Category Archives: Uncategorized

The Richard Dawkins KPFA Radio Ban Is Pure Hypocrisy

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Richard Dawkins was scheduled to appear on American radio, KPFA as part of an event to promote his new book. The radio station have now retracted that invitation and issued the following email to Richard Dawkins and ticket holders:

…KPFA has canceled our event with Richard Dawkins. We had booked this event based entirely on his excellent new book on science, when we didn’t
know he had offended and hurt – in his tweets and other comments on Islam, so many people.
KPFA does not endorse hurtful speech. While KPFA emphatically supports serious free speech, we do not support abusive speech. We apologize for not having had broader knowledge of Dawkins views much earlier.

It was all fun and games when Richard Dawkins focussed his ire solely on Christianity. For the most part, the liberal applause was plentiful. After his publication of ‘The God Delusion’ in 2006, accolades followed and he practically became the face of atheism.

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There’s No Justification For Finsbury Park Terrorism

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When I first launched my Taking The Myth podcast as a companion piece to the regular interviews, the idea was to bring listeners a regular dose of sceptical discussion without an emphasis on religion. The odd deconstruction of homeopathic claims here, a debunking of a ‘ghost sighting’ there coupled with some reporting on scientific innovation.

I didn’t foresee just how intense Europe’s collision with fundamentalist Islam would become, and as a result the show has more or less become the ‘what horrible thing has been done in the name of Islam this week’ show. I make no apologies for being preoccupied with one of the most pressing issues of our time, but at the end of the latest episode released yesterday, I tentatively asked my co-host Iram what atrocities we could expect before our next opportunity to record, such is their depressing frequency. A podcast on Islamic extremism can unfortunately become out of date in the time it takes you to hit ‘release’.

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The ‘Conceptual Penis’ and Its ‘Pay-To-Publish’ Critics

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CORRECTIONS/UPDATES – 28th May 2017

It appears Ketan Joshi is a more common name than I knew, and as a result this blog was originally published with reference to the wrong Ketan Joshi’s papers. I have now corrected this and apologised for the mixup.

Phil Torres has contacted me by email: “I can honestly affirm that I have never paid to publish an article”. He is working on a follow-up article which I shall link to here when it is published.

As many of you would have noticed, Drs. Lindsay and Boghossian’s hoax article about the ‘conceptual penis’ caused a considerable amount of controversy to say the least.

Intended as a hoax in the style of Sokal, some took the paper for a great work of satire, and as if to demonstrate its effectiveness, others managed to find genuine insight within the paper’s word salad. This is especially surprising when you consider the authors of the paper said this:

“After completing the paper, we read it carefully to ensure it didn’t say anything meaningful, and as neither one of us could determine what it is actually about, we deemed it a success.”

A few people (PZ Myers, Ketan Joshi, Phil Torres who writes as Philippe Verdoux, and Amanda Marcotte) were particularly vocal about the pay-to-publish aspect of their hoax. They called Lindsay and Boghossian’s ethics into question, and denounced pay-to-publish model of journals.

The general implication was that Lindsay and Boghossian had simply paid their way into publication rather than exposing the post-modern sensibilities found within this particular field of study. Boghossian and Lindsay claim they did not pay to have their article published, however the response to it made me wonder if any of their critics had – and if so, whether they would consider that detail grounds for dismissal of their own work.

I took a look at the journals where PZ Myers, Ketan Joshi, Phil Torres (Philippe Verdoux), and Amanda Marcotte published to see if their paper had ever appeared in pay-to-publish journals. While we do not know the details of how much they paid to have their articles published, or even if they paid at all, below is a list of the journals and their fees where their articles have appeared.

To be clear: I do not know if they (or someone on their behalf) paid publication fees or not. Here is my direct question to these individuals: “Have you ever paid, or had anyone pay on your behalf, a fee for publishing a paper or papers?”

PZ Myers
Journal of Neuroscience

Fee: $1,260 for members and $1,890 for nonmembers

PZ’s articles:

Growth cone dynamics during the migration of an identified commissural growth cone

Development and Axonal Outgrowth of Identified Motoneurons in the Zebrafish

Cell-cell interactions during the migration of an identified commissural growth cone in the embryonic grasshopper

Ketan Joshi

 

Frontiers in Public Health

Fee: A Type Articles $1,900, B Type Articles $875, C Type Articles $450, D Type Articles: Free

Joshi’s article: Fomenting sickness: nocebo priming of residents about expected wind turbine health harms
 
Phil Torres (Philippe Verdoux)
Metaphilosophy

Fee: $2500

Verdoux’ article: Emerging Technologies and the Future of Philosophy

Foresight

Fee: $2400

Verdoux’ article: Technology and our epistemic situation: what ought our priorities to be?

Amanda Marcotte
Journal of School Psychology

 

Fee: $1800

Marcotte’s article: Incremental and predictive utility of formative assessment methods of reading comprehension

I am eagerly awaiting their responses so that it may bring clarity to this issue of pay-to-publish journals and their credibility.

Stephen Knight is host of The #GSPodcast. You can listen to The Godless Spellchecker Podcast here, and support it by becoming a patron here.

My Appearance On BBC’s ‘The Big Questions’

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I always make sure I tune in to The Big Question on the BBC for some entertaining religious debate. I’ve been in the audience a few times, but last Saturday on the 14th May I was invited along to be a featured guest. The two questions I was brought in to discuss were: “Do we have the right not to be offended?” and “Is death easier if you believe in god?”.

I think it went well enough for my first live TV appearance. I’m especially pleased to have raised awareness of ex-Muslims on the UK’s largest broadcaster, much to the chagrin of the Muslim gentleman sat behind me.

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No, Westminster University Isn’t ‘Shredding All The Qur’ans’ Because Of ‘Prevent’

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The popular monotheistic religions have an established history of violent outbursts in response to perceived transgressions. One faith in particular stands out at this moment in time for its refusal to join the enlightenment.

Some may recall the reports of Qur’ans being desecrated by U.S guards at Guantanamo in 2005. This sparked deadly riots throughout the Muslim world.

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Iggy The Stockholm Dog

 

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Twitter’s ability to bring you the latest news before ‘the news’ gets around to it can be mentally (and emotionally) hazardous if your areas of interest are religious fanaticism and global terror.

Shortly after the Stockholm truck attack which left 4 people dead and many more injured, images of the carnage began to burn themselves into our brains, tweet by tweet. Scenes that belong in the 6th century were now being captured on the streets of Europe via 21st century technology. Some things cannot be unseen.

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