All entries by this author

Hussaini Begum Deported *

Jun 18th, 2006 | Filed by

She fled India after she was raped and forced into an arranged marriage.… Read the rest

Bunting Leaves Guardian for Demos *

Jun 18th, 2006 | Filed by

‘She is a serious, independent and provocative thinker,’ says chair of Demos trustees.… Read the rest

Does Marx Still Matter? *

Jun 18th, 2006 | Filed by

The Independent asks Hobsbawm and others.… Read the rest

Whose Life Is It?

Jun 18th, 2006 1:20 am | By

Go, Sunny.

…annoying cultural traditions have a distinct knack of clinging on through generations. It would be no exaggeration to say that thousands of young British Asian women are forced into marriage every year…I have seen well educated and well adjusted friends slowly become nervous wrecks as their parents pile on the pressure…last week the Home Office decided a specific law to ban forced marriages was not needed. To put it mildly, the decision was not only a travesty but an unbelievably stupid fudge…Yet once again Labour has fallen victim to an army of Asian apologetics who prefer this muddle and like to pretend that the practice is very rare. Complete rubbish.

Go on.

For example, Pragna Patel from

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Sunny Hundal on Betrayal of Asian Women *

Jun 17th, 2006 | Filed by

‘We need a few high-profile cases of Asian parents being put in prison to make [forced marriage] a social stigma.’… Read the rest

Family Court and Secrecy *

Jun 17th, 2006 | Filed by

False convictions are a problem – but so are false acquittals.… Read the rest

Jackie Ashley Talks to Melanie Phillips *

Jun 17th, 2006 | Filed by

Very carefully.… Read the rest

Multiculturalism as Ethnic Division of Labor *

Jun 17th, 2006 | Filed by

‘Even multiculturalism’s defenders often have little clue of what it really is, or does.’… Read the rest

Only Certain Science Stories Get Media Coverage *

Jun 16th, 2006 | Filed by

Scares about mercury fillings get headlines; follow-up research suggesting they are safe is ignored. … Read the rest

MMR is Back *

Jun 16th, 2006 | Filed by

Newspaper scare stories rely on unpublished research, so informed debate is impossible.… Read the rest

CofE: Homosexuality is at Odds With the Bible *

Jun 16th, 2006 | Filed by

‘Faith’ schools demand exemption from equality laws in order to keep teaching that homosexuality is a sin. … Read the rest

US Depends on Imported Talent for Science *

Jun 16th, 2006 | Filed by

Might be a good idea to educate some homegrown scientists.… Read the rest

Reliability? Expertise? Whatever Next?

Jun 16th, 2006 2:14 am | By

Scott has a very apropos column this week. Well, apropos from my point of view anyway – and in a very real sense, is not my point of view the only one that matters? Of course it is. And from that point of view Scott’s column reads like a sly follow-up to his column last week, the one in which he interviewed some bore who co-wrote a book about truth. Some of the commenters on that column, as you may or may not remember, rolled up their sleeves and got to work casting doubt on the whole idea of truth by breaking out the capital letters and the incredulous modifiers (certain, absolute) and the fleering quotation marks (“truth,” … Read the rest

Charles Larmore on Jerrold Siegel on the Self *

Jun 15th, 2006 | Filed by

Not enough Montaigne, no GH Mead, no Habermas; but still a useful book.… Read the rest

Column on Gay Marriage Leads to Dismissal *

Jun 15th, 2006 | Filed by

‘This isn’t Brigham Young Seminary,’ says BYU alumnus.… Read the rest

Scott McLemee Ponders Wikipedia *

Jun 15th, 2006 | Filed by

Accuracy, reliability, accountability matter.… Read the rest

Schools Too Girly, Says Guy *

Jun 15th, 2006 | Filed by

Focus too much on organisation and attentiveness, not enough on explosions.… Read the rest

Tories Want More History Taught *

Jun 15th, 2006 | Filed by

Good idea but silly reasons.… Read the rest

Truth and Consequences at Brigham Young

Jun 15th, 2006 | By Ophelia Benson and Jeremy Stangroom

Brigham Young University is in the news at the moment because its philosophy department decided not to renew the contract of an adjunct instructor after he wrote a newspaper editorial in favour of same-sex marriage. The instructor received a letter from the chair of the philosophy department informing him of the decision shortly after his editorial ran in the Salt Lake Tribune. Inside Higher Ed reported, ‘Carri Jenkins, a BYU spokeswoman, said the choice not to rehire Nielsen came from the department, which has the authority to make personnel decisions on part-time faculty. “The department made the decision because of the opinion piece that had been written, and based on the fact that Mr. Nielsen publicly contradicted and opposed … Read the rest

No Such Thing as Deep Knowledge

Jun 14th, 2006 8:39 pm | By

I’m not the only one who thinks so, either. Frederick Crews’s article says much the same thing, only better.

Although the follies discussed in my chapters are mild when judged against the total historical record of homicidal zeal in the service of misapprehensions, they display most of the features that characterize religious fanaticism, such as undue deference to authority, hostility toward dissenters, and, most basically, an assumption that intuitively held certitude is somehow more precious and profound than the hard-won gains of trial and error.

This is, it seems to me, the lurking danger behind the innocuous-seeming idea that there are ways of getting at the truth about the world that are radically different from ‘the scientific method.’ If … Read the rest