All entries by this author

Eagleton on Hobsbawm *

Sep 1st, 2003 | Filed by

‘…the autobiography is a covertly anti-intellectual genre.’… Read the rest

Is Astrology Relevant to Consciousness and Psi?

Sep 1st, 2003 | By Geoffrey Dean and Ivan W. Kelly


The case for astrology

An expanded abstract of the article in Journal of Consciousness Studies Volume 10 (6-7), June-July 2003, pages 175-198 with four tables and 85 references. This particular issue of JCS is devoted to parapsychology and related matters, and is also available in book form. Details, abstracts, and the full article in pdf format are available at See also the user-friendly for critical articles on astrology by the same authors and others.


Why astrology?

Astrology has one sure thing in common with parapsychology – a highly visible outpouring of market-driven nonsense that threatens to bury the work of serious researchers. Just as parapsychology to the ordinary person means ghost busting and psychic phonelines, so … Read the rest


Sep 1st, 2003 2:25 am | By

Well it’s shooting fish in a barrel, but I just have to say something. I know it’s an easy target, people getting university degrees in video games. But so what? Did I ever sign the International Agreement on Not Shooting at Easy Targets? Not that I remember.

And there is actually a serious point to the whole matter – which is that people seem to have no idea that there is, or there can be, or it is possible to imagine that there is, any difference between education as vocational training and education as a good in itself. If vocational training is the only purpose of education, then fine, teach people to design video games, there’s good money in it. … Read the rest

Biography Can Be Tricky *

Aug 31st, 2003 | Filed by

Are people who knew the subject the best witnesses, or disabled by bias?… Read the rest

Donald Davidson *

Aug 31st, 2003 | Filed by

The philsopher died in Berkeley yesterday.… Read the rest

Good Thing the Mad Despot Doesn’t Exist *

Aug 30th, 2003 | Filed by

‘…religion is not just incongruent with morality but in essential ways incompatible with it.’… Read the rest

That’s ‘Game and Simulation Arts’ to You *

Aug 30th, 2003 | Filed by

Imagine, teachers who think video games are trivial!… Read the rest

Shrill? Moi?

Aug 29th, 2003 8:31 pm | By

But then it’s the fashion, Humpty Dumptyism is. Or perhaps that’s wrong, perhaps it’s never not been the fashion, in which case it’s not the fashion, it’s just what humans do. No more a fashion than eating or breathing. But it’s hard to believe that it’s not at least a little more pervasive and evident and popular now in the age of mass media and incessant communication and non-stop information – not to mention democracy. Henry VIII and Louis XIV didn’t have a lot of need to persuade the farm laborers and weavers and sturdy beggars of their world to love and admire and vote for them, so that must have cut back on the amount of word play right … Read the rest


Aug 29th, 2003 7:36 pm | By

It’s interesting how willing people often are to redefine religion in order to defend it, and how thoroughly they’re willing to redefine it for that purpose. In fact they do such a thorough job of it that one would have thought there was nothing left that needed defending. Who would bother to argue against feelings of awe or wonder, or an appreciation of stories and myths and poetry? I certainly wouldn’t, in fact I think those are fine things. But they’re not what I take religion to be, and I don’t think they’re what people generally mean when they talk about religion, either. If that’s what religion means, then what do we call what I mean by religion, to wit: … Read the rest

Fair, Balanced, Honest, Reasonable, Polite *

Aug 29th, 2003 | Filed by

Fox News makes complete fool of itself by suing a comededian, thus catapulting his book to best-seller list.… Read the rest

Echoes of Hate Week? *

Aug 29th, 2003 | Filed by

Brown University’s Third World Transition Program sounds like good intentions run amok.… Read the rest

Most People

Aug 28th, 2003 9:15 pm | By

And so back to this nagging question of majority opinion and how coercive it can be. One issue is what one might call mission creep – the way we extend democracy and majoritarianism from the political, electoral realm to other areas where it is arguably less useful, where it is in fact arguably harmful, such as opinion, education, culture. This creep or extension may or may not be a good idea, but the question whether it is or not doesn’t get enough discussion, because people don’t really notice when the extension is happening. The border between politics and everything else gets ignored: everything is political, and majority opinion is right and should be heeded in all areas of life, not … Read the rest

Mars *

Aug 28th, 2003 | Filed by

Ready for its closeup.… Read the rest

Anti-Israel or Anti-Semitic? *

Aug 28th, 2003 | Filed by

Is Lawrence Summers right, or is Judith Butler?… Read the rest

Modern History Not Popular *

Aug 28th, 2003 | Filed by

Oxford college for mature students drops course for lack of demand.… Read the rest

How Does That Look?

Aug 28th, 2003 12:02 am | By

On a less frivolous note. There is this little matter of the Bush administration’s repeated, insistent attacks on the International Criminal Court, which I find massively depressing and disgusting. The Clinton administration wasn’t a great deal better, but I’m not sure they would have acted quite so aggressively as the Bush team, for instance actually bullying countries that don’t exempt the US from the Court’s jurisdiction. And I’m not sure they would have threatened to veto a UN resolution to protect humanitarian workers simply because it had the unmitigated temerity to mention the Court.

Yes I know the rationale: they’re afraid such a court would bring ‘frivolous’ prosecutions against US soldiers. Yes, but what if US soldiers do commit war … Read the rest


Aug 27th, 2003 11:27 pm | By

Well which is it then? Is style, fashion, appearance, charm a frivolous self-absorbed trivial subject that people shouldn’t waste time on? Or is it fun, amusing, playful, campy, witty, and simply decently considerate of the people who have to look at us and live with us. Beats me. I don’t seem to have a coherent view on the subject. First I read this article which wonders among other things if too much concern with such things gets in the way of having a hungry mind.

Perhaps it doesn’t help either that the young are constantly presented with celebrity rather than excellence as their role model, with people who are rich and famous because they are cool, sexy or charming and

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Hunger is Missing *

Aug 27th, 2003 | Filed by

Cool, sexy, charming and famous? Or brilliant, curious and disturbing – you choose.… Read the rest

Stereotype Shmereotype *

Aug 27th, 2003 | Filed by

Come on, they’re funnier cleverer and prettier than the straight guys they improve, how bad can it be?… Read the rest


Aug 26th, 2003 9:42 pm | By

Now here we have a really fascinating article. It’s pertinent to a subject I’ve been worrying for days (and years and my whole life, really, but specifically for days here on B and W), the power and coerciveness of public opinion. We see that in politics, in ‘public relations’ and advertising, and we even (or perhaps especially) see it in the more mundane, secret, personal corners of life. In our friendships and romances, in how we feel at parties and meetings, at work and school, when we shop and see the doctor. Any time, in fact, that we’re not alone and unseen, public opinion is part of our landscape.

If you have diabetes or heart disease, you suffer regardless of

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