All entries by this author

Elephants, Foxes and Pigs

Sep 19th, 2004 8:22 pm | By

The discussion continues to continue. Norm has more, so does Harry, so does David T. Plus I had a long talk with Polly Toynbee on the phone earlier. No I didn’t, that’s just one of my jokes. (Or irony? No, just a joke. I don’t know from irony.) There’s quite a lot of agreement this time around. This from Harry’s –

For what it is worth I am not a supporter or defender of fox hunting nor am I opposed to a ban. I accept Ophelia Benson’s criticism of Polly Toynbee’s phrase “Liberals should always be wary of banning people from doing as they like”. There clearly need to be some qualifications added to such a statement

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You’ll Never Ever Guess in a Million Years

Sep 19th, 2004 6:19 pm | By

Maybe I should do one before anyone else does.

I was just thinking, while staring out the window in a daze and scratching, that books are one thing and people are another. How about that.

People don’t like science. What’s up with that?

Multiculturalism – hmm – one sees the point, and yet.

I’ve been reading this book. Here are some quotations from it.

Here are some more quotations from that book I’ve been reading.

Richard Dawkins rocks.

I’ve read another book. Here are some quotations from it.

Here are some more quotations from aforementioned book. Aren’t you thrilled?

People say silly things sometimes. Here’s an example. Here’s why it’s silly. I never say silly things.

I agree with my … Read the rest

Matt Ridley Reviews Richard Dawkins *

Sep 19th, 2004 | Filed by

A philosopher of evolutionary process, explaining bodies as vehicles for propagation of genes.… Read the rest

Banned in Lebanon *

Sep 19th, 2004 | Filed by

Catholic leaders call Da Vinci Code offensive to Christians, so it’s off shelves.… Read the rest

Holy War Against the Infidel, love, Taliban *

Sep 19th, 2004 | Filed by

Taliban leaves ‘night letters’ to intimidate voters.… Read the rest

But What Do They Like?

Sep 19th, 2004 1:42 am | By

Ah. That’s reassuring. Perhaps I’m not so confused after all, since Norm makes a similar point. Not an identical point, because he doesn’t focus on the Toynbee column, he merely mentions it; but a similar one. The basic disagreement with what she said and with what Harry said at his place I take to be the same.

Harry endorses a piece by Polly Toynbee in which she belittles the importance of the fox hunting issue relative to the ‘things that really matter’, like social injustice. In response to which I offer the following.

(1) One should care about the suffering of other sentient beings. Indifference to the suffering of others is part of the definition of cruelty.

(2) Putting

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Guess that Blog!

Sep 18th, 2004 9:12 pm | By

First off, a personal message: stop reading now Fryslan, you’re not going to like this.

I realise that there is nothing people like more than a game (except maybe chocolate); so here’s the first in a new regular spot on the B&W blog (I hate that word).

Guess that Blog

All you’ve got to do to win – and the person who gets the most right at the end of the series will win a copy of The Dictionary of Fashionable Nonsense – is to guess, on the basis of the (imaginary) subject titles below, which blog I’m talking about. Answers on a postcard; or using the comments facility below.

Here we go:

1. Republicans are fascists.

2. Bush stole … Read the rest

Eco Against Occultism and Fundamentalisms *

Sep 18th, 2004 | Filed by

Science progresses by correcting itself and admitting its own mistakes.… Read the rest

Alexander Chancellor on Andrew Marr *

Sep 18th, 2004 | Filed by

Marr admires responsible journalism – the conscientious and honest reporting of facts. … Read the rest

Liberty Hall

Sep 18th, 2004 3:28 am | By

I’m confused – I must be, because I really don’t understand this at all. I usually like Polly Toynbee (not that I read everything she writes), but this seems to me to be a very odd thing to say:

The countrysiders in the Lords will oppose the hunting bill again, but others will oppose it for good liberal reasons – proving the need for a second chamber. Liberals should always be wary of banning people from doing as they like. There needs to be an overwhelming case for the serious harm done: hunting just doesn’t meet that criteria (killing a few foxes is not more cruel than battery farming).

Wait – what? ‘Liberals should always be wary of banning people … Read the rest

Books and Personalities

Sep 17th, 2004 8:27 pm | By

I was thinking earlier this morning in an idle moment – well not altogether idle, because I was looking out the window, because it was one of those staggeringly beautiful autumnal mornings when it has partly cleared up after rain and clouds and the air is bright and clear and hard like diamonds or ginger ale or I don’t know what, and the sun is at just the right angle so that it makes the windows on the boats in the marina wink and twinkle which they certainly don’t do most of the time, and the light and shadows on the water and the peninsula look much more light and shadow-like than usual – one of those mornings. I was … Read the rest

The Intellectual Content of a Fortune Cookie *

Sep 17th, 2004 | Filed by

Rorschach, MMPI, Myers-Briggs – ‘personality’ tests are pseudoscientific, intrusive, or both.… Read the rest

Serbia’s Education Minister Quits *

Sep 17th, 2004 | Filed by

Her claim that Darwin’s theory was as ‘dogmatic’ as creationism did not go down well.… Read the rest

Books, Humanists, Productivity, Glut *

Sep 16th, 2004 | Filed by

Nonconformity is good, but people should act normal.… Read the rest

The Lopez Affair, Shakespeare, and Shylock *

Sep 16th, 2004 | Filed by

Shakespeare did something that Marlowe never chose to do.… Read the rest

Who Says Murky Ideas Don’t Matter? *

Sep 16th, 2004 | Filed by

Sovereignty is a mongrel: born in “divine right” theology, incoherent, ambiguous, dangerous.… Read the rest

Eye Row Knee

Sep 15th, 2004 9:44 pm | By

On a lighter note. (Lighter than what? What could be lighter than Andrew Ross? Okay not lighter then, just different.) I have a staggering piece of news for everyone. Are you sitting down? Because this is a real shocker, and so new and fresh and unfamiliar – you just can’t think how new. Ready? Okay here it is.

Americans don’t get irony.

You didn’t know that, did you. You’ve never ever heard that before, have you. That’s not a stupid boring worn-out stale dull flat endlessly-recycled tedious cliché, is it! No indeed. No, you only hear that some three times in every BBC arts programme, that’s all.

I do beg your pardon. How unbecoming. And unironic. But there it … Read the rest

The Dark Side of Democracy *

Sep 15th, 2004 | Filed by

Nation-statism and ethnic cleansing intertwine to make spread of democracy problematic.… Read the rest

Missing Quotation Marks Again *

Sep 15th, 2004 | Filed by

Urgent deadline, assistants, accidental deletions, embarrassment all around.… Read the rest

Pro-hunt Protesters Storm House of Commons *

Sep 15th, 2004 | Filed by

Parliament suspended after five protesters stormed Commons chamber.… Read the rest