“where critical evaluation of orthodoxy has been most encouraged..”

The Guardian’s Science Weekly podcast, also noted here, plays out with a fun tune on Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle [Really?! – ed] but not before philosopher A C Grayling has his say in this week’s Thought for the Pod [19mins in] – text available here – Grayling previous defence of rational argument is worth re-reading. From the pod-thought

But chief among those skills is that of critical evaluation of the claims, assertions, suppositions, beliefs and arguments that shape the lives of individuals and countries both.

As it happens, most people in history have lived, and indeed most people in the world today still live, in societies or cultures which actively oppose critical evaluation of the beliefs on which they base themselves, in some cases even threatening to kill people who dare to question the orthodoxies. Yet the most advanced and successful societies, in point of technological and social development and economic power, are precisely those where critical evaluation of orthodoxy has been most encouraged.

Meanwhile, as another Professor says, “ACTUALLY, I JUST ENJOY WASTING THE TIME of people who struggle to read my mind.” Although, I wouldn’t necessarily say ‘enjoy’.. but it is a waste of time.

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  • Gregory

    The more advanced societies simply made better weapons, our species is group-orientated.

    More Slavs and Jews died making the V2 rocket than were killed by it when it landed. What does that mean that a really smart weapon isn’t always te best use of resources? It got NASA on the moon, which may have lead to etc. However, it began beause a maniace wanted to exterminate races he didn’t like, based on BS science, he was encouraged by scientists with hobbies.

    Hitler was going to give everybody in his group a little motor car & a Ukrainian nanny. If society needs a fable it will become official. Sticking by the group, that is what has taken us to this point of our journey, more important than the wheel or of fire.

    In order to get two chilren per 10,000 into sex education, the Brits may make it compulsory, the point of the entire thing is the two kids who probably ave parents opposed to the gay agenda.

    What is the point of a big row over 2/10,000, so we have an advanced society selling a fable via FPA and various agencies to a listening audience in Westminster, it is faerie stuff. Alcohol has far more to do with teenage pregnacies than those two kids.

    It is a bit like Hitler, it doesn’t matter that it is complete BS, we just need everybody, right down to those two little kids, to accept, they have to be part of the 10,000, no exceptions.

    It is better to stick to oak tree, or altar, and keep solidarity with the neighbors. KIll the people who are going to make you think like them.

    Winner takes all, that’s so-called civilization.

  • jone

    …hmmm Gregory, quite.

  • Gréagóir O’ Frainclín

    “….most people in the world today still live, in societies or cultures which actively oppose critical evaluation of the beliefs on which they base themselves, in some cases even threatening to kill people who dare to question the orthodoxies.”

    How can people live their whole lives without ever questioning their own personal basis of beliefs?

  • Steve

    Greagoir(apologies for the lack of accents)

    Its called organized religion – an attempt to force every one to think exactly alike and follow the leader with out question

    There are secular examples like americans and their blind faith in their presidents even the ones they didn’t vote for

  • Comrade Stalin

    In order to get two chilren per 10,000 into sex education, the Brits may make it compulsory, the point of the entire thing is the two kids who probably ave parents opposed to the gay agenda.

    First John O’Connell, and now this. Care in the community just ain’t cutting it.

  • EWI

    Jesus, is there anything more tiring than your Glenn Reynolds man-crush? Or is it just whoring for a link from Instatwat?

  • Pete Baker

    Steve

    Oh, I don’t think you need to look that far afield for examples..

    EWI

    Another mind-reader..

  • Steve

    pete

    I don’t get the connection could you please explain the subtelty of your wee mind to me?

    What does an old man beaten to death by thugs in his own home have to do with questioning where you comr from

    unless you are trying to generalize an oversimplified connection between the violent oppression of a religous minority and the general violent society of which it spawned?

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Gregory: “More Slavs and Jews died making the V2 rocket than were killed by it when it landed.”

    Seeing as the V-2 missiles were fired at the United Kingdom, I don’t think this is any great shock…

    Gregory: “What does that mean that a really smart weapon isn’t always te best use of resources?”

    Not that smart a weapon — simply ballistics, with minimal, if any, target seeking properties… not that you need much, targeting cities.

    Gregory: “It got NASA on the moon, which may have lead to etc.”

    Actually, it was the Saturn V that got NASA to the moon. The only things the Saturn V and the V-2 have in common are liquid-fuelled rocket technology and Werner von Braun and the rest of the Paper-clip boys.

    Gregory: “However, it began beause a maniace wanted to exterminate races he didn’t like, based on BS science, he was encouraged by scientists with hobbies.”

    When did anti-Semitism and racism become a “science?”

