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2017-10-18 11:28


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A note to readers

Left rightAnyone reading my blog will quickly see that it is largely concerned with criticism of feminism, the new regressive left, and religion. This might lead the casual reader to assume that I must be fixated or obsessed by these issues, and that I am therefore probably something of a right wing, woman hating, ultra conservative. In on-line debates that accusation is almost always made within a couple of posts by someone.

The purpose of this posting is to try to make it clear to readers what I am, am not, and what I believe and do not believe.
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RAF Equal Opportunities - for woman only.

FallonRecently the Minister for Defence - Michael Fallon - has been bathing in the glory of the RAF allowing women into front line combat roles ahead of schedule. Let me be clear - I have no problem with that and consider it a damn good thing. What sticks in my craw is the unchallenged and blatant sexism that the RAF applies against men. I have always believed that the armed forces need people of a particular standard - fitness, speed, stamina, strength and so on. Service people need to rely on their comrades so they need to know that their comrades can cut the mustard. Gender is not an issue - or should not be. It should be a straightforward case of testing that candidates meet the necessary benchmark, enlisting those that do and refusing those that do not. But that is not how it works.
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Mattress Girl Exposed

Emma SulkowiczAnyone who follows the feminist narrative on rape and sexual assault is probably already familiar with a case in the US which became known as the Mattress Girl case. For those who are not, here is a brief summary.
  • A female student - Emma Sulcowicz - at the US University of Columbia complained to University authorities that she had been raped by another student - Paul Nungesser.  A subsequent investigation concluded that there was no evidence to support the allegation and dismissed the charge.  Sulcowicz persisted in her allegation and turned it into an arts project, in which she carried around a mattress for a year as a protest in support of rape victims, supposedly highlighting the injustice that she, and many other victims, suffered at the hands of authorities.

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People you should ridicule

I don't normally single out inSadRegressivesdividuals for comment - I usually prefer to talk about ideas - but the situation on US University campuses is now so ridiculous that it has exceeded the Poe threshold - the limit beyond which normal satire is impossible because nothing you can invent is more ridiculous than real events. It is time that the people responsible for this nonsense were named and shamed, and if this causes a backlash that drives them out of their jobs then I will take that as a plus.

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Demands that you should ridicule

BLMHot on the heels of my posting on which ideas deserve ridicule came 'demands for white people' from Black Lives Matter. If anything in the world needs ridiculing it is this self-important deluded bunch of entitled prats. I have been suspicious of this group from the start. The supposed motivation for it was a number of incidents where black Americans were shot by the police, but right from the start it was clear that there was a much more insidious agenda and now it has been made public.
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Ideas that you should ridicule

ridiculousI spend a lot of time 'talking' to people in the US - I have quite a few on-line friends there. What happens in the US, in terms of social movements and trends, tends to reach the UK a while later, albeit usually in a slightly modified form. Keeping this in mind, I would like to take three idiotic notions from the US and highlight them. My goal is to encourage people to ridicule these ideas when they start to gain traction in the UK - they are already on the University campuses, so it is only a question of time.

Ridicule is, I think, the entirely appropriate response - criticising or otherwise engaging with this nonsense gives it an air of credibility it does not merit.

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Digital Minitrue

minitrueRecent developments, particularly concerning social media, have prompted me to spend some time thinking about some weighty issues, such as current attitudes towards free expression; the state of the legacy news media; the future of social media on the internet; and how this all is likely to play out over the next decade.  Orwell fans may guess, from the title I've selected, that my conclusions are rather bleak.
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The Google 'Diversity' Row

echochamberIn this posting I want to talk about the current row caused by a Google employee distibuting an internal memo which has been falsely characterised as anti-diversity.  The employee was subsequently sacked and the media has taken a largely pro-Google line on the story with general mistrpresentation and spin being applied.  A doctored version of the memo was released and formed the basis for much media comment, but here I will be discussing the ACTUAL document.

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BBC Gender Pay Gap

outrageThe media is currently full of this 'story' - ie that the top earners at the BBC are men. The narrative is that this is a clear example of the gender pay gap and shows that women are being discriminated against - being paid less money for the same work. This narrative has not, to my knowledge, been challenged or even questioned in public.....so I will have to do it myself.
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Watching UK Universities

dwcccI've been watching the developing chaos and idiocy on US college/university campuses for a couple of years now, but over the last year or so I have seen the same brand of political ideology begin to take hold in UK Universities.  The most obvious symptom is a sudden abandonment of principles of free speech, and the adoption of policies and procedures which seek to censor expression and control and limit behaviour.  These are often backed by disciplinary procedures which have more in common with old South American banana republics than with western notions of free speech and political freedom.  The whole thing is generally couched in the language of anti-discrimination or equity and offers, as justification, the defence of various minority groups from the alleged oppression of right-wing extremists, aided by the patriarchal authorities.


In the US the fightback began some months ago. Academics are finally discovering their courage and speaking up against the bullying, ideologically intolerant atmosphere that now exists on many university campuses. An organisation - FIRE - has been setup to monitor universities and their commitment to, or betrayal of, principles of freedom of the individual - the most important being free expression/speech.

I was beginning to think that I should be trying to get something similar going here, and dreading the amount of work it would require. Fortunately I discovered that it has already been done.  Spiked Online - a right-leaning online magazine edited by Brendan O'Neill 
- has started a campaign 'Down with Campus Censorship'. Whilst the title is hardly snappy, the aims are inline with my own, and whilst I don't go along with all of the wider political views expressed on the site, I find nothing to which I feel that I should take exception, so I'm happy to recommend it and encourage any like-minded readers to go along and maybe even sign up.

On a more general note, I would encourage those of you who may have children about to start at University to check out their proposed choices.   In the UK we stopped offering gender studies at undergraduate degree level some years ago - unlike the US which has hundreds of such courses.  This is a very good thing - gender studies was never, in my opinion, a genuine academic course of study suitable for an undergraduate degree, and I regard a degree in gender/women's studies as about as useful and valid as a degree in theology (ie not at all useful and totally bogus).

degree2
This does not mean one can relax, however. The regressives have managed to inveigle their ideological poison into the curriculum by insisting on compulsory modules of study for all students (and sometimes all staff).  These will usually have the words equality and diversity somewhere in the title and should be avoided.  These courses/modules/units are nearly always ideologically driven and academically worthless.   If they are compulsory at a particular university then you need to complain about that before taking up the course. If you get no exemption or other satisfaction, then I advise you to seriously consider another university entirely.  You may think this is extreme, but I think not.  Young people have a right to expect their lecturers to educate them, not indoctrinate them. These type of 'diversity' courses are pure indoctrination and can be extremely damaging to young minds.  For example, do you really want your son/daughter on a course that not only encourages, but insists on THIS sort of thing?




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Gynocentrism in action

gynocentrismSuch is the power of the mythical narrative created by feminism that people are often amazed when I assert, completely without irony, that I believe UK society is heavily gynocentric - ie that our society discriminates heavily in favour of women, rather than men.

