Wednesday: Hili dialogue

March 1, 2023 • 6:45 am

Posting will be light until after I arrive in Poland on Tuesday (I fly out Monday evening). Bear with me; I do my best.

It’s not only Hump Day (or “Buckel Tag”, as they say in Germany), but the first day of March, 2023. It’s also National Peanut Butter Lover’s Day (again with the misplaced apostrophe: who is the one pb lover being fêted?). March is also these food months:

National Fresh Celery Month
National Noodle Month
National Flour Month
National Frozen Food Month
National Nutrition Month
National Peanut Month
National Hot Cross Bun Day (Good Friday)
National Sauce Month
National Caffeine Awareness Month

It’s also National Fruit Compote Day, National Horse Protection Day, National Pig Day, World Compliment Day (hand one out!), Self-injury Awareness Day, Baba Marta Day in Bulgaria (check the link), Zero Discrimination Day, and the celebration of the beginning of Spring in southeastern Europe.

Here’s Wikipedia’s description of the Bulgarian holiday:

Grandma Marta Day (or simply Baba MartaBulgarianБаба Марта, “Grandma Marta”) is a holiday celebrated in Bulgaria, on March 1. Martenitsas, usually in the form of a wrist band, small yarn dolls, or tassels, are created by combining red and white colored threads and are worn on that day and throughout March. They are worn until a stork or a swallow is seen, symbolizing the coming of spring, warmer weather, and well-being. Once the stork or a swallow appears the Martenitsa is taken off and hung on a blooming tree. It is common in the spring to see trees festooned in Martenitsas.

Here’s a martenitsa, or you can wear red-and-white bracelets, like those on sale here. It’s a nice custom.

Readers are welcome to mark notable events, births, or deaths on this by consulting the March 1 Wikipedia page.

Da Nooz:

*The big news in Chicago is that mayor Lori Lightfoot lost her bid for reelection in a field of nine candidates. She didn’t even make the top two, who will compete against each other in another election in April. Those two are Paul Vallas, who got 34% of the vote, and Brandon Johnson, who got 20%.  Vallas will likely win in April, but Lightfoot’s showing was shameful: she got 17% of the vote. Her election was historical since she was triply intersectional—black, gay, and a woman—but she simply couldn’t deal with the rising crime in Chicago. And make no mistake about it: this election was all about the crime surge here.

*The NYT, reporting on the Supreme Court hearing about Biden’s student-loan forgiveness plan, says that the judges don’t appear receptive to it, which means they’re not receptive to the administration circumventing the legislature through executive orders.  As the paper always says condescendingly, “here’s what you need to know” (that patronizing meme is spreading, too):

Members of the Supreme Court’s conservative majority seemed deeply skeptical on Tuesday of the legality of the Biden administration’s plan to wipe out more than $400 billion in student debt because of the coronavirus pandemic.

During the first of two arguments on the program, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. indicated that the administration had violated separation-of-powers principles by acting without sufficiently explicit congressional authorization to undertake one of the most ambitious and expensive executive actions in the nation’s history.

The chief justice, joined by other members of the court’s six-member conservative majority, invoked the “major questions doctrine,” which requires that government initiatives with major political and economic consequences be clearly authorized by Congress.

The law the administration relies on, the Higher Education Relief Opportunities for Students Act of 2003, usually called the HEROES Act, gives the secretary of education the power to “waive or modify any statutory or regulatory provision” to protect borrowers affected by “a war or other military operation or national emergency.”

Justice Elena Kagan, a liberal, said that language plainly authorized the administration to act in light of the pandemic, adding that the court routinely considered “really confusing” statutes. “This one is not,” she said.

Well, I don’t see student debt as falling under a “war or other military operation,” and you’d have to stretch things to see it as a national emergency. Student debt is not connected clearly with the pandemic, so I think that the Court, conservative as they are, may have the law right this time. This is going to be a 6-3 vote. Biden’s plan would have cost the taxpayers $400 billion, and John Roberts was most vociferous about how “nearly half a trillion dollars” was too much to be subject to an executive order.

*Switzerland’s policy of strict neutrality during wartime is causing trouble for the export of weapons from the West to Ukraine. It’s not that Switzerland won’t export weapons to Ukraine, because that’s already a given. Nor is it that Switzerland won’t let weapons bound for Ukraine through its country; that is already prohibited, too. It is that Switzerland won’t let OTHER COUNTRIES that already have Swiss-made ammunition or armaments with Swiss-made parts sent that stuff to Ukraine. It’s insane! But that’s how I interpret this article. Excerpt:

The wealthy Alpine nation is home to a mature weapons industry, but is steeped in the principle that it keeps out of foreign wars. Switzerland’s adherence to a ban on the export and re-export of weapons and ammunition to conflict zones is blocking North Atlantic Treaty Organization countries in Europe from giving Ukraine their stocks of Swiss-made ammunition and arms, none of which are easily substituted.

