All entries by this author

Read and Repent

Apr 13th, 2004 8:09 pm | By

This is a trivial item in the great scheme of things, but I can’t help finding it intensely amusing. So I thought I would share it. I lapsed into frivolity for a few moments yesterday – I frittered away a little time and energy in mocking a reactionary commenter at Twisty Sticks. I know that’s a silly thing to do, but I felt like it. Come on. Some people watch football, some play golf, I occasionally mock commenters on blogs. I don’t do it for hours and hours every day for crying out loud so lighten up already! It was just a few minutes.

Okay, I know, it is stupid, but in this particular case it paid off handsomely. A … Read the rest

NY Review of Books on Islam and its Demons *

Apr 13th, 2004 | Filed by

Considering ‘the religious populism that is sweeping the Muslim world.’… Read the rest

Susan Haack on Coherence & Co *

Apr 13th, 2004 | Filed by

Consistency, ‘foundherentism,’ cogency, novels, and remaining calm.… Read the rest

Malaria, Africa and DDT *

Apr 13th, 2004 | Filed by

Is there a double standard? Is the risk from malaria greater than that from DDT?… Read the rest

Zeal of the Land Busy

Apr 12th, 2004 6:31 pm | By

Blimey. A reader emailed to tell me he’d tracked down the ‘April Fool’s leader’ in the Guardian that Anthony Andrew mentioned in his Guardian article that I commented on yesterday – got all that? It is a bit complicated – but then that’s how this sort of thing works. One article leads to another which leads to a comment which prompts an email – and so it goes. At any rate I read the leader, and boy it’s foolish all right.

There are many in the Muslim community whose warnings, through the early 1990s, of a radicalised generation fell on deaf ears. They would argue that Britain has not so much failed to integrate Muslims, as failed even to try…They

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Parody From Another Direction? *

Apr 12th, 2004 | Filed by

Again, sadly, no. They mean it.… Read the rest

‘What If’ History Has an Agenda *

Apr 12th, 2004 | Filed by

In the postmodern world of contingency and irony one narrative is as valid as another.… Read the rest

Susan Haack on Science and Religion *

Apr 12th, 2004 | Filed by

They really are at odds, and science really is the more admirable enterprise.… Read the rest

Marburger and Sociobiology

Apr 12th, 2004 12:25 am | By

A couple of brief items to follow up previous items in either News or Notes and Comment or both – she said pompously. My point isn’t to be pompous, it’s just to say that these items refer back to previous items as opposed to being new ones, just in case anyone wants to, you know, get a broad overview of er um –

Anyway. There is a long, detailed post by Chris Mooney on his blog, about Bush’s science advisor John Marburger and his response to the charges by the Union of Concerned Scientists that Bush administration has systematically distorted science. Mooney writes for The American Prospect and the Washington Post about these issues, so his blog is an excellent … Read the rest


Apr 11th, 2004 7:05 pm | By

So is diversity maybe not such a hot idea after all? Always depending on what we mean by ‘diversity’ of course, and it can be very difficult to figure out exactly what people do mean by it. As is so often the case with fuzzy woolly words and ideas – which is exactly why they’re called fuzzy-woolly, obviously. But then are they called fuzzy-wooly enough? I’m not sure. I’m not sure it does get pointed out enough that people tend not to specify what they mean when they use the words, but rather, just use them to project an air of righonitude, of conspicuous virtue, of ostentatious morality. That’s understandable. Shock-jocks and Limbaugh-O’Reilly types like to sneer and mock, … Read the rest

Polly Toynbee on Multiculturalism *

Apr 11th, 2004 | Filed by

Breaking with unctuous, unthinking platitudes about diversity.… Read the rest

Will Hutton on Fundamentalism *

Apr 11th, 2004 | Filed by

When religion provides ‘meaning’ the need to impose it on others is strong.… Read the rest

What is Multiculturalism Anyway? *

Apr 11th, 2004 | Filed by

Does it mean separateness, acceptance, learning from other cultures, inclusion?… Read the rest

Martha Nussbaum on Liberal Education *

Apr 11th, 2004 | Filed by

Education that can liberate minds from bondage to mere habit and tradition.… Read the rest

To Be Young, Angry and Striking a Pose *

Apr 11th, 2004 | Filed by

Maybe ‘different communities’ shouldn’t be treated differently after all.… Read the rest

Rwanda Outlaws Ethnicity *

Apr 10th, 2004 | Filed by

If awareness of ethnic differences can be learned, it can be unlearned.… Read the rest

Washington Post on Hindutva v. Scholarship *

Apr 10th, 2004 | Filed by

Threats against US scholars such as Doniger, Laine and Courtright.… Read the rest

Bush Science Aide Defends Record *

Apr 9th, 2004 | Filed by

Administration rejects claims that it distorts or suppresses scientific information.… Read the rest

The Economist on Bush v. Science *

Apr 9th, 2004 | Filed by

‘Politicians can cheat nature no more effectively than scientists can.’… Read the rest

Pope Causes Trouble Again *

Apr 9th, 2004 | Filed by

John Paul II says hospitals should tube-feed patients in persistent vegetative state.… Read the rest