I was talking to a couple of friends of mine about politics the other day. The conversation ended in a disagreement about whether or not one ought to adhere to principles of cultural relativism. That is, whether it is fair or legitimate to criticise the practices of members of another culture from the inescapable perspectives of ones own. I was arguing against cultural relativism but in the course of the discussion some arguments were raised which I hadn't considered before and which made me stop and reconsider my position.
My purpose in writing this is partially in order to get my thoughts in order and partly in the hope that the discussion can continue, 'cause it's one that interests me. I wish to wear my ignorance of many relevant topics on my sleeve and, as always, I'm completely open to the prospect of changing my mind.
My feelings were that open criticism of other cultures should be permissible. I felt that if we had carefully examined our own reasoning and motives, we ought to be allowed to criticise the practices of others, even if we understood that those practices may be the product of another culture and its historical context.
Ahern defends new blasphemy law
Mr Ahern yesterday defended a fine of up to €100,000 that will be imposed on blasphemers. ... Gardai will now have the power to seize blasphemous material from the home or any other premises used by a person convicted of blasphemy.
Okay, seriously now guys, stop it.
This kind of thing used to be funny. We'd be all "heh, glad I don't live in Saudi Arabia" or "oh, that crazy pope, what'll he get up to next?". But the joke's run its course and it's time to give it up and move along, ok?
Remember, we're trying to build a better world here, and hilarious though pranks like this are, they're getting a little tiresome.
Israeli official: Swine flu name offensive to Judaism and Islam
Oh no. You're not serious...
Reason Weekly writes:
The outbreak of swine flu should be renamed “Mexican” influenza in deference to Muslim and Jewish sensitivities over pork, said an Israeli health official Monday.
Deputy Health Minister Yakov Litzman said the reference to pigs is offensive to both religions and “we should call this Mexican flu and not swine flu,” he told a news conference at a hospital in central Israel.
Nice to see the men of god have their priorities right.
It is clear from all independent observers that the UK government don't really understand the technological developments of the last 6 or 7 years.
Those who don't want to be tracked in their communications can EASILY avoid it. This maximises false-positives on human and automated telecommunication surveillance. Ever heard of RSA? It really is a truly marvellous piece of mathematics, you might want to check out sometime. Wikipedia (heard of that?) has a good introduction here. Look at this one too. This, too. Isn't technology fascinating?
I hear many modern universities teach courses in computers and technology, so there's probably a lot of fairly knowledgeable people around for you to talk to, if you felt so inclined. Oh, the stories they could tell you!
As a non-terrorist, I'm afraid you have no right to know who I associate with.
Just read this article. Here are two choice quotes:
Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende said at the time that the film wrongly equated Islam with violence and served "no purpose other than to offend".
Mr Wilders has had police protection since Dutch director Theo Van Gogh was killed by a radical Islamist in 2004.