Link blog: politics, philosophy, pope, jesus

LibCon – Media » Guess the newspaper editor most annoyed with Libdem surge?

The Heil hates the Lib Dems: Clegg must be doing something right.
(tags: politics uk daily-mail newspaper tabloid liberal-democrats libdems election)

Evangelicals and the death of Antony Flew

"Unfortunately, it’s impossible to think about Flew without thinking about the protracted fiasco of the last decade of his life, when certain Evangelical Christians tried to turn him into a tool of religious propaganda, and his death has brought with it reminders that some haven’t given up."
(tags: antony-flew flew atheism philosophy dementia aging religion evangelicalism roy-varghese deism)

‘tarians

springheel_jack on what's wrong with libertarianism, and what "freedom" entails.
(tags: freedom libertarianism politics philosophy isaiah-berlin)

YouTube – Axis of Awesome – What Would Jesus Do?

A valid theological point.
(tags: funny songs youtube video axis-of-awesome jesus wwjd)

The Foreign Office’s sick attack on the Pope: what did you expect? – Telegraph Blogs

The FO's "brainstorming" session on the ideal Papal visit ("Launch of Benedict condoms") got leaked to the Torygraph. Damain Thompson's always good for a laugh, and he doesn't disappoint here. "the Catholic hierarchy is furious, accusing the FO of “disrespecting” the Pope" The Pope gonna bust a cap in yo' ass, a spokesbishop said today. "NOW do you finally understand what sort of snide, cheap and ignorant prejudice has flourished under this Government and its civil servants – wall-to-wall secularists for whom the Roman Catholic Church is at best an antiquated irrelevance and at worst a sick joke?" I think there's unwarranted assumption here, no?
(tags: catholic catholicism religion pope ratzinger lolxians telegraph damian-thompson)

Link blog: funny, pope, politics, richard-dawkins

‘Richard Dawkins: I will arrest Pope Benedict XVI’ by Marc Horne – TimesOnline – RichardDawkins.net

Dawkins Our Leader: "Needless to say, I did NOT say "I will arrest Pope Benedict XVI" or anything so personally grandiloquent. You have to remember that The Sunday Times is a Murdoch newspaper, and that all newspapers follow the odd custom of entrusting headlines to a sub-editor, not the author of the article itself. What I DID say to Marc Horne when he telephoned me out of the blue, and I repeat it here, is that I am whole-heartedly behind the initiative by Geoffrey Robertson and Mark Stephens to mount a legal challenge to the Pope's proposed visit to Britain."
(tags: richard-dawkins pope catholic abuse children ratzinger law uk politics dawkins)

Christian faith and modern British politics, a layman’s view

Mattghg has a post on the role of faith in politics. He mentions an illiberal attitude taken by Labour (they wanted to reverse an amendment which said that discussion or criticism of sexual conduct or practices or the urging of persons to refrain from or modify such conduct or practices shall not be taken of itself to be threatening or intended to stir up hatred). Robhu and I are having an interesting chat in the comments, concerning whether Britain is a Christian country, among other things.
(tags: robhu religion discrimination homosexuality politics christianity uk britain)

Arresting comedy « Open Parachute

Graham Lineham (Father Ted, Black Books) on what would happen if Dawkins and Hitchens actually arrested the Pope.
(tags: pope dawkins hitchens funny arrest graham-lineham richard-dawkins christopher-hitchens)

Evangelical scholar forced out after endorsing evolution – USATODAY.com

"Forced out"? Don't you mean "expelled"?
(tags: evolution theology bible expelled bruce-waltke lolxians seminary biologos)

Special Investigation – Atheist Alert

The horrifying truth about atheists.
(tags: funny video parody religion atheism youtube nonstampcollector darwin stalin)

Hyperbole and a Half: The Alot is Better Than You at Everything

The Alot is a mythical beast. Lots of people on the web write about them.
(tags: funny grammar spelling english language internet)

