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Comments by Clappers

Go to: [UPDATE 6-16] Support Simon Singh

Clappers's Avatar Jump to comment 27 by Clappers

I am going to be at Conway Hall on Saturday when there is a whole day of lectures, starting with Ricahrd Dawkins and ending with A C Grayling. I am sure many people will be commenting and telling us what we can do to help push through the change that is needed.

Not sure it has helped that NICE is now approving Chiropractic etc. for certain back problems.

Thu, 04 Jun 2009 12:18:00 UTC | #367682

Go to: Richard Dawkins: On The Big Questions this week

Clappers's Avatar Jump to comment 13 by Clappers

Just watched it, AllanW was correct, it was a waste of Richard's time. However Richard was able to show how polite and considerate he is.

Sun, 28 Dec 2008 02:14:00 UTC | #292789

Go to: Puncturing the Acupuncture Myth

Clappers's Avatar Jump to comment 16 by Clappers

I recommend that you all read this book

One of the authors is the first professor of alternative medicine.

They review, Chiropractic, Acupuncture, Homeopathy and review the research for each.

Every medical student should read it


Tue, 18 Nov 2008 12:36:00 UTC | #272471

Go to: Genesis and the origin of the Origin of the species

Clappers's Avatar Jump to comment 38 by Clappers

I once saw a debate (at Jewish Book Week)between Jonathan Sachs and Steven Pinker. During the questions afterwards, every answer SP gave was direct and illuminating, every answer from JS was humerous or anecdotal. "Well the sages say, or that reminds me of the story"

At book signings afterwards, one or 2 people buying the Rabbi's books, a queue of people buying SP's book

I judge people by wht they do, not what they say

Sat, 30 Aug 2008 05:54:00 UTC | #226915

Go to: Richard Dawkins replies to Libby Purves

Clappers's Avatar Jump to comment 292 by Clappers

My Times today shows 3 letters supporting the Libby Purvis view. Where's the balance???

Is it time for me to start getting the Guardian or the Independant

Tue, 12 Aug 2008 13:10:00 UTC | #216618

Go to: Douglas Adams Memorial Lecture 2008

Clappers's Avatar Jump to comment 6 by Clappers

I was there, it was a great evening, Steven Pinker was brilliant. The audience was laughing at most of his presentation.

Earlier that evening I had a chance to ask Steven if he was going to apply for RD's vacant chair, but he politely declined.

The Blank Slate is my favourite non fiction book

Tue, 05 Aug 2008 23:40:00 UTC | #213202

Go to: Vicar supports Life of Brian ban

Clappers's Avatar Jump to comment 15 by Clappers

My favourite film of all time

"I'm Brian and so's my wife"
"Blessed are the Greek"
"thanks a lot for the gold and frankinscence but don't worry about themyrr next time"
Blessed are the big noses

I am gonna watch it again

Thu, 31 Jul 2008 11:21:00 UTC | #210856

Go to: Children Are Naturally Prone To Be Empathic And Moral

Clappers's Avatar Jump to comment 50 by Clappers

Steven Pinkers "The Blank Slate" suggests that children are socialised by their peers, not their parents. He takes this from "the Nurture Assumption" by Judith Rich-Harris.

Her main suggestion is that children turn out the way they do, 50% genetic and nearly all of the other 50% from peers that they mix with.

Sun, 13 Jul 2008 12:26:00 UTC | #199141

Go to: Is religion a threat to rationality and science?

Clappers's Avatar Jump to comment 127 by Clappers

I know Dennett only from 'Breaking the Spell', which I found a long-winded and unengaging read, and the same qualities of writing are more or less evident here. Glad to see that he's at least stopped sucking up to Muslims with talk of their 'great faith', but he's no match for a Dawk or a Hitch, in person or in print.

Actually, I thought Dan Dennett's book was the best from the 4 horsemen, since it actually gave a way of getting from where we are to where we need to be.


Wed, 23 Apr 2008 14:35:00 UTC | #158799

Go to: Charles Simonyi Professorship in the Public Understanding of Science

Clappers's Avatar Jump to comment 271 by Clappers

Hi all

I asked Steven Pinker privately about his plans, but said he didn't know he would be considered, that his partner is happy where she is, and I guess he's happy being at Harvard.

