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The Pequod
Dr Alistair Brown | Associate lecturer in English Literature; researching video games and literature

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Through exploring the psychopathology of Capgras syndrome, in which a patient mistakes a loved one for an imposter, The Echo Maker offers a sustained meditation on the ways in which we project our own problems onto other people. As a reflection on the mysteries of consciousness, the novel offers some interesting if not especially new insights into the fuzzy boundaries between scientific and literary interpretations of the mind. Read more

Should I Advertise God?

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

I am waiting for the new version of Blogger to come out of Beta, at which point I will be able to tag and organise my posts into their particular subjects, such as the postgraduate diary, the art reviews and current affairs. I will also create a category for those posts concerned with the perversion of science, which I have long worried about and am now starting to worry, figuratively through my writing about and against it, like an intellectual dog. Such posts include my one on "Dawkins' Dilemma" and "They Call it Science."

Christian religious fundamentalism is second on the list of global issues I fear when I wake in the morning, behind global warming (which, frankly, dwarfs anything else). One welcome, regular reader of this blog noted that he enjoys it because "sooner or later most sites just turn into political name calling rants - not very productive. Therefore, I enjoy the literary aspect of your blog." Unfortunately, the manipulations of scientific facts for ideological purposes, which are are most blatantly manifested in the Intelligent Design movement, are the one "political" issue I cannot leave alone. I am reading Dawkins' The Blind Watchmaker at the moment, and I give a little cheer every time he demolishes the arguments from faith which utterly and hilariously misinterpret the scientific data and the academic consensus.

So I will (must) continue to post on these issues as and when I feel like it. But this leaves me with a dilemma. In the right-hand sidebar of this blog you will notice the Irrepressible.Info box, promoting freedom of speech (a freedom which, living in the democratic UK, I happily exercise in my posts). In the left-hand sidebar are the Google Adwords which cover the annual costs of my web hosting. But when you read any of my posts about Darwinism, about two thirds of the ad space is given over to promotions of Intelligent Design, Creationism, and the "Dawkins Demolition Industry."

The Google Adwords system allows me to filter out those adverts I don't want displayed, and I already use this to cut out sites which promise to write essays for students; a clear conflict of interest, I have no qualms about censoring these adverts. But should I do the same for the religious adverts which contradict my attitude towards science? Should my political principles over this one, vital, issue outweigh my democratic belief - which I assert through endorsing the Irrepressible.Info campaign - that everyone has a right to freedom of speech? Or, as I argued in my essay on the Islamic cartoons controversy, since the right to freedom of speech is not absolute, but must be weighed against moral principles, am I justified in taking what I see as a moral stance against those who try to pervert our empiricist culture?

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Posted by Alistair at 11:27 am

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