All entries by this author

A Skeptical Look at Thomas Kuhn *

Aug 4th, 2003 | Filed by

Eric Raymond sees some paradigm problems.… Read the rest



Just How Hard-wired Is It? *

Aug 4th, 2003 | Filed by

Are male promiscuity and female choosiness cultural or biological? Yes.… Read the rest



Scholar Demands Special Treatment for Catholicism *

Aug 4th, 2003 | Filed by

Disagreeing with the Catholic church is ‘prejudice’and ‘venom’. Because…?… Read the rest



Ibn Warraq

Aug 3rd, 2003 11:43 pm | By

I’m pleased to see that the well-known blog burchismo has nice things to say about both David Stanway’s article about the Three Gorges and Ibn Warraq’s deconstruction of Edward Said (July 31 and August 1). Not that I comment every time someone mentions us, in fact I never do, but it seems worth mentioning Ibn Warraq (and David too of course!). If you haven’t already you should take a look at Ibn Warraq’s remarkable site, the Institute for the Secularisation of Islamic Society. Read this article on ‘honour killings’ for example, or this one, a witty and irritated look at Muslim-American intellectual life, which asks the probing question, ‘what school of Islamic jurisprudence holds that pork is haram (impermissible) … Read the rest



One Thought too Many

Aug 3rd, 2003 9:46 pm | By

Abdication of thought department, not to mention argument by innuendo department. Here is an opinion piece about a supposed conflict between two values, between inclusiveness and humane treatment of animals, between multiculturalism and banning cruel methods of slaughter.

But now a government-funded committee is expected to conclude that traditional Jewish and Islamic methods of slaughter are inhumane. The timing could not be better because, clearly, Britain’s Muslims are nowhere near alienated enough at the moment…This moral conundrum goes right to the heart of what it means to live in a multicultural society.

When you don’t have much of an argument, resort to sarcasm. What’s his point? That findings about which methods of slaughter are humane and which are not should … Read the rest



The Name of the Rose It Ain’t *

Aug 3rd, 2003 | Filed by

A best-seller about Leonardo, the Holy Grail and ‘the Goddess’ is a tad shaky on the facts.… Read the rest



Revolting Drivel *

Aug 3rd, 2003 | Filed by

The serpent stands for rationalist mischief, says godbothering ethicist Leon Kass.… Read the rest



A Degree in Sleeping and Not Washing *

Aug 3rd, 2003 | Filed by

Degrees in surfing, watching tv, games – vocational training or a waste of time and money?… Read the rest



When in Doubt, Pontificate

Aug 3rd, 2003 1:51 am | By

What was that we were saying about certainty, and religion, and the Vatican? There just keeps on being more to say. There is for instance this lovely story about a Calgary bishop who announced that the Canadian Prime Minister’s eternal salvation is in jeopardy and that he could burn in hell. Oh well I suppose I could look on the bright side, couldn’t I. He didn’t say ‘The Prime Minister is definitely without question going to burn in hell,’ he said that he could. He said his salvation is in jeopardy, not that it’s already lost. Quite admirably flexible and latitudinarian, really! Or perhaps he is just (as we vulgar Yanks like to put it) covering his ass. Hedging … Read the rest



Canadian PM Could Burn in Hell *

Aug 2nd, 2003 | Filed by

Calgary bishop declares Chrétien’s eternal salvation is in jeopardy.… Read the rest



Edward Said on the Importance of Edward Said *

Aug 2nd, 2003 | Filed by

How odd – his book came out 25 years ago, and yet people still aren’t obeying it.… Read the rest



Ann Widdecombe Approves, Anyway *

Aug 2nd, 2003 | Filed by

The Telegraph doesn’t mention any other MPs who like the Vatican’s statement on marriage.… Read the rest



The Vatican is Being Gravely Silly *

Aug 2nd, 2003 | Filed by

Shocking, cruel language, not open to argument – the Catholic church is being another Soapy Sam.… Read the rest



Funnier Than Anything Hope Ever Said *

Aug 2nd, 2003 | Filed by

Christopher Hitchens’ loving tribute to a comedian whose only fault was total absence of humour.… Read the rest



Certainty

Aug 1st, 2003 8:20 pm | By

We’ve been talking about certainty…haven’t we? Oh yes, I remember, it was in the comments on Comments (Notes and) last week, the ones that got tragically swept away in the server mishap. But then in some sense B and W is always talking about things like certainty; about skepticism and doubt, relativism and foundations, truth and truth claims, accuracy and error, and how to know the difference. So I always pay extra attention when people talk about certainty. Mind you, that’s been true for years, since long before B and W was even a half-formed idea in its founder’s mind.

A rather frightening Tory politician by the name of Ann Widdecombe was on Start the Week the other day talking … Read the rest



A Bigoted, Misanthropic Elitist *

Aug 1st, 2003 | Filed by

How we miss him! Wendy Kaminer reviews a book on Mencken and religion.… Read the rest



How Are False Memories Formed? *

Aug 1st, 2003 | Filed by

Study suggests how to increase memory without also increasing corresponding false memories.… Read the rest



Why Books Level the Playing Field *

Aug 1st, 2003 | Filed by

Students prefer prettier professors, and may learn more from them.… Read the rest



The Vatican Clears Things Up *

Aug 1st, 2003 | Filed by

Homosexual marriage not analogous to God’s plan for marriage and family. Oh.… Read the rest



Skepticism is not Cynicism *

Aug 1st, 2003 | Filed by

‘To doubt claims that are not backed by evidence…seems only reasonable.’… Read the rest