population

Breeding Hatred

One of the biggest dilemmas for environmental realists is striking the right balance between the potential infringement of human rights required to power down to a more sustainable society on one hand, and the inevitable threat to human rights if we don't take action now. Let's call this the human rights dilemma. One solution is simply to deny the relevance of the coming environmental collapse by idealising a variant form of cornucopia, believing everything would be okay if we just wrested power from the...

Dental Health Scandal: Playing Politics with Genes

Few empiricists would deny that both environmental and genetic factors determine subtle variations in the physical health, performance and behaviour of human beings. After repeatedly telling us that diet and lifestyle are largely to blame for the obesity epidemic, the popular media now inform that genetics plays a crucial role in our susceptibility to gaining weight, e.g. two different people eating the same intake of junk food may have very different weights. Our genes do after all provide us with...

Blaming the Messenger

Spiked Online are at it again, jumping at the chance to blame common atrocities on the spectre of green fascists . To the likes of Frank Füredi and Brendan O'Neill a green fascist is anyone who doesn't believe in their technocratic vision of unlimited human and material growth, if indeed they believe their own propaganda. More is always better and anyone who says otherwise opposes progress . ... A couple of weeks ago a school shooting in the Finnish town of Jokela captured the imagination of the...

Rewriting History

A few months after Coalition forces successfully secured control of Baghdad and toppled a statue of Saddam Hussein in Fardus Square before the world’s media, Tony Blair referred to way future historians will remember the liberation of Iraq. It is certainly possible to construct a version of history in which the US and UK armed forces liberate a country condemned to years of tyranny by a murderous despot and then proceed to build the foundations of a new liberal democracy extending both wealth and...

A Very Human Animal

What is in your genes and what is not? ... The nature versus nurture debate has long presented us with a false dichotomy as nurture, i.e socio-environmental influences, is very much part of nature. But many commentators have narrowed the definition of nature to refer only to genes, the mere blueprint or genotype that determines our potential subsequent development. To simplify matters, consider a newborn girl. Assuming she does not have pervasive brain damage, her future depends in large part on her...

Something's Changed

Thoughts on Michael Bywater's Big Babies or Why Can't We Just Grow Up ... Originally prepared for a talk and discussion at the South Place Ethical Society Book Club. ... Why do people seem to behave differently these days? Why do young girls appear to be more interested in sex? Why do young boys appear to be more restless and inattentive? Why do so many adults comport themselves like overgrown children, always eager to indulge in new high-tech toys or score with members of the opposite or indeed of...

May the Thought Police be with you!

Over the last week the mainstream media in the UK have focused on two moral issues. The first concerned the televised racial slurs of a working class Londoner raised in a Bermondsey council estate who made her name on Channel Four's Big Brother against a multi-millionaire Bollywood diva. The second drew our attention to the unwillingness of the Catholic and other religious adoption agencies to place children with same sex couples. Campaigns against discrimination on grounds of race or sexual orientation...

Blair's Big Brother Binge

Blair's Big Brother Binge If you thought genuine concerns over security and welfare motivated the deceptively named bills in Tony Blair's final Queen's speech, in all likelihood you believed him when he reassured us of his noble aims to rid the world of the genocidal threat presented by Slobodan Milosevic, Osama Bin Laden and Saddam Hussein. With one dead, another at large and the third awaiting his fate in death row, Blair's speech writers have had to find some new daemons to justify even more...

Conspiracy Theory Slur

act of working in secret to obtain some goal, usually understood with negative connotations. ... Conspiracy (crime) and conspiracy (civil), an agreement between two or more persons to break the law at some time in the future ... Conspiracy (political), a plot to overthrow a government or other powers ... Conspiracy theory, attempts to explain the cause of an event as a secret, and often deceptive, plot by a covert alliance ... Many defenders of orthodoxy can simply shrug off all challenges ...

The Misery Industry

In the run-up to New labour's historic 1997 electoral victory, thespian extraordinaire Tony Blair launched his rallying soundbite " education, education, education ". Any brief exposure to modern teaching techniques as they have continued to evolve since would reveal the necessity to revise that slogan to " edutainment, edutainment, edutainment " . ... Outside the bustling edutainment sector with semi-privatised unis offering students free I-pods and advertising the prospects of vibrant night life and...

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