Link blog: pope, jesus, rowan-williams, books

The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ by Philip Pullman | Books | The Guardian

Rowan Williams review Philip Pullman's latest. Via andrewducker.
(tags: christ jesus books christianity guardian literature religion review theology rowan-williams pullman philip-pullman)

They Work For The BPI

Who voted for the Digital Economy Bill, coloured by party affiliation. A sea of red. Oh well, they'll be gone soon, with any luck (though of course, most of the Tories didn't even turn up).
(tags: politics bpi debill digitalbritain election)

The Third Strike by Andrew Sullivan

"The AP's story on Joseph Ratzinger's direct involvement in delaying for six years the defrocking of a priest who had confessed to tying up and raping minors ends any doubt that the future Pope is as implicated in the sex abuse crisis as much as any other official in the church."
(tags: catholic pope abuse church corruption rape ratzinger religion paedophilia)

Link blog: culture, islam, rationality, development

Aretae: Cognitive Antivirus

"Suppose that you are a bear of very little brain, or perhaps an average human on the street, of nearly average proportions, intellect, and character. What is the best thing you can do, belief-wise, in order to make your life better. I am beginning to believe that you should believe in your parents' God, and go to church on Sundays. God and tradition are perhaps the best and strongest way to avoid believing really stupid stuff that could actually mess up your life, or others' lives." Via the Less Wrong threads on undiscriminating scepticism.
(tags: religion epistemology rationality cognitive-bias)

FT.com / Reportage – Immigrant Muslims in Belleville

"Yet there are two main reasons the Belle­ville scenario looks more likely than the Eurabia one. The first is demographic: no serious demographer expects Muslims to become a majority in any western European country. The second is attitudes: only a tiny minority of French Muslims appears to want to establish a medieval caliphate in Europe. In surveys, most French Muslims say that they feel French… Many of them no longer observe Islam. And although here and there Muslims have made France a little more north African or Islamic, the influence seems to be more the other way: Muslim immigrants are being infected by Frenchness."
(tags: islam europe religion anthropology culture immigration demographics eurabia)

Johann Hari: The Pope, the Prophet, and the religious support for evil – Johann Hari, Commentators – The Independent

"What can make tens of millions of people – who are in their daily lives peaceful and compassionate and caring – suddenly want to physically dismember a man for drawing a cartoon, or make excuses for an international criminal conspiracy to protect child-rapists?" Anyone, Bueller, anyone?
(tags: atheism catholic christianity culture evil fundamentalism islam johann-hari pope religion mohammed cartoons)

Less Wrong: Undiscriminating Skepticism

"Since it can be cheap and easy to attack everything your tribe doesn't believe, you shouldn't trust the rationality of just anyone who slams astrology and creationism; these beliefs aren't just false, they're also non-tribal among educated audiences. Test what happens when a "skeptic" argues for a non-tribal belief, or argues against a tribal belief, before you decide they're good general rationalists."
(tags: culture rationality scepticism eliezer-yudkowsky)

WebSequenceDiagrams.com – Make Sequence Diagrams with one click

Nice tool for drawing message sequence charts: sort of the MSC equivalent of GraphViz.
(tags: design development programming software tools msc message sequence diagram)

Link blog: religion, lolxians, homosexuality, funny

YouTube – Charlie Brooker – How To Report The News

Every news report you've ever seen.
(tags: news video funny journalism parody bbc media charlie-brooker)

The Devil Rides Out | Features | Fortean Times

Dennis Wheatley: "virtually invented the popular image of Satanism in 20th-century Britain, and he made it seem strangely seductive. If the appeal of Black Magic in popular culture was ultimately erotic, then this was largely due to Wheatley’s writing, with its reliable prospect of virg­ins being ritually ravished on altar tops." Via Metafilter
(tags: satan satanism occult magic dennis-wheatley devil fortean-times)

