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Issues

Niall Ferguson's Keynes Was Childless, Gay, So Don't Worry About The Long Term Rumpus

Niall Ferguson, the historian at Harvard, has managed to stir up something of a rumpus over the past couple of days. We might even upgrade that to a row actually. His claim was that because John Maynard Keynes was both gay and childless, therefore he didn’t really care about the long term: that long term only being of interest to those who have children who are going to see it.

This is wrong on so many different levels that it’s complicated to point them all out. It should be said that Ferguson has withdrawn the remarks and apologised for making them. But it’s still worth pointing out at least some of those levels of wrongness.

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‘What has gotten into Thomas Nagel?’: Leading atheist branded a ‘heretic’ for daring to question Darwinism

The philosopher Thomas Nagel is not taking phone calls.

His secretary at New York University says there have been hundreds, all wanting to reach the modern “heretic,” as a current magazine cover labels him, but he is not taking the bait.

All he did was argue in a new book the evolutionary view of nature is “false,” and now grand forces have descended upon him. He does not want to talk about it.

The vicious reception handed Mind & Cosmos, which urges deep skepticism about evolution’s explanatory power, illustrates the perils of raising arguments against intellectual orthodoxy.

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