Monday, November 17, 2008

Good grief

Lord Drayson, a science -- that's science -- minister says that he has a sixth sense. In an interview in yesterday's Times he says
"In my life there have been some things I have known, and I don’t know why. I think there is a lot we don’t understand about human capability."
Well, fancy that. I reckon my four year old can predict that when she lets go of a cup it will fall. But I certainly haven't taught her about gravitational attraction and I'm pretty sure no one else has. How has she learned it, then? Spooky!

What a load of nonsense. (I include in the nonsense some of the reporting, including this from the Torygraph with its barbed final paragraph.) I'm sure Lord Drayson isn't claiming super powers for himself, but what he is pointing to is hardly very astounding. It turns out people sometimes believe things without conclusive evidence. What this does not suggest, however, is that it is OK to believe anything you fancy and not be liable to the critical evaluation and improvement of your beliefs. Otherwise, where would we be? We'd end up putting people in the House of Lords, say, who believe all sorts of strange unfounded tales about supernatural beings and out of body experiences and thinking it's a good idea to let them have a say on matters of national importance. What? Oh....

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