Monthly Archives: January 2011

The Long Divergence

The Crescent and the company

IN 2002 a group of Arab scholars produced a brave report, under the auspices of the United Nations, on the Arab world’s twin deficits, in freedom and knowledge. A salutary debate ensued. Now Timur Kuran, a Turkish-American economist based at Duke University, has written an equally brave book on “how Islamic law held back the Middle East”. One can only hope that the result will be an equally salutary debate.

Ayn Rand in old age

From Monastic Musings:

I was surprised to read about Ayn Rand’s old age at Gruntled Center. In the face of the cost of treatments for lung cancer, she signed up for Social Security and Medicare using her legal name, Ann O’Connor.

This would not bother me in the least, had she written or said anything to retract her condemnation of those programs. But – in spite of her many tirades against hypocrisy – she quietly accepted government funding while continuing to condemn both the programs and the people who accepted the funding.

US university settles religious discrimination case

At Physics World:

A settlement has been reached in a case brought against the University of Kentucky by astrophysicist Martin Gaskell over his claim that the university illegally denied him a staff position on the basis of his evangelical Christian faith. The settlement now requires the university to pay $125,000 to Gaskell and his lawyers, who claimed that the decision meant Gaskell lost income and caused him “emotional distress”. The university admits no wrongdoing in the case, which was due to go to trial on 8 February. Meanwhile, Gaskell has taken a job at Chile’s University of Valparaiso, which he will start in March.

Following up on the Gaskell affair.