Friday, July 24, 2009

Fun with the Economist

The Economist has a bunch of cool recent articles, so I thought I'd link to some of them.

Richard Dawkins is not popular in some circles, indeed, he's attracted a whole host of critics or, as he puts it, "fleas". The latest is "The Selfish Genius: How Richard Dawkins Rewrote Darwin’s Legacy" by Fern Elsdon-Baker, a philosopher at Leeds University. The Economist has a good review of the book, which concludes Elsdon-Baker misses her mark. I especially liked the final paragraph:
What is left, once these attacks are dismissed, is a critique of Mr Dawkins’s proselytising atheism. It is true this wins him few converts, when a collaboration with religious moderates against the creationists might bear weightier fruit. But if his intellectual rigour forbids him making common cause with people he thinks are wrong, that perhaps only shows he is indeed the rottweiler of legend.
The Lexington column had a interesting piece about Camp Inquiry, an American summer camp for atheist / freethinking children. (If you listen to Point of Inquiry, you've no doubt heard about it before). I was somewhat surprised (though, I shouldn't have been) that the camp has been strongly condemned by fundamentalists like the nuts over at AiG. I'm always amazed how controversial teaching critical and independent thinking is.

The Economist is renowned for its dry, pithy, final sentences. Indeed, it's joked that the ability to pen such lines is more important for being hired as an Economist journalist than anything else. Anyway, I thought the closing sentence of this article on searching for Dark Matter was wonderfully crafted and apposite.

Oh. And I just can't resist linking to this review of a book on World War II. The sub-heading: "A British historian argues that Hitler lost the war for the same reason that he unleashed it—because he was a Nazi." Glorious.

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