Entries from September 2008 ↓

Irrational Atheists?

Mollie Hemingway, writing in the Wall Street Journal:

The reality is that the New Atheist campaign, by discouraging religion, won’t create a new group of intelligent, skeptical, enlightened beings. Far from it: It might actually encourage new levels of mass superstition. And that’s not a conclusion to take on faith — it’s what the empirical data tell us.

The reason, as David Friedman suggests, may be that although science has shed light on our physical world, it has not allowed humans to make sense of their lives or understand what the ‘purpose’ of life really is.  For this, some people have continued to turn to religion; whereas others have rejected religion but have embraced substitutes such as, “Environmentalism, Liberal politics, Marxism (as in “liberation theology”), Objectivism, New Age superstitions”.

Shariah Courts in the UK

The Telegraph reports:

Five sharia courts have been set up in London, Birmingham, Bradford and Manchester and Nuneaton, Warwickshire. The government has quietly sanctioned that their rulings are enforceable with the full power of the judicial system, through the county courts or High Court. Previously, the rulings were not binding and depended on voluntary compliance among Muslims.

Unlike the UK’s civil court system, the so-called shariah courts derive their power from the consent of those who voluntarily seek their judgement or arbitration.

The rulings of arbitration tribunals are binding in law, provided that both parties in the dispute agree to give it the power to rule on their case.

Shariah courts and shariah law would thus become one of several competing private systems of dispute resolution; systems into which people or organisations might choose to ‘opt in’ when forming contracts with one another or in the event of a dispute.  A couple might decide, for example, when formulating their marriage contract, to have any disputes judged according to Islamic law or two people forming a business contract might decide that they wish for any disputes to be judged in strict accordance to the Law of Star Trek.  The basis upon which disputes are resolved is irrelevant.

As Bryan Caplan explains in his excellent thesis on the subject of private law:

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Observing Ramadan

The Boston Globe has published a nice series of Ramadan photos in their Big Picture section.

NSW Local Election Results

@ndy assesses the NSW Local Council election results:

First, the far right (Australia First and Australian Protectionist Party).

In the shire of Sutherland, former admirer of Hitler and member of the Stormfront forum Darrin Hodges — the Nationalist Anarchist Protectionist — wanted a seat in Council Ward D. Unfortunately for Darrin, despite considerable media exposure — and a very handsome face — he came last, garnering just 333 votes or 2% of the total. In Council Ward A, the dynamic team of racists belonging to Australia First (AF) fared a little better; John, Karl and Marleen gaining 867 votes, or 4% of the total. They too, however, came last.

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Ramadan in China

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Firefox Plugin: 3arabi

For users of Firefox, this looks like a nifty plugin.  It allows you to write Arabic words using English transliteration.  See here for a video example.

Darrin Hodges seeks election

Darrin Hodges will be no stranger to regular readers of this site.  His performance on the ABC’s Q&A should be required viewing for anyone interested in perfecting the art of making ridiculous comments on television.  Sadly, however, it’s been a while since we’ve seen or heard anything from him.

Hopefully, that is set to change with the announcement that Darrin is throwing his hat in the ring for a seat on the illustrious Sutherland Shire Council.   Hodges is campaigning on a platform of saying no to sex shops, mosques and, of course, that other great threat to our social fabric and way of life: the building of units.

Independent candidate Darrin Hodges has been a Sutherland Shire resident all his life.

He said he had a passion for the traditions of the area.

“My primary concern is for retaining the amenity, traditions and lifestyle that I grew up with and that Sutherland Shire has become famous for,” he said.

“To ensure that the shire remains a safe, peaceful and harmonious family orientated community of Australian heritage, it is important to prevent over-development.

“Of particular concern are the large number of unit blocks being built in the Shire.

“We do not want the shire to become like Hurstville.

“I would also be opposed to the development of sex-shops and Mosques as the former undermines family values and the latter causes community tension.”

Catallaxy Files has more.