All entries by this author

Hundreds Killed in Hajj Stampede *

Jan 12th, 2006 | Filed by

Bottleneck happened near stone walls representing the devil that are pelted with stones.… Read the rest

Criticism of ‘Academic Bill of Rights’ *

Jan 12th, 2006 | Filed by

Call for ‘other viewpoints’ could invite Holocaust deniers or creationists to demand equal time.… Read the rest

Horowitz Admits Not Having Evidence *

Jan 12th, 2006 | Filed by

Says criticism is nit-picking, and that ‘everybody knows’.… Read the rest

Autonomy v Respect

Jan 12th, 2006 2:33 am | By

Some more on this question of comprehensive v political liberalism, and respect, and what is meant by it. G has been arguing for a more limited reading in comments, but I’m not convinced that the quoted passages fit such a reading.

One may sympathize…without feeling that he understands the type of mutual respect that is required in a pluralistic society. I agree with Rawls: such respect requires (in the public sphere at least) not showing up the claims of religion as damaging, and not adopting a public conception of truth and objectivity according to which such claims are false.

That seems pretty clear to me. Surely she’s not talking about leaving ‘our private differences over comprehensive conceptions of the good … Read the rest

A Couple of Reviews

Jan 11th, 2006 9:45 pm | By

PZ comments on ‘The Root of All Evil’ at Pharyngula.

Nobody should ever call Dawkins arrogant. On the scale established by American televangelists, by Christians in general, he is a timid model of bashful humility. Pit a man who works for his knowledge, who willingly tests and reviews it continually, against a mob who trusts in revealed knowledge dogmatically, and I’ll tell you who the arrogant ones are.

Well exactly. How it did irritate me, listening to that smug unctuous man telling Dawkins he is arrogant. What a joke! But it works, you know. It works all the time. The Limbaughs and O’Reillys never get enough of that (well they wouldn’t, would they – it works) ploy, calling any … Read the rest

Ishtiaq Ahmed on What Intellectuals Should Do *

Jan 11th, 2006 | Filed by

Concerned intellectuals must see to it that open debate and the right to criticise is never compromised. … Read the rest

We Are Not Who We Think We Are *

Jan 11th, 2006 | Filed by

Inability to predict shifts of Supreme Court justices reflects fundamental attribution error.… Read the rest

Politicians Commit Terminological Inexactitudes *

Jan 11th, 2006 | Filed by

Julian Baggini on the morality of lying.… Read the rest

Richard Dawkins is not a Great Fan of Religion *

Jan 11th, 2006 | Filed by

‘We treat it with a politically correct reverence that we don’t accord to any other institution.’… Read the rest

Fundamentalism and Freedom *

Jan 11th, 2006 | Filed by

Life in a cardboard box is essentially liberating for women.… Read the rest

Satanic Abuse Panic in Rochdale *

Jan 11th, 2006 | Filed by

A judge ruled there was no evidence, but the children were taken away all the same.… Read the rest

Respect One and Respect Two

Jan 10th, 2006 11:25 pm | By

I gather that Brian Leiter is thinking about this subject too.

I am wondering whether any readers know of literature making the case for toleration of religion qua religion. What has struck me in reading the literature is that while religious toleration is often a paradigm case for discussions of toleration, the arguments for it are not specific to religion: arguments from autonomy and well-being would equally well encompass toleration of many other kinds of belief that are not religious in character…What I’m wondering is whether there are other articles that try to argue why religion in particular should be tolerated, arguments that make claims appealing to distinctive features of religious belief and practices. Or as Macklem frames the question:

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With All Due Respect

Jan 10th, 2006 7:37 pm | By

So, a couple of days ago, turning over and over in my mind this much-vexed subject of belief and respect and faith and religion and whether we are or are not allowed (‘allowed’ in the broadest sense, not the most literal one) to criticise them – I re-read an essay of Martha Nussbaum’s that has puzzled me in the past, and behold, it puzzled me all over again.

The essay is packed full of statements that puzzle me – the margins are riddled with question marks. I’ll give just a sample.

Even if one were convinced…that all religion is superstition, and that a comprehensive secular view of the good is correct, we do not show sufficient respect for our fellow

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What Kind of Corruption Scandal Is It? *

Jan 10th, 2006 | Filed by

K Street cash subsidizes faith-based politics; abolition of inheritance tax becomes a sacrament.… Read the rest

‘Balance’ Doesn’t Always Get Us Closer to the Truth *

Jan 10th, 2006 | Filed by

Our mission should be to rid our students of automatic or blinkered thinking.… Read the rest

Monaghan on Caton on Freeman on Mead *

Jan 10th, 2006 | Filed by

Review of a historian’s take on an anthropologist’s take on an anthropologist.… Read the rest

Eric Foner Tries to Remind Us of Reconstruction *

Jan 10th, 2006 | Filed by

Forever Free is a reminder of the immense, lasting cost of squandered opportunity. … Read the rest

Chris Mooney on the Kitzmiller Decision *

Jan 10th, 2006 | Filed by

Propaganda campaigns are one thing, and courtrooms are another. Fortunately.… Read the rest

Norman Geras on Crimes Against Humanity *

Jan 10th, 2006 | Filed by

The idea of crimes against humanity is a new one, and needs justification and defense.… Read the rest

Science and Religion

Jan 9th, 2006 10:52 pm | By

If you want to hear some thoroughly silly reactions to Dawkins on God, listen to the latest Saturday Review.

First you get a bit of soundtrack, of the cheery perky dense evangelical telling Dawkins what’s what.

Ted Haggart: ‘We fully embrace the scientific method, as American evangelicals – and we think, as time goes along, as we discover more and more facts, that we’ll learn more and more about how God created the heavens and the earth – ‘

Dawkins points out that the evidence shows the earth to be 4.5 billion years old, Haggart says (perkily, cheerily), ‘You know what you’re doing?’ and explains that he’s paying attention to just part of the scientific community, and that maybe … Read the rest