@voyou A good day to remember the time I accidentally punched Peter Hitchens in the face https://twitter.com/ClarkeMicah/status/1634533139249786887 12 Mar 23 Reply Retweet Favorite

Nobel laureates to Royal Society: “Keep philosophy of science out of science classes”

There’s been an absolutely absurd response to Michael Reiss’s eminently sensible suggestion that science teachers could use discussions of creationism to talk about the difference between science and non-science. Reiss said:

If questions or issues about creationism and intelligent design arise during science lessons they can be used to illustrate a number of aspects of how science works.

In response to which the New Scientist compared him to Sarah Palin, and a couple of Nobel laureates are calling for him to be sacked from his position as education director of the Royal Society. And of course Dawkins got involved.

I initially posted this just because I thought it was amusingly stupid. But now I think there may be something a bit more pernicious going on. A number of people objecting to Reiss have said things like “teach creation in religious studies,” or “keep it in philosophy class” (see e.g. the comments on that New Scientist blog post). What’s wrong about this is the suggestion that philosophy of science, or the question of the nature and bounds of science, is irrelevant to science itself. This is a problem because it implies a belief that a scientific worldview is somehow obvious, rather than a particular way of thinking that took a long time and a lot of trouble to develop.

The most boring candidate in the world

Is John McCain’s creepy linguistic tic an attempt to cash in on those rather annoying Dos Equis adverts?

That strangely shifting location, the “real world”

If Zoe Williams thinks chavs are poor or victims of deprivation, she clearly knows as little about them as she does about the basis of comedy. Chavs are rarely lacking in disposable income and if they’re deprived of anything, it’s taste. Why do we have to be subjected to Ms Williams’s unsubstantiated Islington/Hampstead/Putney view of the world?

As opposed, you see, to the view of the world held by the author of the letter, from Sutton-at-Hone, Kent.

Only 11 years too late

Good to see the government finally adopting some of Chris Morris’s public policy suggestions.

Watch: Brass Eye – Crime (part 3)

(Also parts one and two. The most disturbing thing about watching Brass Eye these days is that the graphics no longer seem at all satirical.)

Count the things that are wrong in this statement

Dennis Kucinich on impeaching George Bush:

This isn’t a political question, by the way…this is a matter that’s beyond politics. This is a matter that relates to a democratic system of government…. We cannot let our political system trump the requirements of the law.

Pro-choice means never having to say you’re sorry

I’m in favor of abortion or, in the rather impoverished language of contemporary debate, I’m pro-choice. That would include the choice of art students to artificially inseminate themselves and then induce miscarriages as part of their work. But a lot of the response on the internet to Aliza Shvartzs’s artwork has been of the “I’m as pro-choice as anyone, as long as women don’t make choices I disagree with” variety. I think it’s a real weakness of the pro-choice position that abortion is so often spoken of in hushed terms, treated as unpleasant, tragic, something awful that must, perhaps, be allowed in some circumstances when entered into with the proper degree of gravity. But this isn’t really a pro-choice position at all; treating abortion as somehow an especially grave matter buys completely into the pro-life position that there’s something wrong about abortion (indeed, the idea that you can have an abortion, but only if you treat it with the requisite degree of moral seriousness, is not conceptually different from the idea that you can have an abortion, but only if you are the victim of rape: it depends on a misogynist distinction between “responsible” and “irresponsible” women). For more on this see an old LBO post by shag, and this excellent post on the current controversy.

Of course, this particular piece of art didn’t actually involve any abortions; but it did a great job of highlighting fault-lines among those who consider themselves pro-choice.