-- Secret “war-crime” warrants by International Criminal Court is mischief-making
Getting the full story about Ukraine
The west vs the rest – the world is changing
Ukraine commemorates Nazi collaborators
Do New Zealanders no longer support Ukraine?
The subtlety of neo-Nazi influence in Ukraine – ignored by our media
Where are Ukrainian refugees going? – an update
Is New Zealand covertly supporting the glorification of neo-Nazism?
Following the war in Ukraine – an update
Russian anti-war protester goes to see for herself
You can’t understand Ukraine without acknowledging its deep divisions
Once again, those Russian neo-Nazis – the Wagner group
A heartwarming story about a Ukrainian prisoner of war
Over 50 POWs killed. A military accident or a cynical war crime?
Ukraine/Russia war, an intelligence operation or a sting, Ukrainian and UK spies, and Bellingcat
Mainstream media defends poor journalism by smearing good journalism
Ukraine war – a shocking failure of our mainstream media
How is the war going?
Why should Ukraine listen to lame duck Boris Johnson?
Ukraine war – a failure of honest diplomacy and reason
British volunteer soldier in Ukraine speaks up
What about those Russian neo-Nazis?
Neo-Nazis in Ukraine – stages of denial
Confusion about neo-Nazis in Ukraine-Russia war
Neo-Nazis in Ukraine. Comedians are often more truthful than politicians.
Ukraine – a beginner’s guide
Why the silence on censorship?
Everything You Know About Ukraine Is WRONG
Some sense on the Russia-Ukraine war
British volunteer soldier in Ukraine tells his story
Virtue signaling over Ukraine
Fluoridation and child IQ – the problem of counting chickens before they hatch
August ’21 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
July ’21 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
June ’21 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Anti-fluoridation group tells porkies about NZ fluoridation review
Opponents of fluoridation all at sea with new legislation
Update of NZ fluoridation review timely and useful
May ’21 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Fluoridation contribution to heavy metals in drinking water is too low to measure
April ’21 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Hip fractures in the elderly and fluoride – contradictory evidence
March ’21 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
An open letter to Paul Connet and the anti-fluoride movement
February ’21 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Data dredging, p-hacking and motivated discussion in anti-fluoride paper
Censorship: Thinking you are right – even if you’re wrong
Embarrassing knock-back of second draft review of possible cognitive health effects of fluoride
The promotion of weak statistical relationships in science
Can we trust science?
January ’21 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
I don’t “believe” in science – and neither should you
December ’20 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Science is often wrong – be critical
November ’20 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Hyping it up over fluoridation
September ’20 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
August ’20 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
July ’20 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Even studies from endemic fluorosis areas show fluoride is not harmful at levels used in fluoridation
Canadian studies confirm findings of Broadbent et al (2015) – fluoridation has no effect on child IQ
Child IQ in countries with endemic fluorosis imply fluoridation is safe.
Anti-fluoride 65 brain-fluoride studies not evidence against fluoridation
June ’20 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking delayed
Another study used by anti-fluoride activists actually shows community water fluoridation OK
May ’20 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
When scientists get political: Lead fluoride-IQ researcher launches emotional attack on her scientific critics
New study touted by anti-fluoridation campaigners actually indicates fluoridation is safe
No relationship of bone cancer to fluoridation – another new study the anti-fluoride brigade will attempt to ignore
New review finds fluoride is not a developmental neurotoxicant at exposure levels relevant to fluoridation
April ’20 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Anti-fluoride campaigners still rely on irrelevant studies
Author confirms anti-fluoridation activist misrepresentation of her work
Anti-fluoridation propaganda now relies on only four studies. 6: Incestuous relationship of these studies
Anti-fluoridation propaganda now relies on only four studies. 5: Don’t censor yourself
Anti-fluoridation propaganda now relies on only four studies. 4: Till et al (2020)
Anti-fluoridation propaganda now relies on only four studies. 3: Riddell et al (2019)
Anti-fluoridation propaganda now relies on only four studies. 2: Green et al (2019)
Anti-fluoridation propaganda now relies on only four studies. 1: Bashash et al (2018)
March ’20 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
No; a new study from Ethiopia does not indicate fluoridation is bad for your bones
Anti-fluoridationists put faith in new “strong” studies to provide evidence missing in draft NTP review
Industry-funded translation can introduce bias in selection of studies for scientific review
Another embarrassment for anti-fluoride campaigners as neurotoxic claim found not to be justified
February ’20 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Beware of scientific paper abstracts – read the full text to avoid being fooled
January ’20 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Fluoridation and sex steroid hormones – or the mouse that roared
What are the recent fluoride-IQ studies really saying about community water fluoridation?
December ’19 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Fluoridation science and political advocacy – who is fooling who?
Scientific integrity & fluoridation – Dr Ghali responds
Sleep disorders and fluoride: dredging data to confirm a bias
Some fluoride-IQ researchers seem to be taking in each other’s laundry
Statistical manipulation to get publishable results
Scientific integrity requires critical investigation – not blind acceptance
November ’19 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Anti-fluoride propagandists appear not to read the articles they promote
The anti-fluoride brigade won’t be erecting billboards about this study
October ’19 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
ADHD and fluoride – wishful thinking supported by statistical manipulation?
Experts complain to funding body about quality of fluoride-IQ research
What do these mother-child studies really say about fluoridation?
September ’19 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Biostatistical problems with the Canadian fluoride/IQ study
Fluoridation – A new fight against scientific misinformation
An evidence-based discussion of the Canadian fluoride/IQ study
More expert comments on the Canadian fluoride-IQ paper
Politics of science – making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear
August ’19 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Bye, bye to the collusion lie
If at first you don’t succeed . . . statistical manipulation might help
Anti-fluoride activists misrepresent a new kidney/liver study
July ’19 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
MH17 tragedy- 5 years on
June ’19 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Chemical watchdog confirms suppressed report but justifies the suppression
May ’19 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Does international chemical watchdog cherry-pick evidence to confirm a bias?
Psychology of Russiagate – an adult discussion for a change
April ’19 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Russiagate – Some insights into its origins and results
Russiagate: Lessons for the media. But will they listen?
March ’19 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Aftermath of the Mueller report – the media starts looking at itself
Mueller report to be released mid April – but it will be redacted
Collapse of the “Russiagate ” myth exposes how corporate media has failed
Getting out alive – why we should always demand evidence
Terrorism in Christchurch – some thoughts
“Disinformation” and the mainstream media
February ’19 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
January ’19 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Preempting the annual misrepresentation of NZ dental health data by anti-fluoride activists
December ’18 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Fluoridation: Another study shows stopping fluoridation bad for child tooth decay
November ’18 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Media manipulation – the tail wags the dog
Protection of teeth by fluoride confirmed – yet again
And you thought Russiagate could not get sillier.
Trump and the media – codependents wallowing in the mud
Julian Assange’s mother appeals for her son’s freedom
October ’18 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Nuclear dangers if INF treaty abandoned could be worse than in the 1980s
Fluoridation and ADHD: A new round of statistical straw clutching
September ’18 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
September ’18 NZ blog ranking – delayed
Flight MH17 tragedy in Ukraine – new evidence
Novichock detection and the Salisbury tourists
A more convincing take on prenatal maternal dietary effects on child IQ
Fluoridation: “debating” the science?
Opportunities and problems for grassroots activism offered by the internet
August ’18 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Who is weaponising the vaccination debate?
Another BUK accident in Ukraine
Policing social media – who is coming next and who is behind it?
Political interference prevents investigators from considering the “bleeding obvious”
July ’18 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Mainstream media “mob violence” over Helsinki summit
Blatant misreporting of latest OPCW report on chemical weapons in Syria
Time for a serious auditing of Porton Down’s nerve agent stocks?
June ’18 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Anti-fluoride campaigners exhaust their legal channels with another loss
Magical World Cup Gala Concert
May ’18 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Anti-fluoridation activists buy scientific credibility using a predatory publisher
Another shonky OPCW chemical incident report on Syria
Not just another rat study
Russian sports doping scandal looking like an illusion?
April ’18 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Mainstream media-political alliance gets vindictive
Novichock – a marketing ploy?
The “heart of the Syrian chemical weapons programme” destroyed?
OPCW on Salisbury poisoning – one step forward, two back?
Anti-fluoridationist Paul Connett misrepresents NZ data
Anti-fluoridationists rejection of IQ studies in fluoridated area.
March ’18 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
A conference paper on the maternal prenatal urinary fluoride/child IQ study has problems
The 52 IQ studies used by anti-fluoride campaigners
The real lessons from Vladimir Putin’s re-election
Why is it so difficult to get an open discussion on fluoridation?
Mary Byrne’s criticism is misplaced and avoids the real issues
Anti-fluoride group coordinator responds to my article
Where could you get a nerve agent in Salisbury?
The first casualty . .
Paul Connett’s misrepresentation of maternal F exposure study debunked
February ’18 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Anti-fluoride activist commits “Death by PowerPoint”
Paul Connett “updates” NZ MPs about fluoride?
Anti-fluoride activists misrepresent another thyroid study
Fake news from the White Helmets returns
RT election subversion – yet again?
January ’18 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Yet another fluoride-IQ study
So you are saying . . . . . !
Jordan Peterson demonstrates the importance of free speech
Select your conspiracy theory and connect the dots
Whose who in the Russiagate affair – an infographic
A week of good news in New Zealand
Is “Russiagate” another deception like Iraqi WMDs?
“Fire and Fury” exposes the fundamental problems of the anti-Trump movement
Confirmation bias – we all suffer from it but how can we reduce its effect?
December ’17 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Yet another way Russia is undermining our society
Anti-fluoridationists misrepresent New Zealand dental data – an annual event
Fluoridation means money in the pocket
Anti-fluoridation campaigners often use statistical significance to confirm bias
November ’17 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
The problem with scepticism
Chemical weapons use in Syria UN report flawed by political bias
Anti-fluoride “expert” finds the real reason oral health has improved – and it’s not fluoride
Meat substitutes – prospects and new ethical questions
October ’17 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
New fluoride debate falters
Political maturity in New Zealand – at least compared to the US
Flaw and porkie in anti-fluoride report claiming a flaw in Canadian study
Do we need a new fluoride debate?
