All entries by this author


Dec 5th, 2005 5:18 pm | By

The religious bad-argument-purveyors are out in force. Lloyd Eby at World Peace Herald for instance. He says an earlier article of his got a lot of ‘responses and comments from atheists who claim that this article misrepresents what atheism is and what atheists actually believe.’ Now there’s a surprise – religious people generally do such a good job of representing what atheism is and what atheists actually believe. No strawmen there! Hardly ever.

So Eby answers the answers.

If we accept the usual or most prevalent definition of religion, a definition in which religion is explicitly tied to belief in and/or service of a supernatural god or supreme being, then atheism could not be a religion because active atheism can

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Shops Withdraw ‘Jerry Springer’ Opera DVDs *

Dec 5th, 2005 | Filed by

Ten Christians whined to Sainsbury’s and that was enough.… Read the rest

Narnia Tripe *

Dec 5th, 2005 | Filed by

To be ‘morally mature’ is to ‘acknowledge’ a lot of nonsense because there are different concepts of reality.… Read the rest

Brothers of Hatan Surucu on Trial for Her Murder *

Dec 5th, 2005 | Filed by

Mothers seek solidarity by forcing daughters to submit to the same hardship and suffering.… Read the rest

Wikipedia and the Accuracy Problem *

Dec 5th, 2005 | Filed by

Universe of global communication and research includes volunteer vandals with poison-pen intellects.… Read the rest

The Guardian Used to be a Secular Paper *

Dec 5th, 2005 | Filed by

But that was then, editor says cheerfully.… Read the rest

When in Doubt, Call It Munchausen’s by Proxy *

Dec 5th, 2005 | Filed by

Like many another secret world the Family Division was liable to be swept by pseudo-scientific manias.… Read the rest

Adults Should Take a Sickbag to ‘Narnia’ *

Dec 5th, 2005 | Filed by

‘Narnia represents everything that is most hateful about religion.’… Read the rest


Dec 4th, 2005 8:14 pm | By

Speaking of ethics and politeness, the difference between what one has a right to do and what is right to do – as we just were in comments on ‘A Valediction Forbidding Nonsense’ – I’ve been pondering a certain pattern of behavior which I’ve seen in a few people I know (especially, but not exclusively, in rich people I know) and find interesting. I should give it a name, for ease of reference – but it’s hard to think of one, because it’s a complicated pattern, with several steps.

Step 1. Volunteer the statement – unprompted by the other party – that you are going to do something. Perhaps something generous or kind or helpful, something extra – give a … Read the rest

John Gray Calls Himself a Heretic *

Dec 4th, 2005 | Filed by

‘His fiercest scorn has switched to the disciples of rationalism and of science.’… Read the rest

Knowing our own Minds *

Dec 4th, 2005 | Filed by

Do we have privileged access but not peculiar, or peculiar but not privileged?… Read the rest

References not to Gramsci but to Sayyid Qutb *

Dec 4th, 2005 | Filed by

Self-appointed rebel heroes like to adorn themselves with flattering titles.… Read the rest

Naturalism v Supernaturalism *

Dec 3rd, 2005 | Filed by

Worldview based on empirical inquiry, not faith or authority, is the clear choice against totalitarianism… Read the rest

Chet Raymo on Meera Nanda *

Dec 3rd, 2005 | Filed by

What looks like tolerant ‘permission to be different’ is actually condescension.… Read the rest

Instead of Celebrating Einstein Year *

Dec 3rd, 2005 | Filed by

Physicists worry about dramatic decline in the number of pupils studying physics at school.… Read the rest

New Homeopathy ‘Study’ a Tiny Bit Flawed *

Dec 3rd, 2005 | Filed by

No control group, glaring exclusions and bias, little things like that.… Read the rest

Richard Dawkins on the Illusion of Design *

Dec 3rd, 2005 | Filed by

The unaided laws of physics could come to mimic deliberate design.… Read the rest

Nothing Like Squalor to Trigger Nostalgia *

Dec 3rd, 2005 | Filed by

Fleet Street hacks get bad rap; Scoop, Boot, Beast, set tone.… Read the rest

Tories Pick Posh Leader Thanks to Hugh Grant *

Dec 3rd, 2005 | Filed by

‘Notting Hill’ made it cool to be posh therefore Eton is okay. Eh?… Read the rest

A Valediction Forbidding Nonsense

Dec 3rd, 2005 2:07 am | By

A couple of passages from the president of the Royal Society’s valedictory speech because they are so B&W.

In short, I guess that the same ill-understood circumstances that allow complex human societies to arise and persist also – and perhaps necessarily – have elements that are strongly antithetic to the values of the Enlightenment. What are these values? They are tolerance of diversity, respect for individual liberty of conscience, and above all recognition that an ugly fact trumps a beautiful theory or a cherished belief. All ideas should be open to questioning, and the merit of ideas should be assessed on the strength of the evidence that supports them and not on the credentials or affiliations of the individuals proposing

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