Science & God: Will Biology, Astronomy, Physics Rule Out Existence Of Deity?

Science & God: Will Biology, Astronomy, Physics Rule Out Existence Of Deity?
Although cosmic mysteries remain, Sean Carroll, a theoretical cosmologist at the California Institute of Technology, says there's good reason to think science will ultimately arrive at a complete understanding of the universe that leaves no grounds for God whatsoever.
Carroll argues that God's sphere of influence has shrunk drastically in modern times, as physics and cosmology have expanded in their ability to explain the origin and evolution of the universe. "As we learn more about the universe, there's less and less need to look outside it for help,"..
As he explained in a recent article in the "Blackwell Companion to Science and Christianity" (Wiley-Blackwell, 2012), a foremost goal of modern physics is to formulate a working theory that describes the entire universe, from subatomic to astronomical scales, within a single framework. Such a theory, called "quantum gravity," will necessarily account for what happened at the moment of the Big Bang. Some versions of quantum gravity theory that have been proposed by cosmologists predict that the Big Bang, rather than being the starting point of time, was just "a transitional stage in an eternal universe," in Carroll's words. For example, one model holds that the universe acts like a balloon that inflates and deflates over and over under its own steam. If, in fact, time had no beginning, this shuts the book on Genesis. [Big Bang Was Actually a Phase Change, New Theory Says]
Other versions of quantum gravity theory currently being explored by cosmologists predict that time did start at the Big Bang. But these versions of events don't cast a role for God either. Not only do they describe the evolution of the universe since the Big Bang, but they also account for how time was able to get underway in the first place. As such, these quantum gravity theories still constitute complete, self-contained descriptions of the history of the universe. "Nothing in the fact that there is a first moment of time, in other words, necessitates that an external something is required to bring the universe about at that moment," Carroll wrote.
Another way to put it is that contemporary physics theories, though still under development and awaiting future experimental testing, are turning out to be capable of explaining why Big Bangs occur, without the need for a supernatural jumpstart. As Alex Filippenko, an astrophysicist at the University of California, Berkeley, said in a conference talk earlier this year, "The Big Bang could've occurred as a result of just the laws of physics being there. With the laws of physics, you can get universe...

But there are other potential grounds for God. Physicists have observed that many of the physical constants that define our universe, from the mass of the electron to the density of dark energy, are eerily perfect for supporting life. Alter one of these constants by a hair, and the universe becomes  unrecognizable. "For example, if the mass of the neutron were a bit larger (in comparison to the mass of the proton) than its actual value, hydrogen would not fuse into deuterium and conventional stars would be impossible," Carroll said. And thus, so would life as we know it. [7 Theories on the Origin of Life]
Theologians often seize upon the so-called "fine-tuning" of the physical constants as evidence that God must have had a hand in them; it seems he chose the constants just for us. But contemporary physics explains our seemingly supernatural good luck in a different way.
Some versions of quantum gravity theory, including string theory, predict that our life-giving universe is but one of an infinite number of universes that altogether make up the multiverse. Among these infinite universes, the full range of values of all the physical constants are represented, and only some of the universes have values for the constants that enable the formation of stars, planets and life as we know it. We find ourselves in one of the lucky universes (because where else?). [Parallel Universes Explained in 200 Words]
Some theologians counter that it is far simpler to invoke God than to postulate the existence of infinitely many universes in order to explain our universe's life-giving perfection. To them, Carroll retorts that the multiverse wasn't postulated as a complicated way to explain fine-tuning. On the contrary, it follows as a natural consequence of our best, most elegant theories....

Judged by the standards of any other scientific theory, the "God hypothesis" does not do very well, Carroll argues. But he grants that "the idea of God has functions other than those of a scientific hypothesis."
Psychology research suggests that belief in the supernatural acts as societal glue and motivates people to follow the rules; further, belief in the afterlife helps people grieve and staves off fears of death.
"We're not designed at the level of theoretical physics," Daniel Kruger, an evolutionary psychologist at the University of Michigan, told LiveScience last year. What matters to most people "is what happens at the human scale, relationships to other people, things we experience in a lifetime."


