All entries by this author

Undiplomatic Immunity

Mar 20th, 2004 11:26 pm | By

There is a discussion at Twisty Sticks of the subject we were talking about a few days ago (‘Immunity’), and will be talking about in the future – as I said, it’s one I’m curious about and would like to explore. The subject of Why Does Religion Get Special Treatment? Why does it get a blank check, a free pass, a dispensation, diplomatic immunity. Why are there special rules that apply to religion and nothing else, why does religion get to trump other concerns, why does the importance of religion outweigh the importance of other things – of other concerns, commitments, values, desires, goals.

Which raises a related question, one which probably needs answering or at least clarifying in order … Read the rest

When Political Thought Goes Rigid *

Mar 20th, 2004 | Filed by

A paper on cultism in political groups.… Read the rest

Conversion From Christianity to Philoflagellationism? *

Mar 20th, 2004 | Filed by

Garry Wills on ‘The Passion’ and the persecution mania of religious extremists.… Read the rest

Do We Need Robots to Play Tennis on Mars? *

Mar 20th, 2004 | Filed by

Steven Weinberg on the waste and pointlessness of sending humans into space.… Read the rest

Another Reporter Gets Creative With Facts *

Mar 20th, 2004 | Filed by

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist made up stories and lifted material.… Read the rest

Complementary Medicine May Be Harmful *

Mar 19th, 2004 | Filed by

Now there’s a surprise.… Read the rest

Names Again

Mar 18th, 2004 8:53 pm | By

Norm Geras has taken up the discussion of women and names. (And by the way, speaking of Norm, there was a conference to honour his career at Manchester a few days ago. Chris Bertram of Twisty Sticks gave a paper there on Marx and Engels reading Rousseau, Ian Kershaw gave one on the singularity of the Holocaust. I was not there, I was over here, several miles away, turning pale with envy.) You’ll see that he doesn’t entirely agree with JerryS.

..what’s always struck me as the most difficult issue is not – as gets pointed out pretty quickly – that by keeping her own name a woman is still thereby accepting to be known by the name of another

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Interesting Choice *

Mar 18th, 2004 | Filed by

Guy poisons wife and random strangers, does time, now teaches medical ethics.… Read the rest

Myths About Induction *

Mar 18th, 2004 | Filed by

There is no single Scientific Method based on induction.… Read the rest

Precognition, Remote Viewing, Bent Spoons *

Mar 18th, 2004 | Filed by

What would convince skeptics that there are paranormal phenomena? Replication.… Read the rest


Mar 17th, 2004 7:07 pm | By

Yes and speaking of writing books (yes we were, yesterday) and Adonis and one thing and another – we are writing a book, as a matter of fact. We’re doing a much-expanded version of the Fashionable Dictionary. It’s going to be very, very, very funny. Eye-closingly funny, lung-emptyingly funny, furniture-breakingly funny. In fact, to tell you the unvarnished truth and not to put too fine a point on it, it already is. I say this with all due modesty and humility, on account of how I don’t have any. Don’t know what the words mean. (Better bung them in the dictionary then.) Anyway I can pretend I’m talking exclusively about my colleague’s work when I boast. But I’m not. His … Read the rest

Who’s We?

Mar 17th, 2004 6:08 pm | By

Well really. There is a limit. And I’m glad to see I’m not the only one who thinks so. I’m perfectly happy to be peculiar, eccentric, bloody-minded, odd, etc (which is just as well), but there are some ideas and thoughts one wants to see plenty of resistance to. There are a lot of them in this ridiculous comment by Katie Roiphe.

These days, no one is shocked when an independent-minded woman takes her husband’s name, any more than one is shocked when she announces that she is staying at home with her kids.

Oh is that so. No one? Really? How do you know? Have you asked every last one of us? Have you asked the black swan? And … Read the rest

P.Z. Myers on the ‘Discovery’ Institute *

Mar 17th, 2004 | Filed by

He’s not a great fan.… Read the rest

Harvard Law Review Embarrasses Itself *

Mar 17th, 2004 | Filed by

And Brian Leiter tells us how.… Read the rest

Chris Mooney on ‘Intelligent Design’ *

Mar 17th, 2004 | Filed by

And rash interventions by interested parties.… Read the rest

Intelligent Design and Harvard Law Review *

Mar 17th, 2004 | Filed by

The National Review Online gets mixed up in the argument.… Read the rest

Why Skeptics Dread Chats With Believers *

Mar 17th, 2004 | Filed by

Phil Mole on the frustration of arguing with people who don’t know how.… Read the rest

Is Muslim Anti-Semitism a Taboo Subject? *

Mar 16th, 2004 | Filed by

And if so, why?… Read the rest

Odd That Creationists Don’t Mention Tumors *

Mar 16th, 2004 | Filed by

Tumors are a miracle of natural complexity – surely a case of Intelligent Design? No?… Read the rest

Stick a Hawk on Your Window *

Mar 16th, 2004 | Filed by

Window glass can be fatal for birds.… Read the rest