All entries by this author

EU Criticizes Iran’s New Penal Code *

Mar 1st, 2008 | Filed by

Death for apostasy already exists in Iran under Sharia; changes would bring the punishment into the criminal code. … Read the rest

EU Asks Iran to Reconsider *

Mar 1st, 2008 | Filed by

Iran typically dismisses Western criticism of its legal system, claiming Islamic law is fundamentally different.… Read the rest

Archepiscopal weight thrown around

Mar 1st, 2008 10:39 am | By

So the archbishops have changed their minds about not resisting the repeal of the blasphemy laws? They’ve decided to resist after all? Why? Did they look around themselves and decide that religious types don’t interfere with the government enough and they’d better get busy and start meddling?

Dr Rowan Williams and Dr John Sentamu say in a letter today that the Government should not lightly change laws that, though their day-to-day importance may be small, “nevertheless carry a significant symbolic charge.”

Why yes, they do, and that’s exactly why they should be not only changed but ground into powder and then torched. The significant symbolic charge they carry is that it is Not Permissible to mock or tease or … Read the rest

I don’t like that shade of blue

Mar 1st, 2008 10:09 am | By

Well quite – if a museum puts on an exhibition you don’t like the sound of, the thing to do is stroll in and threaten the staff with violence if they don’t take it down again. That’s how I take care of these little annoyances. After all it is up to me to decide, isn’t it? Therefore it’s also up to them – except of course when I get there first.

Whereas the mere spectre of possible attacks was enough to get the Deutsche Oper to put the kibosh on a Mozart opera in 2006, Berlin’s Galerie Nord closed its doors this week after a group of Muslims walked into the gallery and threatened staff with violence.

Thus cultural life … Read the rest

BHL on the Re-branding of Anti-Semitism *

Feb 29th, 2008 | Filed by

Anti-Semitism, to pass under the radar, must draw from anti-Zionism, Holocaust denial, and victim competition.… Read the rest

Alan Sokal on Taking Evidence Seriously *

Feb 29th, 2008 | Filed by

The implications of taking seriously an evidence-based worldview are far more radical than most people realise. … Read the rest

Ideas are all the Rage *

Feb 29th, 2008 | Filed by

The success of idea books has signified to cultural commissars a thirst for good ideas clearly expressed.… Read the rest

Rude women

Feb 29th, 2008 10:50 am | By

Speaking of Katha Pollitt – she made an interesting comment on the Women’s Studies list yesterday, one which is partly relevant to all this stuff about respect and worry.

Actually I think powerful women make many women quite uncomfortable.
Just look at what women say about Hillary Clinton — she’s
‘ambitious,’ “cold,” “I just don’t like her,’ etc. I’m not saying a
feminist has to vote for Hillary, but the kinds of things so many
women hold against her are quite revealing of their own discomfort
with a woman who steps out of the nice-nice nurturing deferential role.

That comment inspired me to reply, in a way also relevant to all this stuff.

Ain’t it the truth. Which is why

Read the rest

How to be respectful

Feb 29th, 2008 10:13 am | By

The discussion of my hostile and flippant comment on the Secretary General’s advice to ‘respect all religious beliefs’ last week got diverted into irrelevance right at the beginning with talk of laughing at people who pray before dinner, which had nothing at all to do with the subject under discussion; and it went on the way it began, irrelevance piled on irrelevance. Commenters insisted that the Secretary General didn’t really mean what he had said, he meant something else; I kept replying that I was talking about what he had in fact said, only to get more assertions about what he really meant. Commenters insisted that the only alternative to ‘respect’ was laughing at people, ignoring the vast middle ground … Read the rest

Iran’s parliament gets down to work

Feb 28th, 2008 12:24 pm | By

More exciting news from Iran.

The Iranian parliament is discussing a new penal code, under which citizens who convert [to] another religion will face execution…Besides apostates, the code also [include?]s the death penalty for a[n]yone who ‘insults the Prophet’.

Ah. Well…perhaps this idea that people should be allowed to leave a religion without having their heads separated from their shoulders is just some old hegemonic notion of western Orientalists, or something.

Dr Nazila Ghanea, lecturer in human rights law at Oxford university and editor-in-chief of the Journal of Religion and Human Rights, said: ‘The laws will give the Iranian government legal grounds to resort to taking the lives of any of its citizens who choose to adopt a religion

Read the rest

Section Five: Apostasy, Heresy, and Witchcraft *

Feb 28th, 2008 | Filed by

Article 225-7: Punishment for an Innate Apostate is death. Article 225-8: Punishment for a Parental Apostate is death.… Read the rest

Iranian Parliament Working on New Penal Code *

Feb 28th, 2008 | Filed by

Laws will give the Iranian government legal grounds to kill any citizens who choose a religion other than Islam. … Read the rest

Pics from Southall Black Sisters Protest *

Feb 28th, 2008 | Filed by

Sunny Hundal went along to show support, and he took his camera.… Read the rest

John Patrick Diggins Reviews Charles Taylor *

Feb 28th, 2008 | Filed by

Taylor seeks to prove that God is still very much present in the world, if only we look at the right places.… Read the rest

‘Undercover Mosque’ Makers to Sue Police for Libel *

Feb 28th, 2008 | Filed by

Police said the programme misrepresented the mosques and might ‘undermine community cohesion.’… Read the rest

Seyla Benhabib on Turkey’s Hijab Legislation *

Feb 27th, 2008 | Filed by

Unfortunate that reform of Article 301 (on ‘insulting Turkishness’) was dropped.… Read the rest

Biologists Join Philosophers in Moral Thinking *

Feb 27th, 2008 | Filed by

Marc Hauser, David Sloan Wilson, Samuel Bowles look at trolleyology, altruism, and moral behavior.… Read the rest

Cultural Sensitivity Puts Rights at Risk *

Feb 27th, 2008 | Filed by

Prevents police, teachers, social services from protecting basic human rights for fear of upsetting ‘communities.’… Read the rest

Tom Flynn: Why the A Word Won’t Go Away *

Feb 27th, 2008 | Filed by

Mainstreamers have powerfully negative, largely noncognitive responses to atheism. … Read the rest

Paul Gross on Florida’s New Science Standards *

Feb 27th, 2008 | Filed by

The compromise is a sop to voters who think some other way of knowing is equal or superior to science.… Read the rest