All entries by this author

Not Worth Doing? Not Worth Doing Well *

Jun 27th, 2004 | Filed by

Daniel Dennett on chmess and the wilting of 995 flowers.… Read the rest

Horrible Prediction *

Jun 27th, 2004 | Filed by

‘Ten or fifteen years from now, appeals to religious Americans will be an accepted part of liberal politics.’… Read the rest

Vetting of Government Scientists on WHO Panels *

Jun 27th, 2004 | Filed by

Science is supposed to be an open process, not a government-approved one.… Read the rest

Astronomer Martin Rees Considers the Future *

Jun 27th, 2004 | Filed by

Our Final Century says we are on thin ice.… Read the rest

How the Brain Makes the Mind *

Jun 26th, 2004 | Filed by

William Calvin Review Soul Made Flesh and The Birth of the Mind.… Read the rest

Bush Protects Sugar Biz From Health Nuts *

Jun 26th, 2004 | Filed by

Sugar doesn’t make people fat, science makes people fat!… Read the rest

New Limits on Government Scientists *

Jun 26th, 2004 | Filed by

Experts now need approval before consulting with WHO.… Read the rest

Chris Mooney on an Under-reported Issue *

Jun 26th, 2004 | Filed by

Bush administration interferes between WHO and government scientists.… Read the rest

The Respect Coalition – Reactionaries in Progressive Clothing?

Jun 26th, 2004 | By Phil Doré

The European and local elections of June 2004 saw the emergence of a new political party in the United Kingdom; called Respect, it presented itself as a new force in British politics, driving a progressive agenda. However, there are contradictions within this agenda, and in its practices, which threaten to turn it into a reactionary party rather than a progressive one.

Respect, or to give it its full title, Respect – The Unity Coalition, was formed on the 1st February 2004. It was set up both to replace the Socialist Alliance (although it was stated that Respect’s position was not explicitly socialist), and also to transform the Stop the War Coalition into a political party – thus taking protest against … Read the rest

Piling On

Jun 25th, 2004 8:39 pm | By

Poor old Theory. It’s getting attacked from all directions these days. (Hurrah! Oh that’s not kind. But hurrah!) We read Dawkins on the subject a couple of days ago, and yesterday saw that Theorists were almost absent from Prospect’s List of Top Intellectuals, and now here’s the Australian and the New Statesman joining in. (Hurrah!) Poor Theory, how sad. (Good for us though. Perfect timing for dear Dictionary of Fashionable Bollocks, eh.)

Both articles are really quite scathing. (Hurrah! Now stop that at once or I’ll take the keyboard away and send you outside to play.) Really quite unmealymouthed.

Drat. Between the time I linked to the NS article in News, and now, the NS has (I guess) stuck the … Read the rest

Overcooked Prose and Underdone Graduates *

Jun 25th, 2004 | Filed by

‘…once theory poured into the academy, it set like concrete.’… Read the rest

Infantile Leftism, all Gestures and Outrage *

Jun 25th, 2004 | Filed by

‘Foucault was not just wrong; he erased any possibility for proving himself to be right.’… Read the rest

Yet Another Love Letter to James Wood *

Jun 25th, 2004 | Filed by

‘…not the bitter pill of theory, that cocktail of mixed motives and obfuscation practiced in the academy.’… Read the rest

Where are the Rock Stars?

Jun 24th, 2004 9:16 pm | By

Lists are always good fun. Top ten this, favourite fifty that, best one hundred the other. A few years ago when a US publisher issued a list of the best 100 English-language novels of the past century, there was quite a frenzy of discussion and disagreement. We all had quite a good time shrieking at one another ‘Tobacco Road?!? Are they kidding??’ Then a few weeks or months later there was a piece in the NY Times Book Review (I think) by A S Byatt (one of the judges) who pointed out how limited the pool of books was they had to choose from, and how further limited their choices were by the rules of the judging. The upshot … Read the rest

Theism Mandatory for Kerry, David Brooks Says *

Jun 24th, 2004 | Filed by

Doesn’t have to be a saint, but does have to be ‘engaged in a personal voyage toward God.’… Read the rest

Hitchens is Mildly Critical of Michael Moore *

Jun 24th, 2004 | Filed by

Yes, movies need a POV, but they don’t need to omit disconfirming material and throw in any old rubbish.… Read the rest

The Actual List Itself This Time *

Jun 24th, 2004 | Filed by

Vote for the top five, and add one.… Read the rest

Presentism Defended: Part 2

Jun 24th, 2004 | By Christopher Orlet

John Milton, who in his Paradise Lost selflessly gave the world the image of hell as a lake of fire, was also the 17th century’s greatest proponent of freedom of speech: as long as you were a Puritan (like Milton) or an Anglican (like the king) you should be able to say anything you like–as long as you did not attack Puritanism or the Anglican Church. Catholics, on the other hand, were but the puppets of a Satanic pope, disloyal British subjects who therefore should be allowed no such rights. John Locke, another Puritan and one who greatly influenced the founders of the American republic, held similar views.

This is all mildly interesting from an historical point of view, but … Read the rest

Delicate Regard

Jun 23rd, 2004 10:35 pm | By

This is a brief but interesting interview with Richard Dawkins. (My colleague did a longer and of course much more thrilling one which is included in What Philosophers Think.) For one thing, he talks about a subject we too are interested in, as you may possibly have noticed. He answers the very odd question ‘Another of your pet peeves is Post-Modernist scholarship, and you satirize a few writers from this school in your book, A Devil’s Chaplain. Isn’t your problem with these academics simply that they are poor writers?’

I don’t think they are poor [writers] at all. They are dominant alpha males in the academic jungle and, in some cases, are ruining the careers of honest scholars

Read the rest

David Herman on The List *

Jun 23rd, 2004 | Filed by

‘Youth culture is another striking absence.’ What’s striking about it?… Read the rest