All entries by this author

Ellen Willis on Russell Jacoby on Utopianism *

Nov 25th, 2005 | Filed by

We want more freedom, but we fear it.… Read the rest

Save Berhanu Nega *

Nov 25th, 2005 | Filed by

Ethiopian government arrested Nega and six others after protest over election irregularities.… Read the rest

‘Teach the Conflict’ *

Nov 25th, 2005 | Filed by

No matter how bogus the conflict may be.… Read the rest

A Happy Tune

Nov 24th, 2005 10:58 pm | By

Time for some heavy-duty mocking and sneering. At the Guardian’s ‘Islam Awareness Week’, for a start.

Religious hate crime is on the increase in the UK, according to the latest Crown Prosecution Service statistics – a worrying trend that the government is attempting to tackle in its Racial and Religious Hatred Bill, which creates the new offence of incitement to religious hatred…Much of the Islamophobia experienced by young British Muslims is the result of a legacy of ignorance about the beliefs and practices of Islam.

No doubt. But, sadly, some of it – depending on how the Guardian is defining ‘Islamophobia,’ of course – could also be the result of knowledge about some of the beliefs and practices of … Read the rest

If They Could They Would

Nov 24th, 2005 9:30 pm | By

Hey, happy anniversary, Origin of Species. It was published on this date in 1859.

Susan Jacoby writes in Mother Jones:

When the Supreme Court…ordered two Kentucky counties to dismantle courthouse displays of the Ten Commandments, Justice Antonin Scalia declared that the Court majority was wrong because the nation’s historical practices clearly indicate that the Constitution permits “disregard of polytheists and believers in unconcerned deities, just as it permits the disregard of devout atheists.” The Constitution permits no such thing: It has nothing to say about God, gods, or any form of belief or nonbelief – apart from its absolute prohibition, in Article 6, against any religious test for public office and the First Amendment’s familiar declaration that “Congress shall

Read the rest

Naughty Marlowe, Naughty Tamburlaine *

Nov 24th, 2005 | Filed by

What was that about self-censorship again?… Read the rest

Vatican Bars Gays from Priesthood *

Nov 24th, 2005 | Filed by

Unofficial translation of full text.… Read the rest

Intro to Islamic Family Life for Children *

Nov 24th, 2005 | Filed by

It is usual for the men to meet at cafes and women to meet at home. Isn’t that lovely, children?… Read the rest

It’s Islam Awareness Week, Children *

Nov 24th, 2005 | Filed by

‘The Muslim Council of Britain is an excellent first port of call.’… Read the rest

Some Kinds of ‘Diversity’ are not Educational *

Nov 24th, 2005 | Filed by

‘Diverse’ accounts of origin of species don’t belong in science class, for instance.… Read the rest

Simulate This

Nov 23rd, 2005 7:52 pm | By

Mick Hartley commented on a review of Postmodern Psychoanalysis Observed yesterday. The review says some odd things.

A key tenet of postmodernism is that both internal and external reality are social constructions, reflecting (among other things) an individual’s cultural background, his language and his past and present experience. In the empirical setting, postmodernism has led to a resurgence of constructivist research and an emphasis on cultural relativism in any discourse.

Tenet. A key tenet. What is a tenet, anyway? Just kind of like an attitude? A hunch? A wild surmise? An ‘as if’? A sillybuggers idea that you know isn’t true but like to mess around with anyway? Something you like to say to make people roll their eyes … Read the rest

Women Forced to Wed Rapists or Die *

Nov 23rd, 2005 | Filed by

UN report says hundreds of Turkish women killed in ‘honour killings’ every year.… Read the rest

Authority Based on Charm or Intuition No Help *

Nov 23rd, 2005 | Filed by

Bono, Sir Bob and Jamie do not have to worry about re-election. … Read the rest

What Humanism Is and Is Not *

Nov 23rd, 2005 | Filed by

Not a religion, A C Grayling says.… Read the rest

The Downside of Blasphemy Laws *

Nov 23rd, 2005 | Filed by

What is the upside again?… Read the rest

Baudrillard Talking Crap *

Nov 23rd, 2005 | Filed by

‘What is freedom? We have a choice between buying one car or buying another car?’… Read the rest

A Rally to Celebrate ‘Faith and Patriotism’ *

Nov 23rd, 2005 | Filed by

Christian Reconstruction thinks Christian crusaders must conquer and convert the world.… Read the rest

Apostles of Religious Correctness Get Facts Wrong *

Nov 23rd, 2005 | Filed by

Tortuous historical fictions that include both subtle prevarication and bald-faced lies.… Read the rest

Intelligent Design or Natural Design

Nov 23rd, 2005 | By Raymond Bradley

I’m going to begin by taking you on a personal tour of my own
thinking about intelligent design over the past 60 years.

It began in 1945 when I was a 14 year old at Mt Albert Grammar.
Our Fourth Form English teacher decided we should learn the skills of
debating. The topic chosen was “Creation versus Evolution”. And I, as an
ardent young Baptist, volunteered, along with a Seventh Day Adventist,
to take up the cudgels on behalf of Creation.

But even before the debate began, I found myself cast in the role of
devil’s advocate.

While preparing, it dawned on me that the case against evolution
foundered on an ambiguity between two meanings of the simple word
“creation”: … Read the rest

At the Libre Pensée

Nov 22nd, 2005 11:23 pm | By

Just one more thing. The first three paragraphs of this review of biographies of Rousseau and Voltaire in the Nation. They’re good.

After all, the great battles of the Enlightenment had burned out long before. Religious intolerance and fanaticism were no longer matters of major concern. Indeed, for many of my French fellow students, the great enemy was the Enlightenment itself. Every week they would cram into a crowded lecture hall at the Collège de France to hear Michel Foucault, then in the last year of his life, explain how the eighteenth century saw the imprisoning of the Western world in a straitjacket of mental discipline. They struggled to grasp the quicksilver sentences in which Jacques Derrida deconstructed the

Read the rest