. . .Spain and Denmark complained after Bern refused to allow the export of Aspide air-defense systems and Piranha III infantry fighting vehicles to Ukraine, both of which have Swiss-made parts.

Berlin has repeatedly lobbied Bern to shift policy after requests for permission to send Ukraine Swiss-made ammunition acquired by Germany decades ago were denied. These include rounds for the Gepard aerial flak system that Ukraine has successfully deployed against Iranian-made suicide drones, in particular. As a result, Ukrainian forces have been compelled to save ammunition, reducing the effectiveness of the vital system.

“In the case of Ukraine, it is not about neutrality,” NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg said last month. “It is about respecting the right to self-defense, protecting the rule of law, and defending the U.N. Charter.”

Switzerland, however, prohibits re-export on constitutional grounds:

So far, Bern argues that there can be no waiver for the ban because it is part of its constitutional order.

And Switzerland, it turns out, is the 14th largest arms exporter in the world! Please help me make sense of a policy that allows Germany or Denmark to use Swiss-made weapons or armaments against another country, but prohibits them from giving those weapons to Ukraine. It is stupid and it is wrong.

It may also hurt the Swiss arms industry if countries stop buying Swiss arms because of this, and so the tiny land is mulling it over:

Pressure from countries such as Germany, the largest buyer of Swiss armaments, which has threatened to cancel long-term contracts with Swiss companies, has also prompted a debate in the Swiss parliament about amending its laws to allow select third countries to re-export weapons and ammo.

President Berset, tear down those stupid laws!

*Speaking of gallant Ukraine, they now appear to be able to send drones fairly deep into Russia, though so far. although they seem to have been armed, they appear not to have caused any damage. But I suspect and hope that the Ukrainians, unlike the Russians, will be scrupulous about avoiding civilian targets.

Drones that the Kremlin said were launched by Ukraine flew deep inside Russian territory, including one that got within 100 kilometers (60 miles) of Moscow, signaling breaches in Russian defenses as President Vladimir Putin ordered stepped-up protection at the border.

Officials said the drones caused no injuries and did not inflict any significant damage, but the attacks on Monday night and Tuesday morning raised questions about Russian defense capabilities more than a year after the country’s full-scale invasion of its neighbor.

Ukrainian officials did not immediately claim responsibility, but they similarly avoided directly acknowledging responsibility for past strikes and sabotage while emphasizing Ukraine’s right to hit any target in Russia.

Although Putin did not refer to any specific attacks in a speech in the Russian capital, his comments came hours after the drones targeted several areas in southern and western Russia. Authorities closed the airspace over St. Petersburg in response to what some reports said was a drone.

Also Tuesday, several Russian television stations aired a missile attack warning that officials blamed on a hacking attack.

The drone attacks targeted regions inside Russia along the border with Ukraine and deeper into the country, according to local Russian authorities.

This is the bit that worries me, though:

A drone fell near the village of Gubastovo, less than 100 kilometers (60 miles) from Moscow, Andrei Vorobyov, governor of the region surrounding the Russian capital, said in an online statement.

The drone did not inflict any damage, Vorobyov said, but it likely targeted “a civilian infrastructure object.”

The Ukrainians won’t be doing themselves any good if they target civilian infrastructure, much less civilians themselves. Russia is accused of war crimes for doing just that, and Ukraine has to keep to the moral high ground. I don’t think one war crime is excused because it’s a response to another.

*I knew this was coming someday, but it’s now here: what do we do with sex-segregated awards like “Best Actress” or “Best Actor” in the Oscars? The question finally came up at the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) awards two days ago:

. . . one question we posed made nearly every person stop, ponder for several seconds and then deliver a thinking-aloud answer, often with a caveat or a pivot in the middle:

“Should major award shows eliminate separate acting categories for men and women?” we asked.

The ongoing debate over gender-neutral acting prizes, which could also mean fewer nominations for everyone, is part of the conversation again this awards season. In 2021, the Gotham Awards, which honor independent films, nixed separate acting categories for men and women. Last year, the Brit Awards, Britain’s equivalent of the Grammys, merged its categories for best male and best female artist of the year into one gender-neutral top prize. And this year, the event faced backlash for not nominating any women for the award. The Grammy Awards eliminated many gendered categories beginning with the 2012 ceremony.