The standard feminist model is of a patriarchal society, devoted to keeping men in a position of privilege at the expense of women. Even the most cursory examination of this model, however, reveals it to be completely indefensible.

As usual I will try to ensure that any assertions I make here are fully supported by the relevant citations and sources in the footnotes, but because I know that many people will find much of this hard to believe, I have chosen my sources with great care. Where possible I have cited UK official government statistics. Where I have cited press articles I have deliberately selected the most left-leaning, pro-feminist source in the mainstream UK print media - the Guardian

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Hypocrisy in action

hypocrisy The media reaction to the recent attack on a group of Muslims by a white man is instructive.  It was immediately characterised as a terrorist attack by all the media that I watched, listened to or read.  This characterisation has not, to my knowledge, been challenged or questioned to date. Until now.  As always in such postings, I feel it necessary to point out that I am in no way defending the actions of this person, which I consider to be completely reprehensible, and which should, and no doubt will, be dealt with to the full extent of the law. I would like to think that this is implicit, but experience tells me otherwise.
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Exploring morality

moralityOne of the few remaining arguments left to religious apologists is the morality argument. Without God, goes the argument, there is no objective standard of morality. Without God, they continue, all morality is nothing more than the subjective and alterable view of a particular culture in a particular time.  Therefore, they conclude with a flourish, there is no objective standard by which one can say that, for example (and they nearly always choose this particular example) torturing and killing a child is wrong.  
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Yet another atrocity by Muslim zealots

NotMeGuvI write this listening to the BBC coverage of the latest outrage in London. It sounds like a similar attack to the one a few months ago - drive a van at people to kill as many as you can, then pull out the knives and see how many you can stab.
I have ALREADY heard a politician saying that these murderers are not Muslims. LIAR - and worse than liar - MORON.  

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Power posting

renewable powerA recent posting by my soon to be niece prompted me to make a posting on energy - specifically on renewables. Emma is keen on renewables (as am I).  But Emma wants action NOW whilst Uncle Chris is sceptical and cautious. To Emma I am, no doubt, part of the problem.  I can see her point and I'm glad she is a bit of an idealist on this - if young people aren't idealists then what hope for the rest of us? :-)

What I want to do here is try to steer the conversation away from platitudes and into a real discussion of choices.  To do that I will be borrowing from a TED talk by David Mackay (links at the bottom) and doing a bit of number crunching of my own.
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Chicago Student Demands

ChicagoStudentsI have commented previously on the idiotic behaviour of students in major universities and the craven failure to clamp down on this by management teams.  I have also praised Chicago university for issuing a letter to new undergraduates telling them that there will be no trigger warnings, safe spaces and the rest of the current nonsense.

Well, we are about to see what the management are really made of. A group of students have issued a set of demands to the university.  I just hope that the management take one look, say no, then dismiss any students who have a problem with it.
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Brilliant new hoax

peer reviewThose who follow my writings will know that I hold nothing but contempt for post-structuralist/post-modernist social 'scientists'. I have made reference many times to the hoax by Alan Sokal1 that demonstrated that any notion of academic rigour in this area is laughable.  I am, therefore, delighted to see this view confirmed by a new version of the Sokal hoax.
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The Problems with the Left. 2/2

left problemRecap

In the first article, I looked at how the regressive left arose from the remnants of the revolutionary radical left, after most decided that they could no longer openly cling to classical Marxist theory.  I explained that having abandoned Marxism, with the promised utopian communist state that it predicted, the regressives no longer had a specific utopian end-point to talk about, but most still remain committed to the overthrow of the state in a Marxist-style revolution, even though they cannot say what, exactly, they would put in its place.
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The Problems with the Left. 1/2

regressive birthIn the UK the Labour party is currently a shambles. In the US the democrats managed to loose an election to a reality-show host. Clearly there are some serious issues with left wing politics in general. In this article I try to explain what the problem is and how it arose.
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Postmodernist Feminist Science Classics

irigarayIn these articles I intend to examine and roundly mock some of the funniest and more ignorant attempts to appear scientifically literate I know of. These are the Poststructuralist French bunch of poseurs responsible for much of the ills of higher education, intersectional feminism and post-modern idiocy in general.
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Case Study in the Dangers of Indoctrination

miloI've just been watching the fall-out from the riots on Berkeley campus over the Milo Yiannopoulos visit.   It is very interesting, as well as deeply disturbing.  The student activists, who were involved in the violence, have been justifying their actions in the press. Their justifications reveal much about the type of indoctrination they have been subjected to, and the dangers it poses.
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Post-modernism

postmodernI have just finished reading 'Explaining Post-modernism' by Stephen Hicks and I can heartily recommend it.  Hicks traces the history of post-modernism from the enlightenment, through Kant and to the present. He highlights the various factors crucial to the formulation of post-modernism - philosophical, political, scientific and socioeconomic - and gives a coherent and compelling description of how we got to where we are.
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Media Bias

MediaBias101Events over the last few days have persuaded me that I should interrupt my review of GuyLand to say something about media bias. The coverage of events in the US has marked a new low in journalistic integrity.
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Guyland Review. Part 2: Building on Sand

GuylandIn the first part of this review I looked at some of the starting assumptions the author has, and explained why some of them are highly contentious and others demonstrably false. In this part I want to try to give a fair summary of the conclusions Kimmel reaches in the book. To that end I will offer no critique or comment, simply as fair a summary as I can.

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Guyland - Kimmel's feminist critique of masculinity. Part 1: Founding fallacies

GuylandI've just finished reading Guyland - a book by feminist academic Michael Kimmel, which sets out a feminist analysis of modern masculinity.  

I found the book incredibly frustrating to read - I frequently caught myself almost shouting at the text, despite a determination to really try to understand Kimmel's position, and not simply read the book with one eye on rebuttal and critique.
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A Concise Summary of Western Feminist Claims

femesearchI've addressed the bogus claims of feminist spokespersons in individual postings in this blog. In this posting I want to pull together all the significant claims made and a quick evaluation for each, with links to more in-depth reading.  In most cases the links are to other articles of mine, but these contain full citations and links to sources in their footnotes.
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Open letter to Philip Davies (MP)

PhilipDaviesHello Mr Davies,

we don't know each other and I'm not a constituent - nor even a Tory, come to that.

