All entries by this author

Chilean Pharmacies Warned *

Oct 30th, 2007 | Filed by

Government tells pharmacies refusing to sell morning-after pill they could face stiff fines or closure. … Read the rest

Malise Ruthven on the Export of Wahhabism *

Oct 30th, 2007 | Filed by

Wahhabi and Salafist ideas are spread globally through online fatwas, conferences, lectures, cheap booklets.… Read the rest

About Intercessory Prayer

Oct 30th, 2007 | By Gil Gaudia, Ph.D.

In 1748 the great Scottish philosopher, David Hume, first published his “lemon test” concerning miracles. It goes like this: “No testimony is sufficient to establish a miracle unless the testimony be of such a kind that its falsehood would be even more miraculous than the fact which it endeavors to establish…” Hume concludes his point by saying:

When anyone tells me, that he saw a dead man restored to life, I immediately consider with myself, whether it be more probable, that this person should either deceive or be deceived, or that the fact, which he relates, should really have happened. I weigh the one miracle against the other; and according to the superiority, which I discover, I pronounce my decision,

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I share values, do you share values?

Oct 30th, 2007 11:13 am | By

Okay what about dear Saudi Arabia with whom we share all these ‘values’? What about all these ‘values’ that we share? Which ones are those then? People are asking.

As Gordon Brown faced mounting criticism yesterday over the state visit of King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, the Foreign Office minister Kim Howells called for Britain and the Saudi monarchy to work more closely together on a basis of “shared values”…The statement by Mr Howells drew an angry reaction from the Labour backbenches. “I am astounded that a government minister can identify shared values with a regime that is world-renowned for its abuse of human rights and civil liberties,” said John McDonnell, the left-wing MP co-ordinating protests at the Saudi

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At the Baltimore Aquarium

Oct 29th, 2007 12:03 pm | By

From Tea, in comments on ‘Contemplative wonder is doomed, doomed, I tell you’.

I went to the Baltimore aquarium last week, and I saw a most amazing species of fish (whose name I unfortunately don’t remember at all). It took me a while to actually see it: the tank looked like it contained nothing but water and some algae-covered rocks. An employee approached me and asked me if I can see the fish. “No”, I replied. “It’s right here”, he said, pointing his finger at a rock. “Where?” “Right here.” I just couldn’t see it – until I noticed that the rock blinked at me slightly with its big black eye. It was truly amazing – I still couldn’t tell … Read the rest

Tehelka Magazine on the Gujarat Riots *

Oct 29th, 2007 | Filed by

A collection of articles.… Read the rest

The Exposé of a Gujarati Massacre *

Oct 29th, 2007 | Filed by

Sunny Hundal notes lack of media coverage in both India and the UK.… Read the rest

Andrew Brown Ponders a Stupidfilter *

Oct 29th, 2007 | Filed by

An application of spam-fighting algorithms to the problem of stupidity.… Read the rest

An Exciting History of German Romanticism *

Oct 29th, 2007 | Filed by

Surpassing of religion through release of the powers of imagination, which re-invented the world.… Read the rest

Protests at Saudi King’s State Visit to UK *

Oct 29th, 2007 | Filed by

Saudi human rights record less than stellar.… Read the rest

Normblog Ponders Science and Wonder *

Oct 29th, 2007 | Filed by

The desire to understand is every bit as much a human given as is our wonder at the world.… Read the rest

Contemplative wonder is doomed, doomed, I tell you

Oct 28th, 2007 12:23 pm | By

I’m told by more than one witness that Mark Vernon is a nice guy (and I don’t doubt it) – but he does talk the most godawful crap.

Do you need to be religious to truly experience wonder at the world? This question lurks behind much of the ongoing debate about atheism. If everything can be explained by science, what is worthy of awe?

That’s a ridiculous question, and also a sinister one. It’s ridiculous because of its gormless assumption that explanation is for some reason inimical to awe. But why should it be? Think of the first atomic bomb, dropped in the desert at Alomogordo. The physicists and engineers watching knew how it worked, obviously; they could explain … Read the rest

Cruising With Sylvia Browne *

Oct 28th, 2007 | Filed by

‘There is no doubt that she makes a fortune saying very serious, cruel, show-stopping things to people in distress.’… Read the rest

Mark Vernon Urges Preservation of Ignorance *

Oct 28th, 2007 | Filed by

Scientific knowledge must be limited or else it will ‘erode the capacity for contemplative wonder.’… Read the rest

Vatican ‘Beatifies’ Spanish Civil War Dead *

Oct 28th, 2007 | Filed by

Franco side only, of course; cites ‘reconciliation.’… Read the rest

Nick Cohen on the Dangers of Alt Med *

Oct 28th, 2007 | Filed by

The Society of Homeopaths promises to provide ‘fascinating insights’ for World Aids Day.… Read the rest

Srebrenica Revisited *

Oct 28th, 2007 | Filed by

The Srebrenica massacre cast a shadow on the viability of international law and organizations. … Read the rest

Hinduism Still State Religion in ‘Secular’ Nepal *

Oct 28th, 2007 | Filed by

The state spends over Rs.50 million annually on Hindu rituals, including slaughter of birds and animals.… Read the rest

The Echoes of the Bell

Oct 28th, 2007 | By Ravi Dhungel

Every morning, the bell rings. It’s not my cell-phone alarm nor the siren broadcast by big mansions for the periodical shifting of laborers. The bell rings everyday and I am hearing it for the last twenty-eight years (apart from a few odd days). It’s evident that millions of Hindus throughout the world hear these bell-echoes every day in the early morning. The frequency of this bell must have been raised exponentially these days as the Hindu’s greatest festival Dashain has finished recently.

Being a Hindu by birth and a secular humanist by thought, I am always at a cross-roads in shaping myself into the proper track with regard to atheism and theism. The trail is muddy and complicated, but I … Read the rest

Wichita Disenchanted With Political Evangelicals *

Oct 27th, 2007 | Filed by

Secular sociologists say evangelicals’ changing view of society reflects their changing place in it. … Read the rest