All entries by this author

Michelle Bachelet *

Jan 17th, 2006 | Filed by

Held for weeks in torture and detention centres before fleeing Pinochet’s Chile in 1975. … Read the rest

Supremes Uphold Assisted Suicide Law *

Jan 17th, 2006 | Filed by

Justices voted 6-3; ruling could free other states to pass laws like Oregon’s.… Read the rest

Ian Bell Reviews ‘Root of all Evil?’ *

Jan 17th, 2006 | Filed by

Agrees that ‘Atheism is life-affirming in a way that religion can never be.’… Read the rest

Bishop of Motherwell Talks Dangerous Crap *

Jan 17th, 2006 | Filed by

Says Church needs to stop cowering before government’s politically approved doctrines.… Read the rest

Carlin Romano on Differing Views of Ben Franklin *

Jan 17th, 2006 | Filed by

Wave of hagiography in Franklin biography marginalizes issues like slave-trade activities.… Read the rest

Parents Sue School District Over ID Course *

Jan 16th, 2006 | Filed by

Course approved despite science, math teachers’ testimony it would undermine science curriculum.… Read the rest

Chutzpah is the Word That Comes to Mind *

Jan 16th, 2006 | Filed by

For appeals not to silence dissenting views from people who work to silence dissenting views.… Read the rest

Morrissey ‘Understands’ Animal Rights Violence *

Jan 16th, 2006 | Filed by

‘I understand why fur farmers and so-called laboratory scientists are repaid with violence.’… Read the rest

Why Do People Want to Present Fiction as Fact? *

Jan 16th, 2006 | Filed by

‘The answer might be that truth sells.’… Read the rest

Does Truth Matter in Memoirs? *

Jan 16th, 2006 | Filed by

If memoirs are distinct from fiction, then the distinction should matter.… Read the rest

Subtle Pressure to Assimilate to Dominant Norms *

Jan 16th, 2006 | Filed by

Bias toward assimilation is in tension with protection of civil rights.… Read the rest

Hitchens on the Lord’s Resistance Army *

Jan 16th, 2006 | Filed by

A rolling Jonestown.… Read the rest

What’s on Philosophy Talk *

Jan 16th, 2006 | Filed by

Daniel Dennett on ‘Intelligent Design’ on January 17 and 19.… Read the rest

Art, Poetry, Religion, Uncertainty

Jan 16th, 2006 1:54 am | By

George Szirtes mentioned in a comment on that post Science and Religion that he has a blog, where he commented further on the subject we were discussing there. (It doesn’t have permalinks, so scroll down.) This subject interests me, and I agree with George on most of it. Especially some of it.

My contention is that the experience of listening to, say, Bach’s St Matthew’s Passion, strikes some people with the force of truth. It is not some verifiable truth about the existence or otherwise of God. The music doesn’t set itself out as proof of anything. The sense of truth arises because the music seems profoundly true to some element of human experience. In that sense

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Jan 15th, 2006 10:10 pm | By

Some brief notices. Daniel Dennett is going to be on Philosophy Talk on January 17 to discuss ‘Intelligent Design’.

Pharyngula has moved to here. Change your bookmarks!

David Luban has a terrific guestpost at Balkinization on what’s wrong (hint: everything) with an article in defense of broad executive power by Harvey Mansfield in the Weekly Standard.

The article is loaded with gravitas, and Mansfield obviously wants to sound deep. But the depth is all on the surface. Read with care, Mansfield’s arguments are profoundly silly.

There’s a lot of that about. People wanting to sound deep, and just being silly instead. A lesson for us all. (Except me, because I never want to sound deep. Rude, hostile, irritating, … Read the rest

Double, Triple, Quadruple Standards

Jan 15th, 2006 6:57 pm | By

Let us now praise famous imams and representatives of various British Muslim organisations – every single one of them male, if I’m not mistaken. What a swell bunch – all two and twenty of them.

In light of the bizarre news that the Metropolitan Police is to “investigate” comments about homosexuality made by Sir Iqbal Sacranie, the secretary-general of the Muslim Council of Britain, we, the undersigned, Imams and representatives of various British Muslim organisations, affirm that Sir Iqbal’s views faithfully reflected mainstream Islamic teachings…The practice of homosexuality is regarded as being sinful in Islam.

Yes, and in other religions too, as Ratzinger keeps anxiously pointing out, in case we might confuse him with someone else. So what? Who … Read the rest

In Poverty Begins Responsibility

Jan 15th, 2006 6:26 pm | By

I know it’s obvious, but this kind of thing gets on my nerves. I know it’s obvious, I know this is The Economist, but still.

When IBM announced an overhaul of its pension plan for employees in America last week, it joined a parade of employers that are shifting more responsibility for saving for retirement on to workers.

Shifting more responsibility. As if those slacker employees have been just flopping around expecting employers to spoon-feed them, because they’re such babies. As if pensions were not simply part of the agreed compensation package, like, you know, wages. If IBM announced an overhaul of its payment plan for employees, which consisted of reducing their salaries by 100%, would that be shifting … Read the rest

Jerusalem Conference on Levinas *

Jan 15th, 2006 | Filed by

Levinas’ influence will be discussed and debated from France to Israel to Lithuania to China. … Read the rest

Streatham Eccentrics Attempt Coup in Pakistan *

Jan 15th, 2006 | Filed by

‘Our leader Shahbaz Khan is Imam Mehdi’ said one, without a hint of irony, over a megaphone.… Read the rest

Pope Still Opposes Abortion and Gay Marriage *

Jan 15th, 2006 | Filed by

Ratzinger insists on Vatican’s reactionary views, in case anyone thought it had improved.… Read the rest