Faith vs. Fact – Book Review

A review of Jerry Coyne’s Faith vs. Fact. This is an educated layperson’s view of the book.

INTRODUCTION

One of the things I was fortunate enough to receive this Christmas was a copy of Jerry Coyne’s latest offering, Faith Versus Fact. One recent review came to the author’s attention and was featured in this post on the blog Why Evolution is True, which takes its title from a previous book by the same author. I hope that my review is received more favourably in that quarter!

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A LONG EXPECTED GIFT

This book was one of two that I had indicated a desire to receive, the other being Robert Harris’ Imperator (watch this space…) but the fact that I had been at least part expecting to get it did not lessen the delight when that expectation was realised.

As someone who read and enjoyed Why Evolution is True (I refuse to even attempt to compare the merits of this book and Richard Dawkins’ The Greatest Show on Earth – suffice to say that I heartily recommend both books to give you a thorough grounding in the evidence for evolution) I had some initial expectations – copious evidence well laid out prominent among them.

Suffice to say that Faith Vs. Fact is a quite superb read. I particularly recommend to your attention chapter five “Why Does it Matter?”, which deals with a variety of important situations in which placing faith above reason has disastrous consequences (this chapter is not for the squeamish – ti contains some strong meat).

I will conclude this piece by suggesting that reading Faith vs. Fact should have a prominent place on your “to do” list.

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Future Plans

A post setting out future plans after a quiet period.

INTRODUCTION

It has been a while since I did anything on either this blog or my website, www.londontu.be due to it being Christmas, and me spending a few days with family. I will be resuming posting properly from tomorrow, and for today will let you know what is in store and share some recent pictures from work.

FUTURE POSTS 1: THE BLOG

I have several ideas for posts on the blog:

  • A review of Steve Silberman’s book Neurotribes
  • A review of Jerry Coyne’s Faith Versus Fact
  • A review of Robert Harris’ Imperator
  • Something about Spectre, which I saw on Boxing Day

 

THE WEBSITE

Other ideas besides these will occur to me, but at the moment I have two definites:

  • A post about some London Underground playing cards
  • A post about London: A History in Maps (three of the maps do relate specifically to London Transport.

 

PICTURES

Just a few today, featuring stamps that will be going under the hammer on January 27th…

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Great Centenary Charity Auction II

An account of last night’s presentation at Fakenham Racecourse.

INTRODUCTION

The first Great Centenary Charity Auction was held on June 28th 2015, and the Centre for Blast Injury Studies at Imperial College London benefitted to the tune of £20,000. The second auction, for which we have already received some donations, will take place on June 29th 2016. This post is about an event that took place last night at Fakenham Racecourse which was simultaneously a presentation of certificates for those who had contributed to the success of the first auction and the official launch of the second.

GETTING THERE

The journey there was uneventful, and I arrived very early, having walked direct from Oak Street where the bus drops off down to the racecourse. Once I had located the event, which was happening at a…

NEW VENUE

Rather than use the same venue that had been used for the auction, we were in the newly opened Cool Roxy Owners and Trainers Bar (named in honour of one of the most famous horses to have raced this course).

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Within the bar was a nice display which served as a backdrop for the presentations.

The bar itself had some very interesting features…

Because we had the great good fortune to have the head of The Royal British Legion, John Crisford, taking part in the presentation we also had a standard bearer…

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THE PRESENTATIONS

Auctioneer and Director of the Great Centenary Charity Auction David James told everyone the names and a bit about each person who was collecting a certificate, and they received their certificates and posed for a photo (one of the pictures of someone posing with their certificate looks different from the rest because the official photographer could not do the photograph of himself!).

SOME CLOSE UPS OF IMPORTANT DOCUMENTS

Here are some of the more important documents for you to see…

Certificate
A hi-res scan of the certificate.
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The flyer for the auction
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Info about the Blast Injury Studies Centre
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Early donations for auction II

A SMALL MISHAP ON THE WAY HOME

The plan had been that since there are no buses running from Fakenham late enough for me to get home under my own steam my parents would give me a lift back, but they forgot. Thankfully, a very helpful member of staff at the Bull on Bridge Street was able to locate a taxi, and my parents covered the fare for me. By the time I made it home I was too knackered to check and edit the photos, so I attended to that at 6:30 this morning, before setting off for work. I will conclude this post with a few mor pictures that are tangentially connected to its subject matter…

A Monday Mixture

INTRODUCTION

Not really a proper post this time, just a few unrelated things to get down and a handful of pictures.

WHICH? LAUNCH SUPER-COMPLAINT AGAINST RAILWAY COMPANIES

Which? have launched a super-complaint against the railway companies demanding that they make it easier for customers to claim refunds (good timing, as we are firmly in the season for delays). I have three links for you to follow up:

  1. The post I have just put up on my London transport themed website
  2. Which?’s own press release
  3. Which?’s petition, which I urge to sign and share.

PLEASE SPREAD THE WORD!!

 

STRICTLY – A RETROSPECTIVE

Strictly Come Dancing is over for another year. On Saturday night we were privileged to witness a spectacular grand-final in which tremendous stories attached to all four of the pros who had guided their celebrities that far. For Giovanni, it was his first series on the show. At the opposie end of the experience spectrum, Anton has been involved as a pro on Strictly since it started but had never previously made a grand final – 13th time lucky for him! Kevin made history by guiding a third successive celebrity partner to a grand final appearance (and for my money should have won the series). Aliona, the sole female pro to guide a partner to this year’s grand final also made Strictly history by becoming the first pro to guide two partners to a series victory (also Harry Judd in 2009).

The grand final was so superb that even the Judge Jeffries of the dance floor (aka Craig Revel-Horwood) managed to locate his 10 paddle.

SOME PICTURES TO FINISH

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Christmas tree without using the flash – does better justice to the lights.
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Christmas tree with flash – does better justice to the tree.

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A 125th Anniversary Special

Flagging up my website (www.londontu.be) post about the Northern line, released on the 125th anniversary of that line opening

INTRODUCTION

This is both another shout out about my website, www.londontu.be and a flag up of what is probably my longest ever post.

AN EPOCHAL DATE

On December 18th, 1890, the City & South London Railway opened, covering a modest six stops, from Stockwell to King William Street. This little line marked the breaking of a new frontier in public transport – making use of the blue clay on which London is built it was in deep level tube tunnels, a technique made possible by the development of electric locomotion as an alternative to steam. This City & South London is now part of the line that in my website post I dubbed London Underground’s Worst Bodge Job – The Northern line.

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I hope that you will share this, and also read my website post and spread the word both about the post itself and the website.

http://www.londontu.be/london-undergrounds-worst-bodge-job/

 

An Updated Version of “South Kensington”

A flag-up of the latest addition to my website, http://www.londontu.be

INTRODUCTION

Keen followers of this blog may remember a piece I did a while back under the title “Special Post – South Kensington”. You should also know that since I produced that post which was the first piece of London Underground themed writing that I shared publicly I have created a London transport themed website, www.londontu.be

UPDATING AN ORIGINAL

I have just put up a post on that site covering South Kensington, as I thought that there should be a post on the site that mentions where it all started. I urge you all to read and share the new version of the South Kensington post.

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