Most people asked at the awards were in favor of “inclusion”, and so you can’t really have TWO “best acting” awards because that still implies that sex or gender are binary, though they mostly are. One solution, which they use for music, is “best acting person”, but that automatically eliminates one of the two awards in each sex-defined category. Is that okay? This isn’t like sports in which one sex has an inherent advantage over another, as both men and women can be and have been great actors. I don’t see any solution, in this nonbinary age, except to cut each pair of sex-specific awards down to one. Readers, what say you?

*Paper of the month, from PsyArΧiv. Click on screenshot to go to article, and I’ll give an abstract (h/t Susan):

The abstract:

In this experiment, we manipulated what men believed about their own penis size, relative to others. We gave them false information, stating that the average penis size was larger than it in fact is, reasoning that, on average, these males will feel that relatively and subjectively their own penis was smaller; compared to those told that the average penis size was smaller than true average. We then asked them to rate how much they would like to own a sports car. These facts and questions were buried amongst other items giving information and asking for product ratings, so that our hypothesis was masked from participants. We found that males, and males over 30 in particular, rated sports cars as more desirable when they were made to feel that they had a small penis.

Well, I can’t vouch for whether this research is sound, but it does support the ubiquitous stereotype. I have to add, though, that I do not have a sports car.

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, an unfocused Hili has a Big Question:

Hili: Who are we?
A: Temporary beings.
In Polish:
Hili: Kim jesteśmy?
Ja: Istotami przejściowymi.
And a photo of baby Kulka:

From Merilee, a Ukrainian woman and her cat:

From Jean (doesn’t this beat the Vermeer original?):

From Barry:


From Masih. The question is now who is poisoning the schoolgirls. We already know why:

From Jez: a close encounter of the felid kind:

From Dom; they need a “Bison Crossing” sign. (This is in Poland, and I wish I could have seen it.)

From Malcolm, who calls this “she loves me”:

From the Auschwitz Memorial: a fifteen-year-old who didn’t survive:

Tweets from Dr. Cobb. First, an illusion, a question, and the answer:

and the response:

I don’t know how they spotted this snapper:

Matthew and I aren’t down with panpsychism:

47 thoughts on “Wednesday: Hili dialogue

  1. Ah – so that must mean non-sports car owners … I see. Or, rather, I didn’t see. See anything, I mean. … I mean…

    Let’s go Brandon!

    [ runs away awkwardly ]

  2. Oh the panpsychism joke is just sitting there to be made, but funny –

    I think really it’s more that all the atoms of everything have faces – a person is quadrillions of people … or trillions?… must be higher … all the atoms…

  3. Please help me make sense of a policy that allows Germany or Denmark to use Swiss-made weapons or armaments against another country, but prohibits them from giving those weapons to Ukraine.

    Easy. The Swiss arms industry would collapse if it were not allowed to export to any country that might use its products.

    The current policy allows Switzerland to make lots of money whilst simultaneously virtue signalling about neutrality.

    1. I wouldn’t say Swiss neutrality is virtue signalling….well, maybe the “signaling”part is. Neutrality is a practical amoral strategy to lend money to both sides in a conflict while avoiding being attacked by either.

  4. On this day:
    1692 – Sarah Good, Sarah Osborne and Tituba are brought before local magistrates in Salem Village, Massachusetts, beginning what would become known as the Salem witch trials.

    1781 – The Articles of Confederation goes into effect in the United States.

    1815 – Napoleon returns to France from his banishment on Elba.

    1872 – Yellowstone National Park is established as the world’s first national park.

    1893 – Electrical engineer Nikola Tesla gives the first public demonstration of radio in St. Louis, Missouri.

    1896 – Henri Becquerel discovers radioactive decay.

    1910 – The deadliest avalanche in United States history buries a Great Northern Railway train in northeastern King County, Washington, killing 96 people.

    1932 – Aviator Charles Lindbergh’s 20-month-old son Charles Jr is kidnapped from his home in East Amwell, New Jersey. His body would not be found until May 12.

    1946 – The Bank of England is nationalised.

    1947 – The International Monetary Fund begins financial operations.

    1950 – Cold War: Klaus Fuchs is convicted of spying for the Soviet Union by disclosing top secret atomic bomb data.

