All entries by this author

You Can See Why Atheists Snigger *

Jun 4th, 2007 | Filed by

The first taste of their own rhetorical medicine reduces the godly to frothing rage.… Read the rest

Lee Smolin on the Other Einstein *

Jun 4th, 2007 | Filed by

Not the one in Isaacson’s cozy patronizing mythology.… Read the rest

Another Bishop Backs Controls on Women *

Jun 4th, 2007 | Filed by

New bill will call for mandatory counselling and a seven day wait before any abortion.… Read the rest

Cardinals, Back Off *

Jun 4th, 2007 | Filed by

The ferocity of the clerics’ language is important.… Read the rest

David Thompson Poses a Key Question *

Jun 4th, 2007 | Filed by

Is it possible to oppose the oppression of women without challenging specific religious laws?… Read the rest

Nigel Warburton Interviews Michael Clark *

Jun 2nd, 2007 | Filed by

What a paradox is and why philosophers should be interested in them.… Read the rest

Mark Perakh Reviews Stephen Barr *

Jun 2nd, 2007 | Filed by

Good physics, bad arguments that science is ‘the friend of faith.’… Read the rest

What Senator Brownback ‘Thinks’ on Evolution *

Jun 2nd, 2007 | Filed by

‘Faith seeks to purify reason so that we might be able to see more clearly, not less.’… Read the rest

Iran Promoting Temporary ‘Marriages’ *

Jun 2nd, 2007 | Filed by

There are already tens of thousands of children from temporary marriages whose fathers deny them.… Read the rest

Why the Boycott is Stupid *

Jun 2nd, 2007 | Filed by

The academy is the arena for debate; the sharper that is, the more likely that truth is what will emerge.… Read the rest

What we can’t know

Jun 2nd, 2007 11:20 am | By

About the theist four-step again – I’ve been pondering the fact that 2) and 4) are a tricky combination. What would it even mean to have reliable knowledge that ‘God’ is ‘good’? It’s not really even possible to know that. It’s possible to believe it in a sense, but not to know it.

It’s possible to imagine having reliable knowledge that God exists – and that God is all-powerful and all-knowing, and that it wants us to do certain things and not others. But that it is good? No. Because that’s not knowable in principle.

Imagine it. There’s been some global mass revelation that puts it all beyond question. Included in that is God’s own declaration that God is good. … Read the rest

Abortion is a Wedge Issue *

Jun 1st, 2007 | Filed by

Part of a wider attempt to roll back the values of secularism and impose religious views on everyone.… Read the rest

Collins Has It, Hitchens Doesn’t *

Jun 1st, 2007 | Filed by

An intrinsic feeling for religion.… Read the rest

Chris Hedges Explains ‘Authentic’ Religion *

Jun 1st, 2007 | Filed by

‘Religious faith has no quarrel with science. It seeks a spiritual truth, not a scientific or historical fact.’… Read the rest

Female Flight Attendants Told to Be Thin *

Jun 1st, 2007 | Filed by

Otherwise the plane might fall down, you see.… Read the rest

Religionized versions of secular ideas

Jun 1st, 2007 2:49 am | By

Is this true?

What is missing from the book is much sense of what a world without religion, or one that had not had religion in it, might look like. Lots of the principles that Mr Hitchens holds dear, like tolerance and justice, are secularised versions of religious ideas.

Are tolerance and justice secularised versions of religious ideas? What does that in fact mean? I suppose that the ideas originated in religion and that no one ever thought of them independently of religion, though they have now become partially secularized, but only partially since there are always people saying they are in fact religious. But is that true? I don’t believe it. I think people were able to and did … Read the rest

Truth or otherwise

Jun 1st, 2007 12:44 am | By

Something I wonder about – Jonathan Derbyshire commenting on something Chris Dillow said:

“I should stress here that my beef is not with religion as such. It’s about the role it should play in politics. In an egalitarian polity, in which people should be persuaded rationally of policies, religion should have no place – even if it is true. Religion might motivate political beliefs, but it shouldn’t, and needn’t, be the public justification for them.”

In other words, the truth or otherwise of religious beliefs is irrelevant to the question whether they should play a role in public deliberation. So the putatively religious roots of Gordon Brown’s egalitarianism oughtn’t to worry us so long as they play no role

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Joan Smith on the Boycott *

May 31st, 2007 | Filed by

These are dark times for those of us who believe that the free exchange of ideas is a prerequisite of democracy.… Read the rest

On the Boycott *

May 31st, 2007 | Filed by

The resolution cited ‘the complicity of Israeli academia’ in the occupation of Palestinian lands.… Read the rest

Lecturers’ Union Backs Boycott of Israel *

May 31st, 2007 | Filed by

Delegates at conference of new University and College Union voted three to two to recommend boycotts.… Read the rest