conflict with the general law, he is saying nothing interesting. They do conflict. And what happens when they do? The moment a private law appears to defy the general law, one question, and one alone, becomes central. It is the question of consent…Of group members, of course – and first – we must ask: is consent real, unanimous, complete? Is there duress?

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Matthew Parris Says the Archbish is Dangerous *

Feb 10th, 2008 | Filed by

Is consent real, unanimous, complete? Is there duress? Is there undue influence?… Read the rest



The Archbishop Clarifies *

Feb 10th, 2008 | Filed by

Christians cannot claim exceptions from a secular unitary system if they are not willing to accommodate other religious consciences.… Read the rest



Blogging Darwin *

Feb 10th, 2008 | Filed by

Every single week, we at Nature publish new research that reinforces and further enlightens the Origin. … Read the rest