September ’17 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Endemic fluorosis and its health effects
Maternal urinary fluoride/IQ study – an update
Fluoride, pregnancy and the IQ of offspring
Facts about fluorosis – not a worry in New Zealand
We need more post-publication peer review
Cassini plunges into Saturn tonight – a grand finale
What’s with the anti-fluoridationist promotion of dental health programmes?
Non-violence in the defence of free speech
August ’17 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Fluoridation not associated with ADHD – a myth put to rest
From Charlottesville to Boston – a lesson
Hypocrisy, irrationality and wise words from Monty Python
Are we all anti-fascist now?
Are fluoride researchers sacked for their findings?
Fluoridation and cancer
Local anti-fluoride activists tell porkies yet again
July ’17 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
The main stream media is out of touch
Don’t rely on sources – follow the evidence
Stovepiping to produce fake news
June ’17 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Darwin, sexual selection and Putin
Fluoridation: Open letter to Democrats for Social Credit
Fluoridation: What’s happening with the New Zealand legislation?
May ’17 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
The “information war” and social media, or how to tell if you are a Kremlin troll
Anti-fluoridationists commonly misrepresent Ministry of Health data
ChildSmile – a complement, not an alternative, to fluoridation
Fluoridation helps protect adult teeth as well as children’s
Fluoridation: the truth about heavy metal contamination
Visualising the numbers – The Fallen of World War II
Bottle fed infants: fluoridated water not a problem
April ’17 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Citing scientific studies and the arrogance of ignorance
No, fluoridation is not associated with leading causes of death
Anti-fluoridationists exploit infant deaths by fiddling statistics
Here we go again
The Putin Derangement Syndrome
Bottle fed infants: fluoridated water not a problem.
March ’17 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Another anti-fluoridation whopper
2018 Global Atheist Convention
Fluoridation: Making sense of the Ministry of Health data
Fluoride, coffee and activist confusion
Trump didn’t invent the problems – and his opponents didn’t invent protest
Anti-fluoride authors indulge in data manipulation and statistical porkies
Be careful what you wish for
An Oscar for Al Qaeda?
February ’17 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
EPA comprehensively debunks anti-fluoride claims of a fluoride-IQ effect
Anti-fluoridationists go to Supreme Court – who is paying for this?
Debunking a “classic” fluoride-IQ paper by leading anti-fluoride propagandists
Islamophobia or mental illness?
Tha Amnesty report – and a response from Syria
Non-fluoridated Christchurch does not have better teeth than fluoridated Auckland
January ’17 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Debunking anti-fluoridationist’s remaining 12 reasons for opposing fluoridation
Madonna teaches us a lesson in critical thinking
New research confirms adults benefit from community water fluoridation as well as children
Premature births a factor in cognitive deficits observed in areas of endemic fluorosis?
Sources our mainstream media uses to promote their narrative about Syria
More nails in the coffin of the anti-fluoridation myths around IQ and hypothyroidism
Water fluoridation – what to expect in the near future
Fluoridation: New scientific review of fluoride and oral health
Critical thinking, not censorship, is the solution to fake news
Anti-fluoride IQ claims are false
December ’16 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Large Swedish study finds no effect of fluoride on IQ
Fake news and the new fact-free reporting paradigm
Fluoridation: New research confirms it is cost effective – yet again
Fluoridation: members of parliament call from submissions from scientific and health experts
Fake news, human suffering and the fight against terrorism
November ’16 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Sometimes I think the world has gone mad
Leader of flawed fluoridation study gets money for another go
White Helmets confirm authenticity of acted “rescue” video
Manufacturing news, and opinion, about Syria
Why should we subsidise religious leaders and their silly statements?
Warriors, scouts, Trump’s election and your news media
US elections – who should you be angry with?
Trump’s victory – why the surprise, why the anger?
Anti-fluoride claims often not relevant to New Zealand
October ’16 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
White Helmets dupes New Zealand government?
Voluntary media censorship is ethically wrong
Fluoridation not associated with hip fracture, heart attacks of osteosarcoma – new study
Anti-fluoridation activist Paul Connett has a senior moment about our debate
“Humanitarian” intervention and war crimes
Crocodile tears over Syria at UN security council
Anti-Syrian propaganda and the White Helmets
Shyness of anti-fluoride election candidates
Syria & the fog of war
September ’16 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
But will it stand up in court?
Flogging a dead horse – anti-fluoridationists lose in court again
Syria UN Ambassador makes sense of the war in Syria
The shaky Syrian ceasefire agreement staggers on – or does it?
Fluoridation & democracy: Open letter to DHB candidate Andrew Buckley
When will they ever learn?
Ceasefire in Syria is exposing real nature of “moderate” rebels
What do Syrians think of the new cessation of hostilities agreement?
Dissecting pseudoscientific and political propaganda
August ’16 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
An anti-fluoride trick: Impressing the naive with citations
Does community water fluoridation reduce diabetes prevalence?
“Filtering” out fluoride
Rio Olympics – what are those gold medals worth?
Fluoridation – freedom of choice
Is water fluoridation better than salt fluoridation?
Ethics and the doping scandal – a response to Guest Work
Being better informed – unexpected advice from The Guardian
July ’16 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Quantifying the problem of international sports doping
Dental health – it’s not all about fluoride
The Putin diversion
The insult of low expectations
MH17 tragedy – 2 years on
Misrepresenting fluoride science – an open letter to Paul Connett
Are you really right?
June ’16 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Why don’t feminists fight for Muslim women?
Permission to have that conversation
A cynical take on effective speakers
Richard Dawkins – speech to Reason Rally, 2016
Chemophobic scaremongering: Much ado about absolutely nothing
MH17 tragedy – new investigation launched
Fluoridation: News media should check press releases from anti-fluoridationists
Fluoridation debate: Responding to Tom O’Connor
May ’16 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
New review shows clear economic benefits from community water fluoridation
Debating fluoridation and tyranny – Tom O’Connor responds
Attempting a tyranny of the minority on fluoridation
Writing to please the reader’s ear
Fluoridation: One small step sideways?
New research confirms water fluoridation does not cause bone cancers
Public discussion of science can be toxic
Fluoridation cessation studies reviewed – overall increase in tooth decay noted
Mistakes were made – but by who?
Don’t be fooled by simple media “science”
“Do the math” – a bit like “Do the research!”
Victory Day celebration of defeat of terrorism in Palmyra
Will we be using contact lens cameras in future?
Barrel bombs, hell cannons, Aleppo and media bias
April ’16 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Korean community water fluoridation supported by new evidence
Science and management – a clash of cultures
Anti-fluoride campaigners cherry-pick irrelevant overseas research but can’t find relevant New Zealand research
Cochrane fluoridation review described as “empty”
Anti-fluoridationists misrepresent new dental data for New Zealand children
A challenge to anti-fluoridationers to justify their misrepresentation of New Zealand research
Fluoridation decisions to be made by District Health Boards
Nadine gives a necessary message to her fellow Muslims
Anti-fluoridationists now scaremonger about silica in your drinking water
Reversed responsibility and the burden of proof
Anti-fluoridation cherry-pickers at it again
March ’16 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Fluoridation: My podcast with with Howard Farran
Why is Donald Trump so successful – and will he win?
Why are our politicians so silent on Palmyra’s liberation from clutches of Daesh?
The US speaks in two tongues on terrorism
Chemistry is everywhere – even in those natural products
Life for women under Daesh (ISIS)
The toxicity of chemophobia
Anti-fluoridation campaigner, Stan Litras, misrepresents WHO
Hiding behind “experts”
The “interfaith” trap – particularly for atheists
A Chinese study the anti-fluoridation crowd won’t be citing
Misrepresentation, misogyny and misandry – these should concern sceptics
Searching articles on fluoride
February ’16 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Big business funding of anti-science propaganda on health
Anti-fluoridationist’s flawed attacks on Calgary study
Media misleading on Syria
Stephen Fry on Twitter
Richard Dawkins and the Skeptics Conference controversy.
Is the media lying to you about Syria?
Fluoridation: Whakatane teaches us something we should already know
Chemistry – “to dupe, to cheat?”
What a pleasant surprise!
Censorship by demonisation
Once more on the IQ and fluoride myth – why ignore other factors?
January ’16 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Fluoridation: Whakatane District Council makes the Hamilton mistake
New study finds community water fluoridation still cost effective
“Crusade Against Multiple Regression Analysis” – don’t throw baby out with bathwater
Fluoridation: Some simple chemistry
The danger of insisting on your own facts
Flight MH17 in Ukraine – what do intelligence services know?
Iron and fluoride in human milk
Hubris of the google researcher
The Harvard study and the Lancet paper
Cultural and ideological bias in scientific literature reviews
Facts, beliefs and delusions
Science – a method of investigation, not a belief system
Yet another misrepresentation of a dental health study
December ’15 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Peer review – the “tyranny” of the third reviewer
Christmas – “White Wine In The Sun”
Community water fluoridation still cost-effective
Democracy and expert advice on scientific issues
Fluoride and IQ – another study coming up
The hardest thing in life . .
Climate deal signed – now for the hard bit: action
Traditions and social arrangements out of step with social diversity
“Natural News” on trial in The Hague for crimes against science
Rejection of scientific studies in online discussions
Another defeat for anti-fluoridation claims about arsenic
November ’15 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
The problem with reasoned discussion
John Pilger on Paris, ISIS and Media Propaganda
Science is never done – some scientific terms explained
Studies show – or do they?
Should we trust science? – Wellington talk
Can world leaders learn from the Paris terror attacks?
Anti-fluoride hypothyroidism paper slammed yet again
Cyberchondria and similar “illnesses”
Onehunga and the “fluoride-free” myth
Thames voters decisively support fluoridation
Why doesn’t Putin shirtfront someone?
October ’15 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Scientific papers, civil disobedience and personal networks
The quackery of anti-fluoride internet trolls
Our beautiful planet: Astronaut art works
Christian co-option of karakia
Combatting anti-fluoride Gish gallopers
MH17: Final technical report
Responding to Tracey Brown on fluoridation
“The ugly truth” – Tracey Brown ticks me off
MH17 – another Boeing sacrificed for investigation.
