Month: March 2009


They say that everything here in Texas is bigger. One thing that sure is bigger here is right-wing Christian hypocrisy. A rider to a finance bill in the Texas State Senate would outlaw any procedure that would result in the destruction of an embryo, effectively reinstating the Bush ban on stem cell research for Texas YEE-HAW!!

Fake diversity

[ Some notes based on a book I’m reading. I want to see how much any of this makes sense, and writing it out might help. ] In America, belonging to a religion—a community of worship, defined by individual faith commitments—is the only acceptable way to be different. We have, especially in the past, been Fake diversity


Last night I was on a panel discussing religion, as the token skeptic. For me, such events often highlight differences in mentality and temperament, as much as differences in ways of describing the world. There was a Hindu and a Buddhist on the panel, both Westerners following Westernized versions of their traditions. So predictably enough, Panel

Talks at McGill, Montréal, March 30 and 31

This seems to be my month for speaking on science and religion in Islam. Here’s another occasion that is open to the public, the McGill Symposium on Islam and Evolution, where I am one of the panelists. It should be interesting.

Only a theory

Another talk about science and religion in contemporary Islam to an audience with a high percentage of Muslims, another encounter with the “evolution is only a theory” meme. Sigh. This time it was a hijab-wearing Iranian student. She asked what the problem would be if Muslim scientists were to favor alternatives to evolution. After all, Only a theory

Talk at the University of Michigan, March 16

Just in case anyone wants to know: I’ll be giving a lecture on Science and Religion in Islam at the Center for Middle Eastern and North African Studies, University of Michigan, Monday the 16th. The talk will be 3-4 pm, 1636 International Institute/Social Work Building, 1080 S. University.

Divine certainty

Usually I don’t have a huge interest in philosophical wrangling over divine attributes. It’s easy to find all kinds of paradoxes concerning omni-whatsit attributes of God, but then again, I figure a determined philosopher can always fix these by restricting the omni-whatsitness of God in appropriate ways. For example, omniscience is a hard idea to Divine certainty

Greg Paul on Baylor Religion Study

The Council for Secular Humanism has put out a report by Greg Paul, “Is The Baylor Religion Study Reliable?”. It criticizes the recent book published by Baylor, with lead author Rodney Stark, that reported that US religiosity remained stable and that there were no signs of secularization. Paul points out some very serious errors in Greg Paul on Baylor Religion Study