All entries by this author

Johann Hari in Praise of Richard Dawkins *

Jan 13th, 2006 | Filed by

Only as you watch the film do you realise how rare it is to hear arguments against organised superstition.… Read the rest

Eyebrows Raised at Public Order Act *

Jan 13th, 2006 | Filed by

And investigation of Sacranie for merely stating an opinion.… Read the rest

Pastor Arrested Over ‘Child Witchcraft’ Cruelty *

Jan 13th, 2006 | Filed by

Allegedly advised parents to beat devil out of them or send them to DRC so that he could pray for them to be killed.… Read the rest

Oxford Police Horse Homophobia Case Dropped *

Jan 13th, 2006 | Filed by

Student said to officer, ‘Excuse me, do you realise your horse is gay?’ Bystanders were offended.… Read the rest

Maori Community and Fire Brigade Community *

Jan 13th, 2006 | Filed by

‘Memorandum will help the Maori community and the fire brigade understand each other’s cultures.’… Read the rest

Another Guardian Angel

Jan 13th, 2006 2:06 am | By

Now you knew I would have to pitch a fit about this. So here, have a fit.

Western liberal democracy owes much to the Christian view that all have equal worth before God, which in our political system reads as democracy and equality before the law; and those ideals have often been applied because of religious faith, not in spite of it.

No it doesn’t. Or at least no one knows if it does or not. That’s just that confusion of correlation with causation again. The ‘Christian’ (and not exclusively Christian, and not thoroughly Christian either, given how many exceptions Xianity always managed to find to its supposed ‘view’ over the years) view that all have equal worth before … Read the rest


Jan 12th, 2006 7:48 pm | By

I listened to the replay of Iqbal Sacranie’s interview on PM yesterday, and it was just as silly and irritating as I expected. He so obviously had nothing relevant to say, he so obviously was simply expressing unthinking dislike, he so obviously was just floundering around looking for rationalizations, it was so obvious how empty they were. Er, they’re harmful, uh, stability, um, society, er, stable, you know, ooh, ah, um – they get diseases! That’s it. They get diseases – that’s scientific, that is. So you see what I mean. It’s obvious. But, er, we have to put up with it, because this is a democracy. But I sure don’t want to! And of course you can see why. … Read the rest

Rochdale Council Sued Over ‘Satanic Abuse’ Case *

Jan 12th, 2006 | Filed by

Social services thought they had uncovered a group of ritual devil worshippers.… Read the rest

Sacranie Under Investigation *

Jan 12th, 2006 | Filed by

Perhaps he said something in the hearing of someone who might be distressed thereby.… Read the rest

Yet More Guardian Mush About ‘Faith’ *

Jan 12th, 2006 | Filed by

Familiar, woolly, starry-eyed.… Read the rest

Hundreds Killed in Hajj Stampede *

Jan 12th, 2006 | Filed by

Bottleneck happened near stone walls representing the devil that are pelted with stones.… Read the rest

Criticism of ‘Academic Bill of Rights’ *

Jan 12th, 2006 | Filed by

Call for ‘other viewpoints’ could invite Holocaust deniers or creationists to demand equal time.… Read the rest

Horowitz Admits Not Having Evidence *

Jan 12th, 2006 | Filed by

Says criticism is nit-picking, and that ‘everybody knows’.… Read the rest

Autonomy v Respect

Jan 12th, 2006 2:33 am | By

Some more on this question of comprehensive v political liberalism, and respect, and what is meant by it. G has been arguing for a more limited reading in comments, but I’m not convinced that the quoted passages fit such a reading.

One may sympathize…without feeling that he understands the type of mutual respect that is required in a pluralistic society. I agree with Rawls: such respect requires (in the public sphere at least) not showing up the claims of religion as damaging, and not adopting a public conception of truth and objectivity according to which such claims are false.

That seems pretty clear to me. Surely she’s not talking about leaving ‘our private differences over comprehensive conceptions of the good … Read the rest

A Couple of Reviews

Jan 11th, 2006 9:45 pm | By

PZ comments on ‘The Root of All Evil’ at Pharyngula.

Nobody should ever call Dawkins arrogant. On the scale established by American televangelists, by Christians in general, he is a timid model of bashful humility. Pit a man who works for his knowledge, who willingly tests and reviews it continually, against a mob who trusts in revealed knowledge dogmatically, and I’ll tell you who the arrogant ones are.

Well exactly. How it did irritate me, listening to that smug unctuous man telling Dawkins he is arrogant. What a joke! But it works, you know. It works all the time. The Limbaughs and O’Reillys never get enough of that (well they wouldn’t, would they – it works) ploy, calling any … Read the rest

Ishtiaq Ahmed on What Intellectuals Should Do *

Jan 11th, 2006 | Filed by

Concerned intellectuals must see to it that open debate and the right to criticise is never compromised. … Read the rest

We Are Not Who We Think We Are *

Jan 11th, 2006 | Filed by

Inability to predict shifts of Supreme Court justices reflects fundamental attribution error.… Read the rest

Politicians Commit Terminological Inexactitudes *

Jan 11th, 2006 | Filed by

Julian Baggini on the morality of lying.… Read the rest

Richard Dawkins is not a Great Fan of Religion *

Jan 11th, 2006 | Filed by

‘We treat it with a politically correct reverence that we don’t accord to any other institution.’… Read the rest

Fundamentalism and Freedom *

Jan 11th, 2006 | Filed by

Life in a cardboard box is essentially liberating for women.… Read the rest