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A Thinking Man's Phlog

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A Thinking Man's Audio Tweets - phlog (4862) image uploaded on 27-Jul-09

The Commons Science and Technology Committee recommends that no further funding should be given to support homeopathy as there is no evidence base for its effectiveness.


0:00/4:16
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A Thinking Man's Audio Tweets - phlog (4862) image uploaded on 27-Jul-09

Some reasons why I don't support the idea that the British taxpayer should pay millions of pounds to cover the cost of the Pope's forthcoming visit to the UK.


0:00/4:22
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A Thinking Man's Audio Tweets - phlog (4862) image uploaded on 27-Jul-09

An atheist considers possible reasons why religious belief persists, despite many claims that it should have disappeared by now in the face of the onward march of secularism.


0:00/10:03
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A Thinking Man's Audio Tweets - phlog (4862) image uploaded on 27-Jul-09

A reaction to the first in Channel 4's new series "The Bible: A History" presented by Howard Jacobson. Not a lot of history and an awful lot of inconsistent whimsy.


0:00/6:04
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A Thinking Man's Audio Tweets - phlog (4862) image uploaded on 27-Jul-09

When you stand back and think about it it's really strange I mean it may have some side benefits but the primary activity is odd. What caught me thinking was wonderful essay a deal breaker by a Prelli(?) Benson in 50 Horses of Disbelief in which the author points out that some supposed characteristics of God seemed very strange if we applied them to normal relationships. For example it would seem strange to talk about having a meaningful loving relationship with a person who is continuously hiding as Benson writes. What business would God have hiding what's that about. What kind of silly game is that God is all powerful and benevolent but at the same time it's hiding. Please we wouldn't give out the time of day at any of the context. Nobody would buy the idea of an ideal loving concerned parents who permanently hide from their children so why buy it


0:00/5:12
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A Thinking Man's Audio Tweets - phlog (4862) image uploaded on 27-Jul-09

Hey, I really, really don't want to jump on the bandwagon and pour self-righteous scorn onto Iris Robinson. The woman has confessed to a recent affair within a 40 year marriage. Many commentators have been exercised by the apparent hypocrisy of the situation. She is a Protestant Christian who has been quite outspoken on the alleged sexual immorality of others - in particular of the gay community, calling homosexuality 'vile'. It is not my place to judge - I, like her, am a fallible human being, capable of making big mistakes, and capable of not living up to my own standards at times. I can empathise with the shock, anger, and pain that her family, her friends, and she are going through at the moment. I have seen it enough in my life experience, and see it almost weekly in my work. No, it is not the affair as such, or the apparent hypocrisy that has prompted me to write. What has interested me is the religious and psychological overtones of the whole situation. Again, I need another careful caveat before coming to the point. Iris Robinson has talked about her mental illness and attempted suicide. A big part of me wants to applaud such honesty as both subjects would be considered embarrassingly taboo by many. And I am the last person to want to judge how true those claims about mental illness may or may not be. But regardless of Iris Robinson's particular mental state, what does concern me is the apparent link between religion, sexual non-conformity, and mental illness that is emerging.


0:00/4:30
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A Thinking Man's Audio Tweets - phlog (4862) image uploaded on 27-Jul-09

Apologies for my absence. I've been preoccupied over the holidays with a couple of other task for ___. So I needed to complete having face them from today. I find myself with a few idle hours before returning to work and start with amazing myself with dreadful similes to Tweet. For those who also forgotten, a simile is a figure of speech comparing two unlike things often introduced with the word like or as, even the simile is a metaphor for both forms of comparison. Similes allow the two ideas to remain distinct inspite of their similarities was metaphors compare two things without using like or as. Famous examples of simile in poetry would include ___ my love is like a red red rose or Tea of Elliot's let us go then you and I when the evening


0:00/4:51
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A Thinking Man's Audio Tweets - phlog (4862) image uploaded on 27-Jul-09