Bill Nye to creationists: ‘Question your beliefs’ if they conflict with evolution

Bill Nye to creationists: ‘Question your beliefs’ if they conflict with evolution
Television “science guy” Bill Nye found himself at the epicenter of some controversy in the Christian blogosphere recently, but he’s sticking to his guns, telling The Associated Press on Monday: “If [evolution] conflicts with your beliefs, I strongly feel you should question your beliefs.”
Nye, 56, gave the interview in response to a conservative group called Answers in Genesis, which took exception to a recent video that featured Nye asking religious parents to stop teaching creationism to their children. The group runs Kentucky’s “Creation Museum,” and published several videos featuring CEO Ken Ham and two of the museum’s own “science guys” arguing that science disproves evolution. A followup third video features Ham rebuking “intolerant Bill Nye defenders” for commenting on his Facebook account after he disabled comments on the group’s earlier videos.
“Really it’s a clash of two world views,” Ham said, describing his disagreement with Nye. “A clash of the absolutes, of Christianity based upon God’s word, and moral relativism based on man’s word.” He went on to describe evolution as man’s justification for moral relativism, and insisted that LGBT people should not have equal rights because of his belief that men and women were created solely to reproduce.
“Evolution is the fundamental idea in all of life science, in all of biology,” Nye said in an August interview with BigThink. “It’s like, it’s very much analogous to trying to do geology and not believing in tectonic plates. You’re just not going to get the right answer. Your whole world is going to be a mystery instead of an exciting place.”
Nye added: “And I say to the grownups, if you want to deny evolution and live in your world, in your world that’s completely inconsistent with everything we observe in the universe, that’s fine, but don’t make your kids do it because we need them. We need scientifically literate voters and taxpayers for the future. We need people that can—we need engineers that can build stuff, solve problems.”

Outrage over anti-Islam video threatens to reignite blasphemy debate at U.N.

Outrage over anti-Islam video threatens to reignite blasphemy debate at U.N. | McClatchy
The divide in world opinion over what constitutes free speech will be on display again next week at the United Nations, where heated arguments over a proposed blasphemy law were an annual feature for the past decade. This time it’s the global reaction to a YouTube video that disparages Islam’s Prophet Muhammad that’s sure to roil the meeting of the U.N. General Assembly.
Muslim leaders have vowed to discuss the offensive video from their U.N. platforms, sowing concern among free-speech activists of a fresh push toward an international law criminalizing blasphemy. Human rights groups and Western democracies resisted such an initiative for years and thought they’d finally quashed the matter after convincing enough nations that repressive regimes use blasphemy laws to imprison or execute dissidents.
“I expect that we’ll regress to where we were a couple of years ago,” said Courtney C. Radsch, program manager for the Global Freedom of Expression Campaign at Freedom House, the Washington-based nonprofit group that promotes democratic values.
“Human rights are not about protecting religions; human rights are to protect humans,” added Radsch, who’s followed the issue closely at the U.N. “Who is going to be the decision-maker on deciding what blasphemy is?”

Read more here:

Who Would Jesus Marry? | (A)theologies | Religion Dispatches

Who Would Jesus Marry? | (A)theologies | Religion Dispatches
"...there is abundant evidence, both in contradictions within the Bible as it was canonized in the late fourth century and from extra-biblical artifacts that show that women did have leadership roles from the earliest days of the church, as both priests and deacons. The “Gospel of Jesus’s Wife” fragment adds to a bounty of evidence that women did hold both lay and ordained ministry leadership roles in the earliest Church and their status as such, as the with the nuptial status of priests, has been a matter of ongoing debate and divergent practice throughout the history of the church, however firmly Rome has believed it has spoken.
In this light, the questions that will stir again among my graduate students, and I suspect among many church-goers generally, will likely not have much to do with the authenticity of the fragment and what it may or may not, in itself, say about the marital status of Jesus or the leadership status of women. Rather, they will be asking again to what exactly—if the Church continues to disregard the evidence of history and the voices of the faithful in engaging the world as it is and as it can be—are its current leaders listening?


