All entries by this author

Nazi Pseudoscience *

Aug 10th, 2003 | Filed by

Aryans in Tibet, Blavatsky’s tapestry of tosh, Himmler and the Venus of Willendorf.… Read the rest

Get Used To It *

Aug 10th, 2003 | Filed by

The time to adapt to weather extremes is now.… Read the rest

Global Hotting *

Aug 10th, 2003 | Filed by

It’s going to go on this way only worse, experts say, as UK swelters.… Read the rest

Bronte-Schlock *

Aug 9th, 2003 | Filed by

New BBC drama about the Brontes introduces new myths in place of the old.… Read the rest

The Places Where Science Needs Interpretation *

Aug 9th, 2003 | Filed by

Philosophers need to know the relevant scientific facts, and scientists need to know the history of philosophy, Simon Blackburn points out.… Read the rest

Translation 2

Aug 9th, 2003 2:13 am | By

Another thing irrationalists like to do is translate. Well I suppose all arguers translate, but irrationalists are especially fond of doing it. But then that’s not surprising, is it. Irrationalists are woolly by definition, so naturally they think one word is as good as another, vague approximations of meaning will do well enough, clarity is not necessary between friends.

One translation that’s especially popular – I may even have droned about this in a N&C before, I don’t remember, it certainly comes up a lot – is from evidence to proof. They seem to think the words are interchangeable – only they never say evidence instead of proof, no, it’s always the other way around. I suppose they have themselves … Read the rest

Let’s Redefine Evidence, Shall We?

Aug 8th, 2003 8:31 pm | By

Well to be sure it is a waste of time arguing with irrationalists, but on the other hand I did find out something I’ve been wanting to know, which is what they mean when they say that rationalists and atheists define evidence too narrowly. That seems to be a fashionable thing to say, I keep hearing it and seeing it, but the discussion always seems to go off in another direction before I can pin down what they mean by it. But this time after I asked about fifteen times, the irrationalist (who claims to have a PhD in cognitive science, which I hope is a bit of Walter Mittyism) finally said what he meant: ‘In terms of “evidence”… it … Read the rest

Nuremberg Documents Online *

Aug 8th, 2003 | Filed by

Harvard makes its collection of documents from the Nuremberg trials available.… Read the rest

A Public Relations Ploy? *

Aug 8th, 2003 | Filed by

Can corporate social responsibility be compatible with selling tobacco?… Read the rest

Are Kites Dangerous or Un-Islamic? *

Aug 8th, 2003 | Filed by

Why do Lahore kite-flyers add ground glass to the strings?… Read the rest

Which Freedom? *

Aug 8th, 2003 | Filed by

Anatol Lieven looks at the opacity of a concept many Americans take to be transparent.… Read the rest

Poetry for the Hip *

Aug 8th, 2003 | Filed by

‘…less a need to communicate than a need to afflict.’… Read the rest

Derrida and the WTO

Aug 7th, 2003 9:20 pm | By

Now, hang on. Surely one doesn’t have to be a postmodernist to have some doubts about the WTO. Well no, one doesn’t, because I do and I’m not. QED. But there seems to be some confusion on the matter.

This week in Montreal, there was an anti-globalization riot in which windows were broken in protest against a World Trade Organization (WTO) meeting. But the Habermas-Derrida declaration praises the WTO and even the International Monetary Fund as part of Weltinnenpolitik…Yet it is not much of a stretch to claim the young anti-globalists as disciples of postmodernism and Derrida, who has hitherto been a foe of “logocentrism” (putting reason at the centre), “phallologocentrism” (reason is an erect male organ and, as such,

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Wasting One’s Breath

Aug 7th, 2003 8:31 pm | By

What a chump I am. I’ve frittered away a lot of time and energy on a discussion board, arguing with someone who disagrees with my ‘Science and Religion’ In Focus article but can’t come up with a convincing argument. Sigh. Same old bollocks. Atheism is a belief, theism and atheism are exact equivalents, you’re defining evidence too narrowly, I can’t prove god is there just as I can’t prove I love someone, blah blah blah. Can’t they do better than that? Well no, of course they can’t, that’s the whole point. Can’t come up with better arguments and can’t see how lame their own are, apparently. Right, I’ll just give us a quotation or two by way of refreshment.


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Hey, Slow Down! *

Aug 7th, 2003 | Filed by

More research on global warming is needed, say oil executives and their friends.… Read the rest

Is Martin Amis Becoming an Old Bullshitter? *

Aug 7th, 2003 | Filed by

‘Yellow Dog isn’t bad as in not very good or slightly disappointing. It’s not-knowing-where-to-look bad.’… Read the rest

Grammar School

Aug 6th, 2003 7:53 pm | By

I find this article very interesting, in a slightly queasy and guilty way. Queasy and guilty for a few reasons – one of which is that I’m not very keen to agree with Roger Scruton about anything. But then I promptly feel queasy about that thought, too, because it’s the basic principle of B and W that facts (and where possible ideas and opinions) should be judged on their merits rather than by association or ideological affiliation. That is to say, I’m almost obliged to acknowledge that a conservative isn’t automatically wrong about everything. But then will I end up agreeing with Rush Limbaugh about something? Oh please no –

Well, we all know the feeling, I suppose. Our Shanghai … Read the rest

How’s That Again? *

Aug 6th, 2003 | Filed by

A professor of Moral Theology at Rome’s Pontifical University of the Holy Cross ‘clarifies’ the Vatican’s statement against homosexual unions.… Read the rest

Changes to Maths A Levels *

Aug 6th, 2003 | Filed by

Fewer options in applied maths, but still not an easy course, chief executive says.… Read the rest

The Tension Between Egalitarianism and Learning *

Aug 6th, 2003 | Filed by

Roger Scruton tells some painful truths about the costs of egalitarianism.… Read the rest