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No Minister… September 14, 2010

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Pseudo-Science, Science.
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Minister for Science Conor Lenihan will not now launch a book in Dublin which describes evolution as a fantasy and a hoax, after the author asked him to withdraw in the wake of controversy on the web.

Right.

The Minister was to launch The Origin of Specious Nonsense by John May at Buswells hotel tomorrow, with actors playing the parts of Charles Darwin and King Kong.

Uh-huh…

Mr May is also offering €10,000 to anyone who can prove evolution at a biochemical level. He describes himself on the website http://www.theoriginofspeciousnonsense.com as “like Abraham Lincoln, self-educated, and might be viewed as a polymath, left school young and commenced my real education”.

And the Minister?

Speaking from Galway earlier last night, Mr Lenihan said while he “remained to be convinced” by Mr May’s arguments, he would be attending the launch in a personal capacity and as he believed “diversity of opinion is a good thing”. However following Mr May’s request he has withdrawn from the launch.

Oh brother.

Comments»

1. neilcaff - September 14, 2010

Did anyone hear the author on Morning Ireland this morning?

Phew, what a nutter! 🙂

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irishelectionliterature - September 14, 2010

Yep, himself and Conor sounded as if they were made for each other.

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2. Pope Epopt - September 14, 2010

I’m not an expert, but does this political dynasty qualify for the dumbest in RoI history? I include the Minister of Finance.

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3. Eoin - September 14, 2010

I have heard that Conor will not be playing the part of King Kong instead. In a personal capacity.

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4. Eoin - September 14, 2010

I have heard that Conor will now be playing the part of King Kong instead. In a personal capacity.

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5. Drithleóg - September 14, 2010

This is the same government that introduced a law against blasphemy not so long ago. Are we heading back towards medevalism? Is the government’s next response to the economic crisis going to be prayers for “manna from heaven”?

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Starkadder - September 14, 2010

Or “let’s ditch that nasty Enlightenment idea
of being a Republic and crown King Biffo I on
what’s left of Tara. NAMA badly needs the
sanction of the divine right of kings”.

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6. Eagle - September 14, 2010

Maybe I don’t understand these things all that well, but does attending a book launch, even being the lead speaker at one, mean you endorse all the views in the book?

All I see here is a man offering to help a friend who has written a book. If Lenihan had mandated the book be added to the curriculum that would obviously be a horse of a different color.

All I know is that in the future I’m going to be a lot more selective about the book launches I attend because, well, generally speaking I don’t read a book before it’s launched. I really hate having to forgo all that free wine.

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Pope Epopt - September 14, 2010

The champagne socialist in me thinks “but the wine in usually drinkable only in the sense that it’s liquid!”

(Ducks)

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Eagle - September 14, 2010

Obviously I’m a lot less picky than you. Free wine is free wine, drinkable is merely a bonus.

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ejh - September 14, 2010

does attending a book launch, even being the lead speaker at one, mean you endorse all the views in the book?

Well, it kind of depends on what you’re proposing to say, but it’s not unreasonable to assume that somebody speaking at the launch of a book making a controversial case is conveying the message that this case merits our serious consideration.

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neilcaff - September 14, 2010

Exactly. For example if a public sector trade union General Sec went to a book launch by some University of Chicago trained economist advocating whole sale privatisation then I think eyebrows would be raised by some of the membership.

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ejh - September 14, 2010

I’d add that you can of course you to a book launch having not a clue what the book involved is about, what it says or who the author is. As far as I can see, and I am talking from experience*, there are people in the London literary and media world who spend most of their evenings doing precisely this, and I don’t suppose it’s any different in Dublin.

However, I suspect that a Minister of the Government would not be part of that circuit and that their reasons for attending would neither be the consumption of freebies nor the pursuit of networking opportunities. Although of course the Minister is quite entitled to say that the case is otherwise.

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ejh - September 14, 2010

(By personal experience I mean, for instance, attending a book launch for a publication of which I was among the authors – and being asked repeatedly who I was, by people who were not. God, how I don’t miss certain aspects of London.)

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Dr. X - September 14, 2010

I was at an academic conference last month where one of the events was a book launch.

Unfortunately, the only copy of the book had already been stolen by the time the launch was held.

That’s really close to being interesting, isn’t it?

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LeftAtTheCross - September 14, 2010

All I see here is a man offering to help a friend who has written a book.

