All entries by this author

Women and fundamentalism

Feb 21st, 2009 12:22 pm | By

Rahila Gupta points out the horrible ironies and tensions:

The fallout from the Rushdie affair was the widespread growth of religious identities at the expense of racial and gender identities. Secular anti-racists began to declaim, even reclaim, their Muslim identity. Muslim women increasingly adopted the hijab as a symbol of pride in their religious identity, not recognising or even accepting the fact that it set women back by placing the onus on women’s safety on their modest dress and behaviour rather than male aggression. The left displayed a reluctance to challenge reactionary forces within our communities because it might be seen as racist.

And goes on displaying – so we get people defending the archbishop of Canterbury’s reactionary embrace … Read the rest

Free Speech or Freedom to Hurt? *

Feb 21st, 2009 | Filed by

‘If playing with people’s beliefs and trampling on all that they hold sacred is freedom, then we’re better off without it.’… Read the rest

Goldacre on the Dangers of an Ill-informed Media *

Feb 21st, 2009 | Filed by

This is a ‘debate’ where one person asking stupid questions has complete control over the microphones.… Read the rest

Ben Goldacre on Pay to Play *

Feb 21st, 2009 | Filed by

In an ideal world, all drugs research would be commercially separate from manufacturing and retail.… Read the rest

Jesus and Mo on Creationism *

Feb 21st, 2009 | Filed by

Of course Jesus does not believe the earth is six thousand years old.… Read the rest

Vatican Attempts to Censor ‘Blasphemy’ *

Feb 21st, 2009 | Filed by

An Israeli comedian jokes about Jesus, Vat lodges a formal complaint with Israeli government.… Read the rest

Women Fought Fundamentalism Before the Fatwa *

Feb 21st, 2009 | Filed by

Women are the first to feel the chill of religious fundamentalism when their freedoms begin to atrophy.… Read the rest

Fold the tents

Feb 21st, 2009 11:47 am | By

Volunteers no longer needed; volunteers can pack up blankets and canteens and waterproof hats and go home; cache is made; many thanks.

And don’t forget to take care of yourselves, and stay alive. Seriously now. I’m not kidding.… Read the rest


Feb 21st, 2009 11:40 am | By

Here’s some horrible news. Elliott Grasett died of a heart attack on Tuesday. I was in his address book so a relative very kindly let me know.

I checked, and – he commented here that day. On Indulge me for a moment. There’s always something so poignant about that – you know – ‘Why I was just talking to him yesterday…’

Very sad. I always enjoyed his comments; they seemed to bespeak a sterling guy.

Christian Jago died more than a year ago. And I suspect that something major – death or disability or kidnapping or something – happened to Karl, who used to comment regularly and often (and amusingly) and who also emailed me a lot, and then … Read the rest

Atheism is on the March *

Feb 20th, 2009 | Filed by

‘Public statements of non-belief are treated as threatening, an affront to the religious, while the reverse is not true.’… Read the rest

A C Grayling on Secularist Students *

Feb 20th, 2009 | Filed by

‘This critical, evidence-based, enquiring mindset also thinks afresh about the good for human lives and societies.’… Read the rest

Mental Torture and Bullying in an Indian Convent *

Feb 20th, 2009 | Filed by

‘There are many nuns undergoing ill-treatment from the order, but they are afraid of challenging it.’… Read the rest

Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists Protests *

Feb 20th, 2009 | Filed by

‘A journalist has become the first victim after the peace deal in Swat, which is most alarming.’… Read the rest

Pakistan: 32 Bullets in Murdered Reporter *

Feb 20th, 2009 | Filed by

Hundreds of journalists protested the murder of Musa Khan Khel in Swat.… Read the rest

Volunteers needed

Feb 20th, 2009 10:39 am | By

You know how you’re always wondering how you can help B&W? I have a way. I need volunteers. I have a big job, and doing it all myself is 1) massively tedious and 2) an impediment to doing anything else, like updating B&W and going for long health-giving walks and eating chocolate.

The job is just backing up B&W. I need to archive it, and there are a lot of pages. Nearly 400 articles, about 75 months of Notes and Comment, lots of In Focus, In the Library, Bad Moves, Quotations, the Guide to Rhetoric – and so on. If we divide it up it won’t be so bad. If lots and lots of you step forward it will be … Read the rest

When God says jump

Feb 20th, 2009 10:31 am | By

What’s the problem with theocratic law? Why shouldn’t we clap our hands and dance around the room when archbishops and imams suggest or insist that we should or must make our pesky secular system of law conform to God’s will or a Holy Book or ‘divine justice’? Why would we not want to do that and why is it illegitimate to try to force us to?

Because, whatever they may tell you, nobody knows what God’s will is, nobody knows that there is such a thing as a Holy Book, nobody knows what the divine will is. There is no reason to think there is a ‘God’ – even if there is a ‘God’ there still is no reason to … Read the rest

It is a sin to brush crumbs onto the floor

Feb 19th, 2009 12:30 pm | By

Oh the vacancy of the religious mind.

Women are prouder than men, but men are more lustful, according to a Vatican report which states that the two sexes sin differently…”Men and women sin in different ways,” Msgr Wojciech Giertych, theologian to the papal household, wrote in L’Osservatore Romano…Msgr Giertych said the most difficult sin for men to face was lust, followed by gluttony, sloth, anger, pride, envy and greed. For women, the most dangerous sins were pride, envy, anger, lust, and sloth, he added.

Oh for godsake, who cares. Gluttony, sloth, lust, pride – mind your own business, why don’t you, and while you’re at it, why don’t you worry about moral failings that actually matter? How’s that … Read the rest

UK Home Secretary Bans Westboro Preachers *

Feb 19th, 2009 | Filed by

Peter Tatchell disagrees with the decision to ban the Phelpses and Geert Wilders… Read the rest

More Vatican Wisdom on ‘Sin’ *

Feb 19th, 2009 | Filed by

How each sex scores on ‘the seven deadly sins.’ Does the Vatican have nothing better to do?… Read the rest

HRW on Censhorship and Repression in Sudan *

Feb 19th, 2009 | Filed by

It is unsafe to criticize the Khartoum government or call for justice for victims of horrific crimes in Darfur.… Read the rest