All entries by this author

George Scialabba on the Work Cut Out for Us *

Jan 15th, 2007 | Filed by

The real danger to American democracy is the methodical hollowing out of – nearly everything.… Read the rest

Giles Fraser Dons Rosy Specs Again *

Jan 15th, 2007 | Filed by

Many Christians think homosexuality is a gift of God. Admittedly, some don’t think so very loudly.… Read the rest

Exciting Plans to Criminalize More Speech *

Jan 15th, 2007 | Filed by

Must preserve freedom of expression and criminalize concrete incitement, Frattini said opaquely.… Read the rest

A Victory Against Ignorance and Retribution *

Jan 15th, 2007 | Filed by

International Committee Against Execution congratulates all those who have helped save Nazanin’s life.… Read the rest

Nazanin Fatehi Acquitted *

Jan 15th, 2007 | Filed by

Five judges reviewed her case, and all admitted that what Fatehi did was only self defense.… Read the rest

It is my right to blah blah blah

Jan 14th, 2007 1:01 pm | By

Look at this leering little pill. Look at that ineffable smirk. Well naturally, she’s got her picture in the paper, and she’s been given a chance to set up as the new fun thing to be, a Martyr for her Faith. Of course she’s smirking. She must have been beside herself with joy and excitement when a teacher told her to take off the nasty little necklace with torture-execution emblem. She’s probably been waiting to be told that for weeks, wondering what was taking everyone so long. Mind you, she was allowed to wear the same revolting thing as a lapel badge if she wanted to, the pious little creep, but no, that would interfere with the martyrdom-pose, so … Read the rest

‘Devout’ Schoolgirl in New Crucifix Fuss *

Jan 14th, 2007 | Filed by

Tears, shock, right to wear cross, other religions, why, determined, even if, symbol of her faith.… Read the rest

Anyone Can Claim to be a Nutritionist *

Jan 14th, 2007 | Filed by

And hire a PR flack to delete criticism from Wikipedia entry. Naughty.… Read the rest

Nick Cohen on Government Gambling-addiction *

Jan 14th, 2007 | Filed by

Odd that a Labour government promotes an industry where the odds are stacked in management’s favour.… Read the rest

Subject closed – or not

Jan 13th, 2007 1:05 pm | By

Something W K C Guthrie said about Socrates set off a train of thought.

[S]ince no one will try to find out what constitutes right action, or what is the real meaning of freedom or justice, if he thinks he knows it already, the first task was to convince others too of their ignorance.

True enough, probably – unless she already thinks that things keep on being worth thinking about even if she does think she knows something about them already. That’s why a basic stance of skepticism, uncertainty, revisability, is a good thing. If we have it, we’re likely and predisposed to go on (and on and on) trying to find out things even if we have thought about … Read the rest

STDs don’t know who did what to whom

Jan 13th, 2007 12:12 pm | By

A tangential comment in this piece on why Harvard shouldn’t pretend, as Steven Pinker put it in The Crimson, “‘faith’ and ‘reason’ are parallel and equivalent ways of knowing” is pertinent to a recent discussion here of condoms and the Catholic church:

Indeed, it is not uncommon for religious leaders to advocate acting on faith in the face of reason – as when Catholic priests forbid married women to use condoms even when their husbands are infected with AIDS.

Of course, Catholic priests (and bishops and archbishops and cardinals and the pope and many theologians and Catholic thinkers and writers) forbid everyone to use condoms under any circs, but the point Lawrence Krauss is making by putting it … Read the rest

Ben Goldacre on Getting the Details Wrong *

Jan 13th, 2007 | Filed by

Also the overall story. Getting pretty much all of it wrong, really.… Read the rest

Why Danes Score High on Happiness *

Jan 13th, 2007 | Filed by

Two reasons: football triumph of 1992, and low expectations.… Read the rest

Top 10 Underreported Humanitarian Stories 2006 *

Jan 13th, 2007 | Filed by

From MSF: Somalia, DRC, Haiti, Colombia, Sri Lanka, CAR, Chechnya, India, Malnutrition, TB.… Read the rest

Blacks Swans Falsify Again *

Jan 13th, 2007 | Filed by

‘One-fourth of all black swan families are headed by gay parents.’ Bang goes ‘unnatural’ claim.… Read the rest

Harvard and Pope Are Confused *

Jan 13th, 2007 | Filed by

Reason must be unfettered by faith if we are to truly educate our children and our students.… Read the rest

Self and deity

Jan 12th, 2007 6:11 pm | By

I read a bit of Julian’s Atheism: a Very Short Guide earlier today and there was a bit I wondered about. It gave me pause. He’s comparing belief in God with belief in the existence of the self – one’s own, that is.

For many religious believers, their belief in God’s existence is of comparable strength. They feel the truth of God’s existence so strongly that they can no more doubt it than they can doubt the existence of their own selves.

Is that true? I wondered. I don’t know that it’s not – but I wonder. It seems implausible. It seems implausible because (as we all know via Descartes, of course, if not in any other way) it’s not … Read the rest

Bérubé Rolls Up the Carpet *

Jan 12th, 2007 | Filed by

‘I still think this here blogosphere is a great venue for public intellectual work.’… Read the rest

Bloggers at the MLA *

Jan 12th, 2007 | Filed by

Kaufman, Holbo, Osell, Bérubé discuss the old-boy network in blog-world.… Read the rest

On Hegel and George Bush *

Jan 12th, 2007 | Filed by

Hegel calls history the slaughter bench at which the happiness of peoples has been victimized.… Read the rest