Phobosophy

As everyone knows, philosophy comes from the two Greek words philo and sophos, and means, roughly, the love of wisdom, although as everyone also knows, Socrates declared his wisdom was his knowledge that he knew nothing. In recent years (by which I mean increasingly since the 1970s), there has been a drop away from knowledge Read More…

The Abstract and the Concrete, or, the Road to Fascism

I was thinking about the way in which the anti-abortionists justify their views. I have always said that “Pro-Life” is a misnomer. Instead of being pro-life, they are pro-potential life. In order to protect potential lives, they ignore the needs and rights of those who have actual life – the women who cannot for whatever reason carry that Read More…

The place of religion in democratic secular countries

There is a religion which oppresses women, which is enthusiastically adopted by marginalised groups, which hates democracy and which has declared the modern world to be a heresy they call “Americanism”. This religion, which is run entirely by men, demands of its adherents loyalty to a small group of clerics overseas, in a pseudostate set Read More…

The Muslima problem in atheism

A while back, Richard Dawkins said some very silly things on PZ Myer’s blog Pharyngula [see this discussion at the time for details]. He wrote, in response to justified claims of sexual harassment of women at supposedly progressive skeptical conference, the following: Dear Muslima Stop whining, will you. Yes, yes, I know you had your Read More…

Begging that damned question

Something that bugs the hell out of me, literally, is the misuse of English. Of course, I was trained as a subeditor in the days when such things mattered even to journalists, so I am a fossilised dinosaur in this respect. I even try to use adverbs correctly. One thing that literally makes my head Read More…

Information is the new Aristotelianism (and Dawkins is a hylomorphist)

In seeking tales and informations [Henry VIII, Act V, scene 3] For some time now* I have had problems with the notion of information. Not, please note, with this or that piece of information, but with the notion itself, especially in the natural sciences. In this age of computers and internets, we have taken to mistaking Read More…

Bastardry: On protest and on fascism

I attended the March in March protest against the current government of Australia yesterday. My legs still hurt. I’m sure that demonstrations were not so arduous thirty years ago. I noticed that this was a privative demonstration. It was not about something so much as against something, and the something it was against varied by protestor. Some Read More…

Rant: Old people

The Australian government is looking at extending the pension age to 70, so that older Australians, especially those in the Baby Boom demographic, will be free of the public purse for another 5 years over the present age of 65. Except that it is not the case that older Australians will work another 5 years, Read More…

Degrees of religion

Larry Moran quotes Jason Rosenhouse disputing Phil Plait: So, after all, that, let us return to Plait’s argument. He tells us that the problem is too many people perceiving evolution as a threat to their religious beliefs. Indeed, but why do they perceive it that way? Is it a failure of messaging on the part of Read More…

Education, Journalism and Science

My last rant was perhaps somewhat intemperate. Carl Zimmer, who along with Ed Yong I really respect as a science journalist, tweeted it with the line: @carlzimmer: Man, @john_s_wilkins does not like newspapers.  This is not quite true. I like some newspapers. I do not like the newspaper industry. I worked in various media positions Read More…