But it was a great evening


Mon, 17 Mar 2008 14:26:00 UTC | #137983

Go to: Charles Simonyi Professorship in the Public Understanding of Science

Clappers's Avatar Jump to comment 259 by Clappers

Advice please

I am seeing a lecture given by Steven Pinker in London tomorrow evening, and am keen to ask Steven if he is going to apply for the post. Am I more likely to get the best result by asking him in the Q&A session afterwards (and eliciting support from the audience) or is it better to try to approach him on a personal level.

Tue, 11 Mar 2008 10:15:00 UTC | #134632

Go to: A match made on

Clappers's Avatar Jump to comment 45 by Clappers

"This so far short year has been the best and worst in my life, I am about to lose my daughter who is in the final stages of small cell ovarian cancer, the tremendous support of my dear Veronique has given me the strength to face this disaster with a courage I would have found impossible to muster alone. It made me realise the value of love."

Yorker, to be able to write the paragraph above shows tremendous courage in a number of ways.

Acceptance of the fact that your daughter is going to die is so grown up, I cannot imagine being able to accept it, but you show me that it is possible. Perhaps you gained strength from that gentleman who's son died and "Were all going to Die..........." was read at his funeral.

I admire your bravery

Sun, 17 Feb 2008 02:10:00 UTC | #122088

Go to: Charles Simonyi Professorship in the Public Understanding of Science

Clappers's Avatar Jump to comment 184 by Clappers

Anyone know Steven Pinker's email address, cause if enough people send him this link
he will get the hint that he's the man for the job

Tue, 12 Feb 2008 08:18:00 UTC | #119658

Go to: Charles Simonyi Professorship in the Public Understanding of Science

Clappers's Avatar Jump to comment 117 by Clappers

Above is Steven Pinker's interview for the job. How can it possibly be given to anyone else

Mon, 11 Feb 2008 10:40:00 UTC | #119211

Go to: Charles Simonyi Professorship in the Public Understanding of Science

Clappers's Avatar Jump to comment 108 by Clappers

Neil de Grasse Tyson, he was the guy I couldn't remember

Mon, 11 Feb 2008 09:42:00 UTC | #119168

Go to: Charles Simonyi Professorship in the Public Understanding of Science

Clappers's Avatar Jump to comment 104 by Clappers

My votes go to

Steven Pinker, author of How the Mind Works, The Blank Slate, The Stuff of Thought, The Language Instinct.

Simon Singh, The Big Bang etc.

Carolyn Porco * is currently the leader of the Cassini Science Imaging Team and a lead imaging scientist on the New Horizons Pluto/Kuiper Belt mission.

And who's that guy that had a go at Richard for not explaining about the understanding of science, Richard explained that he wasn't the worst, he would make a great candidate

Mon, 11 Feb 2008 09:26:00 UTC | #119151

Go to: Response to Theodore Dalrymple

Clappers's Avatar Jump to comment 61 by Clappers

Yesterday I had the pleasure to go to the Gladstone Club at which interesting speakers are invited to give a talk, followed by questions and a Pizza.

Theodore Dalrymple gave a talk on why we are wrong about the addictiveness of heroin, based on his time as a prison doctor.

I went intending to challenge his echange with Sam Harris

In the forward to the paperback version of the God Delusion, RD speaks about "I am an atheist but", which is neatly encapsulated in the saying
"Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful".

Spending a meal sitting next to him was illuminating, and I have some thoughts which I would like some feedback on. At our Bright meetings I am struck by how much we all agree with each other, but after several years we seem to be struggling to arrange regular meetings. I like being with like minded people, but where is our community spirit, we seem to not need each other's company on a regular basis. Perhaps our scientific minds put us more towards the autistic rather than empathetic end of the spectrum.

I have mentioned before that some of us seem unable to see things from the other persons point of view. I have pointed out the absurdity of religious belief to many people, Rabbi's at weddings, Jehovas Witnesses (I invite them in), Muslim neighbours, friends, but guess what, none of them have said thank you for pointing out the error of my ways, I can see that I have been wrong all these years. It's not what you say that matters, it's what the other fellow understands.

Dan Dennett has pointed out that most people have belief in belief, are part of communities that will not allow it's members to change their belief. The Islamic meme has the most effective way of keeping up it's membership (the threat of being killed)

So where do we go from here, I don't know, but I am interested to hear your thoughts

Please don't give me a list of all the horrible things done in the name of religion, I have read all of the recent atheism books twice each.

