All entries by this author

Shelina Zahra Janmohamed on Jewel of Medina *

Oct 20th, 2008 | Filed by

Outdated Orientalist reading; marriage for girls in early teens normal; offended; hurt; empathy; respect.… Read the rest



Just Fancy: the Soul is the Brain *

Oct 19th, 2008 | Filed by

Your mental life is a product of your brain. If you want to call that a soul…whatever.… Read the rest



Religious Grievances on the Increase *

Oct 19th, 2008 | Filed by

Muslims want prayer breaks, non-Muslims don’t want to do their work; impasse.… Read the rest



Girl, 11, Set on Fire for Wearing Lipstick *

Oct 19th, 2008 | Filed by

Her great-uncle, a conservative Muslim, told police he was enraged at the girl for being ‘scantily dressed.’… Read the rest



Hindus to Christians: Convert or We Will Kill You *

Oct 19th, 2008 | Filed by

‘If you go on being Christians, we will burn your houses and your children in front of you.’… Read the rest



Chet Raymo on Miracles *

Oct 19th, 2008 | Filed by

Once we let some miracles in the door, there is no consistent way to exclude others.… Read the rest



The miracle of prayer

Oct 19th, 2008 9:39 am | By

Chet Raymo quotes Kenneth Miller on prayer:

Finally, any traditional believer must agree that God is able to influence the thoughts and actions of individual human beings. We pray for strength, we pray for patience, and we pray for understanding. Prayer is an element of faith, and bound within it is the conviction that God can affect us and those we pray for in positive ways.

Wait. If we pray for strength, patience and understanding and find (or believe we find) that we have more strength, patience and understanding, that could simply be because praying is a way we get ourselves to have more strength, patience and understanding. It’s true that in that sense ‘faith’ may well work – … Read the rest



Escape? Of course you can’t escape!

Oct 18th, 2008 1:29 pm | By

I was flicking through tv stations the other evening and happened on Martin Sheen looking earnest, so I paused to hear what he had to say – expecting pleasant murmurs about Obama or urbane skepticism about McCain, I suppose. But no – what I got was some irritating Catholic boilerplate about Washington state’s Initiative 1000, which allows doctors, under certain very limited careful circumstances, to give terminal patients drugs with which to end the misery. Martin Sheen’s against it. This makes me angry. It makes me angry because it shouldn’t be anyone else’s business. No one is offering to force assisted suicide on anyone. The point of the initiative is to make it available (with level upon level of … Read the rest



States’ Actions to Block Voters Appear Illegal *

Oct 18th, 2008 | Filed by

For every voter added in the past two months in some states, election officials have removed two.… Read the rest



Catholics Oppose Assisted Suicide Bill *

Oct 18th, 2008 | Filed by

Opponents say Washington State Initiative 1000 is ‘against God’s will.’ So suffering is God’s will.… Read the rest



Herding Atheists is Like Herding Cats *

Oct 18th, 2008 | Filed by

One problem with turning out the atheist vote is finding it.… Read the rest



The Guardian’s Crush on the Koran *

Oct 18th, 2008 | Filed by

Zia Sardar has spent years trying to square the circle of his Islamic beliefs with his right-on radicalism.… Read the rest



Radio Netherlands on Women in Iran *

Oct 18th, 2008 | Filed by

Jonathan Groubert talks to Farnaz Seifi and Fataneh Farahani about hijab and protest. … Read the rest



A Planetarium is not ‘Foolishness’ *

Oct 18th, 2008 | Filed by

Planetaria educate and inspire people; they are worth spending money on.… Read the rest



At the Ex-Muslims Conference

Oct 17th, 2008 1:46 pm | By

Anthony Grayling spoke at the Ex-Muslims conference and tells us how it went.

The conference was opened by the head of the Iranian Secular Society, Fariborz Pooya, and addressed by the extraordinary and courageous Maryam Namazie, spokesperson of the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain, who subjected Islamism – political Islam – to scrutiny, arguing that it serves as an agency of Islamic states with serious implications for the lives, rights and freedoms of individuals, many of whom have left their countries of origin precisely to escape the repressive political and social climates there…A source of frustration for many is that they are lumped into “the Muslim community” whose self-elected spokespeople are more representative of the Islamic states that many

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Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain Conference *

Oct 17th, 2008 | Filed by

Nearly 300 people met to discuss apostasy, the freedom to criticise religion, Sharia and civil society.… Read the rest



Anne Applebaum on Human Smoke *

Oct 17th, 2008 | Filed by

Baker has used his license as a ‘novelist’ to excuse himself from all the tedious work of genuine knowledge.… Read the rest



Eric Foner on the Role of Reconstruction *

Oct 17th, 2008 | Filed by

Today Reconstruction is viewed as a noble if flawed experiment, a forerunner of the modern struggle for racial justice.… Read the rest



Plumbers Disavow Joe *

Oct 17th, 2008 | Filed by

Union plumbers are not impressed by Joe the plumber.… Read the rest



Interview With Paul Offitt *

Oct 17th, 2008 | Filed by

A doctor defends scientific research against the potentially fatal misperceptions of the anti-vaccine movement. … Read the rest