All entries by this author

More Criticism of Journalist’s Death Sentence *

Jan 26th, 2008 | Filed by

RSF appeals to Karzaï to respond to the many appeals for clemency for Sayed Perwiz Kambakhsh.… Read the rest



Margaret Drabble Follows J B Priestley *

Jan 26th, 2008 | Filed by

His chapter on the Potteries is humane, indignant, charged with the energy of his restless curiosity.… Read the rest



Deborah Cameron on Myth of Gendered Speech *

Jan 26th, 2008 | Filed by

She combats the cliché by example, writing in an enjoyable mode of pugnacious sarcasm.… Read the rest



Something about postmodernism

Jan 25th, 2008 4:03 pm | By

Tina Beattie in Open Democracy.

If we are to understand [the upsurge in various forms of religious extremism] and its social and political implications, then we must go beyond the headline-grabbing confrontations between religious and atheist extremists.

She says, contributing her own mite to the headline-grabbing confrontations between religious and atheist ‘extremists,’ in particular by using the phrase ‘atheist extremists’ at all. What are atheist extremists? And in what sense of the word are Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris and Christopher Hitchens – Beattie’s chosen examples – extremists? Do they advocate violence against believers? Suppression of believers? Forcible silencing of believers? No. They disagree with them, that’s all; they think believers are wrong, and they say so. In what sense … Read the rest



Cruel Nanny Had Fake Qualifications *

Jan 25th, 2008 | Filed by

Claimed to hold numerous childcare diplomas from organisations that denied knowledge of her. … Read the rest



Alarmist TV Drama on Autism and Vaccination *

Jan 25th, 2008 | Filed by

New legal drama comes down on the side dismissed by prominent scientific organizations.… Read the rest



Ben Goldacre on Stupidity With Statistics *

Jan 25th, 2008 | Filed by

How not to do a careful survey: count comments on a badly-worded question at a chat site.… Read the rest



Jesus and Mo Are Amazed by Tom Cruise *

Jan 25th, 2008 | Filed by

He really seems convinced that he has access to some kind of special knowledge.… Read the rest



Christian Couple Tortured Their Children *

Jan 25th, 2008 | Filed by

Father sliced the boys’ mouths with a scalpel, put safety pins through their lips – because God had his tongue cut off in the Bible.… Read the rest



Eh? What and human rights?

Jan 24th, 2008 12:23 pm | By

I see on Tina Beattie’s page at Roehampton that one of her teaching interests is Religion and Human Rights. That’s a strange pairing, I thought – even stranger than those pairings of ‘Religion and Ethics’ that we see everywhere (such as at the BBC). Why religion and human rights? It is so often bishops or priests or mullahs who oppose human rights rather than supporting them – it seems odd to link them. The pairing of religion and ethics gives religion the credit for ideas and views that are often entirely secular; pairing religion with human rights would seem to do the same thing.

Human Rights Watch is aware of the tension.

Is there a schism between the

Read the rest


Social Attitudes Change *

Jan 24th, 2008 | Filed by

Attitudes to gays and single parents are more liberal, those to poor people are less so.… Read the rest



Judge Says Forced Marriage is Undercounted *

Jan 24th, 2008 | Filed by

Official statistics on forced marriage reflect only the tip of the iceberg of a much larger problem in Britain.… Read the rest



Blears Urges Muslim Women to Take the Lead *

Jan 24th, 2008 | Filed by

Time to give the silent majority a voice.… Read the rest



Dutch Foreign Minister Talks Woolly Drivel *

Jan 24th, 2008 | Filed by

If freedom of expression means anything at all, it means the right to offend. … Read the rest



Tina Beattie on ‘The New Atheists’ *

Jan 24th, 2008 | Filed by

‘We must go beyond the headline-grabbing confrontations between religious and atheist extremists.’… Read the rest



Nick Clarke on Opening of CFI London *

Jan 24th, 2008 | Filed by

He reports on talks by Stephen Law, Mark Vernon and Azar Majedi.… Read the rest



Demonic epistemology

Jan 23rd, 2008 6:14 pm | By

About this exorcist guy…You know how the pope likes to put up this front of being rational and scholarly and reasonable? Well…the church he’s at the top of has exorcists. The Chief Exorcist of Rome is very emphatic on the point that Satan is for real and that anyone who says otherwise is engaged in ‘true heresy.’ Satan is not a metaphor, or an abstraction, Satan is a fella. Father Gabriele Amorth wants everyone to make no mistake about that.

Those modern theologians who identify Satan with the abstract idea of evil are completely mistaken. Theirs is true heresy; that is, it is openly in contrast with the Bible, the Fathers, and the Magisterium of the Church.

So much … Read the rest



Merlin John on the Offensive Three Builders *

Jan 23rd, 2008 | Filed by

Judges asked: ‘Is it true that all builders are cowboys?’… Read the rest



‘Three Little Pigs’ Too Offensive *

Jan 23rd, 2008 | Filed by

Oh come on, this is a joke, right? No, apparently not.… Read the rest



Mullahs Called for Death Penalty for Journalist *

Jan 23rd, 2008 | Filed by

Afghan journalists exposed to threats from religious fundamentalists who try to prevent any debate about Islam and the status of women.… Read the rest