Category Archives: Philosophy

Animals Or Savages?

Some commentators who have opinionated about the recent murders in Afghanistan, murders supposedly committed “in response to” a US pastor’s burning a copy of the Koran, have resorted to what I ironically call “good racism”. Bad racism is what unemployed people living on council housing estates display when they blame their being unemployed on immigrants. […]

If You To Want See A Briton Fight, Threaten To Bring Down The Price Of Her House

Rory Sutherland’s wiki man column in The Spectator is one of the few things remaining inside that magazine that might yet tempt me to buy another print copy. In his latest he sticks a finger through one of the biggest holes in the Tories’ buckshot “Big Society” balloon of bullshit: In one sense, it seems, […]

“…the most inalienable and sacred of all human rights”

I am against bans on the wearing of the burqa or niqab in public1 therefore I am going to recommend that you read the best article I have read in favour of such bans: The argument that the garment is not a religious obligation under Islam is well-founded but irrelevant; millions of Muslims the world […]

Moral Philosophers Of Our Time

Charles Alexander: The former partner of killer gunman Raoul Moat was yesterday blamed for the death of an innocent man and the maiming of a police officer. The deranged bodybuilder’s uncle Charles Alexander claims Samantha Stobbart also has the blood of her ex-lover on her hands. The 72-year-old former soldier launched a astonishing tirade of […]

“Aimless Hostility”

A few days ago, John Gray reviewed A C Grayling’s latest book Ideas that Matter: The Concepts that Shape the 21st Century. To my surprise, someone I know linked to the review approvingly. I was surprised because the review is tosh: hysterical, pompous, and so self-fiskingly stupid that it’s not even necessary to read the […]

Atheist Taliban Exposed By Daily Mail

The headline above is a lie, as is almost everything in an article in The Daily Mail, fisked here by the British Humanist Association. [via wongaBlog] Like this:Like Loading…


Via Ben Goldacre, “English Translations of Eastern Bloc Lolcats“. Like this:Like Loading…

Happy (western, heliocentric) New Year!

I hope that, wherever you are, you enjoyed the extra second imposed upon you by the imperialist forces of the dominant scientific-capitalist worldview and that you have a prosperous 2009. As for my year so far, I jogged wearily to the gym this morning, dreading the crowds of resolutioners (though it hasn’t been too bad […]

“It’s not the despair; I can cope with the despair. It’s the hope I can’t stand.”

Cornershop Man watches every single cricket international he can on his satellite TV under the counter—and, unlike me, he fails the Tebbit test. At the start of the week, I asked him: “Suppose you’re looking forward to whupping England’s backsides?” “Hmm,” he inhaled, “I don’t know. You’ve got some good bowlers with you. You could […]

A Search Engine For Labels For Mental Objects

When you can’t look up something in a dictionary because you don’t know what you’re looking for, even the wordy vastness of the Web is of limited use. This happens to me often (and that’s one of the reasons why I am not a linguistic determinist). Tip Of My Tongue might help though. [via Lifehacker] […]

“Let Them Eat Smoke!”

Norm asks two questions: People on the wrong end of social and economic inequalities don’t just experience health disadvantages from smoking, but disadvantages across the board – in every area of health, in life expectancy, in the pattern of life chances in general. Shall we impose compulsory legal norms about diet, about exercise, about whatever […]

Jonathan Derbyshire

I’ve converted the archives of Jonathan Derbyshire’s old Typepad blog and built a new WordPress site for him at Update your bookmarks and blogrolls accordingly. (You can email him at that new domain as well.) Like this:Like Loading…

British Tin Foil Hats For British Tin Foil Hat Wearers

The best way to reveal the true political colours of a bloggertarian is to call his bluff: there’s usually a good old-fashioned red-faced colonel underneath the shiny modern exterior. Right Next Time nails the UK Libertarian Party: all liberty, all the time, for all of the people—except for Johnny Foreigner. Like this:Like Loading…

The Irreligious Policemen

Not having a telly, I didn’t catch the latest from Richard Dawkins, but when I visited his Website to look for clips, I saw this photo of him: All I could think of was Michael Mann directing Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens in an atheist actioner: [A convertible Ferrari screams through downtown in slow motion, reflections […]