Tales of a Wayward Classicist: Latin Tattoos

Latin tattoos gone wrong. Probably SFW, shows a lot of skin (obviously) but no rude bits. Via Stoat.
(tags: tattoo funny latin language)

Luke on reformed epistemology and moral realism : The Uncredible Hallq

Nice: "A better response to Plantinga is just to point out that belief in the Christian God isn’t very much at all like most of the common-sense beliefs commonly cited as threatened by Descartes & Hume-style skepticism (like belief in the reliability of our senses), but is an awful lot like beliefs most Christians wouldn’t accept without evidence–namely, the beliefs of other religions."
(tags: philosophy plantinga hume descartes alvin-plantinga epistemology religion reformed)

Signature in the Cell | The BioLogos Foundation

Darrel Falk, a Christian and a professor of biology, finds problems with the science in Stephen Mayer's "The Signature in the Cell". Via Jerry Coyne.
(tags: evolution intelligent-design science religion creationism dna rna stephen-meyer darrel-falk biology discovery-institute)

The ex-gay files: The bizarre world of gay-to-straight conversion – This Britain, UK – The Independent

Indy journalist goes undercover to Christian counsellors who try to cure him of Teh Gay. Apparently, gayness can be caused by Freemasonry: who knew?
(tags: psychology uk homosexuality quacks lolxians religion)

Harriet Harman defends equality legislation following Pope’s criticism – Home News, UK – The Independent

No pot pourri, as Ian Paisley would say.
(tags: pope catholicism catholic bigot homosexuality religion lolxians)

Link blog: richard-dawkins, science, funny, psychology

Give us your misogynists and bigots

Dawkins on the Poaching Pope. "Whether one agrees with him or not, there is a saintly quality in the Archbishop of Canterbury, a benignity of countenance, a well-meaning sincerity." How strident!
(tags: richard-dawkins catholicism religion christianity anglicanism pope)

Triple negatives and Conservapedia’s support for Hitler « Gowers’s Weblog

Gowers shows that Conservapedia's article on Richard Dawkins proves that Conservapedia is evil, using MATHS.
(tags: funny mathematics maths conservapedia richard-dawkins morality)

Out of LSD? Just 15 Minutes of Sensory Deprivation Triggers Hallucinations

Interesting stuff. Reminded me of Carl Sagan's "The Demon Haunted World", where he talks about how common hallucinations are.
(tags: psychology science hallucinations wired brain neuroscience)

Pope still Catholic

Jessel, the Tri-felge Putenard, is the subject of part IV of my Bishops Gone Wild series. This means the bishops of the Catholic Church and the Church of England are now neck and neck after a promising start by the C of E: come on Anglicans, put your backs into it!

Jessel was reported as saying that saving humanity from gayness was as important as saving the rain forests. There’s no official English translation of his remarks, but a comment on Ruth Gledhill’s blog provides a translation from a papal fan-site (yes, really), and the BBC has translated some extracts.

Various postings here on LJ have been saying the media have got the wrong end of the stick, and that the speech didn’t mention gays at all. However, Reuters reports that the term “gender” in Italian is “a broad term that includes anyone who doesn’t identify entirely with their assigned sex and can include homosexuals, bisexuals, pansexuals and others.” Anyone out there know some Italian?

The rest of the talk about sex in the speech sounds like the usual natural law stuff. Humanae Vitae gets a mention, so you can read that if you want to see an example of the reasoning here, such as it is.

What with this stuff and all that substance/accidents transubstantiation stuff, the church does seem rather wedded to Aquinas and his scholastic friends (although transubstantiation is also What the Bible Says). I hope for some sort of slow reform, whereby they’d gradually change to using more modern incorrect physics: perhaps there’s mileage in the idea that prayers are transmitted via the luminiferous aether because God is the Absolute. Or something. I’m hoping to work phlogiston in there too.

andrewducker says that we shouldn’t be surprised when theists say the funniest things. Perhaps not, but inasmuch as the Pope has some influence on people’s lives, he deserves the storm he’s called up.