The reason I'm writing is to applaud your courageous personal/political stance on (anti)feminism, and to make it plain to you that you are far from alone.  I also want to assure you that you ARE correct in your analysis - critics can often be driven to doubt their own sanity/veracity in this area, I know from bitter experience.
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The year ahead

2017Now we are well into 2017 I want to say a few things about the coming year.  Firstly I took the decision, on Christmas day, to give up alcohol for a month. Like many people I drank alcohol regularly, and have done so for 35 years or more.  My consumption was quite a bit more than the recommended 14 units per week * (at least double, if I am honest), and although I cannot attribute any particular health or social problems to my drinking, I am aware that it must be doing damage on some level.
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Recent Rant Reproduced

trumpI recently slightly lost my rag on facebook over the amount of virtue-signalling attacks on Trump. Everyone is just so keen to stick it to him and establish how right-on they are and it makes me sick.  Rather than some honest reflection about why the left is being soundly trounced in more or less every opportunity the voter has to do so, the liberal left sit in their smug echo chambers and bemoan how everyone who doesn't share their views is either thick, bigoted, misled and therefore gullible, malicious, or a combination thereof.  The patronising smug makes it hard to breathe.
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Being right doesn't make you right

HitlerThere is still precious little evidence that those on the left have really taken on-board the lessons of the last year - particularly the brexit vote and the US Presidential result. Various commentators have opined about 'populist movements' and 'the resurgent right' which is, I believe, to completely miss the point.
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To colleagues in Canadian academia

wilcoxI have a message for colleagues in Canada's colleges and universities. SHAME ON YOU.

I suppose it should come as no surprise to see academics spinelessly going along with the establishment, no matter how much it acts against their stated principles.


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Trump and the future

trumpSo our American cousins have elected The Donald as their next President.  Social media is buzzing with regressive-lefties completely loosing their shit and behaving like teenagers in a strop. So, is the world about to end?
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Towards real gender equality

equalityAs someone who can fairly be described as an anti-feminist,the main challenge/criticism made of me, and of other critics of feminism, is that we are not proposing our own models and solutions but, instead, just criticising feminist efforts.   This criticism is entirely bogus because many models and solutions have been and are being proposed by the MRM and by others. The reason that these do not receive wider attention is that feminism is so embedded in modern society that the only way to advocate for real gender equality is to first tear-down much of the bogus theory, crazy models and 'common' knowledge that entrenches feminist theory in everyday life.
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Why 'Stop Funding Hate' is a bad idea

SFHThe girlfriend of my nephew has been sending various activism postings through to me on Facebook, and I have recently become aware of the 'Stop Funding Hate' campaign - targeting the sponsors of some newspapers perceived to publish more hateful articles than the rest (the Daily Mail being top of the list).  Emma is a smashing young woman and I admire her determination to act on, rather than whine about, those things she sees to be wrong in society.
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Time for some straight talking.

islamophobiaOne of the things I hate most about the regressive identity-based politics that has infected much of the left in Western Europe is the fundamental dishonesty it tries to enforce. Anyone stepping outside the 'permitted bounds' of their politically correct sensibilities is automatically not only in the wrong but also a bigot who deserves and should receive correction or punishment.
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Scam Bulletin

bsmeterFrom time to time I will try to post a 'scam update'. I spend a fair amount of time fact-checking and working with other sceptics to examine claims - particularly those which claim scientific support. This started when I used to help at the Science Forums - a bunch of us decided to set-up as an unofficial watchdog and check out claims that we suspected were bogus.
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Reinventing Socialist realism: Subdialectic theory and subconstructive neopatriarchialist theory

socialrealismI have added a few post-structuralist essays to my blog. The reason for this is mainly to highlight the utter contempt I have for this type of 'academic writing' and my complete lack of respect for those who indulge in it. I have spent a fair amount of time reading articles written in this sort of post-modernist language and my conclusion, after many such attempts, is that it is complete bollox. The reason for the ridiculously obfuscatory language is simple - it is there precisely to obfuscate - to hide the basic fact that there is no content.
If you are wondering why I spent hours writing this drivel - I didn't. These essays are generated by a piece of software.

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Issues of Gender

gender
I have avoided getting too deeply into this 'hot button' issue with modern feminism. The reason is mainly because I have no special expertise in biology and therefore not much science to bring to any debate. I have realised, however, that science is being explicitly excluded from the debate in any case - so I may as well have my say.
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Postcapitalist dematerialism in the works of Rushdie

salman rushdieHere's another example of an academic paper in the style of the post-structural numpties infecting academia.   This time the computer  I decided to write about Salman Rushdie. 

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Online abuse and related matters

main trollI have previously blogged on the matter but some recent events prompt me to re-address this issue here.
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The Broken Fruit: Patriarchialist feminism in the works of Burroughs

William BurroughsAnother post-structuralist, post-modern gem from my computer me.  I'm getting good at this - I think I might start applying for university lecturing jobs in gender studies faculties.....

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The Fatal flaw of Class: The precultural paradigm of expression in the works of Spelling.

poststructuralismHere is a postmodern paper on the thorny issue of class.  I'm thinking of sending this one to Labyrinth - the inestimable journal of postmodernism. I'm sure they would publish my computer's masterpiece.
1. Semioticist situationism and capitalist neosemiotic theory

"Narrativity is fundamentally elitist," says Derrida. The characteristic theme of the works of Spelling is the futility, and therefore the fatal flaw, of capitalist class. The subject is interpolated into a Irigarayist that includes language as a reality.

"Sexual identity is impossible," says Baudrillard. Thus, the premise of textual theory implies that the State is part of the genre of consciousness, given that truth is distinct from sexuality. Marx suggests the use of the precultural paradigm of expression to attack capitalism.

Thus, Sartre uses the term 'Irigarayist ' to denote the role of the poet as artist. Any number of depatriarchialisms concerning capitalist neosemiotic theory exist. But the main theme of the works of Spelling is a neodialec whole.

De Selby 1 states that the works of Spelling are an example of self-fulfilling nihilism. Therefore, the subject is interpolated into a postconstructivist socialism that includes culture as a totality. If Irigarayist holds, we have to choose between Deleuseist and the precultural paradigm of expression.
In a sense, Irigaray suggests the use of capitalist neosemiotic theory to analyse class. The precultural paradigm of expression suggests that society has significance.


2. Concensuses of defining characteristic

"Sexual identity is fundamentally a legal fiction," says Foucault; however, according to Hubbard 2 , it is not so much sexual identity that is fundamentally a legal fiction, but rather the rubicon, and some would say the meaninglessness, of sexual identity. Thus, Sontag uses the term 'Irigarayist ' to denote the failure, and subsequent paradigm, of conceptual narrativity.

In the works of Stone, a predominant concept is the distinction between opening and closing. It could be said that in Natural Born Killers, Stone analyses the precultural paradigm of expression; in JFK, although, Stone examines the cultural paradigm of reality. Several situationisms concerning Irigarayist may be discovered. The subject is contextualised into a capitalist neosemiotic theory that includes art as a totality.

But the primary theme of Dahmus's 3 analysis of the precultural paradigm of expression is a mythopoetical paradox. However, Sartre uses the term subtextual narrative' to denote the bridge between reality and class. In "Heaven and Earth", Stone affirms capitalist neosemiotic theory; in JFK, however, Stone denies Irigarayist .

Therefore, Hamburger 4 implies that we have to choose between postcapitalist theory and the precultural paradigm of expression. It could be said that Marx's model of capitalist neosemiotic theory holds that language serves to marginalize minorities.