Ontario Humanist Society « LTE re Prayer at Council Meetings, Owen Sound/Grey County

Ontario Humanist Society « LTE re Prayer at Council Meetings, Owen Sound/Grey County
From Terri, a Humanist in Owen Sound:
Recently our MP wrote a letter to the editor talking about how and why prayer has a place at meetings of government (Christianity is OUR tradition), and how those who oppose it are the ‘whining minority’.

This is the letter I wrote in response. I’ve had great feedback and thought you and others might want to see it.
Sept 18, 2012 (published Owen Sound Sun Times)
To the Editor, I write this in response to the recent letter from MP Larry Miller.
Mr. Miller,
In your Letter to the Editor, you explained that opening meetings with prayer is a tradition in Grey County, and how the ‘whining minority’ totally ignore the rights of the majority.
You may be aware that years ago, our leaders recognized that some majorities were capable of impinging on the rights of minorities, and thereby created laws that protected everyone. They are called ‘human rights’.
Majorities once felt that slavery was a time-honoured tradition, and vigorously defended their right to continue the practice. The same is true for denying women the vote. Finally courts had to protect the ‘whining minorities’ against those majorities. Times were thankfully changing.
Mr Miller:  How is it that you don’t recognize the Lord’s Prayer as specific to the decisions YOU have made about your life? You believe in a deity, and chose to follow the Christian faith. Not everyone has made these choices, and vocal or quiet, those who haven’t, feel excluded.
You say that those of us who object to prayer in government meetings are merely being “politically correct”, that we’re complaining that  “our rights are being trampled, kicked around.” Did it ever occur to you that many people have been quietly looking on from the sidelines for years, and are only now revealing their displeasure at your sense of entitlement?
For the first time in many, many years, people who have not chosen the Christian faith  are openly objecting to religious invocations, your naming the tradition “ours”, when in fact it was YOURS.  Why is this so difficult to understand?
I am proposing that we begin with an invocation representing everyone, wishing our elected officials a thoughtful and productive meeting.  Here’s my suggestion: A Councillor says:
“As we approach our work here today, may we be mindful of our role as leaders in Owen Sound/the Province of Ontario/Canada, etc., a place of great beauty and opportunity. As we face our decisions, may we be guided by strong ethics, sound judgement, wisdom, fairness and carefully acquired knowledge. May we never forget the trust placed in us by the people of Owen Sound/the Province of Ontario/Canada.”
And thankfully, religious people can continue to pray in their homes, churches and synagogues.
Terri Hope,  Owen Sound


UTSA Symposium, Monday Sept 24, 7-9 Hart House

=..somewhere in Greece, a very, very long time ago, a certain Dimitri asks a question of his friend:

Dimitri: If Atlas holds up the world, what holds up Atlas?
Tasso: Atlas stands on the back of a turtle.

Dimitri: But what does the turtle stand on?
Tasso: Another turtle.
Dimitri: And what does that turtle stand on?
Tasso: My dear Dimitri, it’s turtles all the way down!

Just how big are these turtles?
In the beginning did God create man or was the other way around? In a mulch-religious world what is the appropriate relationship between multicultural ideals and free speech?
Are science and theology complimentary domains?
Are moral values relative or absolute?
What philosophies can best guide use to a socially just and economically balanced society?

The University of Toronto Secular Alliance is hosting its first symposium of the 2012-2013 academic year, on Monday, September 24th, in the Music Room, Hart House.

Join us for an evening of conversation, light debate, and of course, beer; as we attempt to answer some of the Big Questions regarding religion and secularism, morality, law, sexuality, the universe, and everything in between.

