What makes secular government legitimate?

The following paragraph, taken from Roger Scruton’s McNish Lecture for the Advancement of Western Civilization, is the most incisive political philosophy I have read in a long time: “The West’s democratic inheritance stems, I would argue, from the habit of forgiveness. To forgive the other is to grant him, in your heart, the freedom to […]

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Social networking screws you up

The following may seem like yet another example of science stating the bleeding obvious, but it’s good to have an expert address the issue in depth, rather than some ignorant gobshite with a newspaper column sound off based on little more than personal prejudice. Psychologist Aric Sigman has warned that people’s health could be damaged […]

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Science beyond playtime

Back in January, celebrity petrol head Richard Hammond – he of Top Gear and crashing jet cars at 464 kilometres per hour infamy – wrote for New Scientist magazine on the challenge of teaching science to children. Hammond made a few reasonable points in his chatty opinion piece, but I was unimpressed with the advocacy of […]

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What price a tonne of carbon?

In an age of plunging share prices and markets going tits up, it appears that even the vital element carbon is now almost worthless. On Thursday of last week, the price of EU permits to emit a tonne of carbon fell to a record low of €8.20. This is less than one third of the […]

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Mystery of the crabs possibly solved

Have you ever wondered why there are two distinct species of lice that infest human beings: nits and the crabs that rummage through the undergrowth? Others have, and the mystery may have now been solved thanks to University College London biologist Robin Weiss, who came up with a possible explanation while attending to his ablutions. […]

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Free speech for fools

From Johann Hari… Free speech is for the stupid and the wicked and the wrong – whether it is fanatics or the racist Geert Wilders – just as much as for the rational and the right. Indeed, Master Hari. Just as it is for a newspaper columnist whose artistic licence is legendary.

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Happy Darwin Day!

Charles Darwin was born 200 years ago today, so here’s to the greatest scientist the world has ever known. And let’s hope that within a generation the supernaturalist fantasies known as “creationism” and “intelligent design” are consigned to the history books. Charles Darwin – complete works Darwin Day – celebration website

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Cannabis use linked with testicular cancer

There is an interesting story currently doing the rounds of the mainstream media and blogosphere, following the publication of a research paper that draws a link between habitual dope smoking among men and a doubling in the risk of contracting testicular cancer. I do not have immediate access to the paper, but from the popular […]

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Ecstasy and equine pursuits

A few days ago I wrote in praise of a recently broadcast television documentary about cannabis, and concluded with the cautionary note that scientific evidence is only a small part of the story. It is culture, politics and PR that rule in the public debate surrounding drugs. The truth of this statement is borne out […]

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