All entries by this author

Scientific ‘Proof’ of Astrology? *

May 18th, 2004 | Filed by

But if cell phones have stronger magnetic fields than Mars does, then…?… Read the rest

GM High-protein Corn *

May 17th, 2004 | Filed by

Could supplement protein-deficient diets in Africa and South America. … Read the rest

More on the Invisible Adjunct *

May 17th, 2004 | Filed by

No health insurance, bad pay, no office, no respect – what’s not to like?… Read the rest

Scott McLemee Reviews Susan Jacoby *

May 17th, 2004 | Filed by

The importance of secularism in US history.… Read the rest


May 16th, 2004 9:46 pm | By

Religious believers can be weird. Very, very weird. I know it’s not considered polite to say that – and that’s why I tend to avoid them rather than engage them in dialogue. Precisely because there is so much that it is not considered polite to say about religious believers, that yet becomes so glaringly obvious when one does try to engage them in dialogue. It’s kind of a You can’t win situation. You simply can’t say certain things, and yet the things you can’t say are at the center of the whole discussion – so the discussion is lamed and hobbled and disabled before it ever starts. It’s a stalemate. So the familiar and much-repeated idea that discussion on this … Read the rest

Does Faked ‘Evidence’ Matter? *

May 16th, 2004 | Filed by

If you really really believe the story is it okay to fake the evidence? Er, no.… Read the rest

What is Truth, Said Jesting Pilate

May 15th, 2004 9:29 pm | By

So perhaps it does matter after all, what the truth is, who is telling the truth and who is lying, who has it right and who is deceived, what pictures are authentic and what are fake. Is that possible? It looks that way. It looks as if in fact we do care whether on the one hand soldiers of a certain regiment did abuse Iraqi prisoners, or whether on the other hand someone faked up some pictures that purported to show that but in fact (being faked) did not, and gave said pictures to a large newspaper. You can see where it would make a difference. We can all think of other pictures that matter – pictures that we … Read the rest

No War-Crimes Cornettos, Thanks *

May 15th, 2004 | Filed by

Julian Baggini reviews books on Greed, Lust, Envy and Gluttony – and wants more.… Read the rest

Funny or ‘Funny’? *

May 15th, 2004 | Filed by

‘It has long been compulsory to say you adore Carry On films, just to show you’re not stuffy or priggish or politically correct.’… Read the rest

Daily Mirror Editor Sacked Over Faked Pictures *

May 15th, 2004 | Filed by

So the difference between truth and fakery does matter then?… Read the rest

Psychologists on Abu Ghraib *

May 14th, 2004 | Filed by

‘In all organisations…people will replicate in some way the personality of the number one person in charge’… Read the rest

Sad End For Famous Gender Experiment *

May 14th, 2004 | Filed by

David (Brian/Brenda) Reimer commits suicide.… Read the rest

Testing, Testing

May 13th, 2004 7:45 pm | By

A reader raises some interesting objections, in Letters and then at my suggestion in a comment, on our Freud-skepticism.

For example, there may be an alternative explanation for Jedlika’s finding that children of mixed race couples are more likely to marry someone of the same race as the opposite sex parent, but it is prima facie evidence for oedipal feelings that cannot be ignored.

I haven’t read the study in question – but just to deal with what is said in that sentence, I have to say I am not convinced. I am in fact quite skeptical. It seems to me that it is not at all obvious that oedipal feelings are the only possible explanation for why children of … Read the rest

Congress Party Returns in Huge Upset *

May 13th, 2004 | Filed by

A stunning upset of the Hindu nationalist BJP… Read the rest

Congress Party Defeats BJP *

May 13th, 2004 | Filed by

Congress won 12 out of 26 seats in Gujarat.… Read the rest

BJP Out! *

May 13th, 2004 | Filed by

Secularism returns in Indian election upset.… Read the rest

All Psychology is Speculative *

May 13th, 2004 | Filed by

Evolutionary psychology may be less so since it incorporates evolutionary constraints.… Read the rest

Science Is Not a Democracy *

May 12th, 2004 | Filed by

Journalists report ‘both sides’ but when the sides are not equal, that can distort.… Read the rest

Dembski’s Mathematical Achievements *

May 12th, 2004 | Filed by

Sparse output for a research mathematician, few citations; ‘written in jello.’… Read the rest

Whither the Arts

May 11th, 2004 9:40 pm | By

Art, shmart. Oh dear, I’ve gone all philistine – but people do talk such nonsense about ‘art’ sometimes. Here’s some nonsense on stilts – a lecture by Helen Vendler.

I want to propose that the humanities should take, as their central objects of study, not the texts of historians or philosophers, but the products of aesthetic endeavor: architecture, art, dance, music, literature, theater, and so on. After all, it is by their arts that cultures are principally remembered. For every person who has read a Platonic dialogue, there are probably ten who have seen a Greek marble in a museum, or if not a Greek marble, at least a Roman copy, or if not a Roman copy, at least a

Read the rest