Originally posted on Pride's Purge:
(not satire – it’s Nick Clegg!)
“I think breaking up the NHS is exactly what you do need to do to make it a more responsive service” – Nick Clegg
This is what Nick Clegg had to say about the NHS – before he became Lib Dem leader and had to be more careful about expressing his real opinions.
I imagine the Lib Dems are extremely relieved that everyone seems to have forgotten about their leader’s very telling comments on the NHS in this interview.
Especially just 6 months before the next election.
Best not remind everyone by sharing it far and wide then.
Please feel free to comment. And share (if you don’t mind annoying Nick Clegg):
A couple of people have expressed some concerns about my recent post ‘How we know what to rely upon‘. Some queried the placement of different specialties and beliefs in the ‘evidence hierarchy table’.
In two of these cases, ‘Freudian psychodynamics’ and ‘the serotonin theory of depression’ I removed them. After all the point of the post was to identify how ideas are validated, not to get caught up in debates about ‘what goes where’. That wasn’t my purpose. I may yet reclassify reincarnation for just that reason if the person who promised to send me robust evidence supporting it actually does so. For now, though it remains firmly in the ‘nonsense’ camp, which brings me to the point of this post.
Whenever I use the word ‘nonsense’ people become (in descending order of intensity) ‘outraged’, ‘offended’, ‘irritated’, ‘narked’ or just ‘a bit miffed’. As a general rule I suspect that’s because they haven’t thought through just what the word ‘nonsense’ means.
Normally I wouldn’t dream of basing my arguments upon semantics. It’s usually a quite unwarranted equivocation to argue about the literal meaning of a word as though that somehow influences its perceived meaning in everyday, non-literal conversation. That’s just a kind of linguistic pedantry that blindly favours form over meaning. But in this case I’ll make an exception. That’s because the literal meaning of the word ‘nonsense’ is such an accurate representation of its actual usage, even though most people never stop to think it through.
The word ‘nonsense’ consists of two contributory words:
Non (a negation);
Sense (the 5 mechanisms by which we experience the natural world) OR (reasonable, understandable, coherent, logical).
In everyday conversation people generally use one or the other of these meanings of ‘sense’ but in the rational, empirical world of scientific observation I’d argue that both are needed. In fact, I think they’re mutually dependent.
Empiricism requires observable evidence of the external (not us) world. Evidence of the external world can only be observed through the 5 senses. Therefore in order to have a reason to believe something we need to be able to observe something that our beliefs, hypotheses and explanations can be based upon. If we can’t sense a thing we can’t demonstrate it and if we can’t demonstrate it there’s no reason to believe it. That doesn’t necessarily mean it’s not true – but we’d be foolish to believe in something we can neither test nor observe.
That’s what the 20th century philosopher, Bertrand Russell was getting at when he claimed that there was a silver teapot orbitting the sun somewhere between the Earth and Mars. For all anyone knows, there might be but we’d be foolish to believe it without at least some observable, empirical evidence (beyond mere anecdote) to support it. And observable, empirical evidence means sensory input.
So – to sum up.
To ‘sense’ something means to observe.
To ‘not sense’ means to not observe.
We would be foolish to believe a claim without some observation, some reason to believe.
‘Nonsense’ then is the unobserved claim that we would do well to reject until and unless some observable, empirical evidence is available.
That’s why I consigned claims like creationism, reincarnation, crystal healing and astrology to the nonsense camp. They lack empirical evidence to support their most basic explanations and we’d be foolish to accept them without it. They are the products of over-active imaginations that are much more concerned with spinning a good yard than with genuine, observable, painstaking, data collection.
You may not agree with my way of approaching the world but at least now, hopefully, you’ll understand where I’m coming from.
Very timely little blog post, I thought. If all Muslims are paedophiles (as the likes of the EDL claim) then shouldn’t all EDL members be too, by the same (flawed) logic?
Originally posted on Malatesta's Blog:
The EDL Vanity Show in Rotherham goes on as they try to get their faces in the paper and on the telly to show off to their mates in the pub, but their numbers are falling and there are only about 4 or 5 tents left.
Andrew Edge, the hunger striker, has entered his 2nd week of hunger strike, assisted by only a Twix, some Rolos and a full English breakfast. He is off to jail next week for being an eejit on the EDL 2012 demo in Brum where the EDL started chucking garden furniture at plod who got heavy and left the EDL racists with sore heads. Then, in a massive fit of stupidity, EDL members put footage of them rioting on Youtubw which led to a lot of jail time for them. So, if previous cases are anything to go by, Andrew Edge will be enjoying the…
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Do you remember ‘Mork and Mindy’?
I do. It was brilliantly funny back in the day. An unassuming little comedy series that launched (so far as I know) one of the most versatile and talented comic actors of a generation.
And now that actor is dead – by his own hand.
I’ve no idea why Robin Williams killed himself. In truth, I don’t think any of us ever will have – not really. Without thinking the thoughts he thought and feeling the emotions he felt the best anyone could ever manage would be a superficial approximation of the truth.
But that doesn’t stop the media from going wild (with the frenzied instincts of a pack of wolves who smell blood) at the thought of the money their printed speculations will bring. And it stinks.
Leave the poor guy alone.
Leave his memory alone.
Just stop it!
That’s all folks!
Awful. Just awful!
Originally posted on Pride's Purge:
(not satire – it’s the UK today!)
Looks like the Tories are taking revenge on the police after their falling out over the plebgate controversy.
The Tory-led coalition government has decided that police officers who are disabled or injured in the line of duty should face a pay cut. Or the sack.
A report into changes in police officers’ pay and conditions was completed way back in 2012. But now government ministers have suddenly decided to implement some of the more controversial changes recommended in the report – including this part:
The Disabled Police Association says injured and disabled officers will be ‘substantially disadvantaged’ by the changes:
As always – very little of this has been reported in the mainstream press.
Which is exactly what always happens whenever there is any news about how despicably the sick and disabled are treated by this government.
Please feel free to comment. And…
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My thoughts exactly. The labour party was born out of a great tradition of fairness. New Labour betrayed that tradition but genuine, compassionate, mutually supportive socialism still remains. And it will rise again.
Originally posted on The World Turned Upside Down:
Yesterday you did something really dreadful, although I doubt you realise the full significance. In the same week that members of your party, the postal workers union, senior Labour MPs and thousands of voters on Merseyside were organising a campaign to reject The Sun newspaper being delivered unsolicited through their letter boxes, you posed, grinning, with the paper. The fact that you have apparently apologised to Steve Rotheram, MP for Liverpool Walton, indicates that you are perhaps a little more aware of your mistake than you were yesterday, but it doesn’t even begin to touch on the real, underlying causes of this enormous error of judgement.
I don’t need to go into the reasons why that campaign was taking place – you know the reasons why The Sun is rightly despised by the overwhelming majority of your own party. So any apology should be directed, not just to…
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