3. Textual objectivism and postmodern dialectic theory

The characteristic theme of the works of Gibson is not, in fact, discourse, but neodiscourse. In a sense, Kristeva promotes the use of the precultural paradigm of expression to challenge the status quo. "Sexual identity is impossible," says Derrida; however, according to la Fournier 5 , it is not so much sexual identity that is impossible, but rather the stasis of sexual identity. Any number of appropriations concerning Irigarayist may be found.

The subject is contextualised into a postmodern dialectic theory that includes consciousness as a reality. Thus, the subject is interpolated into a subcultural paradigm of reality that includes truth as a whole. Humphrey 6 states that we have to choose between the precultural paradigm of expression and structuralist dematerialism.

Foucault uses the term 'Irigarayist ' to denote the role of the observer as reader. But the primary theme of the works of Gibson is the rubicon, and some would say the economy, of pretextual society. However, Irigaray suggests the use of postmodern dialectic theory to deconstruct sexism.



1. de Selby, A. (1980) Deconstructing Modernism: The precultural paradigm of expression and Irigarayist . O'Reilly & Associates.
2. Hubbard, H. Q. Y. (1989) Irigarayist in the works of Stone. Schlangekraftgia.
3. Dahmus, E. I. (1972) Forgetting Baudrillard: Irigarayist , libertarianism and Lacanist obscurity. Oxford University Press
4. Hamburger, K. S. ed. (1983) The precultural paradigm of expression in the works of Gibson. And/Or Press
5. la Fournier, L. T. (1975) The Context of Dialectic: Irigarayist in the works of Koons. Oxford University Press
6. Humphrey, D. ed. (1974) Irigarayist and the precultural paradigm of expression. O'Reilly & Associates
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The Red Pill

blue pill A new documentary has been stirring up feminists like crazy. It takes a close look at one of the most reviled groups I am aware of - Men's Rights Activists (MRAs)  in the Men's Rights Movement (MRM).
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US Presidential Election

The question I am asked most at the moment is what I think of the candidates in the US Presidential Election. Since I am not, and have never claimed to be, any sort of expert in US politics I have tended to shy away from comment. 
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Conspiracy? err....

conspiracy theory alertConspiracy theory is something we all flirt with at some points in our lives.  Something happens and it seems that 'official' explanations just don't stack-up.
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Women are doing it TO themselves.

burchillAnother posting on feminism? Well. sort of, but not entirely. (Oh....ok..yes it IS about women - but not exclusively feminists - just mostly.)
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Fact vs Feminism - Criminal Justice

Every time I think I can move onto something new I come across another feminist outrage that screams for redress.

The latest is the concerted effort from the 'movement concerned only with gender equality' to do away with gender equality in the court and prison systems.
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Update on rape postings

bsmeterIn other postings I have looked at feminist claims about rape (here) and the pressure, largely from feminist activists, to change the law on rape (here). In this posting I want to look at a couple of recent cases which, I believe, tell us much more about motivations and agendas.
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BA = Brainwashed Activists?

VictimA YouTube regular (Sargon of Akkad) recently launched a petition calling for the temporary suspension of all University courses based around Social Justice.
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Don't look through a lens

fanaticismMy blog contains a lot of material criticising two groups in particular - religions and feminism. In this posting I want to look at an important characteristic of fanatics in general and explain why it fails.
 
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Power & Gender

gender powerI know, I know - I promised to leave the subject of feminism for a time, and I'm immediately going back to it. There is still something niggling away and I need to work it through before I can be happy to leave the issue.

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Privilege and Oppression

oppressedI want to round off my recent blog postings on feminism with this posting which looks at the raison d'etre for Feminism and makes the case that it is wrong, was wrong, and has never, in fact, been correct.
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Bikerman's Personal Statament

BikermanStand
Gosh that sounds pompous doesn't it? This entry is in response to several questions / requests from readers, friends and relatives. I get asked for my opinion on various things quite often and I normally give a jokey reply. Where do I stand? In the toilets, waiting for a train, in the queue....


Trigger warning - SJWs - go to your safe zone now. Do not read. Contains hate-speech.
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Offensive religious assertions

offensiveYesterday another religious type told me they found my views on religion offensive. This was AFTER they asked me what I thought about the new Pope. I simply told them, bluntly, but with no bad language or obscenity.
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Types of Troll

forumtrollI've been using the internet since long before the web was invented.  In the early days (1980s) the internet was a VERY different place. It was used almost exclusively by academics and the military (military traffic only rarely appeared on the academic networks, for the most part we didn't see the .mil hosts, only the .ac.uk).
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Woo's Woo in Creationism

shitAnyone who spends any time on the web, particularly if you hang out where the debate might involve religion, will almost certainly have come across the US fundamentalist creationists.
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Changing the law on rape

accusation evidence
I am hearing much talk around rape and the necessity to 'do something' about the 'terrible conviction rates'. This article, more than any other, is likely to draw condemnation and abuse from the feminist loonies because it takes an honest and frank look at something which feminists lie about more than anything else - rape1.
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Young Earth Creationism

NoahYoung Earth Creationism is, to fans of Douglas Adams, strangely familiar. It takes a while to spot the link - but it is there. Milliways - the Restaurant at the End of the Universe.
Has bikey finally gone mad, some of you are no doubt asking? No. If you know Adams Hitchiker's novels then you know that Milliways had a slogan - if you have done six impossible things this morning, why not round it off with breakfast at Milliways, the Restaurant at the End of the Universe.

There's the link - YECS have to believe 6 impossible things before EVERY meal, and the list grows and grows.

  • the universe and everything in it was created a little over six thousand years ago.
  • the species were created as 'types' which do not evolve into other 'types'.
  • the Noachian flood, and the other descriptions in the Christian/Jewish/Islam creation myth were historical events.
As beliefs go this one is pretty unbelievably dumb. The only way to hold on to this belief system is to reject pretty much all of modern science. It isn't enough to simply reject evolution. Radiometric dating also blows the belief away so that has to go. Then we have archaeological evidence of cultures before the supposed creation - that has to go. Then we have the cosmological evidence of light from galaxies billions of light years distance - so the speed of light can't be constant and must have been MUCH faster in the past. Then we have the geological evidence based on understanding how rock layers are formed and eroded - that has to go. Then we have basic physics that tells us a sudden deluge, no matter how large, simply could not carve out features like the Grand Canyon - that has to go. Then we have the even more basic physics that tells us that 450 ft long wooden boats can't be built - even now; that water sufficient to cover the highest peaks would weigh sufficient to crack the earths crust; that such a volume of water could not suddenly appear and then vanish - all that has to go.

