All entries by this author

Pope Says No to EU Party Invitation *

Jul 22nd, 2008 | Filed by

Vatican is alarmed at putative ‘drift towards militant secularism.’ Cause and effect? Who knows.… Read the rest

‘Faith Leaders’ Exaggerate Hostility to Gays *

Jul 22nd, 2008 | Filed by

Report says believers are ‘significantly more moderate’ on homosexuality than is often alleged on their behalf. … Read the rest

Karadzic Was Practicing ‘Alternative Medicine’ *

Jul 22nd, 2008 | Filed by

What else is there to say?… Read the rest

Politicians and Diplomats Should Support ICC *

Jul 21st, 2008 | Filed by

To say diplomats and politicians alone should decide what to do about Sudan risks maintaining status quo.… Read the rest

DR Congo: Civilians Still Being Killed *

Jul 21st, 2008 | Filed by

Killing and rape in North Kivu continues at a horrifying rate despite signing of peace accord.… Read the rest

Pope Warns of ‘Spiritual Desert’ *

Jul 21st, 2008 | Filed by

This was shortly after apologizing for all that priestly groping.… Read the rest

9 Condemned to Death by Stoning in Iran *

Jul 21st, 2008 | Filed by

The eight women sentenced had convictions including prostitution, incest and adultery.… Read the rest

Arab League in ‘Solidarity’ With Sudan *

Jul 21st, 2008 | Filed by

Declares ‘strong stance in solidarity with our brothers in Sudan’ against those pesky genocide victims.… Read the rest

Defining terms

Jul 21st, 2008 11:07 am | By

That unrepentant one has thought deeply and then pronounced. He has expanded on the elegant brevity of ‘How appropriate that a smug, shitty, rightwing publication like “Butterflies and Wheels” shares the name of a sentence in a book that is key to the plot of an idiotic movie like “Shattered”‘; he has explained what is shitty (smug and rightwing we can figure out for ourselves) about B&W.

[A] fountainhead of Islamophobia…There is the usual defense of the Danish Mohammad cartoons, etc. There are attacks on other religions as well…

So maybe ‘Islamophobia’ is a little inaccurate? Never mind.

In addition to religion, the website mounts attacks on multiculturalism…Kenan Malik, a Spiked Online regular, seems to be a designated hitter

Read the rest

Tom Clark on the epistemic weakness of faith

Jul 20th, 2008 4:46 pm | By

Tom Clark points out that ‘an essential disagreement between secularists and their opponents is epistemological, about how we hold and justify our factual beliefs.’

Are they arrived at empirically, by consideration of public evidence potentially available to any observer (so that the evidence is intersubjective, not merely subjective), or are they more a function of religious tradition or faith? Are beliefs held to be fallible and thus corrigible by open inquiry and empirical testing, or are they held to be the infallible and unquestionable deliverances of authority, whether scriptural or institutional?

Yup; that’s an essential disagreement all right. In fact without that disagreement the others kind of drift away like smoke, because they are at least in principle resolvable … Read the rest

Feminism at the Saudi Conference

Jul 20th, 2008 4:13 pm | By

Okay this is a joke.

Clerics need to “restore the dignity of women,” Juan Jose Tamayo, director of theology at Madrid’s Juan Carlos III university, told a roundtable on Thursday, July 17…”Women have been forgotten and marginalized in religions,” Tamayo said as reported by the AFP news agency. “They are organized hierarchically and patriarchically, excluding women in all fields of knowledge and religious matters.”

Yes indeed – and Juan José Tamayo is urging the Vatican to reverse its position on women in the church and allow them to become priests and bishops and popes, is he? He’s urging Muslim clerics to do the same? I don’t know, maybe he is, but since this conference was organized by the World … Read the rest

Saudi Conference Ends on Sour Note *

Jul 20th, 2008 | Filed by

Some participants irritated by late changes to draft statement without consent of all members.… Read the rest

Theologians Tell Clerics to Respect Women *

Jul 20th, 2008 | Filed by

Women are not holding their breath.… Read the rest

Lovely, Lovely Conference *

Jul 20th, 2008 | Filed by

Critics said the Saudis were the last people who should host a meeting on religious dialogue. But – uh.… Read the rest

Saudis Threw Such a Lovely Conference *

Jul 20th, 2008 | Filed by

Mind you, Saudi Arabia bans all non-Islamic religious practices, but it’s terrifically tolerant.… Read the rest

Saudi ‘Interfaith Forum’ Seen as Joke by Some *

Jul 20th, 2008 | Filed by

Women, for instance, since no women were present.… Read the rest

Three decades of incitement against women

Jul 19th, 2008 3:24 pm | By

The Egyptian Centre for Women’s Rights did a study on sexual harassment.

Sexual harassment of women in Egypt is on the increase and observing Islamic dress code is no deterrent, according to a survey published this week…ECWR head Nihad Abu El-Qoumsan said that even veiled women who were victims of harassment blamed themselves. Western women who took part in the study demonstrated a strong belief in their entitlement to personal safety and freedom of movement, she says, but this was totally absent among Egyptian respondents. No-one spoke about freedom of choice, freedom of movement or the right to legal protection. No-one showed any awareness that the harasser was a criminal, regardless of what clothes the victim was wearing.

So…’Western’ … Read the rest

Church Cancels Gun-giveaway for Teenagers *

Jul 19th, 2008 | Filed by

Windsor Hills Baptist had planned to give away a semiautomatic assault rifle, but shot itself in foot instead.… Read the rest

Church Has Faith in People’s Ability to Avoid HIV *

Jul 19th, 2008 | Filed by

Cardinal Wilfrid Fox Napier said he had long been opposed to the use of condoms to prevent HIV. … Read the rest

Two Thirds of Egyptian Men Harass Women *

Jul 19th, 2008 | Filed by

Egyptian and foreign women frequently complain of persistent sexual harassment on Egyptian streets.… Read the rest