This event is FREE and open to all students, faculty and staff members. Light refreshments and snacks will be provided. There will also be a raffle with a bunch of cool stuff we're giving away! And of course, we will conclude the evening by relocating to a designated pub for a drink...or two.

We look forward to welcoming new students, and catching up with returning ones.
See you Monday.

Join the conversation.


Religion No Longer Adequate For The Dalai Lama | Religion Dispatches

Religion No Longer Adequate For The Dalai Lama | Religion Dispatches
When His Holiness the Dalai Lama (HHDL) posted on Facebook this last Monday that “religion is no longer adequate,” every journalist with a religious beat was up in arms over his words. What did this mean for the millions of practicing Buddhists, not to mention for his millions of spiritually-curious online followers? But his atheistic-toned words should not come as a surprise. Back in June, he tweeted that he is “increasingly convinced that the time has come to find a way of thinking about spirituality and ethics beyond religion altogether.”


Philosopher Graziella Luppo leads a philosophy debate in the village of Corigliano d'Otranto in southern Italy

Philosopher Graziella Luppo (back, C) leads a philosophy debate in the village of Corigliano d'Otranto in southern Italy via AFP
Italian townspeople ponder existential questions in new civic focus

Socrates, Plato and Aristotle are the new unlikely heroes of a remote Italian town where local authorities are promoting philosophical thinking for a better way of life.

A philosophy trail leads past a sofa that pronounces deep thoughts when you sit on it, a park with no lights to encourage pondering and posters in the town’s streets ask questions like “Why were you born?” and “What is fear?”

“This is a revolutionary experiment,” the ebullient mayor of Corigliano d’Otranto, Ada Fiore, herself a philosophy teacher.Fiore said her mission was to get the 5,800 residents of this town in the southern Puglia region to take time out to ponder existential questions.

“All we are saying is ‘look at the direction the world is heading in, it’s not okay,’ she said, adding that Italy’s real problem was not the economic crisis but “the crisis in the relationship between man and his surroundings”.

She admitted the project which she launched in June had “objective difficulties” noting that some schoolchildren had not proved very receptive.But the philosophical consultations she helped organised are proving popular, with around one in five of the mediaeval town’s inhabitants flocking to the 15 euro ($19) an hour sessions hosted by philosopher Graziella Lupo...

The town council also organises regular philosophy debates and seminars in schools and public buildings to keep residents on their toes.Not everyone appreciates the initiatives, with psychologists in particular warning that it could be dangerous to look into people’s subconscious.
The mayor dismisses such misgivings, saying the philosophy she is encouraging is “exclusively on the conscious level” with no probing into people’s pasts.

Marianna Burlando, a psychologist at a local hospital, is also in favour since “psychology owes a debt to philosophy”.
“Philosophy is the mother of all humanistic disciplines. I think we should try and dialogue!”


Vital Discussions of Human Security and Peace
Lecture Series for 2012-13 academic year. Co-Sponsored by University College Health Studies Programme, Canadian Pugwash Group, Science for Peace, and Voice of Women for Peace.

Thursdays, 7-9 pm, usually in Rm. 144, University College,
15 Kings College Circle, U.of Toronto. All welcome. No charge.

13-Sept. Walter Dorn, Chair, Canadian Pugwash Group (room 052)
Wars Waged by the USA and Canada: Just, Unjust and Everthing In Between

20-Sept. Ellen Michelson, recent Green Party candidate (room 052)
Fixing Canada's Electoral System: Four Fallacies

27-Sept. Danny Harvey, Professor of Geography, University of Toronto.
Global Warming and Human Security: Food and Water

4-Oct. Barry Wellman, Professor of Sociology, University of Toronto,
Networked individualism

11-Oct. Helmut Burkhardt, Professor of Physics Emeritus, Ryerson University.
Security for All: But How and at What Price?

