All entries by this author

Bioterrorism fears and censorship *

Feb 17th, 2003 | Filed by

Should sensitive biological information be withheld if it might be used by bioterrorists?… Read the rest

Rodent Studies *

Feb 17th, 2003 | Filed by

Education is about making more money so vocational training is the way to go so media studies should be fine but then what did Hodge mean by ‘Mickey Mouse’? It’s all so confusing.… Read the rest

All Hitler All the Time *

Feb 17th, 2003 | Filed by

Students at UK secondary schools are being given too much Hitler and too little of all the rest of history.… Read the rest

Chaplains and Evangelists

Feb 16th, 2003 8:28 pm | By

So, we’re agreed then. Comfort and safety and enjoyment are not what’s needed, not unless one is ill or injured or a refugee from a war zone. We need our gadflies and lecturers and correctors and reformers, our troublers of the peace. We need our evangelists.

The Guardian has a review of Richard Dawkins’ new book, A Devil’s Chaplain, today. The reviewer (who, a correspondent tells me, used to be the bishop of Edinburgh) makes an interesting distinction between Darwin’s ‘classically Anglican’ atheism and the classically Evangelical variety Dawkins goes in for.

A friend of mine once remarked that he liked Anglicanism, because it didn’t interfere with your religion or politics, whereas Evangelicalism couldn’t leave anyone alone and meddled

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New Scientist Reviews Dawkins *

Feb 16th, 2003 | Filed by

A brief review of A Devil’s Chaplain.… Read the rest

Annoyingly Snide Interview With Dawkins *

Feb 16th, 2003 | Filed by

All the dreary old accusations trotted out: he’s aggressive, intolerant, cold. Why? Because he doesn’t suck up to religion, apparently.… Read the rest

Not an Anglican but an Evangelical *

Feb 16th, 2003 | Filed by

Richard Dawkins wants to share the good news, and expose fraudulence in the process.… Read the rest

Thorns, Ice, Danger

Feb 15th, 2003 7:44 pm | By

The article by Harvey Mansfield we linked to in today’s News section examines a number of ways students are coddled or spoiled or pampered at Mansfield’s Harvard, coddled rather than being challenged and stretched as he thinks they ought to be and as, surely, is the whole point of education. If we are all perfectly all right just as we are, what do we need education for at all? Decoration? A status symbol, a positional good, bragging rights? A pretext for playing football or getting drunk? An expensive way to postpone getting a job?

The article is accompanied by a colloquy which offers some hair-raising personal testimony on the subject.

A questionnaire I gave students in every class to test

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Spoiling Students *

Feb 15th, 2003 | Filed by

Self-esteem, student evaluations, therapy-mindedness, all lead to pleasing students rather than inspiring them.… Read the rest

Bogus Signatures *

Feb 15th, 2003 | Filed by

One author forged the signatures of seven co-authors: not good practice, even if the research is correct.… Read the rest

Sue the Teacher!

Feb 14th, 2003 7:08 pm | By

Education. It keeps coming back to that, doesn’t it. Especially education in the broadest sense, which emphatically includes self-education and education as an intrinsic good, along with institutional and instrumental education. Education, especially the institutional variety, can be where one gets infected with fashionable nonsense, but education, especially the intrinsic good variety, is also the way to inoculate against it, and the way to cure it once infected.

We posted a link a couple of weeks ago to a story about Michael Dini, a Texas biology professor who is being investigated by the US Justice Department for refusing to write recommendation letters for students who cannot affirm a scientific answer to the question of how the human species originated. Now … Read the rest

Texas Professor and Evolution *

Feb 14th, 2003 | Filed by

A university education is not supposed to confirm pre-existing ideas.… Read the rest

Your Restriction is Their Freedom

Feb 13th, 2003 7:54 pm | By

This is a bottomlessly depressing story, which resonates with several other stories we’ve linked to over the past few months. This one about students who made death threats against a teacher being temporarily re-admitted to the school, for example, and this one from only three days ago, which reports that the Welsh teachers’ union is calling for new legislation after a student who actually did shoot a teacher, albeit with a ‘toy’ gun, was also readmitted. In the Welsh case, as the Guardian reported, ‘Headteacher Dr Michael Norton permanently excluded the pupil after the incident and was quickly backed up by his board of governors. But the boy’s parents appealed to an independent panel, which overturned the school’s decision … Read the rest

Teachers as Cops *

Feb 13th, 2003 | Filed by

Who has time to teach when school is a war zone?… Read the rest

Politics and Darwinism *

Feb 13th, 2003 | Filed by

Melvin Konner reviews The Blank Slate and Darwinian Politics.… Read the rest

Something else for Greenpeace to get confused about? *

Feb 13th, 2003 | Filed by

Nanotechnology could become the new genetically modified food (kind of), say report authors.… Read the rest


Feb 12th, 2003 6:01 pm | By

There is an argument in progress about America-hating among American academics. We’ve linked to a number of entries in this argument ourselves in the last couple of weeks. There is for instance Daphne Patai’s article in the Chronicle of Higher Education on accusations of attempted stifling of free speech by two Web sites, Campus Watch and No Indoctrination. There is Alan Wolfe’s review of several ‘American studies’ books in The New Republic. And today there is an article by Dave Johnson on the History News Network which examines the funding of conservative commentators and think tanks, including the above-mentioned Campus Watch. Johnson cites an article by Eric Foner and Glenda Gilmore also on History News Network, an article which does … Read the rest

Does Freedom Evolve? *

Feb 12th, 2003 | Filed by

Is human agency the product of nature, or of history and politics?… Read the rest

What a Good Idea! *

Feb 12th, 2003 | Filed by

Simon Blackburn, Richard Dawkins and others call for Darwin Day. … Read the rest

Who Is Paying? *

Feb 12th, 2003 | Filed by

Is conservative funding more focussed and coherent than the other kind? If so, why?… Read the rest