Thoughts on the Dorset Monkey

News broke earlier this week of a monkey sighting in the Dorchester area of Dorset reported by a 17-year-old girl who said

‘‘It looked about the size of a small gorilla. It was walking like one as well, using its arms and feet. It was such a shock I couldn’t believe what I was seeing at first. I managed to get a photo but it quickly went out of sight. I couldn’t see it very clearly. It was definitely a monkey because you could tell by its hunched back and the way it scampered across the field and up the tree. It wasn’t a black dog. I have no idea what the monkey was doing there. It could have escaped if someone was keeping it as a pet.’

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My trip to Camp Quest: Engaging with children

When I was Ten nobody asked me what I thought about politics and the influence that it has upon personal identity and freedom. I like to think that if they had I would have provided them with answers or ideas that were as brilliant and as insightful as those I heard offered today in the ‘Philosophy for Children’ session I was allowed to sit in on at Camp Quest UK. I was invited to give a talk at Camp Quest about the things that make us mistakenly think we’ve seen a ghost. I approached this subject by talking about the two things that often make eye witness testimony impossible to trust as a true account of what took place. Continue reading

How Not To React To Constructive Criticism

If you believe in ghosts and you base that belief on ideas that are not rooted in evidence or facts then the chances are that somebody at some point is going to question you about them. If you start making factual-sounding claims based on those beliefs that aren’t evidence based, then it’s very likely somebody is going to question those claims. When your claims are questioned because they do not seem to be logical and you are not providing evidence to back them up you shouldn’t be surprised, and it is not out of order for someone to question you like that. The ‘burden of proof’ always lays with the person making the claim. It is arrogant of anybody to expect other people to simply accept them at their word without providing any other evidence to support the claims they are making. If your claims are questioned then you should be willing to either back your claims up by providing the evidence they’re based on (and if there is none, perhaps that should speak volumes to you), or be open minded and be willing to accept that you might be wrong. Continue reading