    Gregory: “It is a bit like Hitler, it doesn’t matter that it is complete BS, we just need everybody, right down to those two little kids, to accept, they have to be part of the 10,000, no exceptions.”

    Of course — “it takes a village,” don’t you know…

    Steve: “Its called organized religion – an attempt to force every one to think exactly alike and follow the leader with out question”

    Its also Socialism / Progressivism’s bastard siblings: Leninism, Stalinism, Maoism, Nazism, and whatever “-ism” Pol Pot, Jim Jones and weedy little bastard with the swastika carved in his forehead were selling…

    Come to thing of it, most of the “-isms” would qualify…

  • Gregory

    The Germans made great progress with gyros, their torpedoes for example could be staged (by five) to squirt in all (different) targeted directions,

    the V2 set on a simple frame, it knew where it was going, it was not an IRA mortar, it didn’t have to be ‘pointed’ at its target.

    Having said that, the more V2s that were fired, the less potaoes the Germans had to eat. Everything has an economic cost, it was a spud powered weapon.

  • Gregory

    “When did anti-Semitism and racism become a “science?” ‘

    The Germans went forward with the racial pseudo-science of their day, the problem is,

    that scientists only admit to talking bollox a few decades after the event.

    ‘Pregnant’ man stuns medical profession
    Telegraph.co.uk, United Kingdom – 3 hours ago
    Canada’s National Post said an editorial assistant with The Advocate confirmed it had verified the pregnancy with Mr Beatie’s gynaecologist. …

    Man gets pregnant, and please say hello to the future Ms C. Ruane has in store for us.

  • Gregory

    “Of course—“it takes a village,” don’t you know…”

    That Brit sex-ed thing was cooked up by a few pedophiles in Holland. They shot off a flare in 2007 by naming a prize after Ian Dunn and waiting to see the reaction.

    They would have passed it on to the PM in Scotland to get approval, the last stage was to task the GLF (PM-London) people to get the govt. to do it. It was a Dutch idea.

    The politics vis a vis the UK and Holland are not that distant. The Lib Dems and the Dutch pedophiles have the exact same policy on commercial child pornography.

    The labor party ended up with dozens of leading pedophiles in its ranks, if feminism is third stage, pedophilia is fifth stage. When a ‘gay’ person talks of flattening out the ages of criminality and sex, do you think he means raising one to 16?

    If you do, you are naive. I was part of gay liberation inthe 1970s & 1980s, the moderates were driven out of London.

  • Gregory

    “What does that mean that a really smart weapon isn’t always te best use of resources?”

    The equation on the eastern front was best solved by German optics, (or I suppose) latterly wire guide At weapons, but ultimately the

    Too Many russians (TMR) issue was to be resolved by German weapons hitting T-34s, rather than T-34 shells bouncing off increasingly elaborate German tanks. tHe mistake Hitler also made was to forget that all tanks are fragile.

    The Germans via Jena alredy had the solution to the T-34, they could destroy them long before Russian optics could hit a German tank.

    The wire guided weapons, suffered because they looked silly, they didn’t look like a v-weapon even though it was.

    It was the smartest solution to the cheap & numerous Soviet tank production problem.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Gregory: “The equation on the eastern front was best solved by German optics, (or I suppose) latterly wire guide At weapons, but ultimately the “Too Many russians” (TMR) issue was to be resolved by German weapons hitting T-34s, rather than T-34 shells bouncing off increasingly elaborate German tanks. tHe mistake Hitler also made was to forget that all tanks are fragile.”

    The equation on the Eastern Front would have been best solved with the continued use of the tactcial and strategic doctrines that had worked so well previously. German command and control, air superiority and tactial superiority were the keys. When Hitler started issuing “hold at all cost” orders, “not another inch” orders preventing retreating to defensive positions and eliminating those advantages that had given the Wehrmacht their advantage over the Red Army in the first place.

    German tanks were not fragile, per se, but, in many cases, poorly designed. As an offensive weapon, the tank relied on mobility as much as armor. The lack of secondary weapons on certain models made them vulnerable to Soviet infantry, for example. Hitler’s fascination with “bigger is better,” along with the mistaken impression made by the KV-1, KV-2 and JS series of tanks, led to the Maus and the Ratte, which devoured engineering time and industrial resources that would have been better spent on perfecting and deploying not only the wire-guided ATM, but also night-vision gear, assault rifles, jet aircraft and other tools that modern western militaries take for granted. A another tool not in the bag for the Germans included a strategic bomber to attack Russian industry and infrastructure.

    The solution to the TMR issue is the combination of playing to one’s best advantages against the opposition’s weaknesses and using the right tool for the right job. While a wire-guided ATM was a useful tool, the Germans’ 88mm AA/AT gun, when combined with German optics, was an excellent tank killer, but only if properly positioned and defended, something not always available when the “no retreat, no surrender” orders came down. Tactical flexibility would have aided the German cause a great deal.

