All entries by this author

Affirmation is not Denial, and Vice Versa

Feb 25th, 2006 7:19 pm | By

And then, more straightforwardly, there’s more of the confusion about free speech, in which people compare unlike things and then stand back triumphantly and say ‘See?’ No, we don’t see, because the two cases are different, not the same, so there’s nothing to see.

In the past few months, Europe has been flexing its muscles as a guarantor of freedom of expression – both in the Danish cartoons of Muhammad, and before that in its criticism of the trial of the Turkish novelist Orhan Pamuk for raising the subject of the Turkish genocide of the Armenians in the early 20th century. What a delicious irony that a Europe so sniffy about Turkish justice when it came to Pamuk should

Read the rest

Here, Then There, Then Somewhere Else

Feb 25th, 2006 6:14 pm | By

Lot of people around saying weird things today. Is there something in the water?

Andrew Brown for instance. He seems to change direction with every paragraph, and much of what he says in the process seems snide and silly.

It is hard being an atheist with a sense of proportion. No one in this country will persecute you and it’s not really very hard to disbelieve in God, but the temptation to strike attitudes in front of the universe persists…Thus, Daniel Dennett writes early in this book: “I for one am not in awe of your faith. I am appalled by your arrogance, by your unreasoning certainty that you have all the answers” – and he’s not talking about

Read the rest

John Cornwell Reviews Breaking the Spell *

Feb 25th, 2006 | Filed by

‘Religion persists because it is evidently human to believe in something beyond what one can perceive.’… Read the rest

Cartoons Offend and Beheadings Don’t? *

Feb 25th, 2006 | Filed by

Beware: graphic.… Read the rest

Suspended Prison Sentence for Insulting Koran *

Feb 25th, 2006 | Filed by

Apparently ‘insulting’ religion is illegal in Germany.… Read the rest

How to do Pseudo-shakespeare Biography *

Feb 25th, 2006 | Filed by

Ignore the plays and mess around with codes instead.… Read the rest

Hindu Group Offers Reward for Beheading Artist *

Feb 25th, 2006 | Filed by

‘Those who are endangering religion and nation, should be eliminated for everyone’s good.’… Read the rest

How to Make a Pseudo-point *

Feb 25th, 2006 | Filed by

Triumphantly compare Pamuk to Irving as if the two were parallel instead of opposite.… Read the rest

Andrew Brown Reviews Daniel Dennett *

Feb 25th, 2006 | Filed by

Not very coherently.… Read the rest

Florida County Selects Diluted Biology Textbook *

Feb 25th, 2006 | Filed by

Publisher Holt, Rinehart and Winston edited several sections at the request of the Discovery Institute.… Read the rest

Letter to the New York Times

Feb 25th, 2006 | By Daniel Dennett

The New York Times has opted not to publish this letter from Daniel Dennett, so B&W is pleased to make it available. Judith Shulevitz’s review is here.

Thanks to Judith Shulevitz [“When Cosmologies Collide,” NYTBR January 22] for unwittingly exposing the serious flaw in Michael Ruse’s attempt to distinguish the science of evolution (of which he approves) from the more far-reaching implications of “evolutionism,” which he characterizes as “a metaphysical world picture.” Since she grants that those who expound “evolutionism” “may well be right” in the cosmological implications they see flowing from contemporary biology, she recommends teaching “evolutionism in religion class, along with creationism, deism and all the other cosmologies that float unexamined through our lives.” By the same … Read the rest

Inverted Colonialism

Feb 24th, 2006 7:43 pm | By

Consider Azam Kamguian in Ibn Warraq’s Leaving Islam, for instance. Page 216.

The very fact that people are forced to abide by laws based on something some god or prophet is reported to have said somewhere is a form of mental violence.

Page 219.

When I came to the West in the early 1990s, I was faced with the fact that the majority of intellectuals, mainstream media, academics, and feminists, in the name of respecting ‘other cultures,’ were trying to justify Islam by dividing it into fundamentalist and moderate, progressive and reactionary…For people like me, the victims of Islam in power, it was suffocating to listen to and have to refute endless tales to justify the terror and bloodshed

Read the rest

The Community Community

Feb 24th, 2006 7:13 pm | By

Sometimes my head swims. The room goes dark, spots dance before my eyes, there is a howling sound in my ear, bats seem to dart back and forth overhead, my hair tangles, the milk curdles in the fridge, frogs and ravens knock on the door. In short, I can’t make sense of it all. It doesn’t add up, or compute, as the sophisticates say.

Look, I’ll show you.

Here, for instance, is the BBC on Livingstone.

In a statement, the Board of Deputies of British Jews said it regretted the guilty result, but said Mr Livingstone had been “the architect of his own misfortune” by failing to recognise the upset caused. It added it had never sought anything more

Read the rest

Smooth, Summers Was Not *

Feb 24th, 2006 | Filed by

It was the spicy chicken wing that did him in.… Read the rest

Livingstone Suspended for Being Insensitive *

Feb 24th, 2006 | Filed by

His words were inappropriate for the ‘elected representative of Londoners of all faiths and beliefs.’… Read the rest

Nine Life Sentences in Gujarat Case *

Feb 24th, 2006 | Filed by

Twelve Muslims, two others burned to death when Best Bakery was attacked by a Hindu mob in 2002. … Read the rest

Press Freedom at Risk *

Feb 24th, 2006 | Filed by

Should we be sensitive to religious feelings or to readers’ need to get uncensored news?… Read the rest

Cartoon Controversies at Student Newspapers *

Feb 24th, 2006 | Filed by

Papers at Harvard and University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign publish; UI editors suspended.… Read the rest

Scott McLemee Questions David Horowitz *

Feb 24th, 2006 | Filed by

Reading Horowitz’s latest bit of pulp fiction with all the seriousness he can muster.… Read the rest

Scott Jaschik on the Aftermath of Summers *

Feb 24th, 2006 | Filed by

Summers spoke out for many causes that are central to quality in higher education.… Read the rest