All entries by this author

Lawsuit Against Educational Website on Evolution *

Oct 18th, 2005 | Filed by

Claims Berkeley site’s disagreement with religious interpretations violates First Amendment.… Read the rest

The Trouble With Hypotheticals *

Oct 18th, 2005 | Filed by

Thought experiments are fine and useful – until one gets you in trouble.… Read the rest

David Hirsh ‘Against the Academic Intifada’ *

Oct 18th, 2005 | Filed by

Worrying about the connections between anti-imperialism, anti-Semitism, and hostility to Israel.… Read the rest

China Cancels Official Japanese Visit *

Oct 18th, 2005 | Filed by

Apparently in protest at Prime Minister’s attending a controversial war shrine. … Read the rest

Does Relativism Matter?

Oct 18th, 2005 | By Simon Blackburn

September 11th, we are told, changed the world. That may be true, at least because it has changed how many people perceive the world. And a change in peoples’ ideas is a change in the world. We should not, however, expect many of those changes to be for the better, since it must be a general rule that when people are angry and afraid their ideas and actions go worse. In 1726, we may recall, Voltaire was exiled from France to London, where he was amazed and enchanted by the freedoms of the English. He was lucky not to be exiled here in the twenty-first century, and still less to the United States of America. As a foreign national, he … Read the rest

Faith is not a Virtue

Oct 18th, 2005 2:06 am | By

What was that we were just saying about Thought for the Day? Thought for the Day and the kind of emetic bullshit offered up there by Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks? Who is, rumour has it, rather pompous, and a tad bossy. Now there’s a surprise.

Yes, Thought for the Day, we were talking about. So was Simon Blackburn in a lecture for the British Humanist Association a few years ago.

The debate in this country, and still more in the United States, too often aligns itself around a simple polarity. Are we to be religious? In that case, it is assumed, there are real truths, real standards, real values which we can use to guide our own behaviour and

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Cultural Competence *

Oct 17th, 2005 | Filed by

Abject refusal to articulate or defend ideas that might make certain protected groups uncomfortable… Read the rest

Shashi Tharoor Reviews Amartya Sen *

Oct 17th, 2005 | Filed by

Economist who is also sociologist, historian, political analyst, moral philosopher.… Read the rest

A Book That Gives You Furiously to Think *

Oct 17th, 2005 | Filed by

Sartre and Beauvoir had ‘complicated attitudes’ to certain kinds of truth.… Read the rest

Doing the Islamophobia Rag

Oct 16th, 2005 7:34 pm | By

‘Islamophobia’ in the news today. There is Nick Cohen’s piece on Maryam, and comments on that at Normblog and Harry’s Place. And there is a Times article that says Hizb ut-Tahrir is recruiting students ‘using an anti-racist front organisation’ called ‘Stop Islamophobia.’

Well there’s part of the problem right there – ‘Stop Islamophobia’ shouldn’t even be seen as the name of an anti-racist organization. It’s too late now, of course, the name is well dug in, but it never should have been allowed to get so well dug in – it performs exactly the deceptive maneuver its proponents want it to do: it conflates criticism of Islam with criticism of Muslims, opposition to Islam with opposition to Muslims. … Read the rest

Hizb ut-Tahrir Using Anti-racist Front Organization *

Oct 16th, 2005 | Filed by

Hizb ut-Tahrir has been recruiting under the name Stop Islamophobia at UCL and other institutions. … Read the rest

Study Links Young Parents, Aggressive Children *

Oct 16th, 2005 | Filed by

Critics worry about ‘demonising’ teenage parents.… Read the rest

Henry Adams as Superannuated Pest *

Oct 16th, 2005 | Filed by

Garry Wills has set out to retire the malarial old crank and to re-claim the younger man.… Read the rest

Laura Bush and Identity Politics *

Oct 16th, 2005 | Filed by

It’s sexist and elitist to think Harriet Miers is not ideal Supreme Court nominee.… Read the rest

October Bulletin from Middle East Women *

Oct 16th, 2005 | Filed by

News related to women’s rights from Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Australia, Germany, more.… Read the rest

Nick Cohen on One Woman’s War *

Oct 16th, 2005 | Filed by

Maryam Namazie’s obscurity remains baffling. She ought to be a liberal poster girl.… Read the rest

A S Byatt on Self-Portraits *

Oct 16th, 2005 | Filed by

Iris Murdoch believed Rembrandt’s self-portraits were a philosophic attempt on the truth.… Read the rest

Cosmopolitanism Forever

Oct 15th, 2005 9:07 pm | By

Roger Scruton (yes, Roger Scruton – he’s not always rhapsodizing about the joys of fox hunting) makes a good point.

The danger that democracy will degenerate into a tyranny of the majority was clearly expressed by Alexis de Tocqueville and John Stuart Mill. Both of them recognised, however, that democracy is not some kind of new departure which repudiates all that had gone before, but a system of government built upon a specific legal inheritance. Barnett & Hilton rightly refer to the rule of law and individual rights as the first of their principles of democratic government. These were historical achievements of the European legal and judicial systems. They preceded democracy and have not been replicated everywhere. Until they

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Mixed Reviews of Pinter Nobel *

Oct 15th, 2005 | Filed by

Stoppard, Frayn, Hitchens, Redgrave C.… Read the rest

Students Drop Bad Role Model Smith *

Oct 15th, 2005 | Filed by

‘This isn’t an attack upon Adam Smith as a person.’ Whew!… Read the rest