October 29 - November 4, 2006

This column will provide links to, plus quotes and summaries of, on-line articles that might be of interest to the Infidel community. Because theinfidels.org is concerned with educational issues, the articles selected will help to inform and enlighten readers as well as entertain them. In order to conform to "fair use practices," only small segments of the articles will be quoted. One caveat: to read the entire linked article, readers may have to subscribe to on-line versions of newspapers or magazines.


It's been roller coaster week for Infidel news, in books, sciences, and the arts. Here are some prime examples:

A review of Sam Harris's latest book "Letter to a Christian Nation" that includes an interview with Harris, from The Washington Post:

Maybe moderates are a bulwark against fanatics. If this is really a war of ideas, it is probably not a war between no religion (which is what Harris would like) and extremism. It's a war between moderation and extremism, which is a war one needs moderates to fight.

"You're not going to convert everyone to atheism," says Harvey, the retired Stanford professor. "Secular humanists like Harris ought to be concerned with allies, to win fights on questions like the separation of church and state. But Harris isn't concerned about the political implications of his arguments, because he thinks that anything supernatural is evil."

Harris isn't against all religion. He endorses Jainism, a religion-philosophy from India that finds God in the unchanging traits of the human soul. But everyone who organizes his or her life around an ancient text that purports to convey the words and sentiments of God -- Harris would like you to surrender your prayers, history and traditions. You are welcome to check out Jainism, but Harris recommends that you accept his conclusion, which is that we live in a universe without God. Deal with it.

Read the complete article here.


From the San Francisco Chronicle. The former priest Oliver O'Grady, now living in Ireland molested kids in California. He now talks about his abuse in the documentary, "Deliver Us From Evil.''

[Director] Berg spent eight days interviewing [former priest] O'Grady in Dublin, where he moved freely about the city, walking through parks where children played, pondering his obsession as he sits in an empty church.

"Basically what I want to say is, it should not have happened,'' says the fallen priest in the film. He told Mahony of his "situation,'' he says, and 'I should've been removed and attended to. And he should have then attended to the people I'd harmed. I wish he'd done that.''

Follow this link to read the article


From the Los Angeles Times: A Hollywood Extravaganza will celebrate belief in the Bible:

[Denzel] Washington was the first A-list star of more than 200 celebrities—including Samuel L. Jackson as God, Angela Bassett as Esther, Blair Underwood as Jesus and Cuba Gooding Jr. as Judas—who have lent their voices and acting talents to "Inspired By . . . The Bible Experience," a fully dramatized and scored, 70-hour, audio recording of the Holy Scriptures. The New Testament edition hit stores earlier this month. Washington reads the Songs of Solomon with his wife, Pauletta, for the Old Testament edition, which will be available digitally as early as next year. Why would megastars publicly associate themselves with religion, I wondered? What could they get out of it? The answers revealed something surprising and refreshing about that godless den of iniquity known as Hollywood.

Click here for complete article


From The Christian Science Monitor, on why extremist Islam is not taking hold in the U.S. as it is in Europe:

"What we have here among Muslim-Americans is a very conservative success ethic," says John Zogby, president of Zogby International in Utica, N.Y., whose polling firm has surveyed the Muslim-American community. "People come to this country and they like it. They don't view it as the belly of the beast. With very few exceptions, you don't see the bitter enclaves that you have in Europe."

Click here to read the article


From The Seattle Times, via Bryn Nelson from Newsday, a report on the genetics of honeybees.

Researchers have pieced together the genetic blueprint for the honeybee, uncovering clues that point to an African origin and to a remarkable evolutionary transformation in an insect known for its memory, symbolic language and hierarchical caste system.

Read complete article here


From the MSNBC web site, celebrating the Spirit Rover's 1000 days on Mars.

NASA has released a 360-degree view of the Spirit rover's surroundings at Winter Haven, known as the "McMurdo Panorama," to mark the robot's 1,000th Martian day on the Red Planet. Not a bad milestone for a machine that was designed with a manufacturer's warranty of merely 90 days.

Click here for article


And satire about the Rover, from the Onion:

...Spirit was operating normally until the onset of the Martian winter, whose shorter days and frigid temperatures typically mean a slower pace for exploratory rovers. "We began getting the occasional transmission along the lines of 'ANOTHER SOIL SAMPLE OF THE EXACT SAME COMPOSITION AS THE LAST ONE,'" Callas said. "Most of the time, she'd power down and not transmit much of anything, which, at the time, didn't particularly concern us."

But as the winter lingered, Spirit began producing thousands of pages of sometimes rambling and dubious data, ranging from complaints that the Martian surface was made up almost entirely of the same basalt, to long-winded rants questioning the exorbitant cost and scientific relevance of the mission.

"Granted, Spirit has been extraordinarily useful to our work," Callas said. "Last week, however, we received three straight days of images of the same rock with the message 'HAPPY NOW?'"

Click here to read the Onion article

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