All entries by this author

Sould Intelligent Design be Taught in Schools? *

Dec 18th, 2004 | Filed by

Steve Jones, UCL, and Stephen Meyer, ‘Discovery Institute.’ … Read the rest



The Year’s Top Ten Unfounded Health Scares *

Dec 18th, 2004 | Filed by

Wonky risk assessment…… Read the rest



Transferring Power from Author to Reader *

Dec 18th, 2004 | Filed by

Intertextuality is an idea that should be subjected to Dutton’s Razor.… Read the rest



Six Impossible Things Before Breakfast

Dec 17th, 2004 7:12 pm | By

Okay, you wanted more from the Wicca book. Yes you did. Yes you did. Well, one of you did. So here is a little more for your Friday entertainment.

Part of the paradigm shift frequently required of many people who become Wiccan is to take it for granted that ghosts, spirits, and psychic abilities exist, that they frequently are a normal part of everyday life, and that the skills associated with these phenomena are controllable, usable, and subject to development and improvement…Remember that at one time both flight and the ability of a human being to breathe while moving at speeds greater than thirty miles an hour were commonly declared impossible.

Ah yes. Do remember that, and then draw the … Read the rest



Worries Over ‘Legalised Euthanasia’ *

Dec 17th, 2004 | Filed by

MPs reject living will amendment.… Read the rest



Interview with Asne Seierstad *

Dec 17th, 2004 | Filed by

From the bookseller of Kabul to the Iraq war.… Read the rest



Scientific Breakthrough of the Year Awards *

Dec 17th, 2004 | Filed by

Discovery that water once flowed on Mars is the winna.… Read the rest



Knowledge Wars Rage Over Israel v Palestine *

Dec 17th, 2004 | Filed by

Part clash of genuine entrenched positions, part dishonesty.… Read the rest



The Standard Blog Critique

Dec 16th, 2004 7:45 pm | By

Chris has a good post at CT on some of the omissions and blind spots in the ‘standard blog critique’ (cf. ‘Standard Social Science Model’) of the proposal to criminalize incitement to religious hatred. We’ve been talking past each other for some time, B&W and CT, but in this post I at least see Chris’ point, or rather points. The part about media ownership and access to the airwaves as a crucial part of free speech I completely agree with and always have. It’s always irritated me when free speech is defined in an such an impoverished way that it just means a cop doesn’t handcuff you for saying something. The next part, about hate speech and intimidation, I’m not … Read the rest



Eagleton Reviews Furedi on Intellectuals *

Dec 16th, 2004 | Filed by

Snap definition of an intellectual: more or less the opposite of an academic.… Read the rest



Book Jeremiads Have Been Around for Centuries *

Dec 16th, 2004 | Filed by

So they must be fun to read.… Read the rest



Little Bitty Steps to Change Science Standards *

Dec 16th, 2004 | Filed by

The Kansas Board of Education is considering ‘intelligent design’.… Read the rest



Full Many a Plagiarist is Born to Blush Unseen *

Dec 16th, 2004 | Filed by

It’s not only the famous scholars who lift other people’s work.… Read the rest



Gödel, Einstein, Heisenberg *

Dec 16th, 2004 | Filed by

Three fundamental scientific results established profound and disturbing limitation.… Read the rest



Shark Cartilage Cancer ‘Cure’ *

Dec 16th, 2004 | Filed by

A triumph of marketing and pseudoscience over reason.… Read the rest



Oh No, What’s That?

Dec 15th, 2004 7:32 pm | By

And now for another little trip to la-la land. This time not an angel book, but Essential Wicca. Like the angel book, it is packed full of opportunities to squeal with undignified uncontrollable laughter. As in the angel book, they simply leap off the page. Here’s a bit in a chapter called ‘Working the Sacred’ where we are being told how to do a Working (here’s a hint: it takes place in a Circle, which is Sacred Space, and capital letters appear quite a lot):

It’s good to remember that little children and cats are generally much more sensitive to the psychic/spiritual world than most adults, so they may be a rough gauge of how things are going. If,

Read the rest


Dearly Cherished Beliefs

Dec 15th, 2004 6:35 pm | By

Polly Toynbee has a very good column today on the religious hatred law.

The natural allies of the rationalists have decamped. The left embraces Islam for its anti-Americanism. Liberals and progressives have had a collective softening of the brain and weakening of the knees. While they have a sympathetic instinct to defend harassed minorities, they prefer to abandon some fundamental principles and prevaricate over some basic freedoms than to face up to the damage religions do, the wars they fuel and the rights they deny.

Exactly. What I keep saying – to the point of tedium. Mushy language about ‘the right to lead a life in which one can peacefully practise one’s own religion without fear’ is designed to do … Read the rest



Blunkett Resigns *

Dec 15th, 2004 | Filed by

Chief Whip flings biography across Commons; gesture seen as expressing frustration.… Read the rest



Polly Toynbee on Bad Company *

Dec 15th, 2004 | Filed by

The natural allies of the rationalists have decamped. … Read the rest



An Iconoclastic History of Scientific Endeavour *

Dec 15th, 2004 | Filed by

Review of John Waller’s Leaps in the Dark: The Making of Scientific Reputations.… Read the rest