On the Areopagitica: Why Milton’s Defence of Free Speech Remains Almost Unsurpassed but Not Secular

by Tauriq Moosa As per various stories emerging concerning censorship, I thought it a good time to consider one of the greatest documents defending free speech. In 1643, the English Parliament instituted the Licensing Order. This meant pre-publication censorship on all printed writings, including and aiming mostly at newspapers. This followed the abolishing, two years…

How Not To Write: Maniza Naqvi’s Piece on Hitchens

by Tauriq Moosa I had chosen not to write extensively about the late Christopher Hitchens, since his contributions to my life’s betterment is of no real interest to anyone save my future biographers. And in looking at Maniza Naqvi’s piece on Hitchens I am, in fact, still not focused on Hitchens but on a point…

Comics Creator Column #02: Joey Esposito and “Footprints”

by Tauriq Moosa This week in my Comic Creator Column, I’ll be interviewing and discussing funny book issues with JOEY ESPOSITO. Last week I held a brilliant interview (not because of me but because of her) with the amazing Alex de Campi. You can read that Comics Creator Column #01 here. If you have the…

Comics Creator Column #01: Alex de Campi and “Ashes”

by Tauriq Moosa This will be the first in, so far, a four-part series where I will be (reviewing the work of and) talking to comics creators. My aim is to provide an insight into the medium and the creative process, as well as exclusive interviews with some of the most talented people in the…

The (De)Merits of Pop Culture Conferences: Coyne and Tanner on the ‘Jersey Shore’ Academic Conference

by Tauriq Moosa The gods of irony are smiling. I recently attributed the existence of the TV-show Jersey Shore as the closest thing to an insult I could fathom for myself, when comparing myself to Christians who regularly want things banned. Then, thanks to Jerry Coyne, I discovered my old friend – my seriously old…

Tripping Over the Bulges: What Really Matters Morally

by Tauriq Moosa How should we tackle things we believe are wrong and should be illegal, when it seems their very status of being ‘illegal’ gives rise to the problems we oppose. It’s not drugs per se that bothers us, but the violence and destruction that can arise. It’s not sex itself that’s a problem,…

On FAMiLY Leader, Homosexuality, and Crippling the Institution of Marriage

by Tauriq Moosa I imagine that most of us are relieved to hear that Republican Michele Bachmann is going to become the first presidential candidate “to sign a pledge created by THE FAMiLY [sic] LEADER, an influential social-conservative group in Iowa.” Ms Bachmann, by signing the pledge, “vows” to “uphold the institution of marriage as…

Sympathy for Monsters: Reflecting on the Film ‘Let Me In’

by Tauriq Moosa In his treatise, On the Sublime and Beautiful, Edmund Burke wrote: “No passion so effectually robs the mind of all its powers of acting and reasoning as fear.” The extent to which this is true is beyond our concern, but there is little doubt fear often puts rationality in a cage, chains…

Removing the Blades from Hume’s Guillotine

by Tauriq Moosa Hume’s Guillotine: “One cannot derive an “ought” from an “is”. This thesis, which comes from a famous passage in Hume's Treatise [says]: there is a class of statements of fact which is logically distinct from a class of statements of value. No set of statements of fact by themselves entails any statement…

Of Quislings and Science: Reflecting on Mark Vernon, The Templeton Prize and Richard Dawkins

by Tauriq Moosa Recently, Sir Martin Rees was awarded the most lucrative science-prize in the world, The Templeton Prize. Notice I said ‘lucrative’; not most respected or prestigious, though some indeed do think it is. This prize is awarded because it, according to its official website, “honors a living person who has made an exceptional…

Mob Morality: The Dangers of Repugnance as Moral Authority

by Tauriq Moosa What is it about topics like incest, bestiality, necrophilia and cannibalism that urges us to pick up pitchforks and torches? A more important question, however, is whether these topics automatically or necessarily should elicit outrage enough for us to target those who perform these acts. I think not. Considering the purely descriptive…

Re-Thinking the Ethics of Stem Cell Research

by Tauriq Moosa There is always the danger of dogmatism lurking within any collection of ideas. A collection of ideas tied together by a singular focus tends to be called an argument. However, it is often refreshing to have such bundles of ideas untethered and scattered after being cut by a sharper focus. It is,…

Murders, Monsters and Mirrors: The Ethics of Killing and Cannibalism

‘Murder’ differs from ‘killing’ – and must differ for the words to have their moral impact – because killing is a neutral term. Surprising as it may seem, it is most helpful for discussions on killing if we recognise that the word itself is mostly and simply ‘the taking of organic life’. It is another…