The ugly truth about critics of “the ugly truth” in science
Many Syrians see Russians as saviours
Door knockers should pay to interrupt us
September ’15 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Fluoride: More scaremongering using drug warnings
Putin’s UN address: “Do you realise what you’ve done?”
Obama’s United Nations address: “We Must Stamp Out ‘Apocalyptic Cult’ ISIS”
European and Māori major non-believers in NZ
Cochrane responds to misrepresentation of their fluoridation review
ChildSmile dental health – its pros and cons
Should all scientists really be militant atheists?
The Alternative Medicine Racket
The chemical party
A job with a view – but not for the clumsy
Fluoridation: Freedom of choice – and responsibility
My talk to the Reason & Science Society – an invite
Why the internet annoys chemists
Freedom of religion and belief – not a license to interfere with others
Humanitarian intervention – but when & how?
Discussing science on social media
August ’15 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Australian census religion question – progress
In the end, it came down to the science in Denver
Subverting democratic consultation on the fluoride issue
Religious instruction scrapped from school curriculum in Victoria
Alternative reality of anti-fluoride “science”
What is life?
Anti-fluoride propagandists get creative with statistics
Fluoridation: Connett’s criticism of New Zealand research debunked
Fluoridation: Connett’s naive use of WHO data debunked
Time to give up on Sitemeter
70th anniversary of first use of atomic weapon against civilians
Connett misrepresents the fluoride and IQ data yet again
Fluoridation: Newsweek science journalism bottoms out
July ’15 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
The bureaucratic solution to a problem
Fluoridation: “Sciencey” sounding claims ruled unacceptable
Comparing the Cochrane and NZ Fluoridation Reviews
Rapid change in attitudes to marriage equality
Scaremongering and chemophobia
MH17 tragedy: 1 year on
Talk of “mini ice age” bunkum
Progress in removing religious instruction from public schools?
Fluoridation: Beliefs about safety and benefits
Climate change: Our time really is running out
Cochrane fluoridation review. III: Misleading section on dental fluorosis
June ’15 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Cochrane fluoridation review. II: “Biased” and poor quality research?
Cochrane fluoridation review. I: Most research ignored
What is causing warming of the earth?
New science bloggers wanted for Sciblogs 2.0
Gagging of scientists – a common problem?
I wish more people were aware of this
Misrepresentation of the new Cochrane fluoridation review
News media – telling us how to think
Misrepresenting the York fluoride review
Fluoridation: Misrepresenting the “saliva theory”
Something to consider
Fluoridation and horses – another myth
Science and social media in new Zealand
Monday morning proverb
Fake weight-loss study example of wider problem
Calcium fluoride and the “soft” water anti-fluoridation myth
May ’15 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Connett & Hirzy do a shonky risk assesment for fluoride
Making mountains out of scientific mole hills
Don’t expect to see chemical safety data sheets in restaurants
RSNZ Science Book Prize winner – Tangata Whenua
Don’t put all the blame on the Germans – a lesson from World War II
The problem of “Fact-Resistant Humans”
What a nice idea
Water fluoridation effective – new study
Follow the money?
The distrust of science – a task for science communication
We always seem to ignore the causes
April ’15 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Wise words from Carl Sagan
Poor peer review – and its consequences
Connett fiddles the data on fluoride
ADHD link to fluoridation claim undermined again
Commercial and ideological support of anti-fluoride activity
Why is Vladimir Putin so popular in the USA?
Is comfirmation bias essential to anti-fluoride “research?”
The will to find out
IQ not influenced by water fluoridation
Making sense of scientific research
The frustrations of modern technology
March ’15 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Poor peer-review – a case study
The arrogance of science?
New Zealand science book prize – 2015 Short list
ADHD linked to elevation not fluoridation
Anonymous comments on social media
More poor-quality research promoted by anti-fluoride activists
Free download – “Severe dental fluorosis and cognitive deficits”
Are submissions on fluoridation worth it?
Social media and science – the problems and the challenge
A couple of “oldies” inject some sense into international politics
Open letter to Lisa Hansen on NZ Fluoridation Review
February ’15 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Paper claiming water fluoridation linked to hypothyroidism slammed by experts
Dirty tactics by anti-fluoride activists in Taupo
NZ Fluoridation review – Response to Micklen
NZ Fluoridation review – HS Micklen responds to critique
Did business interests interfere with Hamilton’s fluoride tribunal process?
A perspective of distances in space
Download report analysing anti-fluoride attacks on NZ Fluoridation Review
Social health policies, freedom of choice and responsibility
Reality of war for civilians
Stephen Fry not pulling any punches
January ’15 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
US meddling in Ukraine behind coup
Sunday reading – Richard Dawkins reads some of his “fan mail”
Is debating with anti-science activists worth the effort?
Six months on – concerns about MH17 investigation
Severe dental fluorosis and cognitive deficits – now peer reviewed
Those evil chemicals
“Internet and social media misinform thousands daily”
“I just know”
The victims of terror
Fluoride Free NZ report disingenuous – conclusion
Spotting Bad Science
October ’14 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
December ’14 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
The MH17 blame game
Science never claimed to know everything
Special pleading by Philippe Grandjean on fluoride
The inverted ethics of doxxing?
Fascinating and painless chemistry lessons
Did the Royal Society get it wrong about fluoridation?
“Do your own research!”
Dirty politics over MH17?
Cherry-picking and misinformation in Stan Litras’s anti-fluoride article
Today’s fantasy, tomorrow’s possibility
The farce of a “sciency” anti-fluoride report
November ’14 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Creationist ‘audits’ science museum
“Real” experts’ on climate change? Really?
Water fluoridation and dental fluorosis – debunking some myths
Proving anecdotes are reliable
Declan Waugh pushes another anti-fluoride myth
Severe dental fluorosis the real cause of IQ deficits?
Catch 22 in Ukraine
Let’s rely on anecdotes instead!
Standing up to junk science in New Zealand
Declan Waugh claims it’s “clear as day”
Unusual photo of Moon and Earth.
Criminal investigation of MH17 tragedy – where is it at?
There is something about those climate records that keep getting broken
Putting politicans in their place on climate change
Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 – what really happened?
Fluoridation – a racist conspiracy?
Curiosity’s historic comet photo
When science deniers turn to science
Fluoride debate: Second response to Rita Barnett-Rose – Daniel Ryan
Fluoride debate: Response to Daniel Ryan’s critique – Rita Bartlett-Rose
Fluoride debate: A response to Rita Barnett-Rose – Daniel Ryan
Fluoride debate: The scientific evidence against fluoridation – Rita F. Barnett
Another legal defeat for NZ anti-fluoridation activists
Anti-fluoridation propagandists promoting shonky “review”
How to change your Mind – and why it is good for you
The science and politics of climate change
Science and belief
September ’14 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Peer review of an anti-fluoride “peer review”
The information war – The NZ Listener takes up arms
MOM “a thousand times better than cricket”
Activist’s anti-science adverts found misleading – again
Don’t you get tired of this?
It’s time we did something about sugar
Crude dredging of the scientific literature
Anti-fluoride activists define kangaroo court as “independent”
MH17 – Preliminary report leaves most conspiracy theories intact
Do you prefer dental fluorosis or tooth decay?
Emotion Drives Decision
Ingested fluoride, dental health and old age
August ’14 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Sad news – Victor Stenger has died
Making money out of fanatics
Dirty politics on the Royal Society fluoride review
Review finds community water fluoridation safe and effective
Anti-fluoride activists unhappy about scientific research
The Mind of the Science Denier
Open letter to Jane Nielson – a “fluoridation convert.”
Accidental Renaissance – or intuition?
Tactics for science denial
Natural News comes out with a load of heavy metal rubbish on fluoride
July ’14 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Declan Waugh continues his distortion of Finnish fluoride research
Another fluoridation whopper from Declan Waugh
I am still waiting for my cheque
An answer to the anti-fluoride critics – in one image
Some answers to the confusion about the #MH17 crash site
Informed parents know water fluoridation is good for their children
Making political capital out of the deaths of innocents
Elected officials must ignore activists and listen to own voters
The irony of some peer-review and citation complaints
Ken Ring pontificates on climate change
Anti-science US Congressman on House science Committee!
“Creative” reporting of fluoridation science
What happens when fluoridation is stopped?
June ’14 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Controversial IQ study hammered in The Lancet
New group challenging the anti-science brigade
Fluoridation: what about reports it is ineffective?
Approaching scientific literature sensibly
Declan Waugh’s misinformation on fluorosilicic acid
A healthy attitude towards quantum mechanics
An open letter to Declan Waugh – new mechanism for fluoride toxicity?
Toxicity is in the dose or concentration of fluoride
Councils and scientists targeted by anti-fluoride activists
Lugansk – a modern Guernica?
Inna Kukuruza – “her eyes spoke to the whole world”
Connett’s hypocrisy on fluoride & IQ
May ’14 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Confirmation blindness on the fluoride-IQ issue
Where do teeth come from? The stork theory
There is research and there is “research”
Fluoridating water does not lower IQ – New Zealand research
Fluoride and IQ – once more
Another anti-fluoride myth in the making
A balanced debate
It’s all the fashion in Ukraine
Fluoridation: What a difference a year makes?
Wishart misrepresents fluoride science to advance his extreme ideology
Fluoridation: emotionally misrepresenting contamination
April ’14 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Peer review, shonky journals and misrepresenting fluoride science
Ingested fluoride is beneficial to dental health.
Anti-fluoridation advertising deceptive
Fluoridation: putting chemical contamination in context
The first victim!
An outdated tax anomaly – charitable status of relgion
Declan Waugh scaremongers over fluoride – again
Arrogance of ignorance?
Pandering to anti-fluoridation campaigners
International cooperation in space serving humanity
Is anyone listening?
March ’14 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Scientific cooperation despite political posturing
Fluoridation returns to Hamilton City.
European border changes over 5000 years
Dental fluorosis: badly misrepresented by FANNZ
What makes something right or wrong?
How do we know what is true?
Cherry-picking and ring-fencing the scientific literature
Fluoride and heart disease – another myth
Graphic information in science
Corporate backers of anti-fluoride movement lose in NZ High Court.
