All entries by this author

Romano on Habermas and Derrida *

Feb 10th, 2004 | Filed by

Both are ‘burdened by chronic philosopher’s ailments.’… Read the rest

French MPs Back Headscarf Ban *

Feb 10th, 2004 | Filed by

Massive majority vote in favour.… Read the rest

Hipness Through the Ages

Feb 9th, 2004 7:06 pm | By

I see that Scott McLemee has a link to B&W on his site – on account of how I had links to his site. It’s like ping-pong. No but really, I feel like mentioning it because he mentions the hipness thing.

We share a distaste for that “hipness unto death” which has become such a nuisance of urban life. Maybe it always was? I don’t know. On reflection, it does seem that Rousseau was complaining about it, quite a while back.

Yeah. And Elizabethan satirists, too, come to think of it. Ben Jonson had great fun with the subject in ‘Every Man in his Humour’ and Ditto Out of his Humour. He was really interested in fashion, and wickedly funny … Read the rest

Seeing Desire Defeat Skepticism *

Feb 9th, 2004 | Filed by

Never forget: we are more likely to ‘know’ what we want to know than what we don’t want to know… Read the rest

GM Crops Blocked *

Feb 9th, 2004 | Filed by

Wales and Scotland reject GM crops.… Read the rest

Religion Aims, Again

Feb 9th, 2004 3:32 am | By

Section 3 of Allen Orr’s review of Richard Dawkins’ A Devil’s Chaplain reminded me of a review of the same book by Michael Ruse. I commented on Ruse’s review last month. Section 3 of Orr’s review deals with Dawkins’ criticisms of religion, and what Orr thinks is wrong with them.

You might argue that what conflicts did occur between science and religion were due to misunderstandings of one or the other. Indeed you might argue that Dawkins’s belief that science and religion can conflict reflects a misconstrual of the nature of religious belief: while scientific beliefs are propositions about the state of the world, religious beliefs are something else—an attempt to attach meaning or value to the world. Religion and

Read the rest


Feb 8th, 2004 9:47 pm | By

Well, we all have our ups and downs. Only natural. Something to do with ions, isn’t it? Or was it ozone? Or the tides? Phases of the moon? Harmonic convergence? Something like that. Or maybe all of them. Who knows.

Anyway, I’m in a pessimistic phase. Or a discouraged one. Nobody reads B&W, I should save my breath to cool my porridge, people who used to like B&W have gone off it, etc. I have a N&C in mind – I have the articles that suggested it at hand, all ready to quote from…But. The brain is on strike. It’s downed tools and is marching up and down with a sign – ‘What am I, a robot?!’ It would write … Read the rest

Another ‘Not a Bright Idea’ *

Feb 8th, 2004 | Filed by

Surprise: hardly anyone wants to be called a ‘Bright’.… Read the rest

New York Review of Books on Dawkins *

Feb 8th, 2004 | Filed by

Discussion of religion unfortunately evasive.… Read the rest

Scientists Criticise Tissue Law *

Feb 8th, 2004 | Filed by

Law requiring written consent for tissue samples from dead will undermine reseach, say scientists.… Read the rest

Amateur Cultural Revolution *

Feb 7th, 2004 | Filed by

Someone is killing off Iraq’s educated class – doctors, intellectuals, human rights workers.… Read the rest

Deepak, Oprah, Merlin, Chicken Soup and All *

Feb 7th, 2004 | Filed by

The sleep of reason begets people who pay attention to gurus.… Read the rest

He’s Not Making This Up *

Feb 7th, 2004 | Filed by

David McKie reviews Francis Wheen’s How Mumbo-Jumbo Conquered the WorldRead the rest

Where Do Oranges Come From? *

Feb 7th, 2004 | Filed by

What does it mean that George Monbiot has a bowlful? Are they the only fruit?… Read the rest

What is ‘Occidentalism’? *

Feb 6th, 2004 | Filed by

Ian Buruma on dreams of local authenticity and cultural uniqueness.… Read the rest

Conviction Quashed in Abuse Case *

Feb 6th, 2004 | Filed by

More than 100 doubtful cases being investigated by Historic Abuse Appeals Panel.… Read the rest

‘Science Wins Ancient Bones Battle’ *

Feb 6th, 2004 | Filed by

Native Americans want to bury bones; court rules relationship impossible to establish.… Read the rest

Kennewick Man Can Be Studied *

Feb 6th, 2004 | Filed by

Federal appeals court rules: skeleton should be released for study by archaeologists.… Read the rest

A Diabolical Liberty

Feb 6th, 2004 2:00 am | By

Yikes! Weird! Someone I don’t know and have never heard of – had a dream about me. Nothing icky, at least not that he said, but – still, an odd notion. Next thing you know I’ll be dreaming about C–n the Un——-le. He’ll be staring at me through a monocle and holding a copy of Swallows and Amazons.… Read the rest

Brief and to the Point

Feb 5th, 2004 8:40 pm | By

Thought for the day. I like to give you a good eloquent quotation now and then – actually had I but world enough and time I would do it more often than that, several times a day probably, because I’m always running into sentences that just seem to distill a lot into that one small frame. I just read this one in Meera Nanda’s new book (which of course you should all read):

Intellectuals, whose job it is to agitate and educate on behalf of universal and humane values, began to see the protection of traditions from the onslaught of modernity as more important than combating the tyranny of traditions on social relations.

See what I mean? That sums up … Read the rest