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This is an exactly accurate pic of me.

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About this site

Sierra Leone stuff

To record my Adventures in Sierra Leone.

Old libel law stuff

A few years ago I started to Look Stuff Up Properly.  Properly, a word which here means so that the conclusion or result of the search is supported by evidence.  It seems that if only decisions were made, issues discussed, and even countries run on the basis of evidence, there would be fewer cock-ups and certainly a lot less posturing and nonsense.

In The Two Cultures lecture, CP Snow said:

A good many times I have been present at gatherings of people who, by the standards of the traditional culture, are thought highly educated and who have with considerable gusto been expressing their incredulity at the illiteracy of scientists. Once or twice I have been provoked and have asked the company how many of them could describe the Second Law of Thermodynamics. The response was cold: it was also negative. Yet I was asking something which is the scientific equivalent of: Have you read a work of Shakespeare’s?  I now believe that if I had asked an even simpler question — such as, What do you mean by mass, or acceleration, which is the scientific equivalent of saying, Can you read? — not more than one in ten of the highly educated would have felt that I was speaking the same language. So the great edifice of modern physics goes up, and the majority of the cleverest people in the western world have about as much insight into it as their neolithic ancestors would have had.”

This was said in 1959.  I think the problem is, if anything, worse today and applies not just to science but to anything complicated.  Including whether libel law should be reformed.


2 comments on “About this site

  1. Louis Dugre says:

    Great stuff you have in here!I will visit this site once again.

  2. oldebabe says:

    Interesting. More critcal thinkers should talk about the distances between the knowledge of ordinary people and working scientists. There’s a whole range of needs and abilities, etc. there, and a whole range of definitions of who is what (for one perspectuve see “The Age of American Unreason” – Susan Jacoby). That everyone can profit from more education, whether it is any form of the sciences or arts, is of course a given. Good luck with your commenting.

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