Archives for January, 2011

Signs of hope in Egypt

From the Guardian’s liveblog of Friday’s protests in Egypt. Earlier in the day, police were sent to attack protesters after Friday prayers, but the crowd pushed back, apparently taking control of the streets in Alexandria, Suez, and at least parts of Cairo. In response: Mubarak has sent in the army to restore order in Cairo,…

Minor Coyne snark

John Pieret reads Jerry Coyne so you don’t have to. He notes that Coyne’s experience at a moderate church reading group sounds awfully accommodationist, and it does! Of course, “accommodationist” is a highly mutable term, so I’m sure Jerry will say he isn’t really, and the label doesn’t really matter. The important thing is that…

Harris… treed

Shorter Sam Harris: A Response to Critics: People are saying mean things about my bad book and I don’t know what to say. [6600 words later] If I pretend morality is just like health, then all the objections are wrong.

Egypt

A year ago, I was at a conference in Alexandria, Egypt, and then spent a few days in Cairo. I got to experience the Egyptian culture, to see antiquities, and to meet some amazing people. It was my first trip outside the bubble of Western developed democracies, and was an eye-opening experience. Cab drivers and…

I started writing this post hoping to craft an argument that Ayaan Hirsi Ali – a Somali-born atheist (formerly Muslim), a former member of the Dutch Parliament, a screenwriter threatened with assassination for helpng Theo van Gogh (who was assassinated) criticize Islam’s treatment of women, a feminist critic of Islam who has won acclaim across…

Slightly more on politics

The other day I laid out a bit of my position on the importance of being self-consciously political, and Amanda Marcotte has a great post on a related issue: Nowadays, however, the verb “to politicize” is used, 90% of the time, to suggest that politics and government are silly little trifles that shouldn’t be involved…

North Carolina

I’m off today for North Carolina, where I’ll be doing some library research, some talks at UNC and at the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center, and then a couple of sessions at Science Online. Expect blogging to be spotty, and I hope to see you at #scio11.

Eve Conant and Claire Martin dig into Jared Loughner’s background, trying to explain his mass murder. I think the first half the piece is weak, alas, but the second half is dynamite. The first builds on interviews with his neighbors, who say that the 22 year-old liked to walk the streets in a hoodie with…

Our streets are full of angels, too

Daniel Hernandez, intern, stays by Gabrielle Giffords’ side: Daniel Hernandez had been U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords’ intern for five days when she was shot Saturday outside Tucson. The junior at the University of Arizona was helping check people in at the “Congress on Your Corner” event when he heard gunfire. He was about 30 feet…

In my post yesterday about the shooting of Rep. Gabby Giffords, I tried hard not to say that Loughner’s mass murder was caused by insanity, or by violent political rhetoric. We don’t know anything about that, and we’ll know more once he goes to trial. What we’ll find at trial is surely that his actions…