All entries by this author

Rumors Still Impeding Polio Vaccination *

Sep 26th, 2006 | Filed by

Myths largely responsible for spread of polio into many countries where it was once stamped out.… Read the rest

EPA Rejects Scientific Advice on Particulates *

Sep 26th, 2006 | Filed by

Scientists say particulates are among the deadliest contaminants people are exposed to.… Read the rest

Hundreds of Women Gathered to Mourn Amajan *

Sep 26th, 2006 | Filed by

‘There is no security for anyone now in Kandahar,’ one woman said, sobbing through her veil.… Read the rest

Women’s Rights not a Priority in Afghanistan *

Sep 26th, 2006 | Filed by

Sam Zarifi of Human Rights Watch: ‘A lot of small rights which women gained are now being wiped out.’… Read the rest

Taliban Commander says Amajan was ‘Executed’ *

Sep 26th, 2006 | Filed by

Most marriages in Afghanistan are forced; most forced marriages are of girls under 16.… Read the rest

Skip the Icons and Gurus, Thanks

Sep 25th, 2006 8:13 pm | By

I’m reading Michael Bérubé’s What’s Liberal About the Liberal Arts. John Holbo at the Valve sent it because they’re doing one of those Valve events on it in a few weeks. It is, to put it succinctly, very good. (That Alan Wolfe review is all the more irritating once one actually reads the book. It’s irritating independently of the quality of the book reviewed, because of certain qualities intrinsic to the review, but it’s also even more irritating because of the quality of the book.)

I thought I would share a bit with you, because it strikes me as being right on the money, and well worth saying. Pages 120-1. He’s been describing political affiliations among students – liberal, … Read the rest

Safia Amajan

Sep 25th, 2006 5:20 pm | By

Dammit! Damn, damn, damn.

A leading Afghan official working on women’s rights has been shot dead in the southern province of Kandahar…She had served as head of women’s affairs in Kandahar’s provincial government since the Taleban government was toppled by US-led forces in 2001. An eloquent public speaker, Safia Amajan was fierce in her criticism of what she saw as the Taleban’s repression of women. After the US-led invasion in 2001, the former teacher took charge of women’s affairs in Kandahar’s provincial government. In a conservative region where most families keep wives and daughters cloistered indoors, she was able to attract hundreds of women to schools and vocational courses. Her requests for secure official transport and personal bodyguards had not

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Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan *

Sep 25th, 2006 | Filed by

If you are freedom-loving and anti-fundamentalist, you are with RAWA. Support and help us. … Read the rest

Fundamentalism and Devoutness Much the Same *

Sep 25th, 2006 | Filed by

Way to change minds is to unpick blind obedience to a faith by replacing it with interrogative reason. … Read the rest

Civil War in Iraqi Province of Diyala *

Sep 25th, 2006 | Filed by

Sunni insurgents have largely taken control; local leaders believe they will establish a ‘Taliban republic.’… Read the rest

Tasneem Khalil on Homophobia in South Asia *

Sep 25th, 2006 | Filed by

Section 377 of Bangladesh, India, Pakistan penal codes criminalizes love and sex between same-sex adults.… Read the rest

UN Deplores Murder of Safia Annajan *

Sep 25th, 2006 | Filed by

Appalled at murder of leading woman official working for gender equality in Kandahar. … Read the rest

Afghan Women’s Rights Official Murdered *

Sep 25th, 2006 | Filed by

Her requests for secure official transport and bodyguards were not granted by the government.… Read the rest

Passes in the air

Sep 24th, 2006 8:38 pm | By

Why do people think there is a deity? (Small question. I’ll just knock off the answer in a few hundred words here. No biggy.) Partly (only partly) because of the thought that something must have created the universe – that there must be Mind behind it all. There is the regress problem – what created the mind then? – but many people simply find it more plausible to start with a mind than to start with a brute fact, or a Big Bang. Okay – but then you have to ask what kind of mind is it, and what kind of deity is it?

That’s one place you get the two-step. Mind in the form of an Intelligent Agent must … Read the rest

Why Aren’t Academics Intellectuals? *

Sep 24th, 2006 | Filed by

Why periodicals written for non-specialists matter.… Read the rest

Michael Frayn on a World Spun from Stories *

Sep 24th, 2006 | Filed by

He sneaks into the territory of physicists, linguists or psychologists to rustle prime intellectual steers.… Read the rest

The Super-rich and Competitive Compassion *

Sep 24th, 2006 | Filed by

‘A lot of poverty is caused by war.’ And a lot of war is caused by religion, so where does Deepak Chopra fit?… Read the rest

Jesus and Mo on Pontifical Rationality *

Sep 24th, 2006 | Filed by

Misunderstood guy was ragging on secularism, not Islam. Whew.… Read the rest

More Extracts from The God Delusion *

Sep 24th, 2006 | Filed by

Religious dogma still serves to abuse basic human rights such as those of women and gay people.… Read the rest

On Multiculturalism And Religion – Jesus Doesn’t Morris Dance

Sep 24th, 2006 | By Jonathan Thake

When we think of multiculturalism we tend to think of an educated internationalist outlook: a broad modern palate able to appreciate foods, wines, books, music and art from around the world. We also tend to include religion on that list; but that is a mistake.

Religion is in another category than food, clothes and wine. It is a system of ideas in its own right, and, what is more, it is a system of ideas that stands in absolute opposition to the multicultural principle. Religion is about narrowing options: reducing the amount of reading, reducing the number of competing thoughts, channelling everything towards the one book, the one way, the one lord. When religious people pretend they are multicultural they … Read the rest