A famous liberal British thinker who specializes in secular morality has founded a university in Bloomsbury, central London, and it’s all over the news. Weirdly, this has happened before, sort of.
University College London was founded in 1826 just down the road from AC Grayling’s “New College of the Humanities“. It was the first university in Britain to accept students regardless of faith. Jeremy Bentham, though not technically its founder, was a major influence. He says (ta, Wikipedia):
Nature has placed mankind under the governance of two sovereign masters, pain and pleasure. It is for them alone to point out what we ought to do, as well as to determine what we shall do.
Yeah screw you, God!
I think kids should learn Bayesian probability theory in school. Here’s why:
This is kind of a follow-up to Lucas’ previous post on the communication of science. In that post, Lucas argued that part of the problem in communicating science to non-scientists comes from a failure to teach philosophy. I completely agree with this.
One of the most useful parts of philosophy, from an educational point of view, is logic. I mean the really basic, “if Socrates is a man, and all men are mortal, then Socrates is mortal” stuff. Learning this is an important part of learning to assess arguments, and thus learning to think for ones self.
Yesterday, I went to a science communication conference thing at the University of Brighton. Here is what I learned…
So the first thing to say is that it was quite comforting to hear the science editor for The Observer saying that the medias reporting on genetic modification and the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine were real failures of science reporting. He even described the reporting on MMR as “a deep burning shame”. Less favorable was the media representatives description of their roles. Both of them said that their job was not to educate, but rather to either entertain or to “hold our masters to account”. Education, if it occurs, is a side effect. I find this slightly worrying – but less so than other people I have talked to. I will not dwell as I have a different point to make.
We all know that those emails offering you a PhD for no work aren’t offering real PhDs, and if you go round making a big deal of it people will most likely take the piss. However there is one way to get a degree from a reputable institution without doing any work, and that is to get a Master’s from Oxford or Cambridge.