Tuesday, September 11, 2012
Tuesday, February 7, 2012
It seems to me that many nonbelievers have forgotten—or never knew—what it is like to suffer an unhappy collision with scientific rationality. We are open to good evidence and sound argument as a matter of principle, and are generally willing to follow wherever they may lead. Certain of us have made careers out of bemoaning the failure of religious people to adopt this same attitude.
However, I recently stumbled upon an example of secular intransigence that may give readers a sense of how religious people feel when their beliefs are criticized. It’s not a perfect analogy, as you will see, but the rigorous research I’ve conducted at dinner parties suggests that it is worth thinking about. We can call the phenomenon “the fireplace delusion.”
Monday, January 16, 2012
Friday, January 13, 2012
A few facts. There are 171 men still held at Gitmo; exactly one faces actual charges. 36 more are expected to face charges, but they will do so under a system of military tribunals that is so unjust that no fewer than five JAG prosecutors, all of them decorated military officers, have resigned in protest rather than take part in them. 46 of them will likely never face a trial of any kind because the government says they are too dangerous to be released but impossible to prosecute because much of the evidence against them was obtained through torture.
And 57 of them — one third — have already been deemed to be innocent by the government but continue to be held in prison. 537 prisoners were released by the Bush administration, but as soon as Obama took office Congress decided that releasing detainees should be far more difficult, no matter how innocent they may be.