When I wrote my last blog, I didn’t anticipate that my next one would be devoted to defending it from a charge of ‘religious hatred’ by an angry Wiccan. I’ll call my critic by his Twitter name of ‘Rushyo’, though he does use his real name on some of his comments under my last blog. To introduce him, here’s a clip from his own blog:

As readers of this blog will be aware, I’m currently attempting to put a journal to study witchcraft. In the interests of good research, I openly disclose the fact that I am a) part of the skeptical community and b) part of the Wiccan community. A skeptical Witch.

Rushyo basically has two issues with what I wrote: one is that the blog contained a “horrendously poor skeptical analysis”. The other is that, in my response to his first comment beneath the blog, I’m guilty of religious hatred/intolerance. I’ll try to address both of these.

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I almost found myself in the unprecedented position of defending alternative therapies recently. Well, not the therapies themselves but those who believe in them. Given that I devote much of this blog to attacking these very same people as deluded morons, this admission will come as a surprise to regular readers. But after reading the story of the child who died of diabetic ketoacidosis because her parents — Dale and Leilani Neumann — failed to get medical help and relied on the power of prayer instead, I was feeling almost charitable about the father of Gloria Thomas, who’d relied on homeopathy to save his desperately ill child’s life. At least homeopathic ‘remedies’ — as they are laughingly called — are tangible and some people swear that they work as they’re supposed to and not just as a placebo. Obviously, these people are wrong but at least I can see where they’re coming from (a place of  astonishing ignorance).

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I see the utterly tedious topic of the religious Thought for the Day slot on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme has been back in the headlines lately after Radio 4 Controller, Mark Damazer, said the BBC Trust is considering complaints made by hundreds of disgruntled atheists. It’s very nice, I’m sure, of the BBC to finally consider the complaints when everyone I know who has ever complained received a standard rejection letter from Damazer taking the same daft ‘secularists get a big enough slice of the pie already’ line as many religionists do.

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Compassion and self-sacrifice are completely futile on atheism because unless there is a moral payback, unless there is a return, a dividend, it makes no sense to risk your own life for another.

So said Muslim missionary, Adam Deen, in a recent “debate” with Andrew Copson of the British Humanist Association, at Birkbeck University in London.

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I find few things more boring than hearing atheists endlessly whingeing about religion but one of them is journalists whingeing about atheists. Madeleine Bunting in today’s Guardian is a case in point. And Bunting doesn’t just whinge, she has constructed from her fevered imagination a whole scenario in which the “country’s finest minds” are trying hard to have interesting and meaningful discussions about religions but are being “drowned out” by the “foghorn volume” of the so-called New Atheists.

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Do you consider yourself a good person? Have you ever told a lie? Have you ever stolen anything? Have you ever used God's name in vain? Have you ever coveted anything? You need to answer ‘yes' to all of the above to hear 13-year-old Deborah Drapper say, in all seriousness,"So you're a lying, thieving, blasphemous, coveting person. Do you still think you're a good person?"
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The No Sharia: One Law for All campaign was launched at the House of Lords on International Human Rights Day (10 December 2008). I attended the launch and, yesterday, I marked International Women’s Day by joining several hundred protesters at the anti-Sharia demo in Trafalgar Square for a march to Red Lion Square.

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