Weekend update

The good:

At New Humanist, Anthony Grayling skewers Terry Eagleton’s latest lucubrations on evil:

No one not brought up a Catholic or a Calvinist would even remember the concept of Original Sin, let alone bring it into a discussion of evil. But Eagleton does, and at length. For those not subjugated to the outlook only within whose terms can the doctrine appear to make any sense, Original Sin seems a doozy of an idea. Compare: a pharmaceutical company tells us that we are all born with a disease that requires that we buy their product all our lives long, and that if we do it will cure us after death. This reminds me of the joke about Bernie Madoff, that his big mistake was promising returns in this life; he should have taken his cue from the religions.

At Evolution: Education and Outreach, Carl Zimmer discusses the benefits, and problems associated with how the media teaches the public about evolution.  Surprise—he doesn’t lament a dearth of popular-science reporting, and never once does he blame the scientists!  Indeed, Zimmer sees a glut of popular writing about evolution and, when that writing is misleading, as in the case of the primate fossil Darwinius, Zimmer blames a collusion between an uncritical media and scientists who are overeager to sell their work to the public.

At Greta Christina’s Blog, she demolishes the Argument from Fine Tuning.

The bad:

In  Tuesday’s New York Times, Robert Wright, , who previously blamed the murderous rampage of Major Hasan not on Islamic doctrine, but on America’s war on terrorism, manages to reach an identical conclusion when analyzing the recent terrorist episode in Times Square.  It’s social difficulties, mental illness, financial problems, and American depredations in the Middle East—anything but religion.  Wright continues to earn the sobriquet bestowed by Christopher Hitchens, “the leading liberal apologist for the faith-based.”

At The Chronicle of Higher Education, Michael Ruse laments the fact that nobody is buying and reading his newest book, Science and Spirituality.  And he complains about a bad review—on Amazon!

In his syndicated column of last Thursday, the vile and and anti-Semitic Pat Buchanan complains that there are too many Jews on the Supreme Court:

Not since Thurgood Marshall, 43 years ago, has a Democratic president chosen an African-American. The lone sitting black justice is Clarence Thomas, nominated by George H. W. Bush. And Thomas was made to run a gauntlet by Senate liberals.

Indeed, of the last seven justices nominated by Democrats JFK, LBJ, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, one was black, Marshall; one was Puerto Rican, Sonia Sotomayor. The other five were Jews: Arthur Goldberg, Abe Fortas, Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Stephen Breyer and Elena Kagan.

If Kagan is confirmed, Jews, who represent less than 2 percent of the U.S. population, will have 33 percent of the Supreme Court seats.

Is this the Democrats’ idea of diversity?

And the cute:

More interspecific love.  Mother Chihuahua brings up abandoned kitten.


3 Comments

  1. Sili
    Posted May 16, 2010 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

    Just how many Catholics are there in the US? How large a proportion of women?

    • Adam
      Posted May 16, 2010 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

      66.4 million — 22% of the US population. I don’t know how it breaks down along gender lines.

  2. Adam
    Posted May 16, 2010 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

    Of course religion has a lot to do with inspiring radical Muslims to murder, but I don’t think it has much to do with their specific choice of targets.

    There are many non-Muslim countries in the world (countries full of “infidels”), but it certainly doesn’t seem like they’re being targeted equally (or by population, say). If the US is the “Great Satan”, what has it done to earn that title?


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