Then we have the biological and zoological evidence that animal species are ancient; that evoluntion accounts for species; that it would not be possible for Polar bears, kangaroos and penguins to somehow be transported to the middle east; that the feeding, watering and simple housing of the number of creatures involved would need something a lot larger than a wooden boat, and a lot more people to manage than eight; that a flood would have killed salt-water species of fish and mammals, or a salt water flood would have killed all freshwater species and that, in either case, it would have killed pretty much ALL marine species as salt-fresh water concentrations changed rapidly - all that has to go. Finally we have the common-sense and basic logic that tells us that similar flood myths occur throughout history - some pre-dating the Noah story by centuries - so the Noachian flood cannot have happened at the time stated; that the story is an obvious metaphor of the type commonly found in the rest of the Hebrew Bible and in other creation myths around the world; that six thousand years simply isn't anything like enough time to account for the features we observe around us - all this has to go.

And when all this has gone, and the creationist is left with an unassailable belief, what, exactly, is left? Whatever it is, I don't want to be there.

Now you may think that the best bet is to let them get on with it - after all they can't make educated people believe that nonsense. Well, true to a point - not many people educated to graduate level and beyond are suddenly going to become creationists. That misses the point , however. The bunnies may have idiotic beliefs but they are not all idiots. Philip Morris is as shrewd a man as one is likely to meet and he has his eye on the long game. They KNOW that trying to convert adults is a no-go, so that is not what they want. They want to get at the kids before they have the knowledge and experience to see their rubbish for what it is. That is why crteationists have been trying to get their religious nonense into the school curriculums. In the US that is illegal, though that doesn't stop many schools overtly teaching creationism and ignoring evolution - at least where there are parents who care they can do something about it.

Here in the UK we recently (I say we - I mean people who have been campaigning on this matter for years and although I include myself, mine was a minor supporting role at best) won a victory which means that no school should now be teaching creationism as fact. Unfortunately I don't believe that this is the case. We have recently gone through several processes aimed at allowing pretty much anyone to open a school and get state funding. I would like to blame Michael Gove - and indeed he is resonsible for the latest version, but in truth it was a labout proposal and was the brainchild of non other than Tony Bloody Liar. He was quite happy to allow fundamentalists into our schools - and said so, in terms in 2006.
  • In an interview with the magazine ahead of a speech on science on Friday, Mr Blair said he had visited one school where creationism was taught.
    "Actually what they are providing, which is far more important, [is] the first disciplined, high-quality teaching that most of these kids have ever had. If I notice creationism becoming the mainstream of the education system in this country, I think that is the time to start worrying."
What a shithead. He sat there and watched teachers lie to children but was happy because the discipline was good and the kids behaved themselves. He doesn't see a problem until it becomes 'mainstream' - by which time, of course, it is way too late. The man really was a complete tit and I wish him much unhappiness and sorrow in his remaining years (fat chance - he is raking it in on the speech circuit).

So this is one portal that needs guarding - the education system is the most efficient way for the creationists to get their message to a receptive audience and that must be opposed. Fortunately there are many of us watching at the gate and I believe we can say with some confidence that no big state school will get creationism onto the syllabus without the alarm being raised..

The problem is with the large number of small 'DIY' schools that we have encouraged for the last two decades. Who is most liklely to want to set up a school apart from the state sector? It's pretty obvious - religions. The same people who are running a large number of schools already. But now the smaller and more fundamentalist sects can have a go. Church of England schools are not, to be honest, hotbeds of theology and fundamentalism. Even Catholic schools, though certainly emphasising the religion more, are not a major concern to people like me - and I have worked in many schools, including C of E and Catholic. I would prefer them to be state run, but as long as I can't do anything about that it is a long term aim, and there is no immediate crisis to my knowledge.

Islamic schools, however, are a different thing (and before anyone screams 'racist' - which obviously would be wrong because Islam is a RELIGION not an ethnic group) then I have similar concerns about fundy Jewish schools, biblical literalist Christian schools, Scientology, Jehova's Witness and a whole load of other sects of Christianity also concern me - more accurately, the idea that they could be given a great deal of freedom in deciding what is taught to large numbers of children worries me.

Fortunately there was an incident a couple of years ago which has resulted in a great improvement in this whole area. Muslim schools in Birmingham were reported to be teaching fundamentalism, or at the very least enforcing practices (segregation of the sexes, for example) which are not considered valid in state schools. Naturally there was a huge row about it, with the Daily Mail lining up the racism (yes, I know that Islam is not a race, but the Daily Mail can always find an angle to be racist, even where it is not obvious how), the Muslims screaming Islamophobia and intollerance, and the council completely arse-in-a-sling with no clue what to do or how to do it.

This became a big story and gained even more significance when Theresa May used the opportunity to slap Michael Gove down big style. Gove had been doing what he does - being an ill-mannered and thoroughly obnoxious shit and had, I think, started to believe his own bullshit, to the extent that he saw himself moving up in the party towards higher offi ce. He was stupid enough to think he could elbow past Theresa May on his way up. Even a Tory outsider like myself could have told him that was a really dumb thing to do. He used the press to run a couple of spoilers against May and the Home Office and it was obvious to me that there was a clock tiicking. It didn't take long. The issue of Muslim fundamentalism was a perfect opportunity for Gove to have a dig - wondering aloud what the Home office were doing to stop this threat from our own citizens. May went ballistic and it quickly descended into leak, counter leak, accusation and denial. Cameron was beside himself - the row distracted from the Queen's Speech (the Government program) and even pulled him out of the G7 summit. Heads were banged together and it was always obvious that in any such position May would come out best. She is his senior in experience (and ability), she is canny enough to ensure that she leaked nothing and that no paper trail led back to her directly - it all led to her PA who had to resign. Gove was made to issue a grovelling apology and his dreams of political advancement were essentially put on the back burner - the VERY back burner.

Anyhoo - the reason I digress at such length is that one conequence was the government needed this Muslim business sorted out. At the same time we activists were putting pressure on about creationism in schools. The last thing any mandarin wanted was a war on two fronts so with astonishing speed (for the civil service - anything less than a couple of years is breakneck) the civil servants looked at the secularist proposals for school curriculums, and agreed them with nary a comma changed. Moreover they didn'tt try any weasel nonsense - they announced that the changes would apply not just to schools seeking new funding, but to all existing schools in receipt of state funding. Score one to the heathens.

It is now written into the contracts of any new school that creationism is a definite no-no. This was a big victory and it pretty much stops creationist infiltration of the new academy and free schools, but there is no room for complacency. Independant schools can still teach what they like with no Ofstead breathing down their necks. Some of the independant schools have even setup their own inspectorates to 'validate' their teaching. Pressure needs to be kept up to limit the number of these schools able to get creationism established in the curriculum.
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Top Feminist Myths

stupidburnsTaking a look at the most commonly repeated falsehoods from feminists. Any impartial observer will have noticed that feminists - like many fundamentalist religious - place a low value on truthfulness. My hypothesis is that they are so certain of the truth of their case that getting details and facts correct seems to them like insignificant quibbling. That, at least, is the most charitable explanation I can come up with.

