Archive for June, 2009

Meet my new friend, Marc


I would like to introduce you all to my new friend, Marcus. I like to call him Marc, but posterity remembers him as Marcus Aurelius (121-180 CE), emperor of Rome and Stoic philosopher.

A mutual acquaintance introduced us – thankyou Darren!

Anyway, here’s Marc to introduce himself:

A little flesh, a little breath, and a Reason to rule all – that is myself. (Forget your books; no more hankering for them; they were no part of your equipment.) As one already on the threshold of death, think nothing of the first – of its viscid blood, its bones, its web of nerves and veins and arteries. The breath too; what is that? A whiff of wind; and not even the same wind, but every moment puffed out and drawn in anew. But the third, the Reason, the master – on this you must concentrate. Now that your hairs are grey, let it play the part of a slave no more, twitching puppetwise at every pull of self-interest; and cease to fume at destiny by ever grumbling at today or lamenting over tomorrow.

(from Meditations, book 2, paragraph 2)

I’ll be sharing more of Marc’s thoughts with you in the coming weeks – he’s full of pithy and though-provoking ideas.

Photo credit:

Photo of a bronze statue of Marcus Aurelius, from the Wikimedia commons. Taken by Ricardo André Frantz and released into the public domain.


Singh fights on


The sceptical blogosphere is abuzz with delight at the news that Simon Singh, respected science writer, will be going forward with his legal defense against the British Chiropractic Association’s accusation of libel.

For the basic story, see my earlier post or just do a web search for Simon Singh and BCA. Jack of Kent is keeping pretty detailed track of things from the legal perspective.

Also, check out the Sense About Science website. In support of Simon and to help prevent similar travesties in the future, they have begun a campaign to keep libel laws out of science.

They’re calling it “Keep Libel Laws Out of Science”. Nice title – it’s quirky, but catchy. Here’s a graphic that they’re encouraging others on the web to put up:

[link to graphic broken- sorry]

If you have a website or blog, please help promote this appeal. Also, don’t forget to sign the statement. (This is separate from the petition I linked to in my previous post.)


Humanism quote


Here’s an excellent encapsulation of the difference between being an atheist and a humanist (both of which labels I claim):

I’m an atheist and I try to live up to being a humanist.

Atheism is simply a lack of belief. Humanism is about actively living a good life.

From the Perpetual Dissident on the Humanity by Starlight blog. Thanks to Dale at The Meming of Life for the tip.