All entries by this author

Gloomy Reality *

Apr 12th, 2003 | Filed by

Azar Nafisi and her students escaped the ‘relentless fictions’ of the mullahs by reading Lolita.… Read the rest



Tom Paulin on Hazlitt *

Apr 11th, 2003 | Filed by

Paulin considers the mystery of Hazlitt’s neglect.… Read the rest



Recognition for Hazlitt *

Apr 11th, 2003 | Filed by

The brilliant, radical, nonsense-teasing essayist gets a little overdue grave-tidying.… Read the rest



Abstract, Imaginative Thinking

Apr 10th, 2003 7:24 pm | By

It is not very astonishing, but it is nonetheless highly unfortunate, that science is under attack, given an incurious, narrow, semi-educated, fundamentalist god-botherer in the White House. Some of the battlegrounds in that attack are discussed in this article in The Guardian, which points out the rhetorical skill with which the anti-science moves are dressed up in ‘scientific’ clothes.

…these aren’t the old wars of science versus religion. The new assaults on the conventional wisdom frame themselves, without exception, as scientific theories, no less deserving of a hearing than any other. Proponents of ID – using a strategy previously unheard of among anti-Darwinists – grant almost all the premises of evolution (the idea that species develop; that the world wasn’t

Read the rest


MEPs Vote Against Stem Cell Research *

Apr 10th, 2003 | Filed by

Christian Conservatives set agenda in European stem cell research debate.… Read the rest



Internet Porn, Unfettered Access, Harassment *

Apr 10th, 2003 | Filed by

Librarians file suit over threatening behavior by porn viewers and library policy of non-interference.… Read the rest



No to Misuse of Genetic Tests *

Apr 10th, 2003 | Filed by

UK government advisors recommend strict control of genetic testing.… Read the rest



American Science Under Threat *

Apr 10th, 2003 | Filed by

How US science is in trouble on a number of fronts, because of religious pressures from the Bush administration.… Read the rest



Nonsense About ‘Partisan Bickering’ *

Apr 9th, 2003 | Filed by

The US Right is proud to be partisan, the Left (what there is of it) is keen to roll over and die.… Read the rest



Culture Clash *

Apr 9th, 2003 | Filed by

A commitment to gender equality is an indicator of commitment to egalitarianism and tolerance overall.… Read the rest



Napoleon is Almost at the Gates *

Apr 8th, 2003 | Filed by

Franco-phobia and the long-standing joke about the leftist bias of the US media.… Read the rest



Feelings, Nothing More Than Feelings

Apr 7th, 2003 6:25 pm | By

This is an interesting but irritating essay in the Guardian. It takes a look at the question of what books ‘everyone’ should have read by age eighteen or twenty, and also at the teaching and study of English literature at the secondary school level. It contains some peculiar albeit doubtless popular ideas about what literature is, what kind of people like it and why, what it tells us and does for us.

English is perceived as a “girly subject” and it struck me that the essence of the subject lies in being honest about your feelings – your personal response to texts. As Kate in the upper sixth says, it is about “empathy”…For me, this explained a great deal about

Read the rest


Is Literature a Girly Subject? *

Apr 7th, 2003 | Filed by

Is it about ‘being honest about your feelings’? What should secondary school students read?… Read the rest



Which is Pollyanna, Which is Jeremiah? *

Apr 7th, 2003 | Filed by

Complacency about the status quo can be at least as dangerous as optimism about new technology, Matt Ridley argues.… Read the rest



Geeks Can Be Altruistic Too *

Apr 7th, 2003 | Filed by

They’re not all Ayn Randian Cyberselfish stock option millionaires, some are underpaid, overworked human rights researchers.… Read the rest



Greenhouse gases in the middle ages? *

Apr 7th, 2003 | Filed by

Perhaps global warming isn’t only a modern phenomenon…… Read the rest



Don’t Bury the Bones

Apr 7th, 2003 | By Tiffany Jenkins

A committee has met behind closed doors in London over the last two years to
decide the future of old bones in British cultural and scientific institutions.
Their deliberations and decision will have consequences for all of us. The skeletons
in the closets could tell us about history, humanity and our health, if only
we would let them.


There is a growing feeling amongst many in the museum profession that
old human remains should be returned to where they were originally found. Tony
Blair raised the issue of repatriation in 2000 when he agreed to increase efforts
to send back remains from Australian indigenous communities. The Department
for Culture Media and Sport subsequently set up a working group to examine … Read the rest



Those Endless Twin Studies *

Apr 6th, 2003 | Filed by

Exactly how much do genes determine? Natalie Angier says nobody knows yet.… Read the rest



‘The Hook-handed Cleric’ *

Apr 6th, 2003 | Filed by

Is it hysteria, or caution born of experience, that prompts fears about ‘radical Muslim clerics’?… Read the rest



Interview with Azar Nafisi *

Apr 5th, 2003 | Filed by

Female genital mutilation, oppression in general, should not be brushed off as someone’s ‘culture’, Iranian teacher in exile says.… Read the rest