Ethical Record

In 1882 Robert J. Jeffray and Henry Gyles Turner invited Moncure Conway to lecture in Australia. I know only that Jeffray had been a gold miner, but Turner (1831–1920) was a prominent Melbourne citizen and a leading member of the Melbourne Unitarian Church. Moncure discussed the invitation with his wife…

The Ardèche Gorge, in the South of France, is home to some of the most remarkable paintings in the world. They would be worthy of inclusion in any national gallery. But these paintings are in a cave. They have recently been subject to redating by the most sophisticated methods known…

Jeremiads abound on the ‘end’ or the ‘death’ of modern universities. There are claims that they are been severely compromised by ‘neoliberalism’ and social changes and left behind by technological advances. An increasing number of writers believe the university has been transformed turned into ‘safe spaces’, an extended school environment,…

climate change

Global anthropogenic CO2 emissions continue their inexorable rise. The science shows that there is the increasing likelihood that the world is heading towards an environmental and humanitarian catastrophe. Yet despite the multitude of research papers, articles, meetings, and political activity dissipated in the last two decades, we seem to be…

  The Oxford dictionaries declared “post-truth” word of the year in 2016, reflecting “circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief”. The rise of “fake news” has undoubtedly played a central role in this debate. Although there is much…

Dr Moncure Conway bust

  In 1929, Conway Hall was unveiled with a niche in the foyer. This niche was designed to display a revered piece of artwork; a bronze bust of Dr Moncure Conway (1832 – 1907), celebrated writer, abolitionist and free thinker, for whom the building was named. However, in the building’s 80 plus year history…

Hammer and Sickle

  Sometimes a political party may enjoy a massive lead over its rivals at the start of a contest, only to throw its advantage away through its own ineptitude. But this piece is not about the farce of Britain’s Conservatives in 2017, but the tragedy of Russia’s Mensheviks a century…

  In common use ‘scepticism’ means a tendency to disbelieve or at least suspend belief in what you’re being told. But in philosophical circles it primarily means the tendency to disbelieve the evidence of the senses, or we might say, to not believe what we commonly take to be true…

View The Story of Scepticism

Wed, 26th Jul, 2017

  The conflict between Israel and the Palestinians is one of the longest running of modern times and is not comprehensible without some knowledge of its history.  I will first revisit the most important points of that history.  Then I’ll look at the attempt, beginning around 1991, to solve the…

As with many great discoveries they were found by chance. We had been working at Happisburgh for over a decade, but visited in May 2013 to continue geophysics on the beach. It was my colleague, Dr Martin Bates, who first spotted them. Lying on ancient estuary muds, he had found…

The Kim Cult Current North Korean national legend is very easily summarised. The Koryo Dynasty, between 918 and 1392, unified the peninsula. This was followed by what is called “feudal rule” until 1910, which was ended only by Japanese occupation. The Great Leader Kim Il Sung was born in 1912…

The election and assumption to office of President Trump in January 2017 and the Brexit vote and its unfolding implications have led to widespread discussions as to whether we are heading towards a “dystopia”. In the last month sales of Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four have been massive, as concerned onlookers plumb…

View Dystopian Times

Thu, 18th May, 2017

The new leadership of the Green Party has called for a “progressive alliance” involving Labour, Greens, Plaid Cymru, the SNP and the Lib Dems to take on the Conservatives in a 2020 election. On 5 February 2017, Jonathan Bartley (Co-Leader, Green Party), Peter Taheri (Secretary/Chair Nominee, Hampstead and Kilburn Labour…

1. Liberal Democracy after Brexit and Trump Where do the Brexit vote and Donald Trump’s election leave liberal democracy? Both events are to do with the discontent of the disenfranchised and those experiencing economic and cultural insecurity. And both reveal that conventional politicians on the left and the right failed…

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