More Nazi attempts at intimidation

Here’s a question for you…

What legitimate, political outcome could Britain First possibly hope to achieve by posting this to their facebook wall?

Before you answer that please bear in mind that the Britain First facebook page is frequented by violent far-right extremists who regularly propose the violent assault of left-wing activists.

I mean, really! What do you imagine they might want to happen next?

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Of course it was all pretty predictable. This comment on the same thread clearly incites violence against her (and another activist whose details were also published by Britain First recently).
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Europe has seen this sort of political ‘persuasion’ before. It led to the creation of the Third Reich.

Senior DWP Manager Congratulates Staff For Hitting Sanctions Targets

Stuart Sorensen:

Didn’t IDS say there were no targets for benefit sanctions?

Originally posted on Same Difference:

Spotted on Twitter:

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Care To Share issue 8

It’s been a long time coming but issue 8 of #CareToShareMag is available now on the C2S blog and also as a free downloadable PDF.

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Enjoy

Nick Clegg: the NHS needs “breaking up”

Stuart Sorensen:

Remember this?

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.

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Please feel free to comment. And share (if you don’t mind annoying Nick Clegg):

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A few words about nonsense

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’.

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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.

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EDL Sex Offenders List

Stuart Sorensen:

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.

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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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That’s all folks!

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.

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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.

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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!

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