    1966 – Venera 3 Soviet space probe crashes on Venus becoming the first spacecraft to land on another planet’s surface. [First human spacecraft – who knows what has happened elsewhere in the universe!]

    1974 – Watergate scandal: Seven are indicted for their role in the Watergate break-in and charged with conspiracy to obstruct justice.

    2006 – English-language Wikipedia reaches its one millionth article, Jordanhill railway station. [As of yesterday, there were 6,625,056.]

    1810 – Frédéric Chopin, Polish pianist and composer (d. 1849).

    1812 – Augustus Pugin, English architect, co-designed the Palace of Westminster (d. 1852).

    1880 – Lytton Strachey, British writer and critic (d. 1932).

    1904 – Glenn Miller, American trombonist, composer, and bandleader (d. 1944).

    1910 – David Niven, English soldier and actor (d. 1983).

    1917 – Robert Lowell, American poet (d. 1977).

    1922 – Yitzhak Rabin, Israeli general and politician, 5th Prime Minister of Israel, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1995).

    1944 – Roger Daltrey, English singer-songwriter, producer, and actor.

    1944 – Mike d’Abo, English singer.

    1954 – Ron Howard, American actor, director, and producer.

    1981 – Will Power, Australian race car driver. [Great name!]

    Reached the finish line:
    1978 – Paul Scott, English author, poet, and playwright (b. 1920).

    1983 – Arthur Koestler, Hungarian-English journalist and author (b. 1905).

    1984 – Jackie Coogan, American actor (b. 1914).

    1991 – Edwin H. Land, American scientist and businessman, co-founded the Polaroid Corporation (b. 1909).

    2006 – Jack Wild, English actor (b.1952).

    1. 1974 – Watergate scandal: Seven are indicted for their role in the Watergate break-in and charged with conspiracy to obstruct justice.

      This was the second so-called “Watergate Seven.” The first “Watergate Seven” — E. Howard Hunt, G. Gordon Liddy, and the five burglars caught red-handed in the DNC office inside the Watergate complex — were tried and convicted in January 1973.

      The second “Watergate Seven” — including former US Attorney General John Mitchell, Nixon chief-of-staff HR Haldeman, domestic advisor John Ehrlichman, Nixon’s “hatchet man” Charles Colson, and others from Nixon’s inner circle — were indicted on this date in ’74.

    2. Thanks for doing this every day…miss it on the main thread and appreciate that you do it.

      1. You’re welcome, Robb. It certainly makes me appreciate how much effort our host puts in on this site every single day!

        1. Yes Jez. Thank you! I try to remember to thank you every couple of weeks, but time passes and I forget. I look forward to your “on this day” comments first thing every morning.

  5. I lost count of the bison but I’d say that “almost 100” is a significant underestimate of the size of that herd.

  6. The Ukrainians won’t be doing themselves any good if they target civilian infrastructure, much less civilians themselves. Russia is accused of war crimes for doing just that, and Ukraine has to keep to the moral high ground. I don’t think one war crime is excused because it’s a response to another.
    Unless I missed something, we only have the Russians making the claim that the drone was targeting civilian infrastructure?

    1. Per a recent Reporting from Ukraine video, Russia was expected to launch (and maybe just has?) a massive offensive along the eastern part of the northern border still controlled by Ukraine that was going to start with a boatload of drones to draw off defensive fire from the Ukranians, to be followed by missile strikes and then bombers.

      Perhaps this from Ukraine is a pre-emptive strike into relatively non-strategic (and thus not closely defended) spots intended to draw off and deplete Russian fire, and also demonstrate their range, too.

  7. There’s a fine line between civilian infrastructure and military infrastructure, since the military relies on civilian infrastructure for food, water, and transportation. In any event, though, Russia is hardly in a position to complain when Ukraine takes the fight into Russia. It reminds me of a quote from Arthur “Bomber” Harris, head of the RAF’s Bomber Command during WWII: “The Nazis entered this war under the rather childish delusion that they were going to bomb everyone else, and nobody was going to bomb them.”

  8. Just spitballing but what if there were two or three “best” Oscar categories? An Oscar could go to anyone playing a male, female, or other-gendered role. This means any human could win any of the top roles.

    1. I think it would be much more fun to have awards for every gender in every gendered category of the awards. I think we are up to something like 74 genders these days.