Terry Pratchett making sense
Fluoride and the 5 easy steps of a conspiracy theory
February ’14 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Pseudoscience in your supermarket
Another god debate
Repeating bad science on fluoride
Truth about those science fairs
Quality and selection counts in fluoride research
The precautionary principle
How can scientists use social media?
Curiosity sees a familiar “evening star.”
The fluoride debate – what do the experts say?
January ’14 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Entertainment is brain exercise
Download The Fluoride Debate
Determining scientific knowledge by petition
Fluoride debate: Final article – Ken Perrott
Fluoride debate: Paul Connett’s Closing statement
The good(?) old days of scientific writing
Most of us missed this one
False balance and straw clutching on fluoridation
Who is funding anti-fluoridation High Court action?
Astro-turfing for scientific credibility
Losing trust in religious leaders
Conspiracy theorists misuse analytical evidence
All things bright and beautiful
December ’13 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Fluoride debate: Ken Perrott’s closing response to Paul Connett?
Putting vaccination risks into context
Fluoride debate: Arguments Against Fluoridation Thread. Part 8. Paul
Alan Turing receives royal pardon
The true meaning of Christmas
Where is the heat going?
Fluoride debate: Response to Paul’s 5th article
Back to the moon!
Fluoride debate: Arguments Against Fluoridation Thread. Part 5. Paul
Census 2013 – religious diversity
Fluoride debate: Response to Paul’s 6th article.
Testing the God theory
Fluoridation debate: Against Fluoridation Thread. Part 6.
November ’13 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
‘The particle at the end of the universe’ wins Winton Prize
Fluoridation debate: Why I support fluoridation – 2nd reply to Connett
Psychics have it easy these days
Fluoride Debate: Why I support fluoridation – 2nd response from Connett
From dental neglect to child abuse?
Fluoride Debate: Why I support fluoridation – response to Connett
Fluoride debate: Why I support fluoridation – Response from Connett
Word of wisdom, and otherwise
Have local climate pseudosceptics come to the end of the road?
Fluoride debate: Why I support fluoridation
Sin is relative
Fluoride debate – I get email
Fluoride debate Part 1a – response to Connet’s response: Perrott
Fluoride debate – some housekeeping
Fluoride debate Part 1a – response: Connett
October ’13 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Fluoride debate Part 1: Perrott
Fluoride debate Part 1: Connett
The fluoride debate – introduction
The origins of ethics and violence
What’s really true?
Anti-fluoridation porkies – Mullinex’s rats
Science and faith
NZ climate change “sceptics” abandon appeal
Christianity has hijacked human values
Fluoridation: Hangout with the University of Waikato
The universe – it is bigger than you think
Our Far South – time we learned about it
Christian ethics and Peter Singer
Fluoride – friend or foe: a lecture
Cyber bullying of science
Fluoridation: the hip fracture deception
September ’13 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Tim Minchin – an inspirational speech to graduates
Jon Stewart interviews Richard Dawkins
Anatomy of an anti-fluoridation myth
NZ experts deplore anti-fluoridation misrepresentation of science
Helping kids to wonder
Fluoridation – the IQ myth
When politicians and bureaucrats decide the science
Welcome counter to scientific and health misinformation
New “evidence” for global cooling?
Phobos eclipses the sun – as seen by Curiosity
Dentists you can trust?
Activists peddle chemical misinformation for fluoridation referenda
August ’13 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Cherry picking fluoridation data
Anti-fluoridationist astro-turfing and media manipulation
Anti-fluoride activists attempt to silence science
Crazy ideas and “supernatural” phenomena
Experts speak out on fluoridation
Fluoride sensitivity – all in the mind?
Earthquakes and twitter
Cyber-bullying – what’s with sunscreen?
Anti-fluoridation study flawed – petition rejected
News media influences public trust in science
The “consensus message” in communicating science
Hamilton – the water is the problem, not the fluoride!
Topical confusion persists
Celebrate your curiosity – one year on
July ’13 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Is this the way to reorganise science?
The limits of science and a world record
Water treatment chemicals – why pick on fluoride?
Are you qualified to discuss God, Heaven and Hell?
The Galileo fallacy and denigration of scientific consensus
A new Cosmos
Michael Mann’s defamation lawsuit on track
Is fluoridated water a medicine?
Debunking anti-fluoridation myths
Source of moral authority has shifted
Fluoridation – an organised campaign to misinform.
Hamilton gets its fluoridation referendum
Not your usual rocket launch
Fluoridation – topical confusion
Communicating climate science – Michael Mann comments
Fluoridation and conspiracy theories
Richard Dawkins learns about the Bible
Fluoridation – the violation of rights argument.
June ’13 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
The victim mentality of conspiracy theorists
Poisoning the well with a caricature of science
Fluoridation petition – for Hamilton citizens
The importance of books for kids
Fluoridation – it does reduce tooth decay
Stop feeling guilty
Getting a grip on the science behind claims about fluoridation
Is fluoride an essential dietary mineral?
Will Hamiltonians finally get a voice on fluoridation?
Scientists, political activism and the scientific ethos
Fluoridation – are we dumping toxic metals into our water supplies?
When science is under attack
Tactics and common arguments of the anti-fluoridationists
Hamilton City Council reverses referendum fluoridation decision
Global warning in science fiction
May ’13 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Peter Singer on effective charity
The science of consciousness
Collapse of Arctic sea ice
An eReader breakthrough?
Singing about the periodic table
Black cat in a dark room – and the role of science
A New Zealand climate change pseudosceptic apologises!
Pseudosceptics are at it again – misrepresenting and attacking climate scientists
Chris Hadfield’s 5-month Space Mission in 90 Seconds
Confusion and distortion – has global warming stopped?
“Incontrovertible” is it, Rodney?
Video coverage of astronauts’ return to earth next Tuesday morning
A beggar’s market?
The limits of philosophy
April ’13 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
‘The Unbelievers’ and science
A global warming hoax meme is born – in New Zealand too!
Friday follies – what happened to the “official AGW hypothesis?”
Fiddling with census figures for religion in New Zealand
The beginning (of the universe) for beginners
Terrorism and the West’s obsession with oil
Marriage equality, retribution and moral progress
A sombre night in Boston
Moving into the mainstream – on the coat tails of the “New Atheists”
Thatcher, Monckton and Pinochet
Potty Peer in Waikato
New Zealand Blog ranking Montage
What is global temperature?
I was wrong about Lord Monckton
New “Hockey Stick” but same tired old denial
March ’13 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
April Fools and Agenda 21
Christchurch from space
A war between religion and science?
Climate contrarians/deniers are cherry picking again
Dishonesty of intelligent design “research”
Something for all those lapsed catholics
Dawkins’ new book
Our world from the International Space Station
Creationists prefer numerology to real scientific research
Talking sense about morality
Extreme confirmation bias in action
Greedy Lying Bastards
Those arguments against marriage equality
Census 2013: That religion question
Climate change is not simple
February ’13 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
A sensible Christian perspective on Peter Singer
No immutable truths, no eternal dogmas
Global climate – and your grandchildren
Entertaining – and the science is good
The truth about the hockey stick
Origins of religious ethics and violence
Sean Faircloth, Director of Richard Dawkins Foundation, visiting NZ
The Russian meteor – what we know
Should we be prepared?
Does religion blur understanding of evolution?
The “dynamic duo” of science?
A day for cheap shots
Science as the best, possibly only, way to truth
The reality of cancer
Education should never validate ignorance
“Divine commands” and personal conscience
January ’13 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Is your region warming?
No cause for alarm – if you cherry pick
The political alarmism behind climate change denial
Can philosophers, or anyone, tell us what is “right” and “wrong”?
History of science – for Kiwis
What a shock!
Who is guilty of misusing science?
Deconstructing climate change, and its deniers
Amazing photos of Shuttle Endeavour flight deck
Australia’s “New Normal?”
Going beyond the evidence
A time for hypocrisy
Historians and sociologists just as human as scientists
December ’12 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
A problem with logic
Historians and sociologists lecture scientists – about science
Wonders of Life coming – we hope
A dose of reality
Pulling the wool over the eyes of the faithful
Scientists and philosophers discuss morality and meaning
Christmas present from NASA
At last – Moving Naturalism Forward videos
Getting the Book Invented
Sense on evolutionary psychology.
Does science have a cognitive privilege?
Sceptical humility and peer review in science
Cancer – an emotional rollercoaster
Sceptical arrogance and evolutionary psychology
And now for a bit of drama
Agreement polar ice sheets are melting
November ’12 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Regarding women as animals
Christmas present for nerds – what about science books?
Time for philosophical honesty about Darwin
Religion in schools – a sensible approach
Climate change deniers don’t understand expertise
The arrogance of supernatural privilege
Morality and non-human animals
More damage from megastorm Sandy
Capturing kid’s minds with emotions
That particle again
Who were Stalin’s victims?
Reports from the Moving Naturalism Forward workshop
The elephant in the US elections
October ’12 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Sex, Death And The Meaning Of Life. Episode 3: Meaning
Who are these “credible experts”?
The mini-iPad and original sin
Death – part 2 of a series
Beer, anxiety and depression – their origins
Why (some) Christians support discrimination
Sex, Death And The Meaning Of Life – Sin
Moving Naturalism Forward
A concise summary of climate change – science and politics
From evolution to belief
Are you offended yet?
This has to stop
Sneaking in the magic man
Naturalism and science are incompatible
None so blind
A Kiwi makes it to Mars!
September ’12 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
The most important place you didn’t know about
A useful map of the human body
The paradoxes of theological gullibility
The internet – Yeah, right!
US air traffic on a typical day and on September 11, 2001
Finish the sentence . . .
People saying stupid things on the Internet
Another anti-science attack on Mann fails – but the lies continue
Secularism – its internal problems
Politics and economics of Arctic ice loss
Internet silos become ideological ghettos
Climate change denier’s false “deep distress” fools no-one
Changing that light bulb while in denial
High Court ruled on integrity – not science
New Zealand climate change denial defeated
I don’t know!
Making giant flowers out of fireworks
Moral evolution in today’s society
August ’12 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Drifting moral values
Subjective morality – not what it seems?
