All entries by this author

Trial of Oriana Fallaci for Defaming Islam Begins *

Jun 13th, 2006 | Filed by

Fallaci is alleged to have made 18 blasphemous statements in recent book.… Read the rest

Not Entirely Fuzzy, Actually

Jun 13th, 2006 1:24 am | By

One interesting and valuable current in the comments on Scott McLemee’s interview at Inside Higher Ed was the discussion triggered by Adam Kotsko’s comment:

I’m glad to see that she at least concedes the existence of more fuzzy kinds of truth at the beginning and restricts the empirical kind to science and history — too often, arguments “defending” the existence of scientific empirical truth head down the slippery slope of asserting that such truth is the only real or worthwhile kind and that anything else is mere charlatanism. There are ways of making interesting and even (validly) persuasive claims about the world that do not mimic the scientific method. It would be great if everyone could agree on that principle.

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Wales Millennium Centre Refuses to Cancel JSTO *

Jun 12th, 2006 | Filed by

More than 100 church leaders have signed a letter calling for the cancellation of the show.… Read the rest

What’s Up With Ann Coulter? *

Jun 12th, 2006 | Filed by

People like Coulter and Moore drive serious, nuanced conversation out of the market.… Read the rest

Milt Rosenberg Interviews Frederick Crews *

Jun 12th, 2006 | Filed by

A great skeptic on psychoanalysis, intelligent design, and contemporary literary theory. … Read the rest

Shalini Umachandran on Human Rights Discourse *

Jun 12th, 2006 | Filed by

‘Current human rights discourse only speaks of equality of opportunity.’ Really?… Read the rest

Julian Baggini on the Scottish Enlightenment *

Jun 12th, 2006 | Filed by

‘The French provided the Enlightenment with style, but it was Scotland that gave it its substance.’… Read the rest

Introducing Follies of the Wise

Jun 12th, 2006 | By Frederick Crews

On the day after Christmas, 2004, as everyone knows, a major earthquake and tsunami devastated coastal regions around the Indian Ocean, killing as many as 300,000 people outright and dooming countless others to misery, heartbreak, and early death. Thanks to video cameras and the satellite transmission of images, that event penetrated the world’s consciousness with an immediate force that amounted, psychologically, to a tsunami in its own right. The charitable contributions that then poured forth on an unprecedented scale expressed something more than empathy and generosity. They also bore an aspect of self-therapy—of an attempt, however symbolic, to mitigate the calamity’s impersonal randomness and thus to draw a curtain of decorum over a scene that appeared to proclaim too baldly, … Read the rest


Jun 11th, 2006 8:11 pm | By

Strange anti-anti-’postmodernism’ is cropping up everywhere today. (Okay three places that I’ve seen. That’s postmodernist for ‘everywhere.’) The scare-quotes on postmodernism are because the postmodernism in question seems in every case to be some kind of weird ragbag or catch-all term that is so elastic it means pretty much nothing, or anything, or just ‘whatever I feel like making it mean for the purposes of this particular sentence or this particular non-argument.’ But the fact that the word is being used as a ragbag doesn’t mean it doesn’t function as a sower of suspicion of dastardly enemies of (unspecified and very very blurry) postmodernism. (The word is also being used, confusingly, to mean ‘various forms of skepticism and critical scrutiny … Read the rest

How a Scientist Changed the Way We Think *

Jun 11th, 2006 | Filed by

By combining synthesis with clear writing.… Read the rest

Stephen Law on What Reason Can Do *

Jun 11th, 2006 | Filed by

Quite a lot, actually.… Read the rest

Head of MCB Influential via Self-fulfilling Prophecy *

Jun 11th, 2006 | Filed by

‘Every five minutes he takes calls: from the media, Downing Street, the police, mosques.’… Read the rest

How Green Was My Yurt

Jun 10th, 2006 9:30 pm | By

Excuse me a moment.




Oh, christ. That’s a good one. Dylan Evans – remember him? – has ever such a good idea. He’s going oop north with his cat to live in the mud, no I mean he’s going oop north with his cat to set up Utopia. And a very nice Utopia it does sound.

He has banned TV and mobile phones, but sanctioned the internet (because he believes that the web could re-knit itself after a disaster). Medicines are fine (“this is play-acting, not religious cult”), and if the community collectively decides to import other conveniences, that’s OK too…Evans will be converting a barn (on farmland belonging to a friend) for communal living, erecting

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Dylan Evans is off to Cold Comfort Farm *

Jun 10th, 2006 | Filed by

‘He is convinced that a return to “primitivism” is the route to human happiness.’… Read the rest

China Shuts Down ‘Da Vinci Code’ *

Jun 10th, 2006 | Filed by

‘Removing it is the right decision for the sake of social stability,’ said VP of Patriotic Catholic Association.… Read the rest

Ted Cantle on ‘Cohesion’ *

Jun 10th, 2006 | Filed by

Which is different from identity or community.… Read the rest

Faisal Bodi on the Siren Call of ‘Community’ *

Jun 10th, 2006 | Filed by

‘An iron law of history is that birds of a feather will flock together.’ Ick.… Read the rest

Freeman Dyson on Breaking the Spell *

Jun 9th, 2006 | Filed by

Religion gives us ‘hints of a mental or spiritual universe that transcends the material universe.’… Read the rest

Robert McHenry on Wikipedia *

Jun 9th, 2006 | Filed by

One fact must be accepted as the basis for any intellectual work: truth is not democratically determined. … Read the rest

Why Are Reporters Reluctant to Call a Lie a Lie? *

Jun 9th, 2006 | Filed by

Attention to the issue of what’s true and what’s false in Bush’s statements is seen as ideological.… Read the rest