All entries by this author

Sad but true

Nov 27th, 2006 7:25 pm | By

Democracy isn’t always and necessarily aligned with justice, progress, equality, women’s rights, freedom – it’s not always and necessarily aligned with anything except majority will. Majority will can be even more tyrannical than a military dictator.

Pervez Hoodbhoy’s critique of General Pervez Musharraf as a leader and as an author, in last month’s Prospect, is depressingly familiar. Of course we wish that Pakistan was a more liberal and democratic society…But simply repeating the same liberal pieties about instituting democracy and strengthening civil society won’t change the situation…There are certainly massive problems for women in Pakistan. Human rights activists suggest that a woman is raped in Pakistan every two hours. As Hoodbhoy points out, Musharraf’s government recently failed to enact

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Yes but do you have any actual evidence?

Nov 27th, 2006 6:45 pm | By

So maybe women really do think logic is ‘a pestiferous male invention’ (The Dictionary of Fashionable Nonsense). It would seem so by this, anyway – Senta Troemel-Ploetz replying on Alan Boyle’s blog to Allen Esterson’s article on Troemel-Ploetz’s paper claiming that Mileva Marić ‘did Einstein’s mathematics.’ It’s a cringe-making performance, frankly. She offers no real evidence, she simply cites ‘a tradition that always attributes achievement to men even if the men themselves claim their wives were the authors’ and then gives three quotations from Einstein to Mileva Marić:

“How happy I am to have found an equal in you (eine ebenbuertige Kreatur) who is as strong and independent as I am.” “Until you are my dear little wife,

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Allen Esterson Replies to Senta Troemel-Ploetz *

Nov 27th, 2006 | Filed by

In historical investigations one must be guided by the hard evidence, not by ‘for all we know’.… Read the rest

Senta Troemel-Ploetz Replies to Allen Esterson *

Nov 27th, 2006 | Filed by

‘For all we know, she may have’ – or not.… Read the rest

Democracy Could be Worse Than Musharraf *

Nov 27th, 2006 | Filed by

It was democracy that prevented the reform of Pakistan’s rape laws, not the dictator.… Read the rest

Clifford Geertz and the ‘Move Toward Meaning’ *

Nov 27th, 2006 | Filed by

Geertz’s models were drawn from literary theory and philosophy; he was read by scholars in the humanities. … Read the rest

John Ware on the MCB *

Nov 27th, 2006 | Filed by

The government is finally starting to notice that the Muslim Council of Britain is in denial. … Read the rest

Einstein’s Wife: Open Letter to PBS Postscript

Nov 27th, 2006 | By Allen Esterson

A Postscript to my Open Letter to PBS.

In the comments solicited by PBS from Geraldine Hilton, writer/producer of the “Einstein’s Wife” documentary, she writes of the three academics who have dissociated themselves from the film, John Stachel, Robert Schulmann and Gerald Holton, that “not one has come forward and claimed they were misrepresented because they weren’t”: Defending Einstein’s Wife Film.

However, the historian of physics Gerald Holton responds in an email to me:

As to my ‘not coming forward’, as you report them to have said: I sure did, as many of my friends and colleagues will confirm. I told them how I felt to have been tricked into appearing in this awful film, because the film

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Doubting Giles

Nov 26th, 2006 8:07 pm | By

Giles Fraser is getting bored.

Perhaps it’s time for a new sort of conversation about religion. The old one is getting really very tired, as in some overblown boxing match between two bruisers who just won’t topple. They slug it out. Land huge blows. Declare victory. Only for the opponent to rise again (no resurrection reference intended) and for the whole sorry circus to wind itself up for a rematch.

Well could that be because one side refuses to admit that it’s making it up as it goes along? It does tend to keep futile brawls going when people refuse to admit that. I know it’s what I always do when I don’t have any evidence or argument – … Read the rest

No Squirming on Grounds of Political Expediency *

Nov 26th, 2006 | Filed by

Cut out all forms of adornment – Sikh, Muslim, Christian, the lot – or allow people to wear what they like. … Read the rest

Hanging Video Shows Iran’s Crackdown on Dissent *

Nov 26th, 2006 | Filed by

Increasing numbers of political activists are being executed by Iran on trumped-up charges.… Read the rest

Muqtedar Khan on Minneapolis Cab Drivers *

Nov 26th, 2006 | Filed by

Can Muslims in free societies demand freedom and tolerance for Islam and deny others the same?… Read the rest

Archbishops Link Arms Against the Enemy *

Nov 26th, 2006 | Filed by

Task of Christian leaders is to defend Europe’s Christian heritage against zealous secularism. … Read the rest

Giles Fraser Says Religion is Doubt *

Nov 26th, 2006 | Filed by

‘Bible refuses to give God a definite shape’ – yes but it still definitely tells us what to do.… Read the rest

MHRA Press Release on Herbal Sex-meds *

Nov 25th, 2006 | Filed by

‘Only licensed medicines may be advertised to the public.’… Read the rest

Herbal Sex Aids Herbal but not Sex Aids *

Nov 25th, 2006 | Filed by

Fast Formula Wild Pink and Fast Formula Horny have been taken off the shelves.… Read the rest

Ben Goldacre in Praise of Quack Hunting *

Nov 25th, 2006 | Filed by

Nerdy appraisal of research is fun once you’re catching people out and making them look silly. … Read the rest

David Colquhoun Looks at Snoring Studies *

Nov 25th, 2006 | Filed by

‘Oh dear: looks like yet another undisclosed financial interest in a clinical study.’… Read the rest

‘Bad Science’ on Horny Goat Weed *

Nov 25th, 2006 | Filed by

Whole grains, ‘holistic’ techniques, colonic irrigation, The Peniscope – it all adds up.… Read the rest

Archbishop Gets His Way *

Nov 25th, 2006 | Filed by

When he says jump, BA jumps.… Read the rest