Objective or subjective laws and lawgivers
Neil Armstrong by Buz Aldrin
The science philosophy “conflict”
Making sense of religion, science, and morality
Kiwi science fiction with a message
Science – the greatest story ever told
A sundial on Curiosity?
Scientific shift work
Cynical evangelisation of children
Curiosity requires patience
Going for gold – on Mars
A load of science
July ’12 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
NZ Blog Rankings FAQ
So scientism = non-theism?
Saying it with flowers
What really happens in religious instruction classes?
What Is Life? From Schrödinger to Watson to Venter
Their mission – values or advancement of religion?
The story behind the High Court action
Ethical enquiry or moral instruction?
Scepticism, denial and the high court
William Lane Craig’s philosophy – the condensed version
So you think science has a problem?
Peter Singer on the misrepresentation of Peter Singer
Human values are secular
End of life decisions
Why the Higgsteria?
Cost of scientific research – and political naivity
The creationism controversy – a summary
Is there room for religion in science?
June ’12 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Scientific knowledge should trump “belief”
Seven Minutes of Terror
Australian census confirms healthy trend
Science is messy – for girls too!
Print-on-demand books – what’s the hold-up?
How to write a best-seller!
Sharp increase in “nones”
A disciplined discussion
What did Galileo ever do to you?
Gnu bashing once again
The prejudiced journalist
Do atheists need religion?
Mixing values and Jesus in secular education
The Scamtific Method
May ’12 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Scientific knowledge – reliable but not certain
Weather extremes and climate change
“Web monkeys” and science presentation
Dementia – There’s an app for that!
Give them enough rope . . .
Why won’t Inland Revenue subsidise my life expenses?
Human morality is evolving
So you’re considering switching to eBooks?
Welcome to the Anthropocene
Naturalism in science
“Lose” your faith, gain your life?
What’s in store for eBook readers
Heartland ignorant of public relations – let alone science
Belief and morality
What has science ever done for us?
April ’12 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
The problem with philosophy
Puddles and “fine-tuning”
Great science talks in Auckland
Science denial is a diversion from the real problems
When the “best explanation” is the worst explanation
Toss out the moderator for a better discussion
Jesus heals – but not cancer!
Emotional time for Shuttle fans
Catholic popes victims of sexual abuse!
Who is committing fraud here?
Morality and the “worship” of reason
The silliness of a self-proclaimed “investigative journalist”
Moral behavior in animals
Conservatives, liberals and purity
The trouble with physics?
Is God incredible – or what?
Science and the folly of faith
March ’12 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Another lousy photo of the sun?
The Sand Creatures
A fuzzy photo of the sun
The “public square” myth
Yes, please try this at home!
Whanganui District Council comes to senses
“Good faith” science – and its enemies
Climate change controversy in context
Shy climate denier in “science team” reveals himself.
The chickens are hatching
February ’12 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
The size of things
Theological pretzel twisting
A universe in an eBook (or app)
Souvenirs for scientists
Heartland Insitute gets mail
Heartland’s climategate – and Mann’s book
Bioluminescence in space!
Defeat for imposed prayer
ID research and publications
Theological mental gymnastics over evolution
“What, me worry?” – distorting climate change data
Free will – problems of definition
January ’12 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
The scientific method – what about the philosophical method?
In the front lines of the “climate wars”
Who is funding the climate change denial groups?
Our fingerprints are all over it!
The [in]compatibility of science and religion
Comprehending reality – Should we give up so easily?
Nothing is something
Who drives the science/religion conflict?
Choosing your religion
Open letter across the barricade
New book formats
The argument from authority (or lack thereof)
December ’11 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Peter Jackson – Satan’s Little Helper”
“Other ways of knowing” and their result.
Slaughtering some sacred seasonal cows
Reacting to a death with respect and hatred
Christmas present ideas: This Hell would be useful!
Higgs and homeopathy
Christmas gift ideas: Aussie wisdom
Christmas gift ideas: The human mind – a history
Christmas gift ideas: Evolution of gods, morals and violence
Christmas gift ideas: Working on Mars
Christmas gift ideas: One for the kids
Christmas gift ideas: Why we deny climate change
Christmas gift ideas: Thinking of our grandchildren
Christmas gift ideas: How We Know What’s Really True
Christmas gift ideas: Kids – it’s OK to be different!
A debunking handbook provides lessons in science communication
November ’11 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Finding out about the astronomers who found the universe
Climategate 2.0 and “toecurling” journalism
It’s crowded up there
Creative science writing
Royal Society’s science book of year Winton Prize winner.
Reclaiming ‘intelligent design’
A lesson in human logic
Is Keith Ward really that naive about science?
Demolishing Craig on morality
Cultural effect of The Big Bang Theory
Answer simple question – win an iPad
New Zealand in good company. Pity about the USA
October ’11 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
What’s your number?
Concern over William Lane Craig’s justification of biblical genocide
Outsourcing moral decisions to justify genocide
New Zealand happy – some preachers upset!
The never ending battle
Having it both ways
Ranking human conflicts and tyrannies
Dawkins responds to a stalker – Craig gets his debate
Avoiding possible catastrophe – even if you are confused
You CAN be good with God!
Big money behind local climate change deniers?
Historians of science sometimes miss the wood for the trees
Approaching morality scientifically
Ethicists have problems with ethics!
The climate change denial machine
How do you know that?
How We Know What’s Really True
Problems with pdf eBooks – metadata issues
September’11 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Compulsory payments for advancement of religion – let’s get rid of that.
Some recent recommended science books
Art in science
Where have we been?
Rings around Uranus
William Lane Craig’s “logic”
Science and the “supernatural”
Empathy for colleagues
Approaching a Middle East peace
Atheists aren’t shrill – just disgusting?
What’s this about cosmic rays and global warming?
Making life from the primordial soup
A fight-back – or simply spite?
Evolution and education – advice for teachers
That’s what I like to see in a young woman!
A reminder of reality’s magic
August ’11 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Religious theology of secularism
Martydom of the priveliged
Another book for the kids
Secular democracy and its critics
2012 Global Atheist Convention – Melbourne
Hitler objects to atheist charge
440 FOI requests in one day! From one person!
There is something about Wellington
Some things for the kids
The blinkered view of politics?
I get email
NZ blog rankings update
Is Monckton good value?
The reality of scientific research
Monckton messes own nest
July ’11 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Videos on morality
Pat Churchland on the science of morality
Breivik’s terrorism and science
Terror in Norway
Atlantis returns home – viewed from ISS
Background Briefing for Mockton’s NZ visit
Science has the real debate
Bias in the history of science
Seven years of discovery
Your chance for a free book
That hacking scandal
Are scientists hostile to religion?
Galileo’s modern critics
Debates in the philosophy of science
Does science lead to secularism?
June ’11 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Personal attacks on climate scientists
A silver lining to Expelled?
Galileo’s revolutionary contribution
Science, religion and respect for meaning
Protecting yourself against bullshit
Clarifying some myths in the history of science
Early history of science
Converting beliefs to “truths”
Ideology and violence
Painless science writing
May ’11 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Waking from a coma!
American Imams supporting evolutionary science
A secular bible
Daniel Dennett on conflict between religion and science
Visible signs of the rapture
The Magic of Reality for young people
Don’t drink the punch!
Working on Mars
A non-theist feast down under!
The chances of Royal Weddings arising randomly…
Designer spin II
What’s special about religious “knowledge?”
Climate change lectures in Auckland
April ’11 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Exposing the pretense of Christian unity
Is there a role for science in morality?
Philosophical justifications for morality
Answering questions on morality
Problems with philosophers and theologians
More on the science of morality
Selling the family silver!
Craig brings some clarity to morality?
Foundations of human morality.
Church rejects power of prayer!
Limits of logic
Something to celebrate
Advocating or explaining secular moral values?
March ’11 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
What is Life? Another Great Debate
The Galileo myths
Beauty, mystery and science
Christianity gave birth to science – a myth?
The implausibility of reality
Is atheism bad for science?
Myths within a myth
Thank goodness for eBook Readers
Theistic science? No such thing
The ethics of exploitation
Blogging for New Zealand
Science Under Attack?
Acceptance of science – dangerous for some
Making sense of Ring gate?
February ’11 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
From “Grand Design” to “On Being”
A human response to Christchurch quake
Alan Turing documentary
Taking the census seriously
The future of books – and Santa?
On being philosophical about science
The secular Egyptian protest a good start for a successful revolution
Shonky climate-change denial “science”
Reinterpretation “research” on climate change
A hymn for Darwin Day
Celebrating Alan Turing’s life and achievements
The scientific study of religion
January ’11 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Converging evidence on climate change
eBook “singles” – and the problems
Marie Curie Lecture Series – 2011
Comparing blog visit statistics
Shoddy reporting on “god genes”
The god gene – or is it a meme?
Certainty is useless – a scientific concept
The nature of the science-religion conflict?
“Other ways of knowing” – some sense at last
Culture and the scientific renaissance
Sharing a chemical moment
The moon and the ISS
Secular News Daily – useful source
New views of eclipses
Deriving “ought from is” scientifically?
December ’10 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Science and morality – a panel discussion
A physicist comments on science and morality
A philosopher comments on science and morality
Telling right from wrong – unreligiously
Another local climate change denial meme
Wine and the Watchtower
It’s that time of the year
A handy app for your iPhone, iPod touch or iPad
A philosopher’s Christmas present
Painted into a corner?
Real science – warts and all
WikiLeaks and climategate
2011 – International Year of Chemistry
The “You Can’t Trust Science!” agenda
NASA and old lace
November ’10 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Cutting off your nose for Christmas?
“Other ways of knowing” purpose?
What is the problem?
A victory for secular ethics
The Hitchens – Dembski debate
The joys of eBook readers – the Sony PRS-650 Touch
Secularism is important
Dawkins answers questions
Telling right from wrong?
Can science shape human values?
Some book ideas
The ISS – a decade of growth
October ’10 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
The human mind – a history
Check out those climate change claims on the internet
Waking up to morality
Four signs of a stroke
Can the “supernatural” be of any use?
Are ebooks taking off?
