Dawkins did NOT back astrology

Before I get too far into this entry, let me make this clear: Richard Dawkins did NOT back astrology.

One Dr. Percy Seymour, author of The Scientific Proof of Astrology (I can’t even say that phrase out loud without chuckling), claims that the Earth’s magnetic field may affect human brain development. I have no idea if that’s true or not. He then goes on to claim that this vindicates astrology, since the magnetic fields of Mars, Jupiter, etc. would also have an affect on us. Poppycock, I say! They’re just too far away. The magnetic field generated by your TV set would have more of an affect on you.

But the real kicker is this claim of his, reported in The Sunday Times of London, UK, in a story entitled "Top Scientist Gives Backing to Astrology:"

Seymour’s theories won qualified support from an unexpected source. Richard Dawkins, professor for the public understanding of science at Oxford University, who once suggested that astrologers be prosecuted under the trades descriptions act, said that although he had not read the book, Seymour’s ideas sounded interesting.

This prompted James Randi to write Dawkins on the matter, and this is part of the reply Randi received:

Jonathan Leake, the Science Editor of The Sunday Times (London) wrote an article on Sunday 16th May about a book that supports astrology. He telephoned to ask my opinion. I said I hadn’t seen the book and could therefore offer no opinion on it. He then read me a paragraph from the jacket notes, about experimental evidence that magnetic fields might influence fetal development. I said (approximately), "Well, that’s all very interesting, no doubt, but what the hell does it have to do with astrology?" The next day I found that Jonathan Leake had quoted me as providing "support from an unexpected quarter" having described the book as "interesting."

Dawkins also said:

I am FURIOUS. Please publicize the truth of what happened.

No problem. Richard Dawkins did NOT back astrology. You can read more at James Randi’s commentary covering the issue.

One more time, just for clarity: Richard Dawkins does NOT back astrology. And neither do I.

Okay, so I’m no Monty Python

I was actually kinda proud of that little mock commercial…but then Eric Idle (of Monty Python fame) had to go and one-up me (actually, it’s more like four- or five-up me). His latest song criticizing current US policies is both hilarious and to the point. You can listen to it here (3MB mp3 file) (WARNING: this piece contains a lot of words that some listeners, particularly Republicans, might find offensive. You have been warned).

Think of the Children

There’s been a lot of to-do in Charlotte about the speeding scameras. I normally don’t comment on Charlotte issues, since I don’t live there and haven’t worked there in a couple of years. But something about this issue was just too irresistable.

See, the profit-mongers in Charlotte GovCo swear up and down that the new speeding cameras, to become operational next month, aren’t a revenue generation method…but then they turn around and say that the revenues generated will go to the school system. People like that are just begging to be made fun of. So here’s a mock commercial touting the benefits of the speeding cameras (1MB mp3 file).


As those of you who have seen the Lincoln County Libertarian Party’s website know, last year we presented a resolution to the County Commissioners urging them to instruct county officials to refuse to comply with the USA PATRIOT Act (about which they did nothing). We also set up a page supporting our claims, which I feel is the best of its kind that I’ve seen.

I was able to get my hands on a recording of my speech to the County Commissioners after the resolution was read to them. Considering it was an off-the-cuff, unscripted speech, and I was just going from notes, I think I did rather well. You can listen to it here (3.4MB mp3 file, 9:40).