Suffragettes

1. The Suffragettes won the vote for women after fighting the male patriarchy who wanted to deny them.

How many people know the names of Emmeline and Christabel Pankhurst - most people, I suspect. A distorted version of history is taught in schools in which these women appear as heroic fighters for the franchise. The truth is somewhat different. Many historians now agree that the suffragette movement actually set back the vote for women by at least four years, possibly more. Public opinion was firmly against the actions of the suffragettes and this allowed parliament to ignore their demands with complete impunity. In fact the government were actually very unwilling to be seen to give-in to the violence, fearing the precedent and the public backlash. The more suffragettes resorted to stunts and terrorist actions1 the less support they enjoyed and the less inclined the politicians to grant their wishes.

By 1914 - the start of the World War I - after a campaign of over nearly two decades, women still did not have the vote. The war forced the suffragettes to abandon their campaign and many took up war work - this is a crucial reason that women did get the vote in 1918.

What is often forgotten is that millions of men who were soon to face death in the trenches did not have the vote either. They were conscripted into the army by a government they did not vote for and even the most rabid supporters of the establishment were embarrassed by this injustice 2. At that time voting was restricted to the 'middle class' - qualification meant owning property.3

Working men had no right to vote and it was only in 1918, partly as recognition of the debt owed by the country for the terrible death toll and suffering, and the recognition that men could be called-up again, that the vote was extended to all working men. It was seen as a deal - men allow the state to call them up in time of war whilst the state gives men the right to have a say in who governs. One might argue that the price for men getting the vote was high indeed, considering that WW2 was not far distant, with the horrendous casualty rate that brought.

At the same time the vote was given to women over 30, who had faced no call-up, no death in muddy trenches, no horrific barbarism. Men got the vote in return for being required to fight and die when the state required it. Women got the vote by asking. Funny sort of patriarchy that basically just gives-in, allowing women the one thing that a genuine patriarchy would never grant under any circumstance.

A major factor in the vote being granted to women was the war work undertaken by many women - filling in for men who were fighting. This undid much of the harm caused by the suffragettes and turned public opinion in their favour. Indeed the granting of the franchise was publicly stated to be in recognition of the war effort from women - this allowed the issue to be completely decoupled from the earlier terrorist campaign.

So the myth of brave women struggling for the vote which men already had is, to put it mildly, a very distorted view of history that has been encouraged and fostered by feminist historians such as June Purvis, who lionise Pankhust and the other suffragette failures, completely ignoring their detrimental effect and the violence and terror they used. It is all part of a feminist narrative that owes little to history and much to wishful thinking and poor scholarship.

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There is something wrong when....

pushingCurrently 15% of US boys (under 16) are diagnosed as ADHD and are being given Ritalin or a similar amphetamine-based medication.They are now drugging girls in large numbers as well - about half as many as boys.  So how can we account for this epidemic of ADHD? Quite simply. The behaviour hasn't changed, the expectations have.
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Time to clean house

Anna HMI have written before on the infection of academia by postmodernism / poststructuralism. In this posting I was to explain what I mean and how we came to this sorry state.

Introduction

Introduction



A whole generation of scholars has been spawned who seem to think that any old nonsense, providing it is couched in the correct jargon, is fit for academic publication. This issue was highlighted in spectacular fashion when a mathematical physicist - Alan Sokal - submitted a paper to a peer-reviewed post-modernism journal - Social Text1

The article - Transgressing the Boundaries: Towards a Transformative Hermeneutics of Quantum Gravity2 - was clearly nonsense to anyone who had even a basic level of education in physics. The central assertion was that gravity is actually socially constructed, and therefore any discussion of gravity is both incomplete and misleading if it is not set in the context of social relationships, power structures and psychological models of perception and cognition. It was written in the type of pretentious, multisyllabic, gibberish beloved of post-structural 'theorists' - and when I read it I laughed hard and long.

Here is the thing though - it passed peer-review and was duly published in the above journal.

At that time I thought this was the most idiotic publication to ever appear in supposedly rigorous proper academic journals....but it may have just been beaten, and this time the author and paper are genuine.

For those unfamiliar with the post-structuralist infiltration and corruption of large parts of the humanities here is a potted summary.


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Simple metric for deciding on religious claims to 'truth'

bible scholarsHaving just watched my first debate of the new year (an old one, on religion, featuring John Lennnox) the old issue of evidence featured strongly. Lennox, predictably, insisted his faith is based on sound evidence and the sane people noted that he provided nothing to support that assertion.
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Open letter/response to Emma Watson

watsonOriginal interview by Liz Connor

Emma Watson is the latest in a growing line of celebrities who suddenly feel qualified to lecture on the meaning and goals of feminism.

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A response to 48 things you won't hear a man say

WithUsOrAgainstUsA campaign from Anita and co lists 48 things a man will not (supposedly) hear but a woman will (I think their list stinks). I've done a reverse list in reply, but I could only be bothered to do 25 (more than a dozen of their 48 are bogus anyway).
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A response to 32 types of anti-feminist

This is a graphic response to a recent cartoon posted on a feminist website lampooning anti-feminists. I have kept the structure and made a few changes to the content :-)
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Why third wave feminism is dangerous nonsense

wavesThird wave feminism has given rise to a whole new generation of Social Justice Warriors who see it as their role to police political correctness, as defined by the feminists themselves. This is (as a feminist would say) problematic.
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Simple impossible problem in maths

impossible somethingThere are many things that we cannot yet prove mathematically, but here is one of the simplest. It is known as the Collatz conjecture (a conjecture is the term used in maths to mean an idea which seems to be true but has not yet rigorously proven to be so).

 




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5 Questions

Not real feminismOver the past months I have looked more deeply into feminism than I had previously done. What I found disturbed and angered me.
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Examining Feminist Claims - Part 2

Research My second look at the information coming out of feminism and how much it can be trusted.
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Examining Feminist Claims Part 1 - Gender Pay Gap

paygapSome time ago I promised to post something on this issue - the claimed gap in pay between women and men. So, here is the promised article.
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Euler Identity

BeautyI was sat contemplating yesterday. I'd been working on an article for this site and I was getting stale - trying to spot an error that would have been obvious a couple of hours before - a sure sign that it is time to stop what you are doing and do something else for a while.
For some reason my mind dove back into a philosophical question I've been pondering - is there such a thing as objective morality?

I was considering a specific point made in a debate on the issue, which asserted that there is no a-priori reason to assume an objectivity, because in similar systems of judgement there does not appear to be such a thing. The example cited was aesthetics, the assertion being that there is no absolute aesthetic - no unarguable beauty - and that it is, at least to some extent, a matter of subjective opinion. I was trying to work out if I agreed with this assertion or not. Certainly I know that physical attractiveness is at least partly subjective. Most of us have little quirks of behaviour and/or appearance that does it for us - I certainly do (and it's none of your business). But at the same time most of us can acknowledge some less subjective notion of physical attractiveness and agree to it's general validity even though it might not entirely float our boat. Most men, for example, would probably agree that David Beckham, or George Cloony are pretty damn good looking examples of our gender, even if we don't actually like much else about them. Likewise, not too many of us would class Halle Berry or Penelope Cruz as anything other than gorgeous.