Some pesky delusions
Strident, militant atheists?
Why we deny climate change
Attitudes will change. Life will get better
Your computer is the enemy!
Death by stoning for adultery!
Scientific misconduct and skepticgate
Breaking away – an interesting case study
Sam Harris on The Daily Show
Move over – old fellow!
Hawking’s grand design – lessons for apologists?
Arrested moral development.
September ’10 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Treating statistics sensibly
Not about Einstein
Bus adverts a human rights issue
Check out your ancestors
Trust the experts – if they say what we want
The Bible – a book review
A scientific consensus on human morality
Pope Benny’s speech – graphically
Putting the Pope in his place
Popes cunning straw mannery?
Human Evolution and the Organ of Mind
Mind change – a moral choice?
Putting the IPCC in its place?
Mapping modern science
An unnecessary being?
What is matter? What is materialism?
New science blogs in New Zealand
The Grand Design – neither God nor 42
Earth and Moon from Mercury
The Challenge of the Human Brain
August ’10 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Fallout from Hauser affair spreads
A lesson for NZ critics of climate science?
Nicholas Stern to present Robb Lectures
So you want a conversation?
The myth of the noble scientist
The heart of PZ Myers
After NIWA, God?
Marc Hauser replies – acknowledges mistakes
Hauser misconduct investigation – Full text of Dean’s statement
Fallacy of Fine Tuning
A desperate plea to be noticed?
A stormy future?
A sympathetic take on Marc Hauser and the “scientific misconduct” issue
A paper by Marc Hauser retracted – Harvard Magazine
Climate change is complex
A nice little tool for printing blog posts
“God of the surprises”
Recognising good science bloggers and Big Blog Theory winners
It’s politics, not science
July ’10 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Suzan does a mini- Monckton
Evolution of gods, morals and violence
Is and ought
The new science of morality
Science, faith and limits of knowledge
Liability of scientific denialism to political conservativism
Evolution and the Holocaust
Life on the building site
Theological critiques of billboards required
Support John Abraham against Monckton’s bullying
Ways of not knowing
The changing face of science communication
A regular climate science podcast
Climategate – Journalist withdraws and apologises
Making room for faith in science?
Getting straight on marriage
“Climategate” smears found false – Mann cleared
NZ Atheists Swap Buses For Billboards
June ’10 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Religion in public life – two approaches
Ridiculing ridiculous science commentary
Truth getting it’s boots on!
A question of expertise and credibility
Climate scientist’s’ register?
Kids – it’s OK to be different!
Twinning with Venus
Avoiding grown-up discussion
A competition for Aussie science blogs
Apologies would be nice
Historic shuttle launch photos
Australians concerned about tax exemption for cults
Pseudoscience and anti-science nonsense
Science on New Zealand TV
Hot science blogs
May ’10 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Journalists create world’s first artificial news story!
Don’t trust Monckton!
This is scary!
Theological intrusions into science
God, stop ‘playing science’
Why Don’t We Go To Church?
The heart of opposition to climate science
Last chance – almost!
What’s that about global cooling?
Are you threatened by clarity?
Supporting good science communication
We don’t know!
Monckton and Shimkus get silly together
The Dawkins Delusions
Climate change and the integrity of science
Secularism in Australia and New Zealand
Natural selection or domestication?
April ‘10 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Thinking of our grandchildren
Science, values and ethics
Avoiding tax – supernaturally
Climate scientist sues newspaper for false reporting
Climategate, Lord Monckton and Monty Python
Climate change deniers wallets threatened
Climategate summed up
Superstition – inevitable?
Libel Reform campaign continues
RIP Antony Flew
Officially a fake scandal from science perspective
Dangerous science denial
You have to laugh!
A more transparent approach
Orbital debris, the ISS, moon and sun
A space nerd’s Easter
Getting to the truth – gradually
March ‘10 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Climate scientist Phil Jones exonerated
The origins of science?
The rickety bandwagon of climate change denial
Are religious scientists worried about their brethren?
The climate change denial industry
Can science answer moral questions?
Periodic Table of of science blogs
Creationism, climate change and scientific denialism
Open Letter from U.S. Scientists on the IPCC
From Melbourne to Copenhagen
Are science and religion compatible?
Chris Mooney interviews Michael Mann on “climategate”
Science bloggers talk teaching
Great photo of the Solar Corona
Clear science communication
Institute of Physics in hot seat
Climate science for you and me
February ’10 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Richard Dawkins – wrong again!
Freedom of information and responsibility
This game looks familiar
Anti-science lies being exposed – slowly
Deniers distort Phil Jones
New Zealand has bigots too
Belief and social identity
Etiquette for the office global warming denier
NZ blogs sitemeter ranking – February ‘10
Climate change confusion – a conspiracy of sorts
WARNING! People might find us out!
One for the kids
Get your climate change science on the run
Can science solve all problems?
Spinning exoneration of Dr. Michael Mann Into “Whitewash”
Self-exposure – a journalist out of depth
A photographer’s dream
Get in line – who is the odd one out?
I want one of these!
The ISSS used for teaching
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The Trouble with Islam
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Intelligent design/creationism: Postscript
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♦ Would we recognise the second coming?
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¶ Helen Clark’s diplomacy
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¶ Trends in religious belief in New Zealand
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Mammals are cool. My cat was good company when I was laid up for a week with the flu. The movie “Planet Earth” (which I have yet to see) follows a few families of different species as they migrate across oceans or continents.
Steven Pinker’s “The Blank Slate” is a brilliant & accessible volume showed that most human behaviour (human universals, including altruism I presume) is innate, not learned.
Religion codifies the most elevated archetypes of human moral aspiration, and some adherents do not like the purity of this vision to be brought down so earth. Human morality stems from our relationships with each other, not abstract rules to please a remote deity.
The concept of innate morailty challenges the doctrine of original sin, but my personal experience, and that of many others, is of a deep moral reformation (akin to the 12 step programme) due to the amazing grace of God. Without knowing his love I would be selfish and self-destructive.
I also enjoyed Pinker’s “The Blank Slate” and agree with you about religion (and today other institutions as well) codifying moral rules.
However, I just can’t understand what you say in the last para. I think we all have “transcendent” experiences – but I have never felt the need to drag gods or the supernatural into mine.
Ropata, I have to agree with Ken regarding your last paragraph. I was reading your comment agreeing with everything you wrote but got to that last paragraph and had to wonder why it is that I am not selfish or self-destructive given that I don’t “know God’s love”. The odd thing is that I used to be a Christian and I can honestly say that I feel that I am less selfish, more understanding and even less self-destructive now than I was then (this could be down to the mellowing effects of age).
That said, I have no doubt that for some, turning to God (or at least the belief in God) can trigger major changes in the way you live life. But I don’t believe it’s actually the result of the existence of a real God.
Planet Earth – loved the visuals, loathed the voice-over. Visually it is absolutely stunning.
Many ethical theorists have suggested that this kind of Darwinian account of ethics actually support some form of Nihilism: The claim that all moral claims are false.
Suppose its true that belief in a moral code enhances survival and hence reproductive fitness. Suppose its also true that human moral awareness evolved by darwinian evolution unguided by God. Then it seems to follow that people believe in moral principles because doing so enhances survival, not primarily because they are true.
In fact if the moral beliefs were all false and fact there were no objective moral properties, one on this account would still believe in them because belief in such properties enhances survival.
An appeal to Ockhams razor then would suggest that the existence of morality is superflous. One can account for humans morality without postulating the existence of objective moral properties, one can make sense of morality in terms of it being an illusion that enhances survival.
Matt – your “ethical theorists” can’t be very ethical if they believe “that all moral claims are false”, can they?
1: It’s very naive to interpret evolution to mean that everything about individuals, especially members of an intelligent species like ours, is only there because it enhances our survival. One of the things about our species is intelligence, which has arisen by evolution, but which enables us to, in many ways, transcend evolution and “nature.” Your old mate Richard Dawkins often gives the example of the conscious use of birth control by humans as way of showing how this naive interpretation is wrong.
Our intelligence enables us to develop moral logic and principles – and to accept moral rules. Nothing to do with evolution.
We can accept some moral “rules” as “true” because they are objectively based. They are based on the facts of our existence as an intelligent, sentient species.
2: What the hell have razors got to do with it – Ockhams or otherwise? Really, there can be very few people who see “morality as superfluous.” surely it’s part of being human? Of belonging to an intelligent sentient species. And I think most people do think morality enhances our survival. But why do you say morality is an illusion?
I have written in more detail of the science of morality in the following articles (and would welcome your comments on them):
Human Morality I: Religious confusion
Human Morality II: Objective morality
Human Morality III: Moral intuition
Human Morality IV: Role of religion
Human Morality V: The secular conscience
The claim that all moral claims are false.
I wouldn’t have thought so. To me it simply says that the origins or basis of morals lie in group sociology, etc., rather than theism, etc. That is, the claims are neither true nor false, just that the basis for them is not in theism.
You could in fact make exactly the same argument for “blindly” accepting moral codes according to some religion, as you for “blindly” acting according to evolved instinct.
As Ken mentioned, you’ve also left out the possibility of learning what is instinctive (so we’re aware of it), and reasoning what is a good fit to our present way of living, etc.
• Matt – your “ethical theorists” can’t be very ethical if they believe “that all moral claims are false”, can they?
Ethical theory is theorising about ethics not necessarily theorising under its influence
What the hell have razors got to do with it – Ockhams or otherwise?
Ok compare two theories, on theory (a) there exists moral properties in the world , believing in the existence of these properties enhance survive, therefore evolutionary pressures lead to human beings believing in these properties. (b) There does not exist any moral properties in the world, however believing in such properties leads to survival therefore evolutionary pressures lead to human beings believing in these properties.
It seems that (a) and (b) would both explain the empirical data equally well. However (b) is simpler because it postulates less entities. Therefore from the perspective of the empirical evidence plus ockham’s razor (b) is the better scientific theory.
. But why do you say morality is an illusion?
I don’t say this, I am suggesting however that a scientific account of morality such as the one you mention in the post above would suggest this.
Heraclide, You could in fact make exactly the same argument for “blindly” accepting moral codes according to some religion, as you for “blindly” acting according to evolved instinct.
