All entries by this author

One suspects

Oct 14th, 2006 7:13 pm | By

I was stopped cold by a paragraph in Terry Eagleton’s review of Dawkins’s book in the LRB (it’s subscription, so I can’t link to it; a kind reader sent me a copy). I’ll show you why.

Dawkins on God is rather like those right-wing Cambridge dons who filed eagerly into the Senate House some years ago to non-placet Jacques Derrida for an honorary degree. Very few of them, one suspects, had read more than a few pages of his work, and even that judgment might be excessively charitable. Yet they would doubtless have been horrified to receive an essay on Hume from a student who had not read his Treatise of Human Nature.

Staggering, isn’t it? One suspects – one Read the rest



Run like hell

Oct 14th, 2006 6:27 pm | By

Catherine Bennett notes that the Rational Dress Society protested against dress fashion that ‘impedes the movements of the body’ with the result that after three or four decades, women were able to ride bicycles. Well, yes. Clothes and dress codes seem like a comparatively trivial matter, but they’re not. They’re immensely important. I’ve felt that literally all my life – from earliest earliest childhood. I always wore jeans when I could, I always fought wearing a skirt whether for school or for social occasions, I always fought binding or uncomfortable clothes. I remember fussing (okay probably whining) about a dress that was too tight or pinchy somewhere when I was a child; my mother said something to the effect that … Read the rest



Catherine Bennett on Clothes and Freedom *

Oct 14th, 2006 | Filed by

What does freedom mean, if it doesn’t mean being free to oppress yourself? … Read the rest



Sanjeev Srivastava on Kanshi Ram *

Oct 14th, 2006 | Filed by

Ram united Dalits into a formidable political force in several states.… Read the rest



Dalits Bail Out of Hinduism *

Oct 14th, 2006 | Filed by

By converting, Dalits can escape the prejudice and discrimination they normally face. … Read the rest



The Freedom to Choose to be Compelled *

Oct 14th, 2006 | Filed by

‘The veil is really important to all Muslim women who choose to wear it. Our religion compels us to wear it.’… Read the rest



The Attack on Human Rights Watch *

Oct 14th, 2006 | Filed by

Attacks on HRW’s credibility make rational discussion increasingly difficult.… Read the rest



Fareena Alam on the Veil on Radio 4 *

Oct 14th, 2006 | Filed by

Depressing stuff.… Read the rest



Salma Yaqoob is Annoyed at White Feminists *

Oct 14th, 2006 | Filed by

Because we will keep wondering why men don’t wear the niqab.… Read the rest



Inayat Bunglawala is Annoyed at Ruth Kelly *

Oct 14th, 2006 | Filed by

Because the MCB is not quite flavour of the month any more. Sad.… Read the rest



Sunny Hundal Says No Thanks to ‘Representation’ *

Oct 14th, 2006 | Filed by

Religious organisations compete with race-based organisations for money, credibility and power. … Read the rest



We do not now have the understanding

Oct 13th, 2006 8:57 pm | By

Sorry – a couple of people have reproached me for linking to Nagel on Dawkins when it’s subscription. Sorry. I got access via bugmenot (which will probably now be taken away) a long time ago, so I forget that it’s subscription. I thought it might be on the Dawkins site but it isn’t, at least not yet. Try bugmenot – it doesn’t always work, but it sometimes does. It’s cheating, but then again, one can read magazines at libraries, and that’s not cheating.

It’s worth the effort (no surprise there).

One of Dawkins’s aims is to overturn the convention of respect toward religion that belongs to the etiquette of modern civilization. He does this by persistently violating the convention, and

Read the rest


Then again

Oct 13th, 2006 4:37 pm | By

One the other hand – to be fair – Lakoff disputes Pinker’s review and says it says he says the opposite of what he says.… Read the rest



We been framed

Oct 13th, 2006 4:28 pm | By

Steven Pinker gets off some good zingers at George Lakoff.

If Lakoff is right, his theory can do everything from overturning millennia of misguided thinking in the Western intellectual tradition to putting a Democrat in the White House…Conceptual metaphor, according to Lakoff, shows that all thought is based on unconscious physical metaphors, with beliefs determined by the metaphors in which ideas are framed. Cognitive science has also shown that thinking depends on emotion, and that a person’s rationality is bounded by limitations of attention and memory. Together these discoveries undermine, in Lakoff’s view, the Western ideal of conscious, universal, and dispassionate reason based on logic, facts, and a fit to reality. Philosophy, then, is not an extended debate about

Read the rest


Steven Pinker on George Lakoff *

Oct 13th, 2006 | Filed by

The ubiquity of metaphor in language does not imply that all thinking is concrete.… Read the rest



Thomas Nagel: the Problem with Atheism *

Oct 13th, 2006 | Filed by

One of Dawkins’s aims is to overturn the convention of respect toward religion.… Read the rest



Women on the Niqab *

Oct 13th, 2006 | Filed by

Joan Smith urges Garton Ash to catch up on his feminist reading.… Read the rest



Johann Hari Talks to Salman Rushdie *

Oct 13th, 2006 | Filed by

The mass uprooting he celebrated helped to create the Islamist pining for a fictitious lost purity.… Read the rest



UK Government Withdraws Support From MCB *

Oct 12th, 2006 | Filed by

Kelly said in future she would fund organisations representing young Muslims and Muslim women.… Read the rest



Busted for Criticizing Cheney to His Face *

Oct 12th, 2006 | Filed by

Secret Service arrests guy for telling Cheney ‘Your policies in Iraq are reprehensible.’… Read the rest