All entries by this author

Setting the bar

May 27th, 2007 11:20 am | By

I knew I would be told I was setting too high a standard by talking of reliable knowledge (and meaning by it actually reliable knowledge, rather than credible or rationally defensible or arguable beliefs or guesses or intuitions). I knew that so well that when making a couple of notes on belief and reliable knowledge this morning, that was one of the notes I made – the prediction that I would be told that. But the high standard is exactly the point. Why would we want to set a lower standard? Why would we accept a lower standard? I can see why people want to set a lower standard for their own beliefs, and perhaps for their chosen group’s … Read the rest

Yarg yarg yarg, militant atheists, yarg yarg

May 26th, 2007 5:39 pm | By

Yes yes yes. We know. We’ve heard.

But some now say secularists should embrace more than the strident rhetoric poured out in such books as “The God Delusion” by Richard Dawkins and “The End of Faith” and “Letter to a Christian Nation” by Sam Harris. By devoting so much space to explaining why religion is bad, these critics argue, atheists leave little room for explaining how a godless worldview can be good. At a recent conference marking the 30th anniversary of Harvard’s humanist chaplaincy, organizers sought to distance the “new humanism” from the “new atheism.” Humanist Chaplain Greg Epstein went so far as to use the (other) f-word in describing his unbelieving brethren. “At times they’ve made statements that sound

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Another Think Coming *

May 26th, 2007 | Filed by

‘The salty question of how we should live seems to have given way to the dry matter of what we think.’… Read the rest

Vernon Interviews Daniel Dennett *

May 26th, 2007 | Filed by

‘The philosophers I pay attention to are all, in one way or another, paying close professional attention to other disciplines.’… Read the rest

Tom Flynn on Addiction to the Big M *

May 26th, 2007 | Filed by

Is it frightening to think there is no Meaning in life, only the plural meanings we create for ourselves?… Read the rest

Mo Rejoices at Iran’s Technological Prowess *

May 26th, 2007 | Filed by

A convincing rebuttal to those who say the Islamic world has been technologically moribund for centuries.… Read the rest

Newsflash: Humanist Rags on Atheists *

May 26th, 2007 | Filed by

Vehement, strident, fundamentalist, dogmatic, negative, Greg Epstein.… Read the rest

What’s Entertainment? *

May 26th, 2007 | Filed by

Beach novels? Hmm. High school humiliations, Canadian comedies, cultural commentary?… Read the rest

BBC Prepares Reply to Complaints in Advance *

May 25th, 2007 | Filed by

Dear Blank, I’m sorry if you believe the programme lacked the hard evidence you wanted to see.… Read the rest

Frank Furedi on the Misery Memoir Market *

May 25th, 2007 | Filed by

The reader is not left with a feeling of inspiration, but rather with an urge to take a shower. … Read the rest

Martha Nussbaum on the Gujarat Massacre *

May 25th, 2007 | Filed by

What has been happening in India is a serious threat to the future of democracy in the world.… Read the rest

The Traveler’s Dilemma *

May 25th, 2007 | Filed by

When playing this game, people reject the rational choice; by acting illogically, they reap a larger reward.… Read the rest

Steal From The Simpsons, not Henry James *

May 25th, 2007 | Filed by

What is wrong with the modern literary novel? ‘Why is it so anxious? Why is it so bloody boring?’… Read the rest

Murdered journalists

May 24th, 2007 1:27 pm | By

This is hard to read. Painful.

The killers struck along a lonely road south of Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso, on a Sunday in December 1998, spraying automatic rifle fire into a jeep carrying Norbert Zongo, his brother, and two companions. The gunmen set the vehicle ablaze in a bid to obscure their crime, but they could not erase Zongo’s reputation in the West African nation as the uncompromising editor of the weekly L’Independant. Neither, to many people’s eyes, could they conceal whose hands were stained with the killings—officials in President Blaise Compaoré’s government whom Zongo had investigated relentlessly for alleged torture and murder…Deputy editor of La Patria in Manizales, Colombia, Sierra was shot twice on a

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God is a walnut, a mouse, a sunny day, a gleam in your eye

May 24th, 2007 12:27 pm | By

So if God, in Humpty Dumpty fashion, just means whatever any word-spinner says it means, then – why are we expected to heed it or obey it or respect it or not do stem-cell research because of it?

There is a ‘childish notion of an anthropomorphic God that is characteristic of the tribe, of the closed society’ and then there is the non-childish notion of a non-anthropomorphic God.

God exists in the word and through the word…God is a human concept. God is the name we give to our belief that life has meaning, one that transcends the world’s chaos, randomness and cruelty…God is that mysterious force—and you can give it many names as other religions do—which works upon

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Eve, Adam, and Dinosaurs Together at Last *

May 24th, 2007 | Filed by

Fossils, the museum ‘teaches,’ are no older than ‘Noah’s flood’; in fact dinosaurs were on ‘the ark.’… Read the rest

Creation ‘Museum’ ‘Challenging’ Science *

May 24th, 2007 | Filed by

‘A new museum in Northern Kentucky promotes a religious perspective on geology.’… Read the rest

CPJ Special Report on Anna Politkovskaya *

May 24th, 2007 | Filed by

Novaya’s coverage of social and political issues has won it devoted readers and passionate enemies.… Read the rest

Is RE Education or Evangelism? *

May 24th, 2007 | Filed by

Parents are alarmed at the increasingly evangelical nature of RE in some schools. … Read the rest

Isaacson Keeps Repeating Einstein’s Wife Error *

May 24th, 2007 | Filed by

‘She served as a sounding board for his scientific ideas and helped to check the math in his papers.’… Read the rest