Sunday 20 February 2011

Burnee links for Sunday

Religion: Faith in science : Nature News
I share Jerry Coyne's unease at Templeton's research-skewing programme of grants and prizes. Research into "spirituality" isn't likely to go anywhere until someone can actually define it. It's all woolly-minded obfuscation designed to give religion some kind of scientific validity. It won't work.

Science, Reason and Critical Thinking: Rupert and the God Delusion
The indefatigable (and fearless...) Crispian Jago does it again.

Johann Hari: Get bishops out of our law-making - Johann Hari, Commentators - The Independent
Bishops, Out! Last year I attended a discussion/debate organised by the Labour Humanists at the Houses of Parliament, on precisely this issue. It was clear then, as it is now, that the position of the so-called Lords Spiritual is completely untenable. They have as much right to be there as a group of unelected dentists.

Gays will be faking it if they marry in church – Telegraph Blogs
This is a really strange piece by Cristina Odone. Is she confused about what marriage is? Marriage has a legal definition in English Law (setting aside for the moment its equivalence or non-equivalence to civil partnership), but how it's defined religiously depends surely on the religion in question. Getting married in a church counts as a legal marriage in Britain, but that's a concession. Whatever additional significance is conferred by a religious ritual is entirely dependent on who's officiating and who's participating. (Or to put it another way, it's all made up — so you can ascribe whatever meaning you like to it.) Cristina Odone is getting all exercised by something that has no real significance in law. But that's what religionists do, isn't it?
(Via Humanist Life.)

The Alister McGrath sneaky side-step shuffle : Pharyngula
PZ Myers exposes vacuous theology. Maybe he should pick a more robust target, as McGrath's circumlocutory effusion is well known for its absence of content.

Why are you an atheist? : Pharyngula
Here's a post from PZ Myers that I missed at the beginning of the month. Worth going back for though.