All entries by this author

Jonathan Derbyshire on Edmundson on Freud *

Sep 29th, 2007 | Filed by

Charismatic leaders such as Hitler promise eternal peace in place of conflict, plenitude in place of lack. … Read the rest

Church Buys Unity by Excluding the Outsider *

Sep 29th, 2007 | Filed by

Struggle for inclusion of gays in the church is a frontline battle in the war against global religious fascism. … Read the rest

A Gilded Frame *

Sep 29th, 2007 | Filed by

Scientists are surprised and not pleased to find themselves in a film that makes the case for ID.… Read the rest

How the ‘Framing’ Debate Went *

Sep 29th, 2007 | Filed by

We need activist parents helping teachers oppose the encroachment of the religious on education.… Read the rest

PZ on That Creationist Documentary *

Sep 28th, 2007 | Filed by

‘I certainly haven’t said that “freedom of thought and freedom of inquiry” aren’t part of the university.’… Read the rest

Myers and Laden Encounter Nesbit and Mooney *

Sep 28th, 2007 | Filed by

A reception in Dinkytown will follow the event. Seriously.… Read the rest

Colorado Students Walk Out on Goddy Pledge *

Sep 28th, 2007 | Filed by

The students say the phrase violates the constitutional separation of church and state.… Read the rest

Acid Victim’s Family Blocks Access to Treatment *

Sep 28th, 2007 | Filed by

‘NGOs are involved in un-Islamic activities and it is a sinful act to get treatment from them.’… Read the rest

‘Honour’ Killing in Anatolia *

Sep 28th, 2007 | Filed by

Though there are various reasons behind honor killings, disobedience was found to be the reason behind most.… Read the rest

Dawkins, PZ Myers Appear in ID Documentary *

Sep 28th, 2007 | Filed by

‘At no time was I given the slightest clue that these people were a creationist front,’ Dawkins said.… Read the rest

Joan Bakewell on Prince’s Dangerous Message *

Sep 28th, 2007 | Filed by

PC has backed out of Royal Film Performance – which would have been ‘Brick Lane.’… Read the rest

Connubial acid-throwing

Sep 28th, 2007 11:45 am | By


The ordeal of ill-fated Irshad Bibi, who suffered burns in an acid attack by her husband, seems far from over despite generous offer by an NGO as her very own people blocked her way to accept the help and go for the treatment…[H]er family and relatives stopped her from going to Islamabad for treatment at the expense of the NGO on the plea that “such organisations have the reputation of committing immoral activities and they will use her also for their nefarious designs”…A resident of the area to which the victim belonged defended the family’s stance, saying: “The NGOs are involved in un-Islamic activities and it is a sinful act to get treatment from them”.

Therefore, Irshad Bibi … Read the rest

Ignatieff on intuition

Sep 27th, 2007 5:42 pm | By

Michael Ignatieff says something in his article on ‘Getting Iraq Wrong’ that ties up with this discussion of belief and intuition we’ve been having.

Having taught political science myself, I have to say the discipline promises more than it can deliver. In practical politics, there is no science of decision-making. The vital judgments a politician makes every day are about people: whom to trust, whom to believe and whom to avoid. The question of loyalty arises daily: Who will betray and who will stay true? Having good judgment in these matters, having a sound sense of reality, requires trusting some very unscientific intuitions about people.

I’ll buy that. That is one place where intuition mostly does work a lot better … Read the rest

Absurd Indictment of Journalist in Niger *

Sep 27th, 2007 | Filed by

What he is alleged to have done are normal activities for a brave and rigorous journalist.… Read the rest

RSF on Bad State of Press Freedom in Burma *

Sep 27th, 2007 | Filed by

RSF and the Burma Media Association call for the release of five journalists and a photographer.… Read the rest

‘They Want to Finish With the African People’ *

Sep 27th, 2007 | Filed by

Mozambique archbishop claims some European-made condoms are infected with HIV deliberately.… Read the rest

‘Christophobia’ at Universities *

Sep 27th, 2007 | Filed by

Shocking bias against the irrational in academic enclaves.… Read the rest

Teacher Fired for Non-literal Bible Mention *

Sep 27th, 2007 | Filed by

Fired after he told his students the story of Adam and Eve should not be literally interpreted.… Read the rest

On Jesus and Buddhism and eschatology

Sep 26th, 2007 5:45 pm | By

There are some excellent things in parts of God is not Great*. I thought I would give you a sample.

Pp. 175-6:

…it is only in the reported observations of Jesus that we find any mention of hell and eternal punishment. The god of Moses would brusquely call for other tribes, including his favourite one, to suffer massacre and plague and even extirpation, but when the grave closed over his victims he was essentially finished with them unless he remembered to curse their succeeding progeny. Not until the advent of the Prince of Peace do we hear of the ghastly idea of further punishing and torturing the dead…[T]he son of god is revealed as one who, if his milder

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Must be a slow news day

Sep 26th, 2007 2:00 pm | By

Interesting. I’m told that Why Truth Matters was scheduled to be discussed on Classic FM this evening, on Newsnight. I don’t know though, I tried the Listen Again button but although I got the player and clicked on the sound button, I couldn’t get it to play. In the unlikely event that anyone is interested, there it is. (In the even more unlikely event that anyone would like to transcribe it for me, do feel free!)

Update: dear kind Arnaud did a transcript for me. (Or perhaps he simply made it up; it’s certainly pleasing enough to be a fantasy.) Merci, Arnaud.

John Brunning: Well next stop, Chris, a book on a subject I know is dear to your … Read the rest