All entries by this author

Look Out! Atheists! *

Apr 30th, 2004 | Filed by

‘The absence of faith seems to be a major barrier between people in our society.’… Read the rest



My Baby Done Come Back and Gone Again

Apr 29th, 2004 8:36 pm | By

My baby done gone last month but it came back for a little while for some last improvements. We’ve improved the squalling little thing within an inch of its life, and now we’re through. Finished. Done. That baby is so over. That baby is history. That baby has to go out and make its own way now. We’ve got better things to do. At this point, having nails driven through our eyes would seem like better things to do.

And yet, oddly, however sick of it all I am, I still find it funny. There I am proofreading away, with my eyes glazing and the lower half of my body getting ever more paralyzed – and I still find … Read the rest



Class Dismissed

Apr 29th, 2004 6:49 pm | By

I belatedly added a couple of blogs to the select few in Links yesterday: The Panda’s Thumb and Pharyngula. I’ve been meaning to add both for awhile, and finally got around to it yesterday. I’m very picky about blogs in Links, partly because my colleague doesn’t like blogs to begin with, and much more because I think the longer such lists are the less useful they are. There are lots of interesting, entertaining, well-written etc blogs out there, as well as lots of the other kind, but they’re on subjects that are not all that relevant to B&W, so I don’t include them. Thus you can assume that if a blog is in Links, it is [clears throat grandly] … Read the rest



Another Academic Jumps *

Apr 29th, 2004 | Filed by

Erin O’Connor is also getting out.… Read the rest



Stop Teaching Chemistry but Keep Media Studies? *

Apr 29th, 2004 | Filed by

Leading UK scientists protest university’s plans to close chemistry department.… Read the rest



This Science is Nonsense *

Apr 29th, 2004 | Filed by

Max Steuer of LSE on ‘pretend’ social science and the ‘post’ and ‘beyond’ style.… Read the rest



The Hindu on Darwinism and ID *

Apr 29th, 2004 | Filed by

A larger issue in clash between science and religious obscurantism.… Read the rest



Ineffable and Unknowable?

Apr 28th, 2004 8:02 pm | By

I was going to post this as a reply at Cliopatria, but then it went on a bit longer than I intended, and seemed (yet again) less anodyne than I feel I need to be on this subject in that location. Maybe I’m wrong to feel that way, but…I’m not convinced, and so far what people have said has just convinced me of the opposite. At any rate. Ralph said this in answer to a question about why say G_d –

As I suspect you know, there is a long tradition in Judaism of using g_d. It transliterates the Hebrew which has no vowels and it respects the unknowable, mysterious, ineffable qualities of ultimate reality. It isn’t a “naughty” word,

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New Sharia Laws in Nigerian State *

Apr 28th, 2004 | Filed by

Thieves have had amputations and several women sentenced to death in Zamfara.… Read the rest



Complexities of Twin Studies *

Apr 28th, 2004 | Filed by

Twins are useful for behavioral genetics, but underlying assumptions are debatable.… Read the rest



Why no G_d

Apr 27th, 2004 11:31 pm | By

Writing God as “G_d” isn’t just irritating because there isn’t a God, though that’s part of it. It is irritating because, in certain contexts, it is indicative of a casual assumption that religious belief is something which cannot cause offence. Why should it cause offence? Well, let’s skip over the whole horrors done in the name of Christianity thing, and also the whole religious right thing, and the whole Intelligent Design thing, etc. It’s got to do with double-standards. If I flaunt my atheism, or if Ophelia flaunts her atheism, then in certain contexts this is considered hostile, aggressive, bad mannered, etc. But it just doesn’t work the other way around. It doesn’t seem to occur to the religiously minded … Read the rest



Abandon Ship

Apr 27th, 2004 7:09 pm | By

It’s fundamental disagreement time. I disagree radically with a line of argument at Cliopatria, and what’s worse, the kind of argument it is makes it very difficult to dispute as directly and bluntly as I would like to – or as I would like to in one sense but would not like to in another. That’s exactly the problem. I may decide to leave Cliopatria as a result – because as it is, I seem to be semi-acquiescing in views that are anathema to me.

My politics are derived from my faith, not the other way around. When I was younger, and a secular liberal, my politics were the only faith I had! Since coming to Christ (and yes,

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Neurotechnology v. Cognitive Freedom *

Apr 27th, 2004 | Filed by

Drugs to erase or intensify memories, hypersonic sound that seems to be inside your head…… Read the rest



Plath Studies, Hughes Studies *

Apr 27th, 2004 | Filed by

‘Baking With Sylvia’? Er – no thanks.… Read the rest



Intersection of Interests

Apr 26th, 2004 5:50 pm | By

Amardeep Singh’s blog is full of interesting matter. He’s thinking about a lot of the same issues that B&W thinks about. This post from a few days ago for instance is about his shifting views on – his on-going struggle with – postmodernism and theory and theory-jargon.

I was trained at one of the centers of postmodernist thought — Duke — and for my entire professional career I’ve defined myself as a postmodernist, poststructuralist, and postcolonialist. Only lately I’ve found that these modes of thought have been distinctly unhelpful in dealing with the major topic I’ve been grappling with, namely secularism. Many humanities academics are privately skeptical of these theories, only they don’t say so because theory-jargon sounds so intimidating.

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Dawkins on Good Science Writing *

Apr 26th, 2004 | Filed by

Having something important to write about.… Read the rest



The Chronicle on Invisible Adjunct *

Apr 26th, 2004 | Filed by

The end of a popular blog prompts questions about the adademic system.… Read the rest



Nearly One Million March In Favour of Abortion Rights *

Apr 26th, 2004 | Filed by

Pro-choice campaigners flock to Washington.… Read the rest



Let Me Explain

Apr 25th, 2004 8:40 pm | By

Right, where are we. How much ground have we conceded and how much can we keep. We’ve admitted what we’ve always known and would admit when pressed: that aesthetic opinions are opinions, not facts. Very well. That’s the sum total of our concession, and I’m sure we can all remember conceding the same thing when we were fifteen and judging the contest between Austen and Bronte or the Beatles and the Stones or folky Dylan and rock Dylan (yes, thank you, I am a dinosaur, I told you that, I said on my birthday I was 175) or NWA and Eminem or whatever it may be. De gustibus non est disputandum. Fine. Granted. But we go on disputing just the … Read the rest



Who Has the Poster Stumps? *

Apr 25th, 2004 | Filed by

Why is the oppression of women so easy to ignore?… Read the rest