All entries by this author

Iran’s parliament gets down to work

Feb 28th, 2008 12:24 pm | By

More exciting news from Iran.

The Iranian parliament is discussing a new penal code, under which citizens who convert [to] another religion will face execution…Besides apostates, the code also [include?]s the death penalty for a[n]yone who ‘insults the Prophet’.

Ah. Well…perhaps this idea that people should be allowed to leave a religion without having their heads separated from their shoulders is just some old hegemonic notion of western Orientalists, or something.

Dr Nazila Ghanea, lecturer in human rights law at Oxford university and editor-in-chief of the Journal of Religion and Human Rights, said: ‘The laws will give the Iranian government legal grounds to resort to taking the lives of any of its citizens who choose to adopt a religion

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Section Five: Apostasy, Heresy, and Witchcraft *

Feb 28th, 2008 | Filed by

Article 225-7: Punishment for an Innate Apostate is death. Article 225-8: Punishment for a Parental Apostate is death.… Read the rest

Iranian Parliament Working on New Penal Code *

Feb 28th, 2008 | Filed by

Laws will give the Iranian government legal grounds to kill any citizens who choose a religion other than Islam. … Read the rest

Pics from Southall Black Sisters Protest *

Feb 28th, 2008 | Filed by

Sunny Hundal went along to show support, and he took his camera.… Read the rest

John Patrick Diggins Reviews Charles Taylor *

Feb 28th, 2008 | Filed by

Taylor seeks to prove that God is still very much present in the world, if only we look at the right places.… Read the rest

‘Undercover Mosque’ Makers to Sue Police for Libel *

Feb 28th, 2008 | Filed by

Police said the programme misrepresented the mosques and might ‘undermine community cohesion.’… Read the rest

Seyla Benhabib on Turkey’s Hijab Legislation *

Feb 27th, 2008 | Filed by

Unfortunate that reform of Article 301 (on ‘insulting Turkishness’) was dropped.… Read the rest

Biologists Join Philosophers in Moral Thinking *

Feb 27th, 2008 | Filed by

Marc Hauser, David Sloan Wilson, Samuel Bowles look at trolleyology, altruism, and moral behavior.… Read the rest

Cultural Sensitivity Puts Rights at Risk *

Feb 27th, 2008 | Filed by

Prevents police, teachers, social services from protecting basic human rights for fear of upsetting ‘communities.’… Read the rest

Tom Flynn: Why the A Word Won’t Go Away *

Feb 27th, 2008 | Filed by

Mainstreamers have powerfully negative, largely noncognitive responses to atheism. … Read the rest

Paul Gross on Florida’s New Science Standards *

Feb 27th, 2008 | Filed by

The compromise is a sop to voters who think some other way of knowing is equal or superior to science.… Read the rest

Open Letter from American Feminists *

Feb 26th, 2008 | Filed by

Katha Pollitt notes: ‘Women’s rights are human rights’ was not a slogan dreamed up by David Horowitz.… Read the rest

Multi-secularism: The New Agenda *

Feb 26th, 2008 | Filed by

Multi-secularism seems to be the best strategy: adapting secular values to the societies in which they arise. … Read the rest

Steve Jones Disses Creationism *

Feb 26th, 2008 | Filed by

‘Creationism is boring and empty, and I usually ignore it, but this week at UCL it’s hard to do so.’… Read the rest

The War Against Women Never Ends *

Feb 26th, 2008 | Filed by

In West Africa, as in so many places where rape was used as a weapon of war, it has become a habit.… Read the rest

Turkey Begins Radical Revision of Hadith *

Feb 26th, 2008 | Filed by

Dept of Religious Affairs has commissioned theologians at Ankara University to revise the Hadith.… Read the rest

Lookin’ Good for Jesus *

Feb 26th, 2008 | Filed by

The products included a “Virtuous vanilla” lip balm and a “Get Tight with Christ” hand and body cream.… Read the rest

Measles Cases at Record High in Britain *

Feb 26th, 2008 | Filed by

The only way to reduce impact of such outbreaks is to ensure uptake of MMR vaccine increases.… Read the rest

The uses of polemic

Feb 26th, 2008 10:27 am | By

Some further thoughts on ‘offensive’ writing and cartoons and such. One issue is whether or not we know in advance that people will be outraged. I claimed, sweepingly, in comments, that we can’t know, and Jerry S prodded me into acknowledging that sometimes we can. Fair point. It’s easy (he demonstrated!) to come up with something we can be quite confident will outrage some people. True; and I also agreed that I don’t like or value mere abuse, and feel no need to make a principled defense of it. But I do value polemic, including polemic that can be considered harsh or mocking and that thus can be considered very likely to outrage at least some people. The further thoughts … Read the rest


Feb 25th, 2008 5:05 pm | By

Our Mutual Friend, Book 1 Chapter 11: ‘Podsnappery’.

A certain institution in Mr Podsnap’s mind which he called ‘the young person’ may be considered to have been embodied in Miss Podsnap, his daughter. It was an inconvenient and exacting institution, as requiring everything in the universe to be filed down and fitted to it. The question about everything was, would it bring a blush into the cheek of the young person? And the inconvenience of the young person was, that, according to Mr Podsnap, she seemed always liable to burst into blushes when there was no need at all. There appeared to be no line of demarcation between the young person’s excessive innocence, and another person’s guiltiest knowledge.

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