All entries by this author

Employment Equality (Religion or Belief) Regulations 2003 *

Dec 2nd, 2003 | Filed by

Will atheists have to be silent or risk punishment?… Read the rest

O That Esoteric Windiness

Dec 1st, 2003 11:39 pm | By

And another treat, this review of a long biography of Jung. It’s full of good jokes and pertinent observations. For instance –

I picked it up with some words that Macaulay wrote in a review of a two-volume biography of Lord Burleigh echoing through my mind like the insistent snatch of a tune (I quote from memory): Compared with the labour of reading these volumes, all other labour, the labour of thieves on the treadmill, the labour of children in the mines, the labour of slaves on the plantation, is but a pleasant recreation.

And then –

Jung was decidedly not born a charlatan—or at least, he was not one throughout the whole of his career. True, he grew up

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Dry Bones

Dec 1st, 2003 9:04 pm | By

There is an excellent article at spiked by Tiffany Jenkins, who wrote another excellent article for us last spring. An excellent article on a very depressing and irritating subject – this passion for defining all human remains, however old and however uncertain of provenance, as someone’s ‘ancestors,’ thus ensuring that they can’t be studied or preserved for future research and study.

Note that the report by the Human Remains Working Group, which was appointed by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, is called a majority report ‘because the group’s only scientist refused to accept its verdict.’ Note that and then ponder it a bit. Ponder the fact that a matter with such large implications for science is handed over … Read the rest

A Much Too Long Biography of Jung *

Dec 1st, 2003 | Filed by

‘There is nothing quite like esoteric windiness for creating a penumbra of profundity’… Read the rest

What to do With Evidence? Bury It *

Dec 1st, 2003 | Filed by

Report by Human Remains Working Group forces science to defer to mystical beliefs.… Read the rest

Noam Chomsky Interview *

Dec 1st, 2003 | Filed by

‘He recognises little distinction between conspiracy and cock-up.’… Read the rest


Dec 1st, 2003 12:55 am | By

A couple of miscellaneous items. A scientist goes off-topic to talk about women composers, thus revealing (and not for the first time) that scientists tend to know more about the arts than artists and humanist scholars know about science.

And then there’s a very interesting long post by John Holbo on Bad Writing. He’s just read Just Being Difficult?, the new book that re-ignited the subject of bad writing, and he has some excellent acerbic comments on it. There’s also a discussion of Holbo’s discussion at Crooked Timber. One reader there makes this classic comment:

I’ve always wanted to ask Steven Weinberg why he became a scientist. The answer would be most likely because of a certain kind of

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B&W auf Deutsch *

Nov 30th, 2003 | Filed by

Tom DeGregori’s ‘Shiva the Destroyer’ in the German magazine Novo.… Read the rest

Terry Eagleton the Insider-Outsider *

Nov 30th, 2003 | Filed by

Students have gone from uncritical, reverential essays on Flaubert to uncritical, reverential essays on ‘Friends.’… Read the rest

Colin McGinn on Bookworminess *

Nov 30th, 2003 | Filed by

Dorian Gray and horror novels as a child, illiteracy as an adolescent, then philosophy.… Read the rest

Hey! Where’s my Nobel Prize?! *

Nov 29th, 2003 | Filed by

If the Nobel committee somehow overlooks you, make a stink, demand your prize! Or perhaps not.… Read the rest

Tyranny is Tyranny *

Nov 29th, 2003 | Filed by

Even when the tyrants are not US puppets, so the left should not be silent.… Read the rest


Nov 28th, 2003 9:00 pm | By

Well good, we’ve got that cleared up: all the potential Democratic presidential candidates are religious, there’s not an atheist in the bunch. That’s a relief, isn’t it? And a surprise? Atheists being so thick on the ground in US politics, especially at the national level.

The assumptions behind the news article reporting on this shocker are rather strange, however. Or at least, if not strange in the context of US politics, still, strange in other contexts one can think of. There is this remark, for instance:

Each of the Democrats vying for the right to challenge Bush next year has reaffirmed his or her faith, refusing to cede spirituality to the Republicans.

So, they refuse to cede spirituality, but they’re … Read the rest

Hugh Kenner *

Nov 28th, 2003 | Filed by

The Guardian obituary.… Read the rest

Root Causes *

Nov 28th, 2003 | Filed by

There are always a lot of them – which do we choose to focus on and why?… Read the rest

Atheism not in the Running *

Nov 28th, 2003 | Filed by

Democrats refuse to ‘cede spirituality to the Republicans,’ so secularism is not an option.… Read the rest

US Voters Want Even More Religion *

Nov 28th, 2003 | Filed by

Only 21% want less, so secularists are just out of luck.… Read the rest

Stanley Fish Makes an Excellent Point *

Nov 27th, 2003 | Filed by

‘The only respectable intellectual goal is the pursuit of truth’… Read the rest

Rising Anti-Semitism in Europe *

Nov 27th, 2003 | Filed by

Is criticism of Israel merely a screen? Or is criticism of criticism of Israel the screen?… Read the rest

Can Aesthetic Standards be Grounded? *

Nov 26th, 2003 | Filed by

Or are they imposed by the powerful for political purposes.… Read the rest