    The best solution, btw, would have been getting Barbarossa off on-time, rather than bailing Mussolini in Greece and invading Yugoslavia. A few more weeks of good campaigning weather likely would have carried the day, although there are no guarantees. That said, while starting on-time would not guarantee a victory, not starting on-time guaranteed failure.

    In short, the Germans had too many sycophants and not enough technocrats, not to mention one madman too many.

  • Gréagóir O’ Frainclín

    “In short, the Germans had too many sycophants and not enough technocrats, not to mention one madman too many.”

    …and thank got for that.

    The T-34 very much won the war for the Russians, cheap to build and mass produced, with it’s heavy, sloped, welded armor plate.
    At least German tank technology, etc… was somewhat carried over into their car maufacturing after the war. Mercs can be tigers to drive.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Greagoir O’ Frainclin: “The T-34 very much won the war for the Russians, cheap to build and mass produced, with it’s heavy, sloped, welded armor plate. ”

    First, apologies for the lack of accents.

    Second, throw in the superior cannon for that stage of the war (long-barrelled 76mm) and a set-up that required *NO* training for the collectivized farmer who could drive a tractor to operate and you start to make a case. Throw in Hitler’s unwillingness to allow his troops to destroy the Dzerzinsky (sp?) Tractor Works, even as T-34’s were rolling off the line and into battle and the case gets better. But the T-34 was not *the* weapon that carried the day for the Soviet Union on the Eastern Front.

    In truth, it was massed artillery and a willingness to consider men and women a cheap commodity that won the “Great Patriotic Revolution” for the Soviet Union.

  • Gregory

    “The solution to the TMR issue is the combination of playing to one’s best advantages against the opposition’s weaknesses and using the right tool for the right job.”

    I agree.

    A K-Tiger might be left because of a busted pin. Where do you find three friendly tractors when there are Soviets all over the place? They’re as resilient as the weakest track segment.

    The Germans needed to destroy strategic Soviet forces where and when they could be destroyed. As Lee stood in front of Richmond, the Soviets were doing at Moscow, they were apparently doable.

    (They didn’t have a General Lee either)

    Kursk was the last time a huge Soviet strategic build-up could be viewed as an opportnity rather than a potential Götterdämmerung.

    When the Soviets did it after Kursk, it was always because the Germans were going to be hammered.

    They needed to hit T-34s rather than design super tanks for t-34 to shoot at. It is impressive for thirty T-34 to ram-kill a K-Tiger,

    it proves that over-enginering with scale is tough to wreck, however it is the shooting back that kills the circling injuns.

    The Italians surely queered the script, Hitler might have stuck to a theme if he stated ealier. Who can say, Hitler was a maniac, between him and Stalin it was going to be very unpleasant.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Gregory: “A K-Tiger might be left because of a busted pin. Where do you find three friendly tractors when there are Soviets all over the place? They’re as resilient as the weakest track segment.”

    A bitter lesson of Kursk — it takes a Tiger to tow a Tiger… throw in bad transmissions on the early Panthers and you’ve got a hell of a mess.

    Gregory: “Kursk was the last time a huge Soviet strategic build-up could be viewed as an opportnity rather than a potential Götterdämmerung.”

    Actually, Kursk was the beginning of the end, not the end of the beginning. Not nearly enough Germans to peel the defensive onion the Russians built up there.

    Gregory: “They needed to hit T-34s rather than design super tanks for t-34 to shoot at. It is impressive for thirty T-34 to ram-kill a K-Tiger,”

    Ah, but the lessons, including Kursk, were mis-learned.

    During the early days of Kursk, a KV-1 bogged down along one of the German routes, raising merry hob with the thinner skinned Panzer III and Panzer IV’s, not to mention soft vehicles attempting to use the route. To skip to the punchline, they ultimately ended up diverting about two companies of Panzers to present while they set up an 88 to take out the Russian tank, after two days of “fun.”

    The KV-1 was the first link in the German “bigger is better” theory of armor, not noticing that the damned thing bogged down — the Maus couldn’t operate save on specially designed runways due to its great weight, saying nothing of the Ratte.

  • Gregory

    Kursk was the end, there were no strategic possibilities left in the east,

    unless they could do the jeeps and trucks from the air, the Soviet monster wasn’t quite so scary when it was slow.

    However, the Americans were about to detroy the Luftwaffe, so that option wasn’t going to be there. It was hopeless.

    The US made the Soviets doubly mobile, they gave trucks, and they destroyed the thing that could hurt the trucks and so TMR on wheels.

    To win after Kursk, the Soviets had to be the only enemy, that wasn’t going to happen.