I agree, many atheists argue that humans have evolved a tendency to believe in non existent gods because such beliefs enhance ( or used to enhance) human survival. I am simply suggesting the same line of reasoning applies to ethics. I don’t think either argument is correct, but if people accept the former why not the latter.
The argument applies wether the belief is instinctive or not
Ken, does your world come crashing down if there is no objective morality?
I agree, many atheists argue that humans have evolved a tendency to believe in non existent gods because such beliefs enhance ( or used to enhance) human survival.
No, this is not what I was saying and you should know that, indeed I find it hard to believe that you don’t.
Try swapping “evolution” and your reference to “G-d” or religion, e.g.
I have to be honest I get tired of the way some religious people try re-work others’ words to suit themselves and that you have to painfully spell things out for them to avoid them butchering what is written. I can only presume they feel the “have” to “change” others words that don’t suit them because to leave them as they stand is a threat to them.
Well I’m buggered if I can understand the reasoning of people who don’t believe in a creator but apparently do believe he created a set of moral codes that are included in the laws of the universe.
Presumably these people believe that these same moral codes hold for any and all sentient life in the universe, but surely the article this post is about points clearly to a biological basis for morality, so different biology should have different morality.
I must confess that I have never understood this “Either morality is objective or it is a meaningless illusion.” argument. Why is it so unfathomable to some people that moral propositions, while not referring to some eternal, Platonic realm, are human constructs that we developed (and continue to develop) based on our moral instincts, cultural and societal wants and needs, historical contingencies etc.? Seen in this way, morality would not be “objective” in a super-human way, but would nonetheless be meaningful to us.
As I see it, morality in all its various forms is a product of the human mind (both individually and collectively) and as such “exists” within the community of human beings who have agreed to accept and enforce a specific form of morality within this community.
Now, if one wants to complain that this account reduces morality to a mere illusion because it is not “objective”, I would point out that the same reasoning applies to similar products of the human mind like e.g. the Highway Code or tax laws. However, I am pretty sure that replying to the Highway Patrol or the Tax Office with “I do not need to adhere to this regulation because it is not objective and therefore an illusion.” is not an approach that proponents of an objective morality would take. And it is easy to see why: because our societies have agreed upon said regulations and furthermore have agreed to punish anyone who does not adhere to them. So it seems that this “illusion” is not so illusory after all.
I would venture that the same process is at work regarding moral propositions: society has agreed on a core of moral principles whose violations are subject to punishment, thus taking on a very real form that people will take into account when planning their behaviour.
In my view, such an explanation of morality has two fundamental advantages:
1.) It has no need to invoke enigmatic “objective moral values”, whose nature is completely unknown, whose existence has never been reasonably shown and furthermore would require to postulate human beings to possess an equally enigmatic “moral sense” which is used to somehow perceive these objective moral values; and
2.) It can elegantly account for changing moral values and opinions over time, something which is a serious problem for moral objectivists since it would inter alia imply that our “moral sense” is fundamentally unreliable.
IMO, the fact that actions are not “right” or “wrong” on a cosmic scale in no way renders morality meaningless within our human sphere. Rather, I would propose the opposite: if there really were “moral facts” out there, it would mean that some actions are right or wrong no matter the context. What if it turns out that one “objectively right” kind of action is, say, slavery? There would be absolutely no way for us ever to change this verdict. Anyone who stood up against slavery could be dismissed, because his moral stance is objectively wrong. Thus, “objective morality” would deprive us of our autonomy and turn us back into a child-like state where we obey orders that we do not really understand and are impotent to change.
And this also cuts the other way: if slavery were “objectively wrong”, we could simply discover this fact and leave it at that. There would be no need to argue about why slavery might be wrong, e.g. based on concepts like “freedom” or “dignity”. All discussion about these issues would be utterly superfluous and it would simply become a matter of discovering the orders that tell us how to behave.
To me, it is such a view which renders “morality” meaningless.
1: You have a real thing about Ackam’s old razor at the moment, don’t you. It’s just inappropriate here.
2: “I am suggesting however that a scientific account of morality . . . would suggest this [that morality is an illusion].” That’s a strange reaction. Surely in science we deal with the facts of reality and draw conclusions from them – not start with a preconceived “suggestion.” The article quoted above surely shows that a scientific approach does not consider morality an illusion – no matter how much you want it to.
Try swapping “evolution” and your reference to “G-d” or religion, e.g.
Suppose its true that belief in a moral code enhances belief in G-d. Suppose its also true that human moral awareness was handed down by G-d unaided by evolution. Then it seems to follow that people believe in moral principles because doing so enhances belief in G-d, not primarily because they are true.
That would be a good argument if it were analogous to what I argued but it isn’t. In the first paragraph you actually swapped the word “reproductive survival and reproductive fitness” not evolution, for the word God. Moreover, in the second sentence by removing unguided evolution, a process which selects for reproductive fitness, with creation by God, a process that does not necessary select for this purpose, you take away the basis for the conclusion.
Perhaps instead of veiled insults you can respond to my argument. Which was as follows: Compare two theories, on theory (a) there exists moral properties in the world , believing in the existence of these properties enhance survive, therefore evolutionary pressures lead to human beings believing in these properties. (b) There does not exist any moral properties in the world, however believing in such properties leads to survival therefore evolutionary pressures lead to human beings believing in these properties. It seems that (a) and (b) would both explain the empirical data equally well. However (b) is simpler because it postulates less entities. Therefore from the perspective of the empirical evidence plus ockham’s razor (b) is the better scientific theory.
Why on scientific grounds would you support (a) over (b). I can understand how one could reject this if you allowed other information from ethics say or theology to be used in the adjudicating the theories but on scientific grounds alone why should you accept (a) over (b)?
1: You have a real thing about Ackam’s old razor at the moment, don’t you. It’s just inappropriate here.
No I don’t scientific critics of religion do, I am simply applying their methods to other phenomena. But i am interested Ken, Ockhams razor is a principle of scientific reasoning, whats your problem with it? Your not going to start getting “anti-science” are you.
2: “I am suggesting however that a scientific account of morality . . . would suggest this [that morality is an illusion].” That’s a strange reaction. Surely in science we deal with the facts of reality and draw conclusions from them – not start with a preconceived “suggestion.”
That would be interesting if I had started with a “preconcieved suggestion” but I actually offered an argument. I proposed to rival evolutionary accounts of the origins of morality and suggested that use of scientific methods ( empirical evidence plus ockhams razor) favoured the one that entailed nihilism.
The article quoted above surely shows that a scientific approach does not consider morality an illusion – no matter how much you want it to. Actually, I am aware of other “scientific approaches” that do push this line, on the very same grounds the other in the argument above cites and I have offered an argument that these approaches provide better scientific theories of morality.
Perhaps you can answer me why (b) is not a superior scientifc theory of morals to (a).
I must confess that I have never understood this “Either morality is objective or it is a meaningless illusion.” argument.
except that I did not offer an argument anything like that in the above comments thread.
As I see it, morality in all its various forms is a product of the human mind (both individually and collectively) and as such “exists” within the community of human beings who have agreed to accept and enforce a specific form of morality within this community.
Because this kind of cultural relativism is problematic. As I and many others have argued elsewhere.
Matt – responding to your question “Perhaps you can answer me why (b) is not a superior scientific theory of morals to (a).”
Taken at face value there isn’t any theory there is there? Only a and b? I assume you are referring to your previous comment replying to Heraclides, though.
But it’s not much better – you may as well has stuck with a and b alone. You haven’t proposed any scientific theories to compare at all – just vague statements. You just can’t apply an idea like Ockam’s razor to vague statements. You need structured and detailed theories with evidence and validated against reality. That’s why I am telling you that this razor is irrelevant – and I believe you only drag it in to make your proposition look sciency.
What you need to do is test your propositions against reality. Just investigate what the nature of our moral intuitions and moral logic are. There is currently a lot of material from the science of morality being reported now – and it makes interesting reading. None that I have seen is suggesting that morality is purely an illusion. I think those are your words or interpretations.
Could you quote and/or hyperlink , and name the scientists whose work has produced the conclusion you claim. I would love to follow it up.
There’s probably not much point in me commenting further in this thread, Iapetus is putting my opinion better than I could.
I do think though that the logic of just about any argument that argues against the existence of God can be used to argue against the existence of universal and objectivity morality, and I agree that Ockham’s razor would be near the top of the list.
Ken, why do you see a need for objective morality? I see no justification in science.
Make all the excuses you like, my point is fair. You can just as easily make the equivalent argument that people “believe” in particular morals because it backs their belief in G-d, not because those morals are true.
Regards “veiled insults”, trying to frame people for things that they haven’t done is a poor response and in my eyes a tactic admission that you have no sound response to make.
Both the arguments (not theories, which they are not) are actually “equal” in merit in the absence of further substance, and in the absence of further substance neither is favoured.
The comparison you present is trivially reduced to “there exists moral properties in the world” vs. “there do not exist moral properties in the world”, by pointing out that the latter portions are functional identical and can, and should, be dropped. (Since they are identical terms in both, they can’t contribute a difference to the comparison.)
A note to here is that this shows that your argument has nothing to do with evolution itself, as evolution drops out out of the comparison when redundant parts are removed.
If you “don’t get” this, try rewriting your statements as formal logic and simplify the comparison by removing common [i.e. redundant] terms. (To prevent butchering of this: I’m using ‘simplify’ in the mathematical sense of simplifying equations or logic.)
Don’t you claim to be a “philosopher” and user of “pure logic”? I would have thought a student of that would spot what this comparison reduces to before presenting this to me.
I think human history has a (telic) thread of moral evolution. It’s a very difficult project for our species.. there are some interesting papers and books suggesting the same. (also new age types think we’re going to hit a cusp of consciousness around 2012 😛 )
A somewhat relevant quote
— C. S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain
Andrew W – “Ken, why do you see a need for objective morality? I see no justification in science.”
I find people often misunderstand me on this. I don’t actually talk about “objective morality” as such – but about an objective basis for morality.
So while I agree with what Iapetus has said I add to that the idea that we can say there is an objective basis of some moral positions deriving from the objective fact of our existence as intelligent sentient beings.
