Saturday 26 September 2009

Burnee links for Saturday

Burnee!A Tale of Two Atheists
An unexpected assessment of a recent (invited) clash of opinion in the Wall Street Journal. Albert Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, clearly realises the difference between someone who uses language to explicate, and someone who uses it to obfuscate.

Lord Falconer suggests Archbishop of Canterbury’s stance on assisted suicide lacks Christian compassion - Telegraph:
"Dr Williams issued a rare joint statement with the Chief Rabbi, Sir Jonathan Sacks, and the Archbishop of Westminster, the Most Rev Vincent Nichols, stating their opposition to any change in the law on assisted suicide before Lord Falconer’s failed amendment. They spoke of their fears that vulnerable people would feel under pressure to end their lives and relieve the burden on family if assisted suicide were decriminalised."
It seems to me that these religious leaders aren't against assisted suicide because of some pious concern about putting the vulnerable elderly under pressure - they're against it because suicide is a "sin".

St Therese of Lisieux: come out, atheists, and fight | Matthew Parris - Times Online
As someone who has a professional interest in these relics, or rather in the reliquary containing them (or rather, in the stand on which the reliquary sits in one particular Roman Catholic Cathedral), I too find the whole charade patently ridiculous. (I've not seen the actual stand itself, and the reported long queues mean I probably never will....)

Ways of Knowing : EvolutionBlog
Are there different kinds of truth? As with a lot of discussion, it helps if the participants are using terms in the same way.

Unscientific America: Mooney & Kirshenbaum reviewed in BMJ
The reaction to M+K's accommodationist tome has been overwhelmingly negative (among those whose opinions I value).

Greta Christina's Blog: How Dare You Atheists Make Your Case! Or, The Fisking of Armstrong, 123
More plain speaking from Greta Christina - which is particularly appropriate given that this is a critique of Karen Armstrong, who's writing appears to be deliberately geared to impede communication rather than facilitate it.

Andrew Sullivan’s mushy theodicy « Why Evolution Is True
Jerry Coyne cuts through the mush. Once more I'm reminded why I'm on the side of Coyne, PZ Myers and Richard Dawkins regarding "accommodationism".
(via Pharyngula)