Pestiferous Rhetoric

R C Metcalf, PhD, knows the erotic power of a polysyllabic adverb and harnesses it to denounce the “diversionary tactics” of public unbelievers, and to, er, divert their attentions to those damned Muslims: The new atheists are a tumescent bunch, unquestionably articulate, yet consummately misguided. Their incendiary rhetoric can’t help but stir the emotions of […]

Dialectical Minimalism

Damian: [T]he impression I get is that Norm is more forgiving of Eagleton’s errors of reasoning than he should be Norm: Damian leaves an impression about my viewpoints that I feel I have a right to comment on. Damian: I’d happily place a bet with Norm on which of the two of them will be […]

World Of Wonga

I caught up with wongaBlog this morning. I enjoyed this post about Jonathan Edwards’ reflections on his conversion from Christianity to atheism. It’s all downhill from here, Jonathan. Believers might be wrong, but believing often makes for happier and more successful people; and I enjoyed this marvellous rant about anti speed camera campaigners. My apologies […]

Philosophers: 2 — Scientists: 0

Last Friday I found myself stuck in a room in a Cambridge college waiting to do a photo job so I took Ludwig Wittgenstein’s Philosophical Investigations down from a shelf and, as an intellectual dwarf perched on Hindsight the Giant, sneered at it. Certain things he said appear absurd in the light of certain experimental […]

The Harsh Truth

Hot Wheels Helena is back from Glastonbury with a message for post-modernists, fundamentalists, and plain mentalists everywhere: More info here. [Thanks to Caroline for the pic.] Like this:Like Loading…

Totalitarian Political Nanny Statism Gone Mad

Over at Samizdata, California is becoming a “totalitarian” state because an overwhelming majority of the residents of the city of Berkeley voted for comprehensive regulations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and because San Francisco can fine pet owners who don’t feed their pets properly and fortune-tellers who don’t have a licence to practise. Britain is […]

Lefties Sell Out

Thank you to everyone who spoke at, helped with, and attended the Euston Manifesto Conference yesterday. Every seat was taken and then some. It was a superb meeting with some of the most interesting and thoughtful lectures I’ve heard in years—and that includes the stuff I thought was wrong. One of the best things about […]

Hamiltonian Flow

Tom Hamilton’s blogging has been particularly good lately, ranging from the Devil’s Chaplain to the Devil’s Kitchen. I recommend his excellent posts about Richard Dawkins—oldie and goodie—and his fine, if less taxing, fisking of the most superfluous blog in existence not written by someone called Brittany: hoisting out the middle wicket and scooping up an […]


Via things magazine, I discovered an article in the Archinect about how when the people of the virtual community Second Life are given freedom to build whatever they want they recreate suburbia.The author of the piece broadcasts his own prejudices. I hate shopping as well, but I winced at this: [L]ike most utopias, [Second Life] […]

Kant, Not Puccini

You can download a series of Glasgow University lectures about Kant on MP3. Like this:Like Loading…


When I used to work for the Medical Research Council, I did my best not to bore people with it on this site. I took up the name “PooterGeek”—ironically, the suggestion of a summer student—so that when people searched for my name on the Web they would find biomedical publications to download rather than movie […]

Doing Wrong

Friends have told me that my obsession with freewill and my belief that there is such a thing as evil are products of my Catholic upbringing. They are, in fact, products of personal experience and of a long, dull training in human biology. I know people who simply do not believe in evil. They are […]

A Weekend Trip To The Recycling Centre

I’m busy so, instead of writing my own stuff, I’ll just point at the efforts of some other bloggers. This at Fisking Central is a point worth making over and over again: Utopia doesn’t refer to a better world; it’s used to describe a perfect world. Belief in human perfectability—and its accompanying rejection of all […]

The Logic Of My Life

[stolen from here] Like this:Like Loading…

Clear Blue Water

First there was my shaking hands with Thatch. Then there were the disagreements about common ownership of the means of production. Now I’ve been linked by the Adam Smith Institute’s blog. My dad’s never going to talk to me again. Like this:Like Loading…

Registering Complaints

I hadn’t noticed this until I read Tom Hamilton’s post at Let’s Be Sensible, but the Devil’s Kitchen calls the Mr Eugenides essay that I blogged about “one of the finest posts ever written“. Does Eton College do refunds? Also, having read the latest post at Never Trust A Hippy, I must revise my slur […]

%d bloggers like this: