What The Telegraph doesn’t tell you about Sex-Selective Abortion

Harry G Frankfurt’s classic monograph “On Bullshit” begins with a very simple but striking observation:

One of the most salient features of our culture is that there is so much bullshit.

There is indeed and much of it is, sadly, to be found on the pages of national newspapers where, today, we find The Daily Telegraph operating firmly in bullshit mode:

Jeremy Hunt is to issue new guidance making it clear to doctors that sex-selective abortion is “unacceptable and illegal”.

Hunt can issue all the guidance he likes, it doesn’t alter the fact that the Abortion Act 1967 is entirely silent on the subject of sex-selective abortion or that such abortions will remain entirely lawful provided that they can be justified… Read more »

Drinkable Sunscreen “Doctor” ran Online “Pill Mill”

A couple of days of ago, the travel sections of the Daily Telegraph and the Daily Mail – or, as I prefer to think of them, Tweedledumb and Tweedledumber – both ran what were essentially advertorials for the same new product; “Harmonized H20 UV“, which is being marketed by a Colorado-based company, Osmosis Pur Medical Skincare, at £17 per 100ml bottle as a “drinkable sunscreen”. Now I know what you’re thinking because I had exact same thought when I read the story – B-U-L-L-S-H-I-T – and I’m pleased to say that the good folks at the British Dermatological Association had much the same thoughts. So they fired off an email to the creator of this new “wonder” product, “Dr” Ben Johnson… Read more »

What “Porn Culture”? (Part 1)

[This is the first of two articles looking in depth at testimony given to a Pennsylvania District Court by Gail Dines while acting as an “expert” witness for the US Department of Justice and, as you might well imagine, it’s a pretty long article so for the sake of convenience, if you’d prefer to read it offline using an e-book reader then you can download it as a PDF. Part one, which is that part, deals with Dines’ attempt to analyse porn-related search engine traffic. Part two, which will be posted in a few days, deals with her analysis of the content of porn tube websites and will include not only an overview of how and why the porn industry… Read more »

Gail Dines: Short on Facts, Crap Figures

*** Warning – Very long post ahead. Get supplies before sitting down to read ***

Last time around I followed the trail of just one dubiously provenanced Internet porn ‘statistic’ from its first appearance in 2003 on a US website owned by tech entrepreneur and content filter salesman, Jerry Ropelato, through its subsequent appearance in everything from academic literature to an official report published by the International Telecommunications Union, all without anyone, it seems, bothering to check the validity of that ‘statistic’ for which there is currently no known original source. I put that last article together to serve as a precursor to this one, which looks in detail at a variety of statistics and other items of ‘factual’ information published on a… Read more »

The Dodgy Porn Statistic That Took Over The World

As a quick trailer, I’m currently working on an article which looks in detail at a ‘fact and figures‘ page published by Gail Dines on her ‘Stop Porn Culture’ website in which, amongst other things, she cites a number of ‘statistics’ sourced from Jerry Ropelato’s ‘Internet Filter Review’ (IFR) website. Now regular visitors to the Ministry will know that I’ve written about Ropelato and his ‘statistics’ before, but before I give Dines the full once over I think it worth recapping what is already known about one of her main sources of statistical information for both her website and, as you’ll see at the end, her 2010 book ‘Pornland’. IFR is part of a site called ‘Top Ten Reviews’ which (amusingly)… Read more »

Tony Benn 1925-2014

I guess a lot of people are going to be scratching around today looking for profound things to say about Tony Benn. Me? I’ve just a got simple little story to tell. Many years ago, when I first got involved in political campaigning, the group I was involved with at the time did the usual thing of writing to a few MPs asking for messages of support and from all of those that bothered to respond at all we got the usual typewritten-by-the-bag-carrier bunch of non-committal waffle on a House of Commons letterhead with an obviously stamped ‘signature’ on the bottom. All except Tony Benn, who sent us a short handwritten note exhorting us to keep up the good work… Read more »

The Testiculating Dr Pemberton

Over at the Daily Telegraph Max Pemberton, who’s also a doctor, has written an opinion piece on abortion which, amongst other things, neatly illustrates the kind of problems that can easily arise if you’re gullible enough to believe everything you read in the newspapers. The problems with Pemberton’s article begin in the very first paragraph:

There can be few medical procedures so politically charged as abortion. Simply uttering the term polarises people. Battle lines are drawn and there is an expectation that you will join one camp or the other. For or against, pro-life or pro-choice: the narrative rarely extends beyond this simple dichotomy. And, if you are pro-choice, any criticism of abortion is considered a heresy.

That may well… Read more »

Question: Is this a reference to rape?

One of my favourite George Carlin routines deals with the subject of euphemisms and it includes one of the great “cut the bullshit” observations of all time:

Smug, greedy, well-fed white people have invented a language to conceal their sins. It’s as simple as that. The CIA doesn’t kill anybody anymore, they neutralize people…or they depopulate the area. The government doesn’t lie, it engages in disinformation. The pentagon actually measures nuclear radiation in something they call sunshine units. Israeli murderers are called commandos. Arab commandos are called terrorists. Contra killers are called freedom fighters. Well, if crime fighters fight crime and fire fighters fight fire, what do freedom fighters fight? They never mention that part of it to us, do… Read more »

Plebgate, Ed Miliband and A few inconvenient facts

Let’s keep this simple and cut through the bullshit with a few facts that some people seen very keen to overlook. FACT – The police officer, PC Toby Rowland, to whom Andrew Mitchell MP briefly spoke at the gates of Downing Street on the evening of 19 September 2012 has not been convicted of any criminal offence in relation to this incident. FACT – The police officer, PC Toby Rowland, to whom Andrew Mitchell MP briefly spoke at the gates of Downing Street on the evening of 19 September 2012 has not been charged with any criminal offence in relation to this incident. FACT – The police officer, PC Toby Rowland, to whom Andrew Mitchell MP briefly spoke at the gates of Downing Street… Read more »

Creationist Zoos and ‘Quality’ Badges

A brief story published in the Weston, Worle and Somerset Mercury seems to be provoking a fair degree of head-scratching on Twitter at the moment for what I hope should be fairly obvious reasons:

Zoo’s education award NOAH’S Ark Zoo Farm has achieved recognition for the education programme it runs at its Wraxall site. The zoo hosts more than 15,000 school children each year, ranging from infant school pupils to teenagers studying A-levels, and has now been awarded the Quality Badge from the Learning Outside of the Classroom scheme (LOTC). The badge is a nationally-recognised benchmark that demonstrates that those places awarded it have met several stringent indicators for education. Assessments are conducted by the Government-appointed Council for Learning… Read more »