All entries by this author

The epithet question

Apr 6th, 2009 11:26 am | By

I’m curious about something. To the best of my knowledge, a sexist epithet is a sexist epithet. There’s not generally a lot of ambiguity about it, although there’s always room for ironic uses in private conversation and so on. In public discourse, a sexist epithet is what it is. Yet – I keep encountering people who dispute that, in places where I wouldn’t expect to, such as comments on Jesus and Mo. So I’m curious about what other people think.

A commenter said ‘the god of Islam is such a pussy. He is unable to do a thing to protect himself or his reputation and must rely on his minions to do his dirty work.’ I took exception, and … Read the rest

‘New’ atheism chapter 27,439

Apr 6th, 2009 11:05 am | By

Madeleine Bunting takes a minute to remind us how stunningly predictable, how jaw-droppingly selective, how risibly but irritatingly woolly she can be and pretty much always is.

Increasingly, one hears a distaste for the polemics of the New Atheist debate and its foghorn volume, and how it has drowned out any other kind of conversation about religion.

Does one? Does one not rather rush about attempting to create such a distaste one’s very own self? Much of this putative distaste comes from Bunting herself, so it’s a little sick-making to see her pretending to be too modest to mention her own energetic campaign. And then of course the drowning out is completely ridiculous – witness Bunting herself, and all the … Read the rest

Swedish Parliament Votes to Allow Gay Marriage *

Apr 5th, 2009 | Filed by

The fifth European country to do so, after the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain and Norway.… Read the rest

Kurt Westergaard ‘Still’ Not Apologetic *

Apr 5th, 2009 | Filed by

‘I think we are in a period in which this democratic value is under pressure, so it has to be defended.’… Read the rest

Antarctic Ice Bridge Breaks *

Apr 5th, 2009 | Filed by

‘A strong indication that the warming on the Antarctic is having an effect on yet another ice shelf.’… Read the rest

The Joy of Scanning the Scientific Literature *

Apr 5th, 2009 | Filed by

A barrage of studies that challenge your preconceptions, demonstrating the weakness of intuition.… Read the rest

Media Ignore UN Anti-blasphemy Resolutions *

Apr 5th, 2009 | Filed by

Surely this is a story worth covering.… Read the rest

Arab Liberals Denounce Islamist Al-Nafisi *

Apr 5th, 2009 | Filed by

Islamist membership leads to deepening of the abyss of hatred for others – even if this member holds 50 doctorates.… Read the rest

Karzai Says He Will Review Family Law *

Apr 5th, 2009 | Filed by

If there is anything in contradiction with Shariah, he will take action in close consultation with clerics.… Read the rest

Review of reviews

Apr 5th, 2009 11:34 am | By

And then there’s Karzai – he says he’ll ‘review’ the new law that says women can’t leave the house without a damn good reason. But his idea of ‘reviewing’ is not quite that of, say, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The Western media have either mistranslated or taken incorrect information and then published it. If there is anything in contradiction with our Constitution or Shariah, or freedoms granted by the Constitution, we will take action in close consultation with the clerics of the country.”

Ah. So the law will stay as it is then. There won’t be anything ‘in contradiction with’ Shariah, and close consultation with the clerics of the country will of course issue in warm approval of … Read the rest

The abyss of hatred

Apr 5th, 2009 11:17 am | By

Tarek Fatah pointed out (at Facebook) a speech by a Kuwaiti professor daydreaming about an anthrax attack in the US that would kill 300,000 people in a few minutes. I did some googling, and found a MEMRI follow-up item quoting ‘a number of prominent liberals: Kuwait University professor Ahmad Al-Baghdadi and columnist Ahmad Al-Sarraf, both of whom are Kuwaiti, and the Jordanian-American author Shaker Al-Nabulsi.’ They all think Professor Anthrax’s views are disgusting.

The guy is actually Dr. ‘Abdallah Al-Nafisi, a prominent Islamist. Depressingly, his doctorate is from Cambridge. Salman Rushdie is another alumnus of Cambridge. They seem to have taken away different things.

Kuwait University professor Ahmad Al-Baghdadi had this to say:

Frankly, I am very happy with Dr.

Read the rest

Intelligently designed to close minds

Apr 4th, 2009 5:13 pm | By

Thought for the day, from Niall Shanks in God, the Devil, and Darwin: a Critique of Intelligent Design Theory.

[T]he dark side of the wedge strategy, lurking at the fat end of the wedge, lies in the way that it is intelligently designed to close minds to critical, rational scrutiny of the world we live in. The wedge strategy describes very well the very process whereby, beginning with mild intellectual sedatives, religion becomes the true opiate of the masses. As [Philip] Johnson makes clear, once the wedge is driven home, even the rules of reasoning and logic will have to be adjusted to sit on theological foundations. In this way, critical thinking and opposition will not just be hard … Read the rest

Knowing theocracy when you see it

Apr 4th, 2009 1:04 pm | By

Shiraz Maher gets it – much better than Robert Lambert does. This could be because (or notwithstanding or both) he was once in Hizb ut-Tahrir.

The British state has traditionally predicated its policy on the premise that ostensibly nonviolent Islamists can be part of the solution to al Qaeda violence…The practical effect of this has been to engage and empower nonviolent exponents of Islamism who, while expressing opposition to the terrorism of Osama bin Laden and his cohorts, hold values and views that are antithetical to mainstream British society. This has often meant turning a blind eye to preachers who advocate the killing of homosexuals, the oppression of women and the subjugation of nonbelievers.

Precisely; I’ve been carping at … Read the rest

Shiraz Maher on UK’s ‘New’ Counterterror Policy *

Apr 4th, 2009 | Filed by

Is it right that liberal societies should endorse those whose values we would otherwise find abhorrent?… Read the rest

Jeremy Paxman Confronted Daud Abdullah *

Apr 4th, 2009 | Filed by

Or rather, he didn’t.… Read the rest

MCB’s Daud Abdullah Sues Hazel Blears *

Apr 4th, 2009 | Filed by

They disagree over certain clauses of the Istanbul Declaration.… Read the rest

Robert Lambert is Wrong *

Apr 4th, 2009 | Filed by

Islamists love to employ the idioms of ‘social justice’ and ‘moral obligation’ when confronting their enemies.… Read the rest

A Crappy Week for Women’s Rights *

Apr 4th, 2009 | Filed by

Erased in Israel, flogged in Pakistan, ground into the dirt in Afghanistan.… Read the rest

Chaudhry Calls For Probe of Girl’s Flogging *

Apr 4th, 2009 | Filed by

Chief Justice Chaudhry called the action a cruel violation of fundamental rights; Gilani calls it shameful.… Read the rest

Ultra-Orthodox Papers Edit Women Out *

Apr 4th, 2009 | Filed by

Two ultra-Orthodox newspapers altered photo of Israel’s cabinet; one replaced the two women with men.… Read the rest