18-Oct. Timothy Donais, Associate Professor, Wilfrid Laurier University.
Peacebuilding and Local Ownership

25-Oct. Pia Kleber, Prof. of Drama, Comparative Literature, U of Toronto.
A Cultural Approach to Human Security

1-Nov. John Hannigan, Professor of Sociology, University of Toronto.
Disasters Without Borders: The International Politics of Natural Disaster

8-Nov. Doug Saunders, Journalist with The Globe and Mail.
The Myth of the Muslim Tide

15-Nov. Ron Craig, Prof of Communication & Design, Ryerson University.
New Strategies for Dealing with Global Problems

22-Nov. Lloyd Helferty, Engineering Technologist, Biochar Consultant.
Biochar and Food Security: Dealing with the Droughts

29-Nov. Peter Bessau, International Affairs, Natural Resources Canada.
International Model Forest Network: Canada's Contribution to Forest Sustainability Since Rio

10-Jan. Aysan Sev'er, Professor Emerita of Sociology, U. of Toronto.
Honour-Killings: Women's Safety in Honour-based Cultures

17-Jan. John Bacher, Preservation of Agricultural Land, Ontario.
Toward a Billion More Trees in Ontario

24-Jan. Duff Conacher, Coordinator of Your Canada, Your Constitution, Founder of Democracy Watch, Director of in Toronto.
What Makes Up an Actual, Working Democracy?

31-Jan. Shawn-Patrick Stensil, Staff of Greenpeace in Toronto.
Lessons from Fukushima: Implications for Nuclear Safety International

7-Feb. Valerie Zawilski, Associate Prof. of Sociology, Western University.
The Sexual Slave Trade in Kosovo

14-Feb. Seva Gunitsky, Asst. Professor of Political Science, U of Toronto.
Competing Visions of Democracy in the Post-Soviet Space

28-Feb. J.C. Luxat, Professor of Nuclear Safety, McMaster U, and Richard Denton, M.D. President, Physicians for Global Survival.
The Nuclear Safety Issue

7-Mar. Gordon Edwards, Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility.
Can We Be Free of Nuclear Weapons and Still Have Nuclear Power?

14-Mar. Peter Victor, Professor of Environmental Studies, York University.
Managing Without Growth: Slower by Design, Not Disaster

21-Mar. Harriet Friedmann, Professor of Geography, U. of Toronto.
From "Feeding the World" to Sustainable Farming

28-Mar. Jack Veugelers, Professor of Sociology, U. of Toronto.
The Far Right in France

4-Apr. Leo Panitch, Professor of Political Science, York University.
The Making of Global Capitalism: The Canadian Model.


'A Great Silence Is Spreading Over the Natural World' |

'A Great Silence Is Spreading Over the Natural World' | Common Dreams

'A Great Silence Is Spreading Over the Natural World'

Bernie Krause has spent 40 years recording nature's sounds. But such is the rate of species and habitat loss that his tapes may become our only record of the original diversity of life

"The birds are silent in the woods.
Just wait: Soon enough
You will be quiet too"