      1. I believe most male actors do wear lipstick(for technical reasons). How about an award for any obligatory nude scene, and one for playing dead in a murder mystery. Actually, I guess any set of categories could effectively pick up a wide range of the caste. 🙂

    2. Since any “type” of movie can be nominated for best picture, how about separating the acting awards by movie type. Best actor in a drama, best in a comedy, best in an action flick, horror flick, sci-fi flick, etc. Would probably get a good mixture of men and women that way. Though I think they are trying to shorten the awards, or at least not make them any longer.

      I just want to know if there will be any slapping… 😉

  9. Fast cars and sports cars are not equivalent. Lots of fast cars are not sporty, and lots of sporty cars are not fast.

    And where do females fit into this picture? Presumably, the sports cars are meant to compensate for failing to measure up in other areas. What can we infer about females from this study?

      1. He (an inference) did not ask about women, but rather “females”.
        The answer to the extremely general question ” what do females want?” could only be “sufficient resources to produce their large immobile gametes”.

  10. The compensatory sports car is, I think, an increasingly outdated stereotype. But really massive, thick-bodied, tricked-out pickup trucks for those who do no manual work . . . at least in the United States.

    1. Yeah, especially those modified “rolling coal” trucks. WTF people (or should I say young men)? Sometimes I see those tricked-out pickups parked in Tesla recharging spots. “Own the libs” I guess. I think “proof that driver is an asshole”.

  11. It is not a war crime to attack infrastructure, or civilians themselves, if the enemy militarizes them in a general mobilization or uses them to support its war effort, which of course it does. The doctrine of military necessity applies in all cases, as in, “We bombed the industrial suburbs of the Ruhr Valley killing civilians by the thousands because it was the only way we could take the war to the Germans and avoid having to call Stalin’s bluff that he was going to throw in the towel in the East unless we opened a second front, which we could not do until 1944.” (Stalin wasn’t impressed about Italy.). Even that rationale doesn’t explain Dresden.

    Certainly Ukraine must keep the moral high ground and not molest Russian civilians gratuitously as its survival depends utterly on the good will of allies, suppliers, and donors who want to feel they are doing good. But in a war of national survival, you do everything you can get away with if the military benefits justify the cost. If Ukraine is allowed to attack targets in Russia, even clandestinely, we must accept that Russian civilians will be killed.

    If Ukraine wins, it won’t have to worry about war crime trials. If it loses, the show trials Russia will stage will be just part of the humiliation.

    1. If war crimes were an issue, one would wonder how to judge the Allied bombing campaign against German industry and the US firebombing of Japan.

      Here’s my guess on Ukraine: nobody “wins”. A Korean-style DMZ may be part of the future in Ukraine, with Russia remaining in Crimea, at a minimum.

      1. Military necessity, as I said. You either want to win or you don’t. If you do, you destroy the enemy’s ability to make war. But really you don’t judge at all because the victors don’t put themselves on trial and the victims are in no position to arrest the victorious leaders and drag them off to The Hague in leg irons. (The exceptions are for individual allegedly rogue crimes like the My Lai massacre and the like where one side prosecutes its own soldiers when it is sufficiently shamed into it.)

        There is no more point “judging” the Allied war stategy of 1939-45 than there is in judging slavery, except where it exists today….which the world seems mostly to connive at.

        If Ukraine did somehow manage to destroy an important bridge that happened to have a busload of disabled school children and female caregivers crossing it when the missile hit it, Ukraine’s foreign backers could judge that however they will. As long as they recognize what the consequences of a penalty would be.

        1. Leslie, aren’t you a surgeon in the business of fixing things rather than breaking them?!!! It’s a bit discordant!

          I basically agree with you that, in practice, the victor determines the crimes. (Which is, of course, not much help to those in uniform who give and receive orders—lawful and otherwise.) And I’m not inviting anachronistic moral condemnation of WWII operations. I used “judge” because it has more edge than “assess”. I simply thought it beneficial to remind ourselves–essentially echoing some of your points–that the adversary doesn’t have the market to himself on killing innocent people. And even when you don’t mean to, war sucks . . . Clausewitz and all that.

          The idea that many hold that one can cleanly differentiate among civilians and military has always amused me. And I’m not speaking of collateral damage. Many of the “soldiers” in various wars are simply untrained, conscripted civilians who happen to be forced into uniforms that then make them “legitimate” targets. Two weeks before a pimple-faced kid gets his head blown off he was playing video games and hoping for the first time to get lucky with some girl.

          Don’t take me for a pacifist; we’re talking about my former profession. But count me firmly in the Colin Powell school: when scanning the world for monsters to slay you don’t get involved, either shooting directly or supporting those who do, unless you have a clear national interest; you damned well mean to win and can define what “winning” would mean; you have the military ability to do so; you keep in mind that much can spin out of your control; and you can picture a viable way to get out of the mess. But I paraphrase the man.

          1. Retired internist only, never a surgeon, Doug.
            Just trying to make the case that Ukraine’s options are more constrained than when a great power contemplates getting involved in a foreign war. England had a near-death experience in 1940 and then the Blitz and the convoy war. They (and by extension we in the Empire) were grateful to American support even though you could have said No at no real cost to yourselves. After Dec 1941 it was all different, of course.

  12. Malgorzata, Andrzej, about these Polish Bison? (And how are your friends from Ukraine doing, too?)

    1. The town Natasza and Karolina live in is quiet, no bombs. But there are troubles with electricity, heating, food. But Natasza tells us that they are managing.

    1. That’s what I expected too.
      Of course, the system could be demolished, pretty quickly.
      And then all those pretty Swiss (and Swedish and American)-made arms will start turning up in embarrassing third-world massacres and genocides, reminding us of why public opinion demanded the system be set up in the first place. After all, if we have an arms industry, we can’t allow just anybody to go around killing anybody they want to using weapons “we” made. That would question the whole chain of moral responsibility over who makes weapons. The NRA wouldn’t like that. Because guns and bullets don’t kill people, people kill people.

  13. I don’t know if the debt bailout decision will be 6-3. From what I’ve read/heard, the defendant did a good job poking holes in the plaintiff’s standing as having been harmed by the executive order. Cavanaugh and Coney-Barrett were reported as seeming to waffle. What do I know? Not much when it comes to the SCOTUS. But I wouldn’t be surprised if it ends up being 5-4 overturning Biden’s executive order.

    The executive order was a savvy political move, though. He will or would have made many young voters happy.

  14. One request – please keep us informed / advised of WEIT’s viewpoints on the April Chicago Mayoral Election. This has all the juicy elements possible / imaginable including your favorite topic DEI lifted out of academia and into IRL.

  15. The penis thing?
    This made me wonder but not for long…
    How does a sports car make up the short fall…
    Do people have to die because Putin owns a sports car…
    So many questions.

  16. PCC will interested to know that he’s mentioned, albeit in a derogatory way, in this week’s Times Literary Supplement. The piece in question is a review by Philip Ball of “Magisteria: The entangled histories of science and religion,” by Nicholas Spencer. An archived version can be read here:

    Here are the opening paragraphs:

    ” ‘If after the fall of Rome atheism had pervaded the Western world … science would have developed earlier and be far more advanced than it is now.’ This untestable counterfactual, posited by the evolutionary biologist Jerry Coyne in 2013, reflects a common belief that religion and science are antithetical, and that the cultural hegemony of religion before modern times retarded scientific progress. However, as Nicholas Spencer shows in his new book, the idea of a fundamental conflict between science and religion is largely a modern invention that evaporates on contact with the documentary record. The relationship between the two ‘magisteria’ – to use the biologist Stephen Jay Gould’s terminology – has certainly not been uniformly harmonious, but it is more interesting than a simple narrative of conflict.

    With patience, balance and deep learning, Spencer – a research fellow at the London-based think tank Theos who presented the BBC radio series The Secret History of Science and Religion (2020) – dismantles the myths that have accumulated around Galileo Galilei, Charles Darwin and other scientific figures widely held to have fallen foul of religious dogma. ‘The science and religion debate has been much like a swimming pool, with most of the noise up at the shallow end’, he says. Magisteria is a guide to the depths, filled with wit and wisdom…’Particularly in its formative centuries’, Spencer writes, ‘religion acted as midwife to science.'”

    PCC is mentioned again several paragraphs later:

    “For the likes of Jerry Coyne and Richard Dawkins, fundamentalism is an easy target, albeit sometimes a necessary and dangerous one. It remains debatable, however, that the solution to such travesties of theology is the abolition of all religion. Contests of power and authority have motivated plenty of secular assaults on science too, whether in the Stalinist Soviet Union, Maoist China or Nazi Germany.”

    I thought the review was tendentious BS, but I leave it to those better versed in the conflict between science and religion to put the boots to it.

  17. This talk about fast cars and averages got me thinking about Lake Wobegon, “where all the women are strong, all the men are good-looking, and all the children are above average.” I guess there are no fast cars in that town.

  18. It’s not just Switzerland. Other countries who wanted to give German-made weapons to Ukraine have to get permission from Germany. Maybe most countries have such a policy, I don’t know.

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