All entries by this author

Nine Life Sentences in Gujarat Case *

Feb 24th, 2006 | Filed by

Twelve Muslims, two others burned to death when Best Bakery was attacked by a Hindu mob in 2002. … Read the rest



Press Freedom at Risk *

Feb 24th, 2006 | Filed by

Should we be sensitive to religious feelings or to readers’ need to get uncensored news?… Read the rest



Cartoon Controversies at Student Newspapers *

Feb 24th, 2006 | Filed by

Papers at Harvard and University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign publish; UI editors suspended.… Read the rest



Scott McLemee Questions David Horowitz *

Feb 24th, 2006 | Filed by

Reading Horowitz’s latest bit of pulp fiction with all the seriousness he can muster.… Read the rest



Scott Jaschik on the Aftermath of Summers *

Feb 24th, 2006 | Filed by

Summers spoke out for many causes that are central to quality in higher education.… Read the rest



Thomas Nagel Reviews Kwame Anthony Appiah *

Feb 24th, 2006 | Filed by

The right of exit is not enough to cancel the constraining power of strong communal identities.… Read the rest



In the State of Denmark

Feb 23rd, 2006 8:49 pm | By

Hitchens murmurs a gentle reproach or two.

The incredible thing about the ongoing Kristallnacht against Denmark…is that it has resulted in, not opprobrium for the religion that perpetrates and excuses it, but increased respectability!…And nobody in authority can be found to state the obvious and the necessary – that we stand with the Danes against this defamation and blackmail and sabotage. Instead, all compassion and concern is apparently to be expended upon those who lit the powder trail, and who yell and scream for joy as the embassies of democracies are put to the torch in the capital cities of miserable, fly-blown dictatorships. Let’s be sure we haven’t hurt the vandals’ feelings.

Let’s be sure we surrender … Read the rest



Hitchens Urges: Stand Up for Denmark *

Feb 23rd, 2006 | Filed by

All compassion and concern is apparently to be expended upon those who lit the powder trail.… Read the rest



More on Summers *

Feb 23rd, 2006 | Filed by

Chronicle oversimplifies his women and science comments.… Read the rest



South Dakota Moves to Ban Abortion *

Feb 23rd, 2006 | Filed by

Which is already nearly unavailable there.… Read the rest



Churches Have no Divine Right to be Heard *

Feb 23rd, 2006 | Filed by

A motormouth with a mitre brings neither gaiety nor wisdom to the nations. … Read the rest



Irving Says Austria is Trying to Silence Him *

Feb 23rd, 2006 | Filed by

As he tried to silence a certain historian via a libel trial, perhaps?… Read the rest



Denmark Grovels *

Feb 23rd, 2006 | Filed by

Government planning initiatives to promote ‘respectful dialogue,’ with advice from Muslim countries. … Read the rest



Riots Kill At Least Twenty in Southern Nigeria *

Feb 23rd, 2006 | Filed by

Attacks on Muslims, in apparent retaliation for the deaths of Christians in riots in the north. … Read the rest



Sense and Sensibility

Feb 23rd, 2006 | By Paula Bourges-Waldegg

Distasteful, absurd, offensive, insulting, abusive, infamous, frivolous, grotesque, unfunny and plain stupid are some of the most common adjectives that have been used to describe the cartoons depicting the prophet Mohammed published in a Danish newspaper a few months ago. Sense and sensibility are apparently the main virtues that an editorial cartoonist should now possess. So it seems that newspapers all over the world will soon need to hire new more ad hoc cartoonists. Therefore I took the liberty of writing the following job posting to help them find the “ideal” candidate.

Well-reputed newspaper looking for sensitive and sensible cartoonists

General description:

Individuals with high moral and aesthetic standards who conform with generally held views of what is acceptable, and … Read the rest



Truth Fails to Triumph Again

Feb 23rd, 2006 12:51 am | By

You’ve probably heard that Larry Summers is leaving Hahvahd. It’s interesting to note that the BBC is still, obstinately, misreporting what he said about women and science. I did a comment on that ages ago, months and months ago, and I can’t believe I’m the only one; surely people must have written to them to tell them they got it wrong – but maybe not, because they’re still doing it. (Andrew Marr got it wrong in talking to Steve Pinker last year; Steve said ‘that’s not what he said,’ but to no avail; no one listened.)

Lawrence Summers lost the first vote in March last year after suggesting women had less “intrinsic aptitude” than men for science.

No … Read the rest



It’s a Different Way of Knowing

Feb 22nd, 2006 8:28 pm | By

And further speaking of religious tyranny and the optimistic idea that truth will triumph ‘in the end’, PZ discussed and quoted from an interesting item the other day.

Inside the flagship lab of the National Center of Atmospheric Research, a dozen home-schooled children and their parents walk past the offices of scientists grappling with topics from global warming and microphysics to solar storms and the electrical fields of lightning. They are trailing Rusty Carter, a guide with Biblically Correct Tours. At a large, colorful panel along a wall, Carter reads aloud from a passage describing the disappearance of dinosaurs from the earth about 65 million years ago. He and some of the older students exchange knowing smiles at the timeline,

Read the rest



More Breezy Optimism

Feb 22nd, 2006 6:27 pm | By

And speaking of religious tyranny and the optimistic idea that truth will triumph ‘in the end’, there is this little problem.

A growing number of science students on British campuses and in sixth form colleges are challenging the theory of evolution and arguing that Darwin was wrong. Some are being failed in university exams because they quote sayings from the Bible or Qur’an as scientific fact and at one sixth form college in London most biology students are now thought to be creationists. Earlier this month Muslim medical students in London distributed leaflets that dismissed Darwin’s theories as false. Evangelical Christian students are also increasingly vocal in challenging the notion of evolution.

It’s unfortunate when people who are wrong … Read the rest



Clerical Gits

Feb 22nd, 2006 5:55 pm | By

Meanwhile, religious tyranny is flexing its nasty poxy muscles at us. It is letting us know that it will decide what we can think and say, and that’s enough out of you thank you very much.

The pope for one.

In the current international context, the Catholic Church remains convinced that to encourage peace and understanding between peoples and individuals it is necessary and urgent that religions and their symbols be respected, and that the faithful not be subjected to provocations injuring their outlook and religious feelings.

Oh does it. Is that what the Catholic Church remains convinced. That religions must be respected, and the faithful must not have their religious feelings injured. Religions must be respected because – erm … Read the rest



But When is That?

Feb 22nd, 2006 5:18 pm | By

Here’s a terrific piece, which I found via Lipstadt’s blog, that is all about exactly what we’ve been discussing, as well as a good deal more.

Let me tell you why my grandfather, Alfred Wiener, began this collection. It was because he believed in the power of truth. He believed that the facts would win in the end. He was not a pacifist – you need to be ready to meet force with force. But lies must be fought with truth.

Daniel Finkelstein’s grandfather was clearly an admirable man (no, there is no ‘but’ coming). I agree with him in a way, perhaps the most salient way; but (there’s the but) I don’t agree in another. (At least, … Read the rest