All entries by this author

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


Mar 15th, 2004 8:09 pm | By

I’ve been re-reading Martha Nussbaum’s brilliant essay and chapter ‘Religion and Women’s Human Rights’ in Sex and Social Justice. In it she discusses the tension between religious liberty and human rights. It’s refreshing, to put it mildly, to read someone who doesn’t pretend there is no such tension. On the contrary; Nussbaum is quite definite about it:

For the world’s major religions, in their actual human form, have not always been outstanding respectors of basic human rights or of the equal dignity and inviolability of persons…these violations do not always receive the intense public concern and condemnation that other systematic atrocities against groups often receive – and there is reason to think that liberal respect for religious difference is

Read the rest

Peppered Moths at LSE *

Mar 15th, 2004 | Filed by

Darwin Day celebrated with an impassioned denunciation of moth-bothering Darwin-baiters.… Read the rest

Geza Vermes on Gibson’s Movie *

Mar 15th, 2004 | Filed by

Gratutitously brutal, historically wrong, and likely to inspire judeophobia. Other than that, it’s swell.… Read the rest

Cool Dude Watches ‘Sex and the City’ *

Mar 15th, 2004 | Filed by

‘the underlying essentialist myths of city women as vampiric succubi’… Read the rest

More on US and Venezuela

Mar 14th, 2004 8:31 pm | By

This story about the US funding opposition to Hugo Chavez is a difficult one to understand clearly. As all stories are, really. Even if one is oneself an investigative reporter and has many reliable sources with masses of evidence – one still doesn’t know what sources one has overlooked, which sources are reliable but partial, reliable but themselves overlooking something – and so on, back and back it goes, into the receding mirror of who really does know. (This of course is the bit of break in the rock where postmodernism gets its toehold: the truth can be very hard to pin down, therefore why not just shrug and say there is no truth and proceed to tell stories instead.) … Read the rest

Hope and Fantasy Impeded Clear Thinking *

Mar 14th, 2004 | Filed by

Interventions amount to a promise, Michael Ignatieff says.… Read the rest

Whose Enlightenment? *

Mar 14th, 2004 | Filed by

Ideas about fallibility, religion, multiculturalism, parochialism divide Europe and the US.… Read the rest

Not This Again

Mar 13th, 2004 9:24 pm | By

Well, this is familiar. Familiar and stomach-turning. What was that we were saying about ‘democracy’? Sometimes that seems to translate to democracy Henry Ford style. Any colour so long as it’s black; any candidate so long as it’s one the US approves of.

But critics of the NED say the organisation routinely meddles in other countries’ affairs to support groups that believe in free enterprise, minimal government intervention in the economy and opposition to socialism in any form. In recent years, the NED has channelled funds to the political opponents of the recently ousted Haitian president Jean-Bertrand Aristide at the same time that Washington was blocking loans to his government.

Shades of 1954. I thought we’d learned our lesson, … Read the rest

Hamlet: ‘This World Sucks, KnowhatI’msayin?’ *

Mar 13th, 2004 | Filed by

Shakespeare thou art translated.… Read the rest

Jayson Blair Rappels Down Mount Excuse *

Mar 13th, 2004 | Filed by

‘this sloppy, padded and dishonest work only adds to his growing word count of lies.’… Read the rest

In Madrid *

Mar 13th, 2004 | Filed by

‘Madrid knew it was witnessing the biggest mass-protest in Spanish history.’… Read the rest

Teacher Cleared of Assault in Hijab Case *

Mar 13th, 2004 | Filed by

Head of science at Bretton Woods School in Peterborough cleared by unanimous verdict.… Read the rest

One From Column A and One From Column B

Mar 12th, 2004 7:36 pm | By

This article on democracy and Islamism raises some interesting and vexing questions we’ve talked about before.

Nevertheless, recent books like Noah Feldman’s After Jihad and Graham Fuller’s The Future of Political Islam suggest that the Islamist movement may indeed be compatible with democracy. They find that while there are holdouts like Osama Bin Laden dead set against anything like democracy, there are many, perhaps even a majority of Islamists who favor free elections. Unfortunately, that’s about as far as the Islamists go when it comes to democracy. Free elections are OK, since they see that they would do very well in polling places across the region. However, it’s not at all clear that the Islamists have any interest in the

Read the rest

A World More Attractive *

Mar 12th, 2004 | Filed by

Encyclopedia, library, news magazines, book reviews, Octavio Paz, Hegel.… Read the rest

Somalia Observes International Women’s Day *

Mar 12th, 2004 | Filed by

A campaign against Female Genital Mutilation has been launched throughout Somalia.… Read the rest