I know we are right, we are just ineffective, so what can we do to change people's views?

Tue, 13 Nov 2007 14:28:00 UTC | #83885

Go to: Bill Moyers interviews Jonathan Miller

Clappers's Avatar Jump to comment 1 by Clappers

Brief History of Disbelief is a great series. Jonathan's relaxed style, his obvious knowledge of the work of all of his interviewees is incredible. How does anyone speak in prose like that, I didn't hear him say er at all.

I wish he would write a book on the subject

Mon, 12 Nov 2007 01:25:00 UTC | #83386

Go to: AAI 07 DVDs by RDFRS are Now Available!

Clappers's Avatar Jump to comment 13 by Clappers

"I think that the problem that atheists have not yet realised about their position is that their own system of morals is based on Christian morality and does not just come out of thin air neither does it fit the survival of the fittest theory nor the selfish gene arguments. If you take that to its logical extreme, then we are all out for what we can get for ourselves, which is no doubt what was happening centuries ago. We live in times where Christian legacy is still influencing our behaviour and our thinking about morals. But there are signs of this being eroded away. "

From Krisking.

Couple of thoughts

Don't think the Chief Rabbi would be referring to Christian legacy.

Referring to Selfish Gene arguments suggests that you have read the title, not the book. Just to repeat the point that has been made many times before it's the Genes that are selfish, not necessarily the People.

Sun, 11 Nov 2007 07:41:00 UTC | #83135

Go to: Response to Theodore Dalrymple

Clappers's Avatar Jump to comment 16 by Clappers

On a previous post I mentioned that I am seeing Theodore Dalrymple next Monday evening at a Gladstone club meeting, where I plan on challenging him. Anyone interested in coming to the National Liberal Club, Whitehall, Monday 12th Nov, starts at 7pm.

This is supposed to be the agenda:
"Comparing observations from 14 years as a
psychiatrist in an English inner-city hospital with his experiences in
Afghanistan, Africa and Eastern Europe Dr. Dalrymple raises the appalling
proposition that prospects for those at the bottom are worst here."

Mon, 05 Nov 2007 11:59:00 UTC | #81412

Go to: What the New Atheists Don't See

Clappers's Avatar Jump to comment 50 by Clappers

I am going to a lecture/ discussion by Theodore on Monday 12th Nov (it's at the Liberal Club in London, anyone want to come along?) and will find an opportunity to challenge his "atheism"

I might use some of the RD intro to the paperback version of TGD ie I am an atheist but....

Any other ideas

Sat, 03 Nov 2007 11:37:00 UTC | #80884

Go to: Response to My Fellow 'Atheists'

Clappers's Avatar Jump to comment 19 by Clappers

Let's use Brights, as opposed to Supers

Richard Dawkins first encouraged me to look at the organisation

Sam Harris has endorsed it

Dan Dennett even mentions it in his writing "us Brights"

I know some of you will say that it makes us sound smug and superior, and that Christopher Hitchins disagrees.

But we're all individuals (I'm not)

Mon, 08 Oct 2007 12:55:00 UTC | #73473

Go to: In honour of Dan Dennett

Clappers's Avatar Jump to comment 55 by Clappers

Another writer I would recommend it Steven Pinker
How the Mind Works
The Blank Slate


Pinker is best when he sticks to language theory, but his evolutionary psychology stuff is just emabarrassing.

"How the Mind Works", in particular, might work as a piece of speculative fiction, but as a work of popular science it is an absolute travesty. "We don't need to know how the brain works in order to figure out how the mind works"... Just what the hell are you on about, Pinker?!

Having read both How the Mind Works and The Blank Slate, how the brain works is relevent. I am not an expert, but Steven's views seem very similar to Dawkins and Dennett. I especially liked his recommendation of "The Nurture Assumption" by Judith Rich Harris, it all seems to tie in with Baron-Cohen's "The Essential Difference"

Stag, can you be specific as to what you disagree with

Mon, 08 Oct 2007 08:32:00 UTC | #73398

Go to: In honour of Dan Dennett

Clappers's Avatar Jump to comment 27 by Clappers

If writing or research are convincing, why not accept the views?

