Wednesday 24 March 2010

Burnee links for Wednesday

A nasty attempt to coerce Danish newspapers into apologizing for the cartoons of Mohammed. - By Christopher Hitchens - Slate Magazine
I share the Hitch's incredulity.

On Faith Panelists Blog: Catholics dictating terms - Paula Kirby
Paula states the obvious — which shouldn't be necessary, but it is.

Pop star-turned-physicist Brian Cox talks about his new TV series on the solar system | Interview | From the Observer | The Observer
I've watched the first episode of Brian Cox's Wonders of the Solar System (BBC2, Sundays, 9 pm) — it's excellent. He explains complicated stuff with uncompromising directness.

Chief exorcist says Devil is in Vatican - Telegraph

Claire Rayner on Doing Good Works | HumanistLife
This was a surprise.

Brian Cox on “the greatest age of discovery our civilization has known” | HumanistLife
Carl Sagan would be proud.

Why 'Everything Has a Cause' Is a Terrible Justification for God's Existence | Belief | AlterNet
More good, plain common sense from Greta Christina:
There have been countless times throughout history when we thought that Phenomenon (X) had a supernatural cause. Must have had a supernatural cause. Could not possibly have been caused by anything other than the supernatural. Why the sun rises and sets; why people get sick; what causes the weather and the seasons; why children look like their parents; how the complex variety of life came into being; etc., etc., etc. We didn't have a clue what caused it, or even the shadow of a we assumed it was God. (Or spirits, or demons, or whatever.)
And every single time that we eventually got a conclusive answer to the cause of Phenomenon (X), that answer has been entirely natural.
So why on earth would we assume that any currently unanswered question about physical existence -- even a massive and baffling question like how it all came to exist in the first place -- would eventually turn out to be caused by God? It's never been the right answer before. Not even once. Why would we assume it's the right answer this time?

Easy = True - The Boston Globe
Fascinating — and an advertiser's goldmine. But it would have been nice to have a list of links to all this innovative research, rather than just taking the journo's word for it.

The pope's entire career has the stench of evil about it. - By Christopher Hitchens - Slate Magazine
Any other organisation would be crumbling to dust in the wake of these endless revelations. The fact that the Roman Catholic Church is still standing (though no doubt staggering somewhat) is indicative of its deep entanglement in western culture.

Poetic Atheism | Unreasonable Faith
Why should atheists care about anything? After all, everything's just molecules in motion, isn't it? Jennifer Michael Hecht explains why this isn't any kind of sensible argument.

Science is an Economic Solution (New Scientist) | The Lay Scientist
Professor Brian Cox gave a talk at Westminster Skeptics in the Pub on the subject of science funding. According to The Lay Scientist, the news is not good.

Skepticblog » Faces of Skepticism
Skepticality was the very first sceptical podcast, and when I found it back in early 2005, I also discovered that I was not alone. (And this is a great pic of Swoopy!)

The Atheist Experience: Communication Interference
TracieH attempts to understand what Alister McGrath believes, and why. (Join the club!)

Johann Hari: The Pope, the Prophet, and the religious support for evil - Johann Hari, Commentators - The Independent
No-one is above the law. This affair just goes on and on — it's horrendous. Any other organisation found to have institutionalised child sexual abuse for decades would have been completely disbanded by now.

Tear down the wall of silence in the Roman Catholic Church. - By Christopher Hitchens - Slate Magazine
The Hitch has Pope Ratzinger clamped in his jaws, and he won't let go. (Nor should he.)

On Faith Panelists Blog: Seize the day - Paula Kirby
Paula Kirby highlights the skewed reasoning often employed by theists who profess not to understand why atheists should care about anything at all.

YouTube - Sam Harris: Science can answer moral questions

Sam Harris will have a new book out soon. That'll go in my Amazon pre-order list as soon as it's announced.