All entries by this author

Lots of Atheists in Britain Says Survey *

Feb 26th, 2004 | Filed by

Hurrah!… Read the rest

Muslims in Nigeria Boycott Immunisation *

Feb 26th, 2004 | Filed by

Polio vaccination is suspected as American plot to make Muslims infertile.… Read the rest

East of the Border

Feb 24th, 2004 4:49 pm | By

José mentioned the resort to fuzzy and misleading analogies that sophisticated theists resort to. I’ve been thinking, and scribbling notes, about that for a day or two. It’s true. There are fuzzy misleading analogies that crop up over and over again. I’m short on time at the moment, so will just say a couple of things, and go on at more length tomorrow.

There is for instance another version of the ‘separate sphere’ argument. That ‘science’ (never explicitly defined, and always cited in such a way that it’s implicitly defined far too narrowly) is in one sphere and poetry, art, morality, meaning and similar (often including things like love) are in another, along with of course religion. But if one … Read the rest

Interview With Christopher Browning *

Feb 24th, 2004 | Filed by

Historian of the Holocaust examines events as they unfolded, not via hindsight.… Read the rest

Frederick Crews on Trauma and Memory *

Feb 24th, 2004 | Filed by

What damage can be done when mistaken ideas about the mind get infused with ideological zeal.… Read the rest

Opposition to GM Was Overestimated *

Feb 24th, 2004 | Filed by

‘GM Nation?’ conveyed an overestimate of anti-GM feeling in UK, researchers say. … Read the rest

Philip Stott Rewrites a Guardian Leader *

Feb 24th, 2004 | Filed by

What it should have said about GM maize.… Read the rest

Fifty Years of Dissent *

Feb 24th, 2004 | Filed by

A magazine devoted to slaying orthodoxies.… Read the rest

Somewhere, Over the Rainbow

Feb 23rd, 2004 11:01 pm | By

I think part of why this either-or argument is so interesting is because the ‘separate spheres’ retort is so popular. If I’ve heard people say that once I’ve heard them say it – quite a few times. It’s always irritated me profoundly. That’s one reason I was so intensely annoyed to see Stephen Jay Gould, of all people, come out with it a few years ago. (Another reason was that he said so many absurd things in the process.) It’s always irritated me because it’s so convenient. So perfectly tailored to allow people to believe anything and everything they want to, just by locating whatever it is in the ‘separate sphere.’ Of course, people are ‘allowed’ to believe what they … Read the rest

Either It Is, or It Is Not

Feb 23rd, 2004 6:33 pm | By

Right, where was I, before things got so busy. Several places, one of which was a series of disagreements over theism and atheism. One of our readers, Ben Keen, emailed me a thought on the subject last week that suggested some further thoughts, or they may be just repeated restatements of the same thought, I’m not sure. My brain got a bit curdled over the last few days, and I’m not sure it’s back to normal yet. Whatever ‘normal’ may be in my case.

Ben’s comment, which he’s given me permission to quote, was this:

the topic of
religious claims being exempt from the same sort of scrutiny as other
sorts of truth-claims. Something people often say is that science

Read the rest

Canetti on Murdoch’s New Book *

Feb 23rd, 2004 | Filed by

‘Her book is very badly written, shoddy…That would not be so bad if she had something to say.’… Read the rest

Face-Lift Worth Risking Life? *

Feb 23rd, 2004 | Filed by

Two cosmetic surgery patients die in six weeks, making others nervous.… Read the rest

Defiant Wakefield Demands Inquiry *

Feb 23rd, 2004 | Filed by

MMR doctor wants conflict of interest charge investigated.… Read the rest

‘From England’ Diary of Elias Canetti *

Feb 23rd, 2004 | Filed by

Reluctant to write for publishers: feared that would compromise his commitment to truth.… Read the rest

Carnegie Endowment: Arab Reform Bulletin *

Feb 23rd, 2004 | Filed by

Special issue on political Islam.… Read the rest

What Happened to Arab Feminism? *

Feb 23rd, 2004 | Filed by

Lee Smith says Arab states typically use Islam to restrict women’s rights. … Read the rest

Another Installment

Feb 21st, 2004 7:16 pm | By

I suppose you’re thinking I’ve fallen silent. That, exhausted by all the to-and-fro, the heat and light, the blood sweat and tears of late, I’ve shrugged and yawned and decided to take up ping pong in a serious way.

No I don’t, not really, I don’t suppose you’re thinking about it one way or another, on account of how you have better things to think about. I just like to say things like that. I only do it to annoy, because I know it teases. At any rate, no, I haven’t fallen silent. On the contrary, I had a whole stack of things to talk about on Thursday, along with the ones I didn’t get to last week – and … Read the rest

Statement by Concerned Scientists *

Feb 21st, 2004 | Filed by

Call for restoring scientific integrity to federal policymaking.… Read the rest

Policy Goals Trump Science *

Feb 21st, 2004 | Filed by

Prominent scientists issue statement saying Bush administration distorts facts.… Read the rest

That Sums it Up *

Feb 21st, 2004 | Filed by

A cartoon on how to do science.… Read the rest