All entries by this author

Review of A Devil’s Chaplain *

Jun 5th, 2003 | Filed by

Praise for Richard Dawkins’ “marvellously contemptuous dismissal of ‘postmodernism’” and more.… Read the rest

What Separation of Church and State? *

Jun 5th, 2003 | Filed by

What the Bush administration is doing to make religion even more intrusively mandatory in American life.… Read the rest


Jun 5th, 2003 12:05 am | By

My colleague and I have been discussing (or arguing about, if you like) the
Guardian story which reports that Paul Wolfowitz said the Iraq war was about oil. I have more doubts and qualms about the war than Jeremy does, but then as he concedes, I live in the US whereas he lives in the UK: the differences in our respective heads of state could account for our different views all by themselves. But one thing we do agree on is the irredeemable awfulness of Islamofascism, and that there is no proper opposition to it (with, as he points out, the honourable exception of Christopher Hitchens) on the Left.

Why is that? I think it has to do with the … Read the rest

Interview with Azar Nafisi *

Jun 4th, 2003 | Filed by

Ideology, politicization of every part of life, intimidation, the value of discourse.… Read the rest

Only ‘Faith’ Schools Allowed to Discriminate *

Jun 4th, 2003 | Filed by

Churches successfully lobbied UK government, won right to fire gays in religious schools.… Read the rest

Vice-Chancellors Disagree With Clarke *

Jun 3rd, 2003 | Filed by

An instrumental view of education is not the way to go.… Read the rest

Can We Stop Hearing About ‘Grief Counseling’ Now? *

Jun 3rd, 2003 | Filed by

Those people rushed to the scene to ‘help’ don’t, research has finally shown.… Read the rest

Exemption for ‘Faith’ Schools *

Jun 3rd, 2003 | Filed by

Employment bill could allow religious schools to sack gay teachers.… Read the rest

Ee-lim Anate the Negative

Jun 2nd, 2003 1:20 pm | By

Well I’m always telling people, in my annoying way, that ‘negative’ doesn’t mean bad or critical or disapproving or pessimistic or skeptical or cynical or hostile. That if you want to call something any of those, you should use those words, and not the word ‘negative’ which 1. doesn’t mean any of those and 2. if you do use it as a pointless euphemism for those other words is vague and woolly and non-specific and confusing. By the same token ‘positive’ doesn’t mean approving or friendly or optimistic or patriotic or cheerful or warm or helpful. There’s a bizarre kind of covert thought-control going on in the translation of all words conveying disagreement and dissent into ‘negative’ and all words … Read the rest

Climbing Trees to Get to the Moon *

Jun 2nd, 2003 | Filed by

Steven Pinker on why genetic enhancement is not inevitable.… Read the rest

What Does ‘Negative’ Mean? *

Jun 1st, 2003 | Filed by

Evelyn Fox Keller and Richard Lewontin discuss some epistemological issues.… Read the rest

Who Mourns the Gepids?

Jun 1st, 2003 | By Robert Davis

The answer to the question in the title is "No one," but it will
take a while to get to the reasons. I thought about the Gepids as I drove through
the Navajo Reservation in Arizona and New Mexico through incomparable scenery,
a lot of history, and often uncomfortable knowledge about the present, much
of it filtered through the novels of fellow Oklahomans, Tony Hillerman and Ron
Querry. Their books and other sources touch on problems of the contemporary
Navajo, but they are more noted for their celebration of the coherence of Navajo
culture and the sense of "hozho," of oneness with the beauty of the
world. This theme is attractive to many Anglos who buy into a nostalgia for… Read the rest

Are Standards and Expertise a Bad Thing? *

May 31st, 2003 | Filed by

Sarah Bryan Miller wonders, just what is an elitist anyway?… Read the rest

History is Potentially Lethal *

May 31st, 2003 | Filed by

Marxist left and Hindu fundamentalist right subordinate history to political goals in India.… Read the rest

Nonsense at Hay Festival

May 30th, 2003 4:17 pm | By

Oh really, what crap. It’s only snobs and supercilious critics who think bad novels are bad novels. Excuse me, but sometimes a cigar is just a cigar, and sometimes a bad novel is just a bad novel.

Trollope, whose restrained prose is as elegant as the lady herself, poured haughty scorn on the pretensions of the literary genre, and in particular the “grim lit” the critics seem to adore “that makes you want to slash your wrists”.

Well that’s wrong for a start. ‘Restrained’ prose? Well sure, I suppose. That’s one way to describe it. One might say the same of a train timetable, or a laundry list, or a tax code. That couldn’t be a nice evasive way of … Read the rest

Self-serving Argument #478 *

May 30th, 2003 | Filed by

If you think they write bad novels it is because you are jealous, gloomy and snobbish. Of course.… Read the rest

Watching Someone Dig With a Brush is Boring *

May 30th, 2003 | Filed by

TV prefers pseudoarchaeology to the real thing.… Read the rest

All Entertainment All the Time *

May 30th, 2003 | Filed by

Jonathan Yardley comments on perpetual entertainment as a form of leisure.… Read the rest

Debunking Edward Said

May 30th, 2003 | By Ibn Warraq

This is an edited version of the article, Debunking Edward Said – Edward
Said and Saidists: or Third World Intellectual Terrorism, which
is here
. For the purposes of ease of reading, references and bibliographical
information have been removed from this edited version of the article, but the
longer version is fully referenced. Interested readers should follow the link!

Consider the following observations on the state of affairs in the contemporary
Arab world :

The history of the modern Arab world – with all its political failures,
its human rights abuses, its stunning military incompetences, its decreasing
production, the fact that alone of all modern peoples, we have receded in democratic
and technological and scientific development – is disfigured by

Read the rest

No Kidding *

May 29th, 2003 | Filed by

Demanding schools place pressure on students, research shows. Really?!… Read the rest