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…

Drama, journalism and science

Recently the Jonah Lehrer scandal was raised again when he was paid $20,000 to speak on his journalistic dishonesty by the Knight Foundation. I cynically noted on Twitter that being honest and as accurate as I could be netted me exactly nothing in the way of honoraria (I think I got a bottle of scotch Read More…

More on reductionism

I am presently teaching in a history subject dealing with ideas of nature, and I notice that the historians we are using often refer to a distinction between reductionism and holism. The former is the Bad Old Science (“we murder to dissect”) and the latter is the New Improved Science. This is something often stated as Read More…

Thoughts on gun control

There had been the Weapons Law, for a start. Weapons were involved in so many crimes that, Swing reasoned, reducing the number of weapons *had* to reduce the crime rate. Vimes wondered if he’d sat up in bed in the middle of the night and hugged himself when he’d dreamed *that* one up. Confiscate all Read More…

What is critical thinking

I’m typing away the pain tonight so I aim to be a bit crappy and annoyed. I often read on various websites, blogs, mailing lists and other propaganda (yes, this blog is propaganda: look it up) that this or that person or organisation is devoted to “critical thinking” and “rational thinking”. Obviously these are noble Read More…