- Robert Hass
When musician and naturalist Bernie Krause drops his microphones into the pristine coral reef waters of Fiji, he picks up a raucous mix of sighs, beats, glissandos, cries, groans, tones, grunts, beats and clicks. 
Musician and naturalist Bernie Krause has spent 40 years recording over 15,000 species in many of the world's pristine habitats.
The water pulsates with the sound of creatures vying for acoustic bandwidth. He hears crustaceans, parrot fish, anemones, wrasses, sharks, shrimps, puffers and surgeonfish. Some gnash their teeth, others use their bladders or tails to make sound. Sea anemones grunt and belch. Every creature on the reef makes its own sound.
But half a mile away, where the same reef is badly damaged, he can only pick up the sound of waves and a few snapping shrimp. It is, he says, the desolate sound of extinction.
Krause, whose electronic music with Paul Beaver was used on classic films like Rosemary's Baby and Apocalypse Now, and who worked regularly with Bob Dylan, George Harrison and The Byrds, has spent 40 years recording over 15,000 species, collecting 4,500 hours of sound from many of the world's pristine habitats.
But such is the rate of species extinction and the deterioration of pristine habitat that he estimates half these recordings are now archives, impossible to repeat because the habitats no longer exist or because they have been so compromised by human noise. His tapes are possibly the only record of the original diversity of life in these places...
A great silence is spreading over the natural world even as the sound of man is becoming deafening," he writes in a new book, The Great Animal Orchestra. "Little by little the vast orchestra of life, the chorus of the natural world, is in the process of being quietened. There has been a massive decrease in the density and diversity of key vocal creatures, both large and small. The sense of desolation extends beyond mere silence.
....But the wild natural world, comprised of vast areas not managed by humans, rarely exists now except in a few isolated places such as the Alaskan wilderness, the far Canadian north, Siberia, the pampas of Argentina and Uruguay, and the Brazilian Pantanal which are still rich with natural sound, he says.


PETITION: Support villagers opposing raised water levels by two dams

PETITION: Support villagers opposing raised water levels by two dams
FirstPost.India reports, “Over 130 villagers in Madhya Pradesh have been protesting in neck-deep water for the past week to seek compensation from the government over the construction of a dam. Thirty four residents of Gogalgaon village in Khandwa district have been standing submerged in water for the past 4 days. The villagers are demanding compensation for their land which was submerged after the height of the Omkareshwar dam was raised. The Supreme Court had earlier said the villagers should be compensated adequately and rehabilitated, which the protestors claim has not been done. …There were similar protests in Khardna in Harda district where 90 villagers affected by the Indira Sagar project are seeking compensation for losing their lands.”

The Council of Canadians and Blue Planet Project have signed a petition that states, “We have learnt with deep shock that the water level in Omkareshwar and Indira Sagar dams in the Narmada Valley have been illegally raised causing submergence of numerous lands and houses of oustees of these dams. …We have also learned that many oustees have been standing in Omkareshwar dam water and also in Indira Sagar dam, demanding reduction in water level and rehabilitation before submergence. It is extremely disturbing that the oustees have to embark on Jal Satygraha to get their due rehabilitation rights. We, therefore request you to immediately order reduction in water level in Omkareshwar dam to 189 meters and in Indira Sagar Dam to 260 meters and rehabilitate all the oustees by giving agricultural land and other rehabilitation entitlements.”
To sign this petition, which will be delivered to the Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh, please go to


UPDATE: Spanish doctors resist order to not provide medical care to immigrants

UPDATE: Spanish doctors resist order to not provide medical care to immigrants
An inspiring story and photo of resistance against austerity and racism in Spain.
“1650 doctors from all over Spain including Galicia and Catalonia, announced that they REFUSE to comply with the provisions of the Spanish Health Ministry, ordering them NOT to provide medical care to immigrants. They insisted that their medical oaths and moral obligations exceeds all governmental order.”
On June 30, the Harper government implemented cuts to health care for refugees in Canada. Council of Canadians health care campaigner Adrienne Silnicki writes, “These cuts include access to vision care, dental care, prescription drugs and mobility devices for all refugees. For many refugees it also includes restrictions on primary and basic health care. This includes medical assistance during emergencies like heart attacks and even during child birth.” Doctors spoke out against these cuts being implemented, including briefly occupying a Conservative cabinet minister’s office in Toronto,, but the Harper government refused to listen and made the cuts.

CURRENTS: Sciience for Peace and Urban Sustainability, Sept 7, GSU

[Mary is a member of SfP, and am passing on this invitation]

INVITATION to drinks and music for: the Launch of CURRENTS  (

A working group of  Science for Peace to address issues in urban sustainability and food security by means of creating a Centre for Urban Sustainability of Toronto:  A hub for an intensive urban agriculture and energy management for GTHA (Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area)

Come and learn more about it at the Graduate Student's Union, Bancroft Avenue, Toronto. 4:30 pm Friday, September 7,  2012


Humanist Association of Toronto (HAT): An afternoon with Heather Mallick, Sat. Sept 15, 1...