Another writer I would recommend it Steven Pinker
How the Mind Works
The Blank Slate
are great books, and he also veers towards ultradarwinism

I have just started reading his latest "The Stuff of Thought" good so far and I am seeing his next Monday at his book launch, can't wait

Sun, 07 Oct 2007 13:04:00 UTC | #73229

Go to: In honour of Dan Dennett

Clappers's Avatar Jump to comment 13 by Clappers

Of the four recent atheist books, TGD, The End of Faith, God Isn't Great and Breaking the Spell, I actually found Dan's book the best, in that it gives us a way of moving from where we are, to where humanity needs to be.

Darwins Dangerous Idea is a great book, in the last chapter, he let's his anger with dogmatism shine through.

I have been lucky enough to see him debate on 2 occasions, again very polite.

How many of us would now be dead without anaesthetic, and medical science, what a priveledge to be living now.

Good bye faith, hello critical thinking

Sun, 07 Oct 2007 08:06:00 UTC | #73149

Go to: Talking Action Figure Jesus

Clappers's Avatar Jump to comment 2 by Clappers

Note Jesus's right hand
I wonder what he could do with it?

Mon, 24 Sep 2007 14:59:00 UTC | #69726

Go to: Do you have to read up on leprechology before disbelieving in them?

Clappers's Avatar Jump to comment 77 by Clappers

Much of the conversation in this subject can be answered by reading Breaking the Spell by Dan Dennett. It is more concilliatory than TGD and gives us a way of moving forward


Mon, 17 Sep 2007 10:30:00 UTC | #67480

Go to: Good News: Both our Foundations are now Officially Recognized as Charities

Clappers's Avatar Jump to comment 56 by Clappers

Here's a suggestion for how this charity can be useful

At a Brights meeting, a few of our group came up with the idea of a "sanctuary" where students who may be leaving their religiously based community for the first time to go to university could have some of their doubts answered. At tertiary education, there is always a muslim, christian and jewish chaplaincy to offer friendship at this vulnerable time, so what about a group to offer friendship without this religious baggage.

One of the thoughts we had is that we do owe a duty of care to explain that within some communities, questioning and having different views can leave you ostracised from your family and friends, and that this needs to be taken into account.

Perhaps this charity could offer material like "Growing up in the Universe".

Richard are you considering writing text books to help explain critical thinking, double blind studies etc. Simon Singh could be a useful collaborator.

What do you guys think?

Kind regards

Sun, 16 Sep 2007 10:42:00 UTC | #67150

Go to: In God we doubt

Clappers's Avatar Jump to comment 3 by Clappers

I read the paper version and there is an interview by Bryan Appleyard, where John says that he lost his temper redaing books by militant atheists like Ricard Dawkins and Dan Dennett. Now I can understand saying militant about Christopher Hitchens or Sam Harris ( I agree with their views), but The God Delusion and even more Breaking the Spell are entirely reasonable books.

Why didn't John Humphreys have the courage to include Richard Dawkins or Jonathan Millar in his hour long interviews with the 3 religious leaders.

Very disappointed

Sun, 02 Sep 2007 23:34:00 UTC | #63838

Go to: The importance of doubt

Clappers's Avatar Jump to comment 12 by Clappers

"The shocking aspect of this notion is its depersonalisation, reinforced in an alarming chapter which claims that Jews, and indeed Jesus Christ, did not teach love thy neighbour as thyself and that the 10 commandments - including thou shalt not kill - applied only within the Jewish group."

Is it shocking that some people actually read the bible and find this

Numbers 21:1-3 God utterly destroyed the Canaanites at Hormah as a favor to the Jews.
Numbers 21:27-35 God abetted Moses in utterly destroying the Amorites at Heshbon - "Â…the men, the women, and the little ones."
Numbers 31:17-18 God commands Moses to kill all the Medianite people including children and women. To top it off he commands that the virgins be saved for later raping by Moses' soldiers.
Deuteronomy 3:3-7 God ordered Moses' army to "utterly destroy" 60 cities, killing all the women and children within!
Deuteronomy 7:12 God ordered the Israelites to kill all the people of seven nations. He even adds, "show no mercy unto them".
Deuteronomy 20:16 God orders that we kill everything that breathes in the cities that he gives us for an inheritance

Thu, 30 Aug 2007 00:52:00 UTC | #63042