Flashback

Fashionable nonsense has been with us since the time that prehistoric man first transcribed Of Grammatology on to the walls of the Lascaux caves. Here we cast an eye back at some historical highlights.


Polly Toynbee on Religious Hatred Laws *

Apr 10th, 2010 | Filed by

Confusing religion and race is a clever trap the religious have laid for a worried government rightly anxious about race. … Read the rest



The Great Convergence *

Apr 10th, 2010 | Filed by

Beware of neo-Deistic pseudoreligion.… Read the rest



Hitchens on Contrarianism *

Apr 10th, 2010 | Filed by

‘Among his many weapons are a forensic curiosity, a vast learning, a savage wit, a commanding intellect, an international perspective and a moral authority that is built on something sturdier than cheap moralising.’… Read the rest



NAGPRA and the Demon-haunted World *

Apr 10th, 2010 | Filed by

NAGPRA proceeds from an antievolutionary perspective grounded in fundamentalist religious belief.… Read the rest



Katha Pollitt on Multiculturalism and Women. *

Apr 10th, 2010 | Filed by

‘A Russian, an Italian, could not justify beating his wife to death by referring to the customs of dear old Moscow or Calabria’… Read the rest



Scott McLemee on Orwell *

Apr 10th, 2010 | Filed by

Prose as a window-pane opens onto a reality that is solidly and visibly ‘out there.’… Read the rest



Urvashi Butalia on ‘honour’ killing. *

Apr 10th, 2010 | Filed by

Women’s groups demand that murderers be treated according to laws of the land and not be allowed to find shelter behind the curtain of ‘culture’. … Read the rest



Richard Dawkins’ review of Not in Our Genes *

Apr 10th, 2010 | Filed by

In their ‘paranoiac and demonological theology of science’ Lewontin, Kamin and Rose fire both barrels with equal monotony and imprecision: ‘determinism’ and ‘reductionism’. But the gallant little fire brigade has perpetrated a fatuous little book.… Read the rest



Paul Boghossian on the Sokal Hoax. *

Apr 10th, 2010 | Filed by

‘To concede that no one ever believes something solely because it’s true is not to deny that anything is objectively true.’… Read the rest



Dwight Macdonald *

Apr 10th, 2010 | Filed by

‘…all but a fraction of his own writing molders unattended in America’s used bookstores. Like the New York Intellectuals with whom he was associated…he is referenced more often than read, a sad fate for a critic who wrote so much, so well and with such wit and insight.’… Read the rest



So Sylvia Plath was a Poet? *

Apr 10th, 2010 | Filed by

‘Death and marriage may have fed and fuelled her writing, but – posthumously at least – they cramp her style.’… Read the rest



Norman Geras on Minimum Utopia *

Apr 10th, 2010 | Filed by

The facts of widespread human privation and those of political oppression and atrocity are available to all who want them.… Read the rest



Why Lit-crits want economists to sound more like lit-crits. *

Apr 10th, 2010 | Filed by

Paul Krugman draws an interesting parallel with Stephen Jay Gould.… Read the rest



Byatt Reviews Browne’s Darwin Biography *

Apr 10th, 2010 | Filed by

‘There has been a tendency among Marxist, or marxisant, critics of Darwin, and social Darwinism, to criticise, or ridicule, the theory as a simple product of the society in which it was developed.’… Read the rest



Yale as a Place Where Language Goes to Die *

Apr 10th, 2010 | Filed by

Helena Echlin on the misery of being a PhD candidate in English and American literature at Yale. She has to stifle her urge to write ‘eh?’ in the margins, discovers that obfuscation is de rigeur, and that people who talk nonsense are now looked upon not as sloppy thinkers, but as sages.… Read the rest



Dawkins on Maynard Smith *

Apr 10th, 2010 | Filed by

‘John does know more mathematics, more physics and more engineering than the average biologist. But he also knows more biology than the average biologist.’… Read the rest



Lies, Self-Deception and Magical Thinking *

Apr 10th, 2010 | Filed by

Psychoanalysis was never, despite Freud’s ‘positivist rhetoric,’ a science; it was a ‘purely speculative enterprise,’ argues Mikkel Borch-Jacobsen.… Read the rest



Raymond Tallis on Sokal & Bricmont. *

Apr 10th, 2010 | Filed by

‘The protection built into Theory…is composed of layer on layer of ignorance.’… Read the rest



Research psychology or psychotherapy. *

Apr 10th, 2010 | Filed by

‘…many of the widely accepted claims promulgated by therapists are based on subjective clinical opinions and have been resoundingly disproved by empirical research conducted by psychological scientists.’… Read the rest



Frank Furedi on Paranoid Parents *

Apr 10th, 2010 | Filed by

The world is a jungle, barely one child in a hundred escapes being murdered! Or so you would think.… Read the rest