Humanist Association of Toronto (HAT): An afternoon with Heather Mallick, Sat. Sept 15, 1...:

SPECIAL EVENT : An Afternoon with Heather Mallick
Saturday, September 15, 2012, 1:30 - 3:00 pm
Location: OISE, 252 Bloor St. West, 2-214

The Humanist Association of Toronto (HAT) invites you to a a conversation with Heather Mallick. Toronto Star columnist, author and lecturer. 

As a controversial, thought-provoking, staunch defender of human rights, HAT has named Heather Mallick Humanist of the Year for 2011 in honour of her outspoken expression of humanistic values. Free admission. Join us for the conversation!

Humanist Chaplains Office Hours Fall 2012

Welcome Back!

Chaplains Gail McCabe and Mary Beaty will hold regular chaplains office hours at the Multifaith Centre (Koffler House) on Thursday afternoons, 2-4pm.   Appointments are always available.  We are also available to meet on campus outside of these hours, for consultation, or a friendly chat.

1)Go to Spadina Subway Station on the Bloor-Danforth Line
2)Catch the streetcar / bus from inside Spadina Station
3)Exit at Willcocks Street and exit onto the east side of Spadina

The Multi-Faith Centre (located in the Koffler House) address is:
569 Spadina Ave.
Toronto, ON M5S 2J7

Parking if Driving (see map below)
Options for parking
1) Street Parking on Russell, Huron, and Spadina Streets
2) Paid parking inside Spadina Crescent (One Spadina in Centre of Spadina Street)
3) Underground parking in the Bahen Centre on Huron Street between Russell and College

Mary Beaty:  416-591-9980

Tony Blair meets Desmond Tutu: A Step Towards the Dock

George Monbiot – A Step Towards the Dock
When Desmond Tutu wrote that Tony Blair should be treading the path to the Hague, he de-normalised what Blair has done(1). Tutu broke the protocol of power – the implicit accord between those who flit from one grand meeting to another – and named his crime. I expect that Blair will never recover from it.
The offence is known by two names in international law: the crime of aggression and a crime against peace. It is defined by the Nuremberg Principles as the “planning, preparation, initiation or waging of a war of aggression”(2). This means a war fought for a purpose other than self-defence: in other words outwith articles 33 and 51 of the UN Charter(3).
Without legal justification, the attack on Iraq was an act of mass murder. It caused the deaths of between 100,000 and a million people, and ranks among the greatest crimes the world has ever seen. That Blair and his ministers still saunter among us, gathering money wherever they go, is a withering indictment of a one-sided system of international justice: a system whose hypocrisies Tutu has exposed. 
That the invasion of Iraq falls into this category looks indisputable. Blair’s cabinet ministers knew it, and told him so. His Attorney-General warned that there were just three ways in which it could be legally justified: “self-defence, humanitarian intervention, or UN Security Council authorisation. The first and second could not be the base in this case.”(4) Blair tried and failed to obtain the third.....
But while the case against Blair is strong, the means are weak. Twenty-nine people have been indicted in the International Criminal Court, and all of them are African(15). (Suspects in the Balkans have been indicted by a different tribunal). There’s a reason for this. Until 2018 at the earliest, the court can prosecute crimes committed during the course of an illegal war, but not the crime of launching that war(16)....Though the Nuremberg tribunal described aggression as “the supreme international crime”(17), several powerful states guiltily resisted its adoption. At length, in 2010, they agreed that the court would have jurisdiction over aggression, but not until 2018 or thereafter. Though the offence has been recognised in international law for 67 years, the international criminal court (unlike the Rwanda and Yugoslavia tribunals, which hear cases from before they were established) will be able to try only crimes of aggression committed beyond that date(18).