I think we can derive from this some moral positions – such as slavery is wrong. Because we see it harms and violates the rights of individuals. Similarly gender discrimination, hostility to homosexuality, etc.
Now, at any one time humans may not all agree with such positions – after all slavery had strong economic support (and hence often strong religious support). But there were still individuals who could work it out logically for themselves.
There is a great film about a member of the East German Stasi – who works out what was morally right in a specific situation, despite it conflicting with social mores. (Can’t remember the name of the film at the moment). That’s an example to me. Similarly people who understood gender discrimination, apartheid, segregation, etc., was wrong – even though they were accepted by society around them.
I discuss this in Human Morality II: Objective morality. I think a lot of the scientific study of morality concentrates on moral intuitions – but some scientists are also considering an objective basis for universal moral concepts. I point this out for Steven Pinker in Pinker on morality.
Well, I guess if that means that morality is a product of biology and you think that social sentient beings will have a similar morality as a result of convergent evolution, I guess we’re not too far apart. But while such morality might have an” objective basis” in the biology of social animals, in no way would that come even close to being “objective morality” as I think it would logically be defined.
Would your ” objective basis” morality apply to a sentient robot? How about a species of hermits?
Andrew – could you give me your definition of “objective morality”? I myself have trouble understanding what people like Matt mean. When pressed it usually comes down to meaning moral intuitions, in practice. I get this from vague terms like “moral laws written on the heart of man by god”, etc.
I guess that any social species which is intelligent will have an objective basis for some moral concepts. I don’t know what you mean by “species of hermits” but sentient robots I would say yes. I guess one day we will know from experiential evidence.
What this bloke says:
You are the second person to recommend that specific article.
What I want is a simple, 1 sentence, definition.
Perhaps Matt could give us one – after all he is arguing for “objective morality” isn’t he?
I see no point in trying to rephrase what Dr Berggren has said: “by objective morality is meant a moral view which claims that there exists a morality which is external to human beings. Much like the existence of a law of gravity, there is a moral law which exists independently of any conscious being. Hence, morality is not a human fabrication – it merely awaits to be detected. In contrast, subjective morality denotes the view that moral views are nothing but human opinions, the origin of which is biological, social, and psychological. Without conscious beings, there would be no such thing as morality. Furthermore, on the subjective view, it is not possible to deem a moral opinion “true” or “false” – since such assessments require some objective standard against which to assess.”
“except that I did not offer an argument anything like that in the above comments thread.”
My remarks were not specifically directed at anything you wrote, but rather general in nature.
That being said, is this another point of difference between you and the other TM people? If so, I have the impression that you disagree with them about a rather broad range of topics.
“Because this kind of cultural relativism is problematic. As I and many others have argued elsewhere.”
Problematic in what regard?
Philosophically, I fail to see how my stance is more problematic than yours, considering the tremendous, unresolved difficulties of moral objectivism with regards to
1.) Ontology: what are “objective moral values/propositions” supposed to be? What is their nature and exactly how are they incorporated into the fabric of reality?
2.) Epistemology: how do we perceive objective moral values/propositions? How do we discriminate between genuinely objective moral values/propositions and ones we might strongly believe in, but which are nonetheless not objective?
3.) Sociology: how does the objectivist account for and explain the (often radical) changes in moral opinion throughout history?
If you mean “problematic” on a more practical level, the objections has more weight. It might be a psychological fact about human nature that religions and the concept of an objective morality handed down from an outside source which is often associated with them provides an important pillar to anchor a specific morality in a society. Seen in this light, religion would act like a prosthesis for morality and thus be a very useful enterprise.
However, I would argue that this idea of the necessity of a religious foundation for morality is not tenable.
First of all, there are many, many people, including but not limited to eminent thinkers like Russell, Einstein, Freud, Nietzsche and Feuerbach, who did not adhere to an objective morality but nonetheless did not feel that they were morally adrift.
On the other hand, religious justifications and theological foundations have failed time and again throughout history to prevent the most perverse developments of morality and politics. Quite to the contrary, precisely this conviction of being in possession of an unshakable justification has frequently led to intolerance, fanaticism and all the unpleasant consequences that tend to be associated with such attitudes.
Of course, religions are systems of orientation that combine different functions. Even if a religious foundation of morality is not necessary from a theoretical or practical point of view, it does not automatically imply that religion has become redundant. In a society where religious convictions, rites and customs are deeply rooted and intertwined with the rest of culture (although considerably less so throughout the Western World in the course of the last 200 years), the erosion of this religious heritage can cause significant crises of orientation for some people.
However, we do not have the option of preventing such crises by turning back the wheel. It would be futile to try and thwart the human quest for knowledge, which has in large parts led to an erosion and abandonment of the old, medieval worldview and the religious convictions associated with it.
Try Baraka. No voice at all!, just excellent cinematography. The only full-length film I can remember watching that is only “pictures”. Sounds off-putting, saying it like that, but my memory was that it was stunning. A visual poem in some ways. Reviewed here
While I’m on the subject of films, perhaps Mendy: a question of faith might appeal? It’ll be interesting to see if the sex/drugs/etc. gets in the way of the theme as the synopsis puts it, opening “his eyes to the possibilities of finding transcendence and spirituality in everyday life” as opposed to his (former) repressive Jewish faith.
I still think that Maori TV manages to put on some of the best movies and I’m still annoyed that the local film reviewer for the paper consistently ignores their movies. Goodness knows why. Maybe he has something against “art house” efforts?
Arrgh. Ken, could you close the second a tag for me…!!
Also forgot to say this is on Maori TV this Saturday at 9pm. Writing too late at night to be getting things right in one shot…! 🙂
@Ken. The film with the stasi agent might have been “Des Leben der Anderen” (The lives of others in english I think). I don’t remember the details very well except that I really enjoyed it.
Heres a link http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0405094/
Yes, Nick. I think that’s the one.
I actually find the classification of “morality” into “objective morality” and “subjective morality” rather artificial. Reality is usually a lot more complex than such simple classifications imply.
For example – those who talk most about objective morality are usually the theistically inclined. Somehow they attribute the existence of objective right and wrong to their particular god(s).
In practice, though, this can boil down to an extreme form of subjective morality or moral relativism. Morals come from, and are reinforced by, their particular holy book, their priests, Imams, ministers, fathers, etc., etc.
Morality is imposed. And it depends on the particular culture, church, mosque, cults leaders, etc. That is nothing more than moral relativism.
On the other hand when morals are derived through reason and intuition, and reinforced by intelligent, open discussion and investigation, we often find a wide area of agreement. We can agree on declarations such as that on Universal Human Rights. This gets described as “subjective morality”, no gods are involved. But notice that the charge of moral relativism seems very weak in this case.
Moral relativism seems to be very much a characteristic of those who promote “objective morality.”
Did I say you don’t define what you mean? Perhaps you could point to where I said this, I don’t recall the instance.
Matt mean. When pressed it usually comes down to meaning moral intuitions, in practice. I get this from vague terms like “moral laws written on the heart of man by god”, etc.
No I was refering to a comment Ken made as follows at https://openparachute.wordpress.com/2009/09/14/evolution-of-human-morality/
Andrew – could you give me your definition of “objective morality”? I myself have trouble understanding what people like Matt mean. When pressed it usually comes down to meaning moral intuitions, in practice. I get this from vague terms like “moral laws written on the heart of man by god”, etc.
In the post I provided I actually did give a detailed explanation of what I mean by objective morality. Nowhere have a defined it the way Ken states above. Moreover no Christian philosopher or theologian I am aware of defines it the way Ken states which actually involves a conflation between epistemology and ontology.
“an immaterial, eternal necessary object ” a form” exists, and this can be known only non empirically via some form of immediate intuition.” I must lack this form of ESP then as I’m unable to detect this “immaterial, eternal necessary object ”, I have to make do with the morality I gain from biological, societal, and psychological inputs.
I am going to defend Ken here Platonism cannot be dismissed simply by calling it ESP. The point is this, take claims like
Its wrong to rape children for fun.
These claims seem to be intuitively obvious for many people; to suggest that you need to argue for them seems mistaken if you need an argument to convince you of this then something is wrong with your moral awareness. Moreover its hard to see how one could argue for this, to do so one would have to appeal to some further moral claim such as “its wrong to harm people” or “its wrong to have sex without consent” and so on, and then a person can ask what arguments there are for these claims and so on. For these reasons it seems plausible to suggest that people can immediately recognize certain moral claims as in some sense self evident. It also seems to be the case that one does not know these things empirically, its not like wrongness has a colour, weight, taste or texture or sound which we see hear or touch when we here about children being raped. The same issues come up with basic truths of logic such as IF A then B, A, Therefore B. One simply “sees” that this is true and the seeing is not sensory perception such as hearing touching or tasting.
None of this is incompatible with the claim that morality comes from biological and Psychological imputs. Presumably human beings psychology has evolved or been created to form beliefs in this manner, and also we need social interaction to aquire it just as we do with Mathematics and logic.
What I see problematic about Ken’s position is how it coheres with his rejection of theism I agree with you that I do think though that the logic of just about any argument that argues against the existence of God can be used to argue against the existence of universal and objectivity morality
If Platonists like Ken reject theism because it there alledgedly is insufficient empirical evidence for Gods existence then they owe us an argument more powerful than those usually provided for Gods existence, from purely empirical premises to the conclusion that objective moral principles exist, or in Kens case, immaterial platonic forms.
Basically he adopts a skeptical stance towards God which he would not adopt in other spheres of life because it leads to the absurd conclusion that the raping of babies is not objectively wrong.
Matt – “If Platonists like Ken” You misrepresent me – yet again. Just give up on that, Matt. it’s not going anywhere.
And don’t be silly Being sceptical about a god doesn’t mean that “the raping of babies is not objectively wrong.” That’s childish.
We are all sceptical about gods – it’s just that I am sceptically about at least 1 more that you are. Many people think I am numerically closer to the truth – yet I don’t go around raping babies – and I imagine you don’t either.
However, it’s easy to imagine someone using their god, and its divine commands which he or she is privy to, to justify raping babies and much else in society. Plenty of examples of that.