Category: Books

Christopher Hitchens slates Palin’s appalling contempt for science and learning

HitchensIn Slate Magazine, Christopher Hitchens (author of ‘God is Not Great’) attacks the Vice-Presidential candidate, Sarah Palin, for her ignorance, which she regards as a virtue, and her religious fanaticism.

Note: GOP means ‘Grand Old Party’, or the Republican Party.

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Salman Rushdie taught liberals to hate Islam :: Christopher Howse

Reading the comments after this Telegraph blog post was heartening. I’m glad to learn that Telegraph readers don’t subscribe to such nonsense.

The turning point in Britain’s relations with its Muslim population came on January 14, 1989, when Salman Rushdie’s novel The Satanic Verses was burnt in public in Bradford. Now, Salman Rushdie has declared that he has nothing against true believers until their faith spills over into the public sphere and becomes “my business”. That, he must know is a fallacious distinction. It is like saying that one has nothing against a novelist as long as he does not publish his novels.

Fashionable Dictionary

This is just from the ‘A’ section – go to the Butterflies and Wheels website for more.

Acceptance
Nice, warm, cooperative way of evaluating ideas, much better than argument.

Accuracy
Exploded concept. Foolish, Platonic notion that we can get our facts straight.

Alphabet
The opposite of the Goddess. “But one pernicious effect of literacy has gone largely unnoticed: writing subliminally fosters a patriarchal outlook. Writing of any kind, but especially its alphabetic form, diminishes feminine values and with them, women’s power in the culture.” [Leonard Shlain, The Goddess and the Alphabet]

Alternative
A wonderful thing. Because it’s the opposite of everything. You have the regular, normal, boring thing, like medicine, or scholarship, or education, and then you have the alternative kind, which does whatever the opposite is. Normal medicine relies on testing, so dear alternative medicine relies on guesswork and hunches and an inner voice. So much more spiritual.

Remembering Douglas Adams

Douglas AdamsIt’s a little over seven years since the death of Douglas Adams, atheist author of “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”. In his “Lament for Douglas Adams”, written on hearing of Adams’ death, Richard Dawkins wrote,

To illustrate the vain conceit that the universe must be somehow preordained for us, because we are so well suited to live in it, he mimed a wonderfully funny imitation of a puddle of water, fitting itself snugly into a depression in the ground, the depression uncannily being exactly the same shape as the puddle.

Julian Baggini: The gripes of wrath

“There’s a vaguely new-age feeling going around that any form of inner agitation is bad and that we should all be heading for inner peace. I think that’s morally outrageous. There’s something deeply self-centred about aspiring to be the kind of person who’s not perturbed by anything.”

Times Online – Golden Compass Rumpus

Philip PullmanLibby Purves writes:

Of all the sure ways to promote a film, one of the surest is to get it criticised by the religious right. On that basis Philip Pullman’s The Golden Compass, out in the US (in time for er, um, Christmas), is on a winner.

Religion row hits Pullman epic

One of the key religious themes of Philip Pullman’s award-winning series of children’s novels, His Dark Materials, has been watered down to appeal to a wider audience in the new Hollywood film version of the first book. The original story’s rejection of organised religion, and in particular of the historic abuse of power in the Catholic Church, has been altered to avoid offending followers of the faith in the UK and in America.

Sunday school lesson – figure 7

Sunday-schoolThis is from a book called “Primary teaching in Sunday schools (School of service series)” by Jean Heppell James, published by the Scripture Union & C.S.S.M in 1962.

Click on the image to see a larger version.

I imagine that quite a few Humanists were subjected to this sort of nonsense in their youth. 

The sceptics beat God in bestseller battle

Struggling authors should keep the faith – literally. Sales of books that explore religion or spirituality have grown by more than 50 per cent in the past three years, according to online retailer Amazon.

The boom surpasses the rise in sales of books in categories such as history, which have grown by 38 per cent, and politics, up by 30 per cent, confirming that religion has become a pivotal topic in the early 21st century.

But the statistics may not make uplifting reading for believers.