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All posts for the month May, 2009

Hitchens and Dawkins that is, according to Terry Eagleton in this NYT review of his “Reason, Faith and Revolution” by Stanley Fish. Linked via a great piece from Ben Goertzl.

Don’t entirely agree with Ben. OK, so the philosophical / metaphysical questions like “why is there something rather than nothing” are not exactly “theological” questions – but they are questions whose answers … after any amount of conjecture … can only ever be taken on faith. A belief that can never be “reasoned” on the basis of known “science” even as the scientific boundaries are pushed back.

[Post Note - Fish's God Talk Pt 2 here also in NYT. Thanks to Marde at Seev's Place. - Ian McEwan quoted too - the narrative view - morality depends on believing - actually "having" - a story.]

Great George Monbiot piece in the Grauniad. Thay tyranny of numbers again.

These men would’ve stopped Darwin.  Science research in Britain is now all about turning knowledge into business, rather than the beauty of exploration.

Of course the problem is that neither side of that choice is the right one – knowledge purely for its own sake is as barren as knowledge for someone’s financial interest. The point is knowledge for value to humanity and the cosmos – wisdom – truth AND beauty. (Thanks to Nick Maxwell at FoW.)

Two absolutely useless referees in charge of the Euro semi-final second-leg games on Tuesday and Wednesday. Both constantly awarding petty fouls for all physical contact (outside the penalty area) both red-carding players for “technical” last-man fouls, with little or no malice or even intent by the offenders and no judgement required (or considered) by the official.

The difference; Man U / Ronaldo played so well, won their game so emphatically, that that game had few really tough game changing decisions for that ref to make. It didn’t matter whether he had the balls and the nous to handle it, his incompetence just spoiled the entertainment value of what was already a very entertaining game anyway – not least to watch the body language of Wenger and Rice – priceless pathos for the neutral not wishing to gloat.

The Chelsea / Barca game ? Like many, before Man U had so clearly deserved their place, and Barca had won so emphatically in their last domestic game, we were savouring the idea of a Man U / Barca final in preference to an all English affair. Chelsea would never have beaten Barca the way ManU demolished The Arse, they were never clinical enough, but Chelsea were clearly robbed by the (Norwegian) ref’s incompetence and lack of balls, and total lack too of any gumption from the assistant refs / linos. Even on a good day it’s hard to like the likes of Drogba, Ballack, Cole, Cech and Essien, so no need to condemn their reactions to the injustice – they’ll get what’s coming to them – but Chelsea didn’t deserve that, and neither did football fans throughout Europe.

[Post Note : Ironic after the furore in this round, that Man U simply failed to turn up for the final in Rome, leaving Barca / Iniesta to walk all over them .... oh well, funny old game - coincidentally reading Peace's "Damn United" excellent riff on Cloughie at the moment - June.]

Alternative National (UK) Treasures from The Independent on Sunday 3rd May.

So here in your cut-out- and-keep guide to the rough diamonds of Britain, we’ve selected the top 10 figures who will never be “institutions”, but who deserve two cheers for that very reason. The decent people of Britain might always love Cliff Richard, but wouldn’t you rather have a pint with Keith Richards?

Came across this because I was following up the Tim Ireland and Craig Murray sagas since their blogs were shut down / book publications blocked. (The dead – now live again – links in the side-bar “I Believe in the BBC” and “The Church of the Interactive Network” are bloggerheads inventions. And the reason I checked those again was because the BBC News plug-in / widget is stuck on news headlines from over a week ago – failing to update. No response to support requests, I’m guessing the component no longer updates since the BBC’s recent web makeover – I guess the expectation is that people simply plug RSS feed readers into their own pages ? More maintenance required.)

Seriously though, must follow up those libel censorship cases.