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Misunderstanding Richard Dawkins

Sep 1st, 2002 | By Jeremy Stangroom


Richard Dawkins’s The Selfish Gene is the kind of book
that changes the way that people look at the world. Its importance
is that it articulates a gene’s-eye view of evolution. According
to this view, all organisms, including human beings, are ‘survival
machines’ which have been ‘blindly programmed’ to preserve their
genes (see The Selfish Gene, p. v). Of course, extant
survival machines take a myriad of different forms – for example,
it is estimated that there are some three million different species
of insect alone – but they all have in common that they have been
built according to the instructions of successful genes; that
is, genes whose replicas in previous generations managed to get
themselves copied.

At … Read the rest

Science Wars: an interview with Alan Sokal

Aug 15th, 2002 | By Julian Baggini

Dennis Healey once compared a verbal attack by one of his parliamentary
colleagues to "being savaged by a dead sheep." I was reminded
of this remark when I met the physicist Alan Sokal, the man who,
along with mathematician Jean Bricmont, has caused outrage and indignation
among the French intelligentsia first with his spoof post-modern
article published in the journal Social Text, and then for
his and Bricmont’s book Intellectual Impostures, which
combines a catalogue of misuses of scientific terms by predominantly
French thinkers with a stinging attack on what they call "sloppy

Given this history, you’d expect Sokal to be more lupine than lamb-like,
but in fact, he is a friendly, chatty, effusive figure more interested… Read the rest

Lay Sceptic’s Travels on Planet Energy

Aug 14th, 2002 | By Elina Rigler

Recently I have been feeling like a visitor on an alien planet: ordinary people
around me have started to communicate in a new, esoteric language. Let’s call
it Energyspeak. It uses the same vocabulary as Oldspeak (my native language),
but many of its words have been stripped of their usual meanings. Its speakers
also seem to inhabit a radically different metaphysical universe. They inform
me that there is a bioenergetic field flowing through and around us; and that
disturbances in it have dire consequences for our health. Those fluent in Energyspeak
pay regular visits to energy therapists (acupuncturists; homeopaths; reflexologists;
reiki healers) who are able to treat all kinds of physical and emotional problems
by correcting energy imbalances. I myself … Read the rest

Interrogations Archive

Apr 12th, 2002 | By Editor


High and Outside

A Local Habitation and a Name

Behind the Mask

On Difference

Reality Check

What Have We Here?

Pay Attention

In Memoriam

The Way We Live Now

The Right Tools

Tap Tap

Desert Island Dreams

Local Intelligence


Choosing Consciousness

Do I Wake or Sleep


Mystery, Drama, Surprise

Other Minds



Done and Not Done

Weave a Net to Catch the Wind

Mind the Gap

Sense and Sentimentality

Gustave and Dawn

Who’s In There?

Thinking Makes It So


Homo Quaerens

Perfection Isn’t

Self and InternetRead the rest