All entries by this author

Geneticists and the Deity *

Mar 23rd, 2003 | Filed by

So if this God knew about cystic fibrosis, why keep it a secret? And who defines ‘respectable theologians’?… Read the rest



Roxxof?? And That’s Not a Joke? *

Mar 23rd, 2003 | Filed by

Who says capitalism is daft! Targeting aphrodisiac alcoholic drinks at yoof – a brilliant idea! Add steroids and you’ve got perfection.… Read the rest



It Was a Joke *

Mar 23rd, 2003 | Filed by

New Orleans’ French Quarter won’t be re-named the Freedom Quarter after all.… Read the rest



Orwell on Iraq *

Mar 23rd, 2003 | Filed by

Bernard Crick ponders what Orwell might have thought of it all.… Read the rest



One Bit of Good News *

Mar 23rd, 2003 | Filed by

Anthony Julius’ new book will ‘make it impossible for art critics and curators ever again to utter the word ”transgressive” in a tone of unqualified admiration.’… Read the rest



Historian Ditches Hollywood *

Mar 22nd, 2003 | Filed by

Ian Kershaw severs ties with tv producers out of an eccentric concern for accuracy. … Read the rest



Solidarity and Group Think

Mar 21st, 2003 10:51 pm | By

This review by Alan Wolfe is an odd mix of insight and blindness, shrewdness and obtuseness.

Wolfe makes some good points about the inherent difficulties of trying to make a progressive politics out of consumer movements, and about the value of thinking big when writing about history.

For the past two or three decades, historians have been studiously thinking small…As important as social history has been, however, it has also been mind-numbingly narrow in its evocation of detail and in its reluctance to consider the larger meanings of its findings. But Cohen thinks big…One hopes that her book will stimulate her colleagues to take similar risks, even the risk of emulating historians of previous generations whose efforts at intellectual synthesis

Read the rest


Evolution and Information *

Mar 21st, 2003 | Filed by

‘I just can’t sit while people are saying nonsense in a meeting without saying it’s nonsense!’ Our kind of guy.… Read the rest



The Kurds are Pleased, At Least *

Mar 21st, 2003 | Filed by

Not surprising after three decades of persecution, Luke Harding says.… Read the rest



Prison for Female Genital Mutilation *

Mar 21st, 2003 | Filed by

Clwyd and Blunkett are clear: mutilating girls’ genitals is not a practice that can be justified by custom or on cultural or any other grounds.… Read the rest



The Rudest Man in Britain? *

Mar 20th, 2003 | Filed by

Surely not! I thought we had that title sewn up right here on B & W.… Read the rest



Rousseauish Myths About Baby Care *

Mar 20th, 2003 | Filed by

All nonsense, and part of a worshipful but patronizing view of indigenous cultures.… Read the rest



Hitchens on Naipaul, Fallaci and Others *

Mar 20th, 2003 | Filed by

Islam needs stringent criticism, he says, but not the kind Fallaci applies.… Read the rest



Teach me how to think, please!

Mar 19th, 2003 5:58 pm | By

I have found something useful for philosophers to do!

Surprising news indeed, but take a look at this paragraph from Helen Salmon, student representative for the Stop the War Coalition.

This is not a war for the liberation of the people of Iraq. The US and Britain were happy to back Saddam’s tyrannical regime, his gassing of the Kurds and his war against Iran until he invaded Kuwait. Nor is this a war against weapons of mass destruction. No evidence of such weapons has been found in Iraq, and no war has been threatened against North Korea, despite its possession of nuclear weapons.

Never in the field of writing about human confict, have so many bad argumentative moves … Read the rest



Consumption R Us? *

Mar 19th, 2003 | Filed by

A new history of consumption in the US breaks with one academic convention but adheres to another.… Read the rest



Good Idea *

Mar 18th, 2003 | Filed by

Bill in Parliament seeks to archive web pages for posterity. B & W will be immortal.… Read the rest



Oversimplifying Does Not Help *

Mar 18th, 2003 | Filed by

Bush bill of goods may be dodgy but so is Chirac Double Standards Emporium, says David Aaronovitch.… Read the rest



Philosophers – Shut Up Now!

Mar 17th, 2003 7:37 pm | By

What is it about philosophers that they can’t resist pontificating about things they know nothing about? The examples are legion. Mary Midgley and David Stove wittering on about Darwinism and selfish genes. Simon Blackburn and Mary Warnock making a mess even of amateur political commentary. And Roger Scruton demonstrating that there’s no start to what he knows about popular music.

And the latest example? Have a look at this from an article in Issue 22 of The Philosophers’ Magazine (a title which sounds vaguely familiar):

Subjects like sociology, psychology, religious studies and history, which adjoin philosophy, all require empirical support, which is interpreted within the lines of a largely unquestioned methodology. Philosophy is the only subject in which the basic … Read the rest



Education Gap *

Mar 17th, 2003 | Filed by

John Ogbu’s study suggests some painful reasons for the black-white gap in education. Critics say he downplays social factors.… Read the rest



Drought Finished the Maya *

Mar 17th, 2003 | Filed by

Droughts in 810, 860, 910 C.E. may be what ended the Mayan civilization, evidence suggests.… Read the rest