All entries by this author

Saving the Seed or Saving Romantic Assumptions

Apr 19th, 2004 | By Thomas R. DeGregori

Modern agriculture is increasingly being used as an all encompassing category of evil by critics of globalization and transgenic (genetically modified) food crops, and by street protestors and their mentors and organizers. Implicit in the protest rhetoric is a dichotomy between modern agronomy (assumed to be large corporate enterprises either farming or selling to farmers) and small self-sufficient farmers, who replant their own seeds from year-to-year and have little or no reliance on the market for inputs.

The difference between the two presumed types of agriculture could not be more stark in the minds of the believers. The enemy is the monopolistic seed corporations and industrial farms that are mechanized, use purchased inputs including synthetic fertilizers and chemical pesticides, and … Read the rest

Bound Together

Apr 18th, 2004 8:47 pm | By

There was a slightly bizarre article about ‘elitism’ and popular culture in the New York Times a couple of days ago. At least I thought it was bizarre, but I don’t know, maybe it’s not, maybe I’m the one who’s bizarre. Or elitist. Or both.

Elitist pop-culture critics must, in the end, be mindful of what large numbers of people actually see and read and listen to. Because the underlying mythology of pop culture is still the idea that the approval of large numbers of people validates that culture and the society that produces it. If something is truly loved by millions of people, it has touched those people, has tapped into some stream of universality that indicates a life

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Secular Group Wins Tax-Exempt Status *

Apr 18th, 2004 | Filed by

In Canada, where the House of Commons starts every day with a prayer.… Read the rest

Elitist Pop Culture Critics *

Apr 18th, 2004 | Filed by

If we all watch the same thing, no matter how bad it is, that’s a bonding experience.… Read the rest


Apr 17th, 2004 9:26 pm | By

Time for another omnium gatherum, because I have a lot of little items, with not much to say about them, and no single larger item with a lot to say about. At least I think that’s what I have, though sometimes I discover when I start typing that I have more to say than I thought. Isn’t that always the way. Blather blather. Just ask my colleague, who tries his best to get a little work done in the intervals between my outbursts of talkativity, or whining, or both.

One item. I commented a few days ago on that April Fool’s comment in the Guardian, along with various comments on the comments. But I forgot to mention the one on … Read the rest

Understanding Evolution *

Apr 17th, 2004 | Filed by

And what science is and isn’t.… Read the rest

Website to Help Teachers Counter Creationism *

Apr 17th, 2004 | Filed by

‘Science is not about belief – it is about making inferences based on evidence.’… Read the rest

Two Archaeologists Comment on ‘The Passion’ *

Apr 17th, 2004 | Filed by

‘For those who are curious about Gibson’s fidelity to ancient sources’… Read the rest

Archaeological Evidence of Jesus Isn’t There *

Apr 17th, 2004 | Filed by

And no, ‘The Passion’ is not historically accurate.… Read the rest

The Thermostat-Philosopher Gap *

Apr 17th, 2004 | Filed by

Daniel Dennett’s next book is an attempt to extirpate supernaturalism.… Read the rest

Staus of Women in Kashmir *

Apr 16th, 2004 | Filed by

New bill passed by assembly is biased against women, editorial says.… Read the rest

Defending Women’s Rights in the Middle East *

Apr 16th, 2004 | Filed by

News from Italy, Iraq, Pakistan, Sudan, Germany, the UK, Kuwait.… Read the rest

Playing Leftist While Cozying up to Power? *

Apr 16th, 2004 | Filed by

Sometimes the interests of the state and of oppressed peoples can coincide.… Read the rest

Paediatricians, the Media, Expert Witnesses *

Apr 15th, 2004 | Filed by

Doctors working in child protection accuse media of demonising paediatricians.… Read the rest

Still Not All That Bright *

Apr 15th, 2004 | Filed by

Free Inquiry readers say No to Bright idea.… Read the rest


Apr 14th, 2004 6:52 pm | By

A reader sent me a link to the Washington Post article on Hindutva last night, and along with it a link to a post on the subject at his blog. I’m always so pleased to find new allies.

To Mr. Malhotra: if you disagree with the arguments and methods of these scholars, debate them respectfully. If you feel they are ignorant of the subjects they study, by all means educate them. But leave your speculations about their personal sexuality out of it. And leave off referring to Professor Doniger as “Wendy.” This strange tendency of Malhotra’s (he keeps referring to “Wendy’s Child Syndrome”) almost begs us to “reverse psychoanalyze” him, specifically his weird obsession with western female scholars of

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Women’s Alliance to Fight Fundamentalism *

Apr 14th, 2004 | Filed by

Women’s International Federation Against Fundamentalisms and for Equality founded in Geneva.… Read the rest

David Corfield Reviews Lauren Slater *

Apr 14th, 2004 | Filed by

‘It is one thing to “celebrate as story”; it would be another to peddle fabricated accounts.’… Read the rest

Deborah Skinner Was Not a Lab Rat *

Apr 14th, 2004 | Filed by

B.F. Skinner’s daughter says Lauren Slater has recycled old rumours.… Read the rest

Too Many Stories in Skinner’s Box? *

Apr 14th, 2004 | Filed by

‘The worst thing you can do in science and scholarship is make things up.’… Read the rest