The issue is the separation of the person from his position. Lenihan is not just another citizen, not just a friend of the author, he is the Minister for Science. It is a small example of the clientalist political system being pulled to account, a reminder that the position carries responsibilities which are contrary to the grubby instincts of the holder, and that the priority is to act in accordance with those responsibilities. Not something which comes easily to FF dynastic politicians.

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Dr. X - September 14, 2010

Having heard the lunatic creationist on the radio this morning, the fact that Lenihan has him as a friend says a lot about our minister of finance, none of it good.

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EWI - September 14, 2010

Maybe I don’t understand these things all that well, but does attending a book launch, even being the lead speaker at one, mean you endorse all the views in the book?

Well, presumably Lenihan the Lesser was invited with a view to singing the praises of the nutter behind this.

Actually, I see that Catholics of the species are running a Geocentrism revival meeting soon. Maybe Fredo can hire himself out to headline that event too?

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EWI - September 14, 2010

(For those who don’t believe me: http://www.galileowaswrong.com/galileowaswrong/)

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7. coc - September 14, 2010

I’m sure Mary Coughlan can clear up any doubts Crazy Horse may be harbouring about Einstein’s theory of evolution for him.

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8. sonofstan - September 14, 2010

Brian Cowen denies he was drunk or hungover on Morning Ireland this morning….. the first story on the news at one. Game over?

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CMK - September 14, 2010

Beat me to it! I didn’t hear that one but Mary Coughlan’s interview on ‘Drivetime’ yesterday was a masterclass in inanity, bluffing and making it up as you go along. It was also unintentionally hilarious as she tried to say something coherent in response to Mary Wilson’s questions. There’s the basis to a half decent stand up routine there, with a straightman pitching questions at Coughlan and the laughs being raised by her answers.

Game Over? I don’t think so, these f**kers have the thickest of thick skins and will hang in there ’til the bloody end. And we can’t write off the possibility that the end may be indeed be bloody.

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LeftAtTheCross - September 14, 2010

That interview is on the RTE site at:

http://www.rte.ie/news/morningireland/player.html?20100914,2818579,2818597,real,209

He slurred a few words ok, but the waffle generator was working to full capacity as usual. Storm in a tea cup.

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sonofstan - September 14, 2010

I heard it, and thought he was about as coherent as usual: in other words, not at all. So in a way I’ve no idea why this should be particularly special. What i can’t stand is the perpetual ‘he’s great crack in the pub,very witty, blah, blah, a great lad etc.’ He’s a disaster in every way that matters – just because he amuses the troops is no defence at all. There’s another question about how we tolerate alcohol abuse in this country, but we’ve done that recently.

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LeftAtTheCross - September 14, 2010

Yes, alcohol and emigration, great relief valves.

No wonder the USSR fell apart in 1991 with Gorbachev’s anti-alcohol campaign and limited access to foreign travel.

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ejh - September 14, 2010

Funny, he was far more popular abroad than at home, too.

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9. Budapestkick - September 14, 2010

Belgian minister beats Cowen and Lenihan combined.

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Pope Epopt - September 15, 2010

Brilliant!

What’s Flemish for ‘You’re my best friend, you are.”

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10. CL - September 14, 2010

“This is an exhausted man running an exhausted government. For me, this is just another example of why we could really do with another election as soon as possible,” said David Farrell, professor of politics at University College Dublin.
http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE68D3RP20100914
Is this good for market sentiment or bad for market sentiment?
Could be the ruling oligarchy is beginning to crack up.

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11. ec - September 15, 2010

It’s in the wall street journal – he is so fucked. This government could be sent running by a small group with feather dusters at this stage – never mind bricks or moltovs.

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12. CL - September 15, 2010

A great photo of Cowen in today’s IT. Suggesting that he’s suffering from a hangover is very low politics.

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13. WorldbyStorm - September 15, 2010

‘a small group with feather dusters’ hmmm… but where to find them?

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ec - September 15, 2010

Where indeed? At this stage I believe the Labour Party and Unions (and Fine Gael) are all complicit in an almost total suppression of democracy here.