Anyhoo - I pondered the matter for a while and, although I reached no conclusion, I did manage to advance my thoughts a bit closer in that direction. In the course of this, I took a mental diversion into abstract beauty, since this is surely where the most difference, the least objectivity can be found. We can all admire the Mona Lisa, even those who might, in their more pretentious moments, call it a dead example of a dying art form. Tracy Emin's "bed", however, will divide people instantly (and irrevocably in most cases).

Because I know little about art, my thoughts went to science and maths - beauty here is surely as abstract as it is possible to be. And yet most mathematicians see beauty (and ugliness) in the most abstract formulae or proof - and, more importantly, will tend to agree. I have, several times, heard a mathematician say, of something she is working on, the mathematics are just so beautiful

Most times the beauty is not something I can see - I don't have the understanding to see the relationships which must surely be at the heart of such beauty. There is one equation, however, that struck me as beautiful when I first saw it - even though I knew very little about it or what it meant. That equation is commonly known as Euler's Identity. It relates five mathematical constants in a way which is undeniably elegant (which, I propose, is itself a type of beauty). It is also mysterious - always a good thing in something aspiring to beauty. Why pi, e, i, 1 and 0 are linked is still something I have no real clue about, and why they are linked in such an elegant and concise statement as the Euler Identity is something which I am not sure anyone has a good answer for. For those unfamiliar with this identity, let me put you out of your suspense:

\[ e^{i\pi}+1=0\]


The first thing to note is the brevity. Each constant is mentioned once, and there is an economy of arithmetic. But what do the symbols mean. Let's go through them starting with the one you are almost certain to know.


\(\pi \) is a number that pops up in the most surprising places. Most people know that it defines the relationship between the diameter (d) and circumference (c) of any circle. \(c=\pi d\) . Many people will also know that pi is an irrational number. In mathematics irrational doesn't mean crazy, it means 'no ratio'.

The first great mathematicians - the Greeks, specifically Pythagoras - believed that numbers are ideal forms and the universe is a clumsy material representation of the idealised forms that exist only in the realms of number.



OK, so \(\pi\) is an irrational constant which is the relationship between circumference and diameter of any circle.   

e is another irrational number, similar to \(\pi\). e can be defined in several ways. It is the base number of natural logarithms. It is the limit of \([1+\frac{1}{n}]^n\) as \(n\rightarrow \infty\).

i is the symbol given to the imaginary number which answers the expression \(\sqrt{-1}=?\) It cannot be expressed on the normal number line. Instead we advance the usual number line, going from minus \(\infty\) to plus \(\infty\) into a second dimension, to give what we call the 'complex plane'.

complex planeHere we see an example. The real numbers are represented on the x axis and the imaginary numbers on the y axis. The rules for combining the two are logical and orderly, and by doing this to form complex numbers we open-up solutions to real-world problems that were a total surprise. In an area of interest to me - sound recording, complex numbers are used to construct complex filters to enhance and filter sound. They are also used in the basics of all digital wave processing - Fourier transformations. In other fields complex numbers have also provided astounding new tools. People working with alternating current electricity use complex numbers to model the current.


Multiplying by real numbers can be thought of as scaling. Multiplying by complex numbers can be thought of as rotating through space. This is obviously useful in any situation using 3-D or even 2-D modelling - such as CAD/CAM. You will have seen complex numbers if you have ever seen the fractal called the Mandelbrot set. So these three constants - all very useful and all which crop up in places you would not imagine, are also related, using a simple equation, to arguably the most important constants in number theory - 1 and 0. 0 is also known as the 'additive identity' which can be simply stated as n + 0 = n = 0 + n and this is true for all number sets - real, imaginary, complex, integer. You should be able to see from this that 1 is the multiplicative identity \(n1 = n = 1n\).

So what does it all mean and where does it come from? A few decades ago the best mathematicians might have answered thusly:
It is absolutely paradoxical; we cannot understand it, and we don't know what it means, but we have proved it, and therefore we know it must be the truth.
Benjamin Peirce 

I must admit that I was going to leave it there, but I came across an article by a young lad called Kalid Azad on the 'better explained' website that shamed me into rethinking, His response to the quote above was:
Argh, this attitude makes my blood boil! Formulas are not magical spells to be memorized: we must, must, must find an insight.

He's right you know :-) Here is his explanation.


Deriving the identity


Euler's identity is a special case of Euler's formula from complex analysis, which states that for any real number

\(e^{ix} = cos(x) + i*sin(x)\)

where the inputs of the trigonometric functions sine and cosine are given in radians.

In particular, when x = π, or one half-turn (180°) around a circle: \(e^{i\pi}=cos(\pi)+i*sin(\pi)\)
Since  \(cos(\pi)=-1\)

\(sin(\pi)=0\) 

it follows that \(e^{i\pi}=-1+0i\)

which yields Euler's identity:  \[e^{i\pi}+1=0\]

300px ExpIPi

This is a demonstration that \(e^{i\pi}+1=0\). It uses the formula \( (1+z/N)^N \rightarrow e^z \) (as N increases). The Nth power is displayed as a repeated multiplication in the complex plane. As N increases, you can see that the final result (the last point) approaches -1, the actual value of \(e^{i\pi}\).

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Bikerman's Guide to Special Relativity (LONG)

dilationThis is a guide to Einstein's theory of Special Relativity aimed at the non scientist. No prior knowledge is assumed, but I will need to assume that you are familiar with basic arithmetic, and that you know something, even if only a very little, about algebra.
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We Stink at Stats

ExplodingHeadAs I have noted in other writing, humans, as a species, stink at statistics. I don't mean maths in general - though plenty of us stink at that. I mean statistics, and particularly probabilities and risk calculation.
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You cheeky buggers!

VolksiSo Volkswagen have been caught at it eh?  Surely nobody is suprised to hear that the motor industry fiddles the emission figures for their cars?  This has been known for decades.  The surprise here is the sheer brass neck of the Germans.  They kitted the cars out with computer management systems specifically designed to detect and deceive officials doing the required tests on the vehicles.

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The GASP scale

measurementI am someone known to like a metric. I tend to the belief that if you can't measure it then it probably ain't there. I am often disappointed, therefore, when it comes to discussions of likelihoods, probabilities and the like.
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Sam Harris, Islam and Racism

afflekOver the pond there has been much chat over an incident on a chat show involving Sam Harris and Ben Affleck. It raises some wider issues which I think are worth looking at.
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Thought Crime

thoughtpoliceFor  anyone who has read George Orwell's 1984, the notion of thought crime probably sends a shiver down the spine - that certainly applies to me. Most people would readily agree that people should be judged on what they do, not what they think.