You had to be there to feel the menace! I wouldn't have believed it possible. So much threat packed into such a small package. It was at my supermarket last Saturday. Ok, I was slightly jaded having just completed a shop almost three times the size of normal (my wife has a large family coming to stay). Pushing a heavy trolley with a frozen wheel round a crowded shop in search of elusive ingredients had not been its usual fun. (Why does sausage meat always seem to appear and then vanish at this time of year? Why don't they stock reasonably sized jars of cranberry jelly?) And ok, I admit that as I approached the exit, my hyper-critical genie had escaped its normally strong container. Since becoming an atheist my sympathy for the Salvation Army has slightly diminished, but when I saw around 20 of them causing a fair degree of chaos by parking themselves in the supermarket doorway, I did start to get annoyed. I mean, fighting to get a bag of sprouts and queueing at a checkout are kind of legitimate, but having to queue and fight to get passed a brass band in nineteenth century uniform is not on! It was the Saturday before Christmas and the shop was heaving! And I don't know why - perhaps it was their first Christmas jaunt, perhaps this Saturday was the first outing of the season - but the normally soothing background carol music was grating against my already fraught brain. They were definitely playing out of tune. I mean, I'm no Mozart and am slightly deaf in one ear, but even I could tell they were playing out of tune. If I had had a dog, it would have been howling. And then I saw her. A small, elderly lady - the kind that normally evokes natural concern and sympathy. She was certainly less than five feet tall, and I would guess she was in her late seventies or early eighties. She was guarding the pass - positioned by the small space for people to squeeze through as they left the shop, standing with a collecting tin thrust at you, staring at you, daring you to pass her without relieving yourself of cash.


0:00/4:47
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A Thinking Man's Audio Tweets - phlog (4862) image uploaded on 27-Jul-09

I think that people are sometimes snobbish about language. For me, words and phrases are like clothes in a wardrobe. In terms of linguistic benefits, there are at least two possible results of having an education: you have more clothes in your wardrobe to choose from; and you may choose your garments with greater care and avoid embarrassment like turning up to a funeral in a swimming costume. Although using words inappropriately can jar, for example, using slang in a formal context or using the informal language of speech in formal written prose, there is nothing wrong with the words themselves. Swimming costumes are just swimming costumes, though convention dictates that they are best worn near water. Despite this, there are, and always have been, those who sneer at certain kinds of language. In the film My Fair Lady, when the former Cockney flower girl, Elisa, is taken by her educator to the races, she passes the test for most of the time and manages to wear the more formal language that the upper middle classes would have used in that context at the time. However, when in her excitement she reverts to her natural speech and shouts out at a horse, "Carm orn Dover, mooove ur eyend!", she is mortified to be caught wearing an inappropriate garment, and those around her are contemptuous of her language. But there is nothing wrong with her language - it communicates very well - even if some might argue that it is inappropriate in the context.


0:00/7:04
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A Thinking Man's Audio Tweets - phlog (4862) image uploaded on 27-Jul-09

Management styles. There are two types of managers that I hate: those that bully, and those that bend. I have worked for both in equal numbers during the course of my career - two bullies, and two bendies (as well as the occasional ‘good guy’), and I have to say, I actually prefer the bullies to the bendies. Of course, both generate unnecessary stress. The bullies often leave you feeling without a voice. You feel that you cannot make a legitimate point if it goes against some whim or policy that the bully will defend in a nasty way. Long-term you feel there is little point in trying to make an honest contribution and you end up spending most of your energy not feeling that you can help move an organization forward. If you want to keep your job (or have to because of circumstances) you spend a lot of time unproductively trying to work out what is the right thing to say, or trying keep your mouth shut, or trying to make sure that your back is covered. Ultimately bullies generate a climate of fear. You watch what happens to those who refuse to toe the party line in the interests of integrity or greater sanity. You see the attempts at public humiliation at meetings. You watch the contrived appraisals where good colleagues mysteriously are told that they have not met their targets. You become aware of the budget cuts for that particular person, the move to a smaller office, the stopping of invites to important meetings, the refusal of requests for equipment or training, and you watch the career suddenly freeze or go into nose dive.


0:00/7:00
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