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14. irishelectionliterature - September 15, 2010

I’m amazed at the reaction to the interview which to me (not knowing he’d been on a session for half the night) Cowen sounded as if he had a cold. The content was the same old rubbish he’s been saying for yonks.
What did occur to me was this was seen as an opportunity by some to get the rumours of the Taoiseachs drinking habits(which were denied a while ago) back in the news.
I’d imagine that after the success of Bertie portraying himself as an ordinary soul who regularly sank pints in Fagans, Cowens image of someone who liked a few jars (and took it further than Bertie by adding the Sing Song on) was something meant to appeal to the ordinary voter.
Pat Careys attempt on Vincent Browne Last night to blame the whole hullabaloo on an organised Fine Gael campaign was laughable.
A hack on the radio this morning mentioned that Brian Lenihan and Michael Martin were amongst those who outlasted the Taoiseach in the bar at Monday nights bash.
I’d be far more worried at the thoughts of Lenihan being up until four in the morning drinking (If that was the case)

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LeftAtTheCross - September 15, 2010

Indeed. Of all Cowen’s crimes, though perhaps the drinking is symptomatic of his lack of intellectual rigour and his ideological amorality, the drinking is of lesser concern than the damage which has been and continues to be being inflicted on society under his watch. If he should be convicted in the court of public opinion for a personal weakness rather than for economic vandalism it will be no victory whatsoever.

Browne’s piece in the IT this morning is a good read as usual:

http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/opinion/2010/0915/1224278896065.html

On Lenihan, I have in-laws in Blanch / Castleknock who tell stories about his sloppy public behaviour with drink taken, which I believe. There are rumours of Harney and Coughlan also. Are we being governed by an untouchable cabal of dipsos? It almost Stalinesque. Frightening. Time for breathalysers at the cabinet table?

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ejh - September 15, 2010

I’d have thought that the following could be borne in mind:

(a) people who go to a lot of meetings and functions tend to drink a lot ;

(b) media and political people tend to drink a lot ;

(c) well-off middle-aged men tend to drink a lot.

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15. Joe - September 15, 2010

(d) I sometimes drink a bit and sometimes come to work with a hangover (actually now that I think of it, that’s probably (c) above)

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16. sonofstan - September 15, 2010

ejh,

‘Tend to’ is the important word there. They all don’t drink a lot by any means. To pick a relevant sample of middle-aged men in politics who went to a lot of meetings: the last three FF taoisigh – Haughey stopped drinking when he realised it was getting in the way of his ambitions, Reynolds never drank, and Bertie’s pints of Bass were nearly entirely for show: I watched him one night in Fagan’s, as his henchmen went around buying drink for the entire place – he sat down with that well rehearsed look of contentment, raised his pint to his lips and drank perhaps a quarter of it. And then he was off. I bet that was the rule rather than the exception.

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LeftAtTheCross - September 15, 2010

SoS, my wife prides herself in being able to spot a face that shows signs of excessive alcohol comsumption, she’s the daughter of a publican and grew up over the premises, and she’d say Bertie has the signs. Maybe not the Bass in Fagans, but the bottle of whiskey in the kitchen at home perhaps, out of the public eye. Let alone the face, look at the paunch on himself and Cowen, years of self abuse there, difficult to take in that many calories just through food.

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Joe - September 15, 2010

That’s what my very reliable source told me about Bertie’s tippling as well. He went to function after function, day in day out, but would take the first glass of wine given to him, take a sip and then nurse it for the duration and hand it back virtually untouched at the end.
So we now know that Fianna Fáil taoisigh can be any of teetotal, very light, moderate, heavy or possibly binge drinkers. What they all have in common though is that they work on behalf of the ruling class to keep the rich rich and so on – see the next budget and any subsequent budgets under FG/Lab.

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Joe - September 15, 2010

Above was a reply to SoS, not LatC.

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LeftAtTheCross - September 15, 2010

Quick google shows up Bertie’s thinking on alcohol consumption and it’s impact on society:

http://www.independent.ie/national-news/government-can-lead-way-on-drink-but-responsibility-lies-with-individual-1311616.html

As ever it’s soaked in ideology, there is no society only individuals:

“ultimately, the responsibility for changing drinking patterns rests with individuals.”

No hints either of any concerns with the impact of the drink culture within the political system.

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Dr. X - September 15, 2010

Hmmm. You still get people who drive drunk (or on drugs) but it’s certainly not viewed as an acceptable peccadillo as it might have been forty years ago. And that change is not the result of ‘leaving the responsibility to individuals’ it’s the result of a concerted and collective effort to make people take drink-driving seriously, as a serious offence, and a seriously bad idea.

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17. sonofstan - September 15, 2010

Joe,

Yeah, I take your point – drunk or sober, they’ll still – always – be the enemy. I guess my point was that the drinking culture within the current cabinet adds a foul note of arrogance to the usual insult – we’re so entitled, we can, and will, fuck you up AND party as we do it. That, and the fact that some of them appear to be pretty thick – Coughlan and Lenihan Minor – doesn’t help any.

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