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Feminism and Religion

feminismSome time ago I was subjected to some stupidity by a few self-identifying feminists. Naturally I don't assume that their ridiculous behaviour is in any way representative of feminism but it piqued my curiosity enough that I spent some time looking into feminism.
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You Believe WHAT?

megaThe main tactic of creationists has always been to attack evolutionary theory and introduce religiously inspired 'science' into schools. This tactic makes sense - the only way to guarantee the spread of their beliefs is to somehow get it taught in the schools.
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Precise chaos

bifurcationYou may remember doing quadratic equations at school - or some of you may be engineers or scientists and use quadratics regularly. The problem with them was always that a very large number cannot be solved - or they can be solved, but they give 'complex' answers.

Chaos

With the advent of cheap computing it became possible to crunch more of these types of equations (known as polynomial equations) very quickly. One person who was doing this early doing this was a meteorologist called Edward Lorentz. He was playing with an early computer in 1963, trying to produce weather forecasts.

Lorentz noticed that even though he was using fairly simple, well understood equations, the computer sometimes returned wildly fluctuating results which didn't seem to settle on a single value. He also noticed that if he changed the starting conditions very slightly, the results would be hugely different. Lorentz had discovered what later became known as Chaos theory - the branch of mathematics which is concerned with apparently simple and completely understood equations and models that, nevertheless, could turn into spiteful unpredictable monsters out of nowhere. They are NOT RANDOM - chaotic systems do not have random elements in them, they are completely deterministic.

You might think that there is surely some contradiction here. How can an equation, where we know all the terms exactly, produce results which we cannot predict?

The answer is that very tiny changed in the initial conditions are amplified to produce massive differences in the final output. This was labelled the 'butterfly effect' - the idea being that the flap of a butterfly wing could be sufficient to produce a hurricane in some other location, as the weather system amplified the tiny variation. The type of system where this happens is characterised by what an engineer would call a feedback mechanism and what a mathematician would call an iterative function. ie The output somehow influences the next input. Usually systems producing this type of thing are designed to converge on equilibrium (a single 'value' of output) and the output is fed-back into the system in a way which evens things out. If the output starts rising, the feedback mechanism should cause it to fall. If it starts to fall then the feedback should increase it.

If you want a simple image of this then consider a simple heating system with a boiler, some radiators and a thermostat. The thermostat is the feedback mechanism - it links the output of the system (heat) to the input of the system (the burning of fuel at the boiler). The simplest type of system is binary - the thermostat is designed to send a signal when the temperature reaches a set level. This signal stops the flow of fuel to the boiler and therefore stops the heating process. When the temperature drops below the set level then the thermostat stops sending the signal, the fuel resumes and the boiler goes back to producing heat. Such a system would, in fact, be horribly inefficient because the boiler would be coming on and off in short bursts as the temperature fluctuated around the trigger. This is a very inefficient way to run a boiler - a large amount of the heat produced is wasted to the environment, and not directed to the radiators. The system would, however, function to keep the temperature very close to the set value. This type of feedback is called negative feedback and will always tend to an equilibrium state.

The opposite - a positive feedback system - will tend to an exponentially rising output. Most people are familiar with a good example of this that often occurs when a microphone is too close to the speakers which are projecting the amplified sound. Some of the amplified signal enters the microphone, which then goes through the amplifiers and is boosted to produce more sound at the speaker. This in turn increases the sound output and more sound goes back into the microphone - the result is a runaway cascade which we call simply 'feedback'.


Most of the time audio feedback just produces a horrible squealing sound before it either blows something or the microphone is moved. It can be used, however, by musicians who know what they are doing to contribute to the piece. The first example that I know of (and this is generally agreed by sound engineers) is from the Beatles in 1964, at the start of the track I Feel Fine


The use of feedback was then picked-up by groups like The Who, Jefferson Airplane, Jimi Hendrix, the Velvet Underground and the Grateful Dead.

Here, for example, is Hendrix using feedback to great effect in his rendition of the Star Spangled Banner.



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Evolution Basics 2 Chance

rouletteReligious opposition to evolutionary theory has consistently sought to focus on mis-characterising the theory to make it less credible with the public at large. A major part of this is the repeated insistence that evolution is a 'random' or 'chance' process.

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Material and .... ?

chopraIn many of my debates with theists the subject will turn to materialism.  My opponent will criticize me for being a materialist and say that this is why I am 'blind' to spirituality and the evidence for their particular God.

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Top Creationist Canards

pinocchio nose growingAnyone who has debated creationists will be aware that, whatever their character away from debate, they often have no problem breaking their 9th commandment when talking to atheists.
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Why you should be a sceptic

scepticFirst let me be clear about what a sceptic is, and is not. A sceptic, in the sense I am using the word1, is someone who is reluctant to fully accept an idea or position without satisfactory evidence.
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The Problem of Induction

reasoningThere is widespread public misunderstanding about the basics of how science functions. This allows the dishonest to make what appear to be powerful attacks on science, with the average person not able to spot the way in which their misunderstanding is being exploited.
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Evolution Basics - 1. Definitions

religion
Evolution is the focus of most attack by fundamentalist religious - particularly creationists and some Muslims. This short series of essays is designed to give a background in evolutionary terms and theory, and point out the flaws and fallacies in the religiously inspired attempt to rubbish the theory.
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Why I don't believe in God(s)

BikerLogoDevilIn this essay I am going to try and summarise the reason that, speaking right now, I don't believe in God(s). WARNING - this will be a long and perhaps rambling essay. This is a massive issue which I have been thinking about for 40 years, so don't expect brevity.
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Dealing with Apologists Moral Absolute

creationAdamIn this series of mini essays I want to deal with some of the arguments made by the most popular apologists. By 'popular' I mean apologists who are on public media, including on-line media.
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Why do I care?

inquisitionA question I am frequently asked - usually by theists in debate - is why I care what people believe. It is often phrased something like....
"Why do you waste time on the subject of religion when you don't believe in a God?"
Or.
"Why don't you just let people believe what they want to believe and leave them alone?"
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I'll not believe it when I see it

shadowAt one time eye-witness testimony was the gold standard in criminal trials. Certainly I can remember that being the case. Over time, however, we began to get an appreciation of just how BAD we are at seeing, remembering and recalling. If you think squares A and B are different colours then your eyes are not so reliable either :-)
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Christian Arrogance

JesusBoyo2I have lost count of the number of times I have heard a Christian mocking another religion as 'crazy' or 'obviously fake'. Often they will be talking about a group that self-define as Christians. Examples include Christian Scientists, Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses.
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Pascal's Wager

Pascal One of the most frequent questions that I am asked by theists - and I suspect this is true for most atheists - is some version of Pascal's Wager. For those who may be unfamiliar with this famous argument, it goes something like this:
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Teach the controversy?

TeachControversey1
If you haven't read Intelligent Design - Context then I would suggest that you do before reading this.

In this article I want to examine the history of the creationist 'Teach the Controversy' campaign in the early 2000s.
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Intelligent Design Context

creationAdamI thought this had been killed-off when the creationists lost in an American court at the Dover trial. Unfortunately I still see and hear from people who insist that ID is a legitimate scientific theory, and that it should be taught alongside evolution.
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