Fumblings in the Dark

A thought for the day or two.

Sam Harris doing a spot of the ever-popular ‘religion-bashing’:

It is worth noting that no one ever needs to identify himself as a non-astrologer or a non-alchemist.

Ben Goldacre getting cross with pseudoscientific burbling:

I’m waiting to be very impressed by any kid who can stimulate his carotid arteries inside his ribcage, but it’s going to involve dissection with the sharp scissors that only mummy can use…Children listen to what you tell them: that’s the point of being a child, that’s the reason why you don’t come out fully-formed, speaking English with a favourite album…I’ve just kicked the Brain Gym Teacher’s Edition around the room for two minutes and I’m feeling minty fresh.

Ben Goldacre a week later getting cross with mindless reactions to his strictures on pseudoscientific burbling:

Nothing prepared me for the outpouring of jaw-dropping stupidity that vomited forth from teachers when I wrote about Brain Gym last week. To recap: Brain Gym is an incredibly popular technique, in at least hundreds of British state schools, promoted all over government websites, and with a scientific explanatory framework that is barkingly out to lunch…So I attacked the stupid underlying science of Brain Gym – I even said I actively agree with exercise breaks – and in return I got a whole load of angry, abusive emails from teachers defending exercise breaks.

And for dessert, one that Chris Whiley sent me last month:

From Diderot, lifted from Philipp Blom’s ‘Encyclopedie’; “Wandering in a vast forest at night, I have only a faint light to guide me. A stranger appears and says to me: ‘My friend, you should blow out your candle in order to find your way more clearly’. This stranger is a theologian.”

Blow out your candle, stimulate your carotid arteries by massaging your rib cage, and have a nice day.

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