All entries by this author

Teacher Decapitated by Taliban *

Jan 6th, 2006 | Filed by

The latest in a string of attacks on teachers working in schools where girls are taught.… Read the rest

Jason Rosenhouse on the Outcome of Kitzmiller *

Jan 6th, 2006 | Filed by

What happens in a forum dominated by facts and evidence, as opposed to theater and rhetoric… Read the rest

Mark Perakh on ‘Irreducible Complexity’ *

Jan 6th, 2006 | Filed by

How probable is it that the very features that make a design bad are markers of design?… Read the rest

If That Girl Picks Up a Book – Kill Her

Jan 6th, 2006 1:54 am | By

Words fail me. Human garbage. Rock bottom.

Suspected Taliban militants have beheaded a headteacher in central Afghanistan, the latest in a string of gruesome attacks on teachers working in schools where girls are taught. Armed men burst into the home of Malim Abdul Habib in Qalat, the capital of restive Zabul province, on Tuesday night. They dragged him into a courtyard and forced his family to watch as they cut off his head, said Ali Khel, a local government spokesman…Hundreds of students attended his funeral yesterday. “Only the Taliban are against our girls being educated,” Mr Khel said.

Well there – that’s why they’re human garbage. They dedicate their lives to preventing girls from getting an education – what … Read the rest

Pilgrims’ Hostel Collapses in Mecca *

Jan 5th, 2006 | Filed by

Stampedes killed 251 people in 2004, 1,426 in 1990. Deity rewards followers.… Read the rest

Interview With Todd Gitlin *

Jan 5th, 2006 | Filed by

Postmodernism is the move from great refusal to the great retreat.… Read the rest

Business School Language Infests all Institutions *

Jan 5th, 2006 | Filed by

The model of market-managerialism has largely destroyed all alternatives, traditional and untraditional.… Read the rest

Scott McLemee on Franco Moretti *

Jan 5th, 2006 | Filed by

‘Distant reading’ is not just counting.… Read the rest

Tony Judt’s History of Post-war Europe *

Jan 5th, 2006 | Filed by

The history of Europe has included massive spells of acting out.… Read the rest

So Someone has Noticed

Jan 5th, 2006 2:23 am | By

Aha. Natalie Angier and I are on the same page, so to speak.

Among the more irritating consequences of our flagrantly religious society is the special dispensation that mainstream religions receive. We all may talk about religion as a powerful social force, but unlike other similarly powerful institutions, religion is not to be questioned, criticized or mocked. When the singer-songwriter Sinéad O’Connor ripped apart a photograph of John Paul II to protest what she saw as his overweening power, even the most secular humanists were outraged by her idolatry, and her career has never really recovered.

Not this cookie – I wasn’t outraged. (Well, I wasn’t aware of it at the time, but if I had been, I would have … Read the rest

Do as I Say Not as I Don’t Do

Jan 4th, 2006 8:02 pm | By

Good old Iqbal Sacranie. One can see why the BBC and similar are always so eager to ask the MCB for its opinion on matters to do with ‘the Muslim community’.

Sir Iqbal said of civil partnerships: “This is harmful. It does not augur well in building the very foundations of society – stability, family relationships. And it is something we would certainly not, in any form, encourage the community to be involved in.”

Why? Why doesn’t it?

He said he was guided by the teachings of the Muslim faith, adding that other religions such as Christianity and Judaism held the same stance.

Yes, they do. A cardinal was saying so just the other day. So what? Why … Read the rest


Jan 4th, 2006 7:21 pm | By

No, it’s not particularly astonishing that Deborah Lipstadt doesn’t think Iriving should go to prison. Yes she has every reason to find him extremely irritating, but that doesn’t straightforwardly necessarily translate to thinking he ought to be locked up – and it’s a bit stupid to think or pretend to think it does. Don’t we all find countless throngs of people extremely irritating without thinking (except for the odd passing whim) that they ought to be locked up? I know I do.

Lipstadt has spent years exposing the arguments of Nazi sympathisers. She warns historians must “remain ever vigilant” against those who say the Holocaust was a hoax, “so that the precious tools of our trade and our society

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Jan 4th, 2006 6:29 pm | By

Well, there’s one good thing. Maybe, maybe, maybe, now at last the news media will start calling bribery ‘bribery’ instead of ‘fundraising’ and ‘campaign contributions’. That would help. I don’t know, maybe the Beeb is different, maybe they’ve been calling it bribery at least some of the time all along, but US news media sure haven’t. It’s been driving me stark staring mad for years, hearing NPR reporters blithely referring to fundraising when what they’re talking about is simply solicitation of bribes, and campaign contributions when what they’re talking about is simply monetary payments to powerful elected officials in the expectation of favours in return. The whole incredible shocking disgusting deeply corrupt mess has been treated as normal and … Read the rest

Lobbyist Case Brings Bribery Out of Closet *

Jan 4th, 2006 | Filed by

US justice department intends to pursue senior politicians suspected of taking bribes from Abramoff.… Read the rest

Abramoff Pleads Guilty to Three Felony Counts *

Jan 4th, 2006 | Filed by

Is now star witness in sweeping federal investigation into public corruption in Washington.… Read the rest

Sacranie Says Homosexuality is not Acceptable *

Jan 4th, 2006 | Filed by

‘He said he was guided by the teachings of the Muslim faith.’ Oh, well fine then.… Read the rest

Lipstadt Says Let the Guy Go Home *

Jan 4th, 2006 | Filed by

But also understands why Germany and Austria have laws against Holocaust denial.… Read the rest

The MLA Convention *

Jan 4th, 2006 | Filed by

Passed a resolution opposing David Horowitz’s ‘Academic Bill of Rights’ and potential legislation.… Read the rest

Could be a Space Alien

Jan 3rd, 2006 7:20 pm | By

I’ve been reading Judge Jones’s decision. It really is a great read, you know. So I think I will occasionally share selected favourites with you.

Page 25.

The only apparent difference between the argument made by
Paley and the argument for ID, as expressed by defense expert witnesses Behe and
Minnich, is that ID’s “official position” does not acknowledge that the designer is
God. However, as Dr. Haught testified, anyone familiar with Western religious
thought would immediately make the association that the tactically unnamed
designer is God, as the description of the designer in Of Pandas and People
(hereinafter “Pandas”) is a “master intellect,” strongly suggesting a supernatural
deity as opposed to any intelligent actor known to exist in

Read the rest

A Couple of Items

Jan 3rd, 2006 6:36 pm | By

So there’s this creationist ‘Zoo Farm’ place in Somerset.

A donkey was led in and the presenter traced a marking on its back. Did we know that the domesticated donkey has a dark cross marked on its back, he asked us casually, whereas the wild donkey doesn’t? Did the cross not remind us that the donkey carried Jesus? In retrospect, I was intrigued by my shock at this mild evangelical interjection, a reaction that reflects a more general antipathy towards creationism. Anthony Bush hopes “to give people permission to believe in God”, by disputing the truth of Darwin’s theories. However, the prospect of a religious world-view having any authority fills non-believers with dread.

Well exactly. And that’s not just some … Read the rest