All entries by this author


Dec 12th, 2005 8:19 pm | By

And another thing about the Akyol piece and all the similar strains of thought. It’s such an impoverished, pinched, narrow, trivial view of what matters, of what morality should be, of what people should fret about.

…soulless, skirt-and-money-chasing men drinking whiskey…selfish, lonely creatures in a soulless society where little is worshipped beyond money and sex…The America that people see is one represented by Hollywood and MTV…extremely hedonistic and degenerate elements that turn life into meaningless profligacy…a lifestyle based on hedonism…the masses live, earn, spend, and have relationships according to this supposition. A popular MTV hit summarizes this presumption bluntly: “You and me baby ain’t nuthin’ but mammals; so let’s do it like they do on the Discovery Channel.

Humping … Read the rest

Naughty Materialism

Dec 12th, 2005 6:05 pm | By

It’s touching when obscurantists band together and discover how much they have in common. Mustafa Akyol gives us an example.

Little does he realize that if there is any view on the origin of life that might seriously offend other faiths – including mine, Islam – it is the materialist dogma: the assumptions that God, by definition, is a superstition, and that rationality is inherently atheistic. That offense is no minor issue. In fact, in the last two centuries, it has been the major source of the Muslim contempt for the West. And it deserves careful consideration.

That offense is no minor issue. So it’s an ‘offense’ to try to give the best natural explanation of the world that … Read the rest

But, But, But

Dec 12th, 2005 5:26 pm | By

I still don’t get it. I don’t see how ID fans and Anthony Flew get past the first, obvious objection.

At age 81, after decades of insisting belief is a mistake, Antony Flew has concluded that some sort of intelligence or first cause must have created the universe. A super-intelligence is the only good explanation for the origin of life and the complexity of nature, Flew said in a telephone interview from England.

But how can that be a good explanation? How can it be an explanation at all? How can it be anything other than just an ‘I don’t know’ translated into something that sounds more impressive? Other than hand-waving? I don’t get it. Because if the origin of … Read the rest

Ian Mayes on Chomsky and Metacomplaints *

Dec 12th, 2005 | Filed by

Letter from Aaronovitch, Kamm and Wheen about Johnstone and Chomsky on Srebrenica.… Read the rest

The Argument is About Types of Liberty *

Dec 12th, 2005 | Filed by

The most fundamental liberty of all is freedom from harm by others.… Read the rest

Flew’s Change of Mind *

Dec 12th, 2005 | Filed by

Because DNA is complex. Yes but the designer would be more complex, so what then?… Read the rest

Sean Wilentz on Separation of Literature and State *

Dec 12th, 2005 | Filed by

Our politicians’ prose is reduced to hollow sentimentalism or manipulative semi-literacy… Read the rest

Salman Rushdie Recommends Less Purity *

Dec 12th, 2005 | Filed by

Cultural relativism lets much that is reactionary and oppressive be justified… Read the rest

Who You Calling Crude, Bub?

Dec 10th, 2005 6:46 pm | By

There was this interview with Alister McGrath last spring, all about how wrong Richard Dawkins is and how weak his arguments are. It’s rather puzzling.

But by the time you get to A Devil’s Chaplain, what we have is a very crude religious propagandist, only loosely connected with the whole scientific culture…It seems to me, he has a real animus against religion, but I’m unable to identify any single factor that seems to be a legitimate explanation of that hostility.

That’s puzzling, because, one, Dawkins (of course) is not a religious propagandist, that’s just the usual silly – and crude – religious rhetoric that pretends religion and non-religion are both religion, theism and non-theism are both theism. Two, because … Read the rest

Deeply Cherished Dogmatism

Dec 10th, 2005 6:11 pm | By

An article by Bruce Bawer in Reason raises some very basic issues.

For many Europeans, the murder of one of the Netherlands’ most outspoken public figures underscored the importance of protecting freedom of expression…Many members of Europe’s fast-growing Muslim communities, however – along with more than a few non-Muslims eager to keep the peace in an increasingly anxious and divided continent – draw a very different lesson: the need to curb freedom of expression out of respect for Muslim sensitivities…Iqbal Sacranie of the Muslim Council of Britain agreed. “Is freedom of expression without bounds?” he asked. “Muslims are not alone in saying ‘No’ and in calling for safeguards against vilification of dearly cherished beliefs.”

Safeguards against vilification of dearly cherished … Read the rest

Xians and Muslims Join Hands Against Materialism *

Dec 10th, 2005 | Filed by

How touching – ID brings God-huggers together.… Read the rest

Dawkins Interview *

Dec 10th, 2005 | Filed by

The universe doesn’t owe us consolation.… Read the rest

Tolerance or Else *

Dec 10th, 2005 | Filed by

Defenders of many-fronted assault on free speech routinely tag critics of Islam as racists. … Read the rest

Like All of Us, Experts Violate the Linda Problem *

Dec 10th, 2005 | Filed by

Plausible detail makes us believers.… Read the rest

They’re Getting Closer, and Closer…

Dec 9th, 2005 5:51 pm | By

So – is it a human right now not to have to be exposed to, or even run the risk of being exposed to, ‘any statement or act showing a lack of respect towards other people’s religion’? Has that been decided? Officially? I ask because the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights is ‘concerned about a Danish newspaper’s caricatures of the Muslim prophet Mohammed and has ‘appointed UN experts in the areas of religious freedom and racism to investigate the matter.’ Uh oh. Experts in the areas of religious freedom are investigating cartoons about the prophet? So – what is religious freedom then? Does it mean the ‘freedom’ of religious people to call the cops (or the UN) whenever anyone … Read the rest

Amartya Sen Receives Award from USAID *

Dec 9th, 2005 | Filed by

Thinking deeply about the age-old scourges of humanity: famine, disease, and poverty.… Read the rest

Jane O’Grady Reviews Nicholas Fearn *

Dec 9th, 2005 | Filed by

This book is not for those who seek the easy and emollient mind-massage.… Read the rest

UN Investigates Newspaper Cartoons *

Dec 9th, 2005 | Filed by

Arbour deplores any statement showing lack of respect towards other people’s religion.… Read the rest

Secularists, Gays, Other Rowdies Fight Back *

Dec 9th, 2005 | Filed by

Sainsbury’s and Woolworths may have caved in too early.… Read the rest

Oh Now What *

Dec 9th, 2005 | Filed by

Christians pitch a huge fit over baby Jesus, Xmas, Happy Holidays, whine fuss moan.… Read the rest