“I can draw Mohammed if you can build a mosque”

From the New York Daily News, about the protests concerning the (non)Ground Zero (non)Mosque:Later a scuffle broke out at the site of the pro-mosque protest a when a mosque opponent held up a sign that read, "I can draw Mohammed if you can build a mosque."That seems very reasonable to me. But since this person was protesting the mosque, I presume they want to stop both the mosque and any Muhammad cartoons, perhaps in a spirit of mutual respect.Sigh. … [Read more...]

Richard Dawkins: Faith School Menace?

Richard Dawkins' Channel 4 program about faith schools in the UK:This is part 1/4. The rest will play automatically, in sequence.H/T: Why Evolution is True … [Read more...]

CFI needs help

The Center for Inquiry, one of the leading US organizations supporting skepticism about the paranormal and the supernatural, plus secularism and humanism, is in serious financial trouble due to a large donor not being able to contribute as much as usual. Please consider donating a small amount to help.CFI is the organization behind magazines such as the Skeptical Inquirer and Free Inquiry. (If you are not already subscribed, you may find it worthwhile to do so. They're much more satisfying than … [Read more...]

A Scientific Question? Part 6

In Rocks of Ages, Stephen Gould places a heavy emphasis on the fact vs. value distinction. According to Gould, science is concerned with facts, and religion is concerned with values. Values don’t imply facts, and facts don’t imply values, so there can be no conflict between a given set of facts (scientific teachings at a given point in time) and a given set of values (religious teachings at a given point in time). This is how Gould reasons about the relationship of science and religion.Given t … [Read more...]

“Ground Zero” Islamophobia

Surprising though that may be, I still run into people who think that "Islamophobia" is an illegitimate term. I don't see how anyone observing right wing politics in the US can seriously say that deep-seated irrational hatred of Islam is not a widespread problem.Mind you, Islamophobia does get used by Muslim groups and Muslim-majority countries as an excuse to attempt to stifle criticism. But then, every ethnic and religious group does that. To some supporters of Israeli nationalism, every … [Read more...]

A Scientific Question? Part 5

More hints about the concept of a “scientific question” from the Charles Simonyi Professor of the Public Understanding of Science …In The God Delusion, Dawkins gives a couple of hints about what constitutes a scientific hypothesis.A scientific hypothesis is an idea that is either true or false.Dawkins is more favorable towards TAP style agnosticism, than PAP style agnosticism:TAP, or Temporary Agnosticism in Practice, is the legitimate fence-sitting where there really is a definite answer, one wa … [Read more...]

Oppression? False Consciousness?

Many nonbelievers are convinced that Islam subjugates, even oppresses women. Now, there's a certain carelessness in such blanket descriptions. The Islam of the Taliban and that of the Bosniaks are quite different. Still, we can identify a historical mainstream within Islam, and observe that this mainstream upholds patriarchal social ideals.I guess for many of us, traditional Islamic practices concerning women come close to our defining examples of oppression: the condition of slaves, or battered … [Read more...]

Catholic monarchism

This video is getting attention on some secular blogs now. I must say, it's surprising to see that Catholic anti-democracy views still survive, in the US especially. But here it is: a four-minute defense of rule by a Catholic monarch as a political ideal.It has a kind of semi-insane coherence characteristic of some of the worst political ideas. Randroid atheism would perhaps be a nonbelieving analogue.Update: this looks real. Visit realcatholictv.com. … [Read more...]