Saturday 28 March 2009

Jack Huberman: The Quotable Atheist

The best, and quite frankly by far the easiest way, to review a book of quotations, is by listing some of my particular favourite and pithy pearls of wisdom. So here goes…

“Philosophy is questions that may never be answered. Religion is answers that may never be questioned.”

“Morality is doing what is right no matter what you are told. Religion is doing what you are told no matter what is right.”

“Only sheep need a shepherd”

“Why be born again, when you can just grow up.”

“Faith is the fatigue resulting from the attempt to preserve God’s integrity instead of one’s own.”
Matt Berry

“A soul? Give my watch to a savage, and he will think it has a soul.”
Napoleon Bonaparte

“The Vatican is against surrogate mothers. Good thing they didn’t have that rule when Jesus was born.”
Elayne Boosler

“Not one man in ten thousand has either strength of mind or goodness of heart to be an atheist.”
Samuel Taylor Coleridge

“Where knowledge ends, religion begins.”
Benjamin Disraeli

“A myth is a religion in which no one any longer believes.”
Jules Feiffer

“The way to see faith is to shut the eye of reason.”
Benjamin Franklin

“I don’t see any god up here.”
Yuri Gagarin

“It is possible to pull out justification for imposing your will on others, simply by calling your will Gods will.”
Ruth Hurmence Green

“I am now as before a Catholic and will always remain so.”
Adolf Hitler

“Skepticism is the highest duty and blind faith the one unpardonable sin.”
Thomas Henry Huxley

“The splendour of human life, I feel sure is greater for those who are not dazzled by the divine radiance.”
Bertrand Russell

I could just keep going, no really, it’s just a matter of copying them from the book, but I would be doing the compiler of this fine source of wit an injustice. Get the book instead, every coffee table should have one.

Monday 23 March 2009

Education, Education, Education

I suspect that it may be another 13 months or so before the British public will be able to pass judgement on Gordon Brown’s premiership. However, the welcomed news that Ken Clarke has today pledged that a Tory government would raise the inheritance tax threshold to £1 million is a reminder that it’s never too early to start electioneering.

The mantra of “Education, Education, Education”, that so convincingly swept New Labour to power in 1997 is a totally commendable one. I believe that the same mantra is now even more necessary in the next general election. While education remains the corner stone of any civilised culture, its importance in the next election is enhanced by the need to put right the misguided education policies of the current government.

In the past my vote has be a foregone conclusion based on my political affiliations with one particular party. These days however, I’m more fickle; my allegiances lie with my principles rather than any preselected political party. Therefore, adoption of the following three education policies into any parties manifesto will make a difference to my vote, and I suspect a large number of like minded people too.

1. Abolition of Faith Schools

Stephen Law gave a very good analogy in his “Thought for the world” which I shall attempt to quickly paraphrase:

Imagine a country where the state supports the sponsorship of schools based on allegiances to particular political parties. Children of Labour parents may elect to send their children to “Labour Schools” where they are schooled with the policies, principles and history of that party. Portraits of eminent parliamentarians of that party line the walls and they gather at morning assemblies to sing political songs and be indoctrinated in to the one true political party.

With the above example it’s easy to see how abhorrent it is to segregate children’s education by random factors such as parental political affiliations or indeed ethnicity. Faith schools indoctrinating children into the arbitrary faiths of their parents are no different.

Tony Blair justifies his support and sponsorship of faith based schools with the excuse of “Diversity”. This justification would hold equally for the opening of Fascist and Communists schools to add diversity to the pre-existing politically affiliated schools in the example above. Blair’s policy of diversity merely promotes separation of beliefs, cultures and races; it provides a free pass to allow for the teaching of dangerous misinformation and breeds contempt and in extreme cases fans the fires of hatred.

Clearly giving children a grounding and understanding in the history and beliefs of all major religions in a non-bias way is a better option. If they then choose to pursue any one particular religion as an extra curriculum activity then that would be their own choice and perfectly reasonable.

I’m obviously not advocating the closure of faith schools merely merging them into the national curriculum by dropping their particular creed in favour of a more rounded religious education and a nationally agreed science syllabus.

2. Abolition of University Tuition Fees

When I went to University 20 years ago as a “mature” student, I had long since left home and become self-sufficient. I was however fortunate enough to still be able to leave my job and go back to full time education to get my degree thanks to no tuition fees and a LEA grant. If I were in the same situation today, the option of going to University for me would have been completely out of the question.

My children may be lucky enough that I will, in all likelihood, be in a financial position to support them through University, should they have the ability and desire to do so, but many more may not be so lucky. I believe that any society that wishes to advance must provide University education free of charge to those with the academic ability to benefit from it, regardless of their background.

3. Promotion of Science Education

The lack of government support for science education over many years has left us in an unenviable situation where science is ill understood in the public and frequently portrayed in a negative light. We are now at the point where we lack enough qualified science teachers, and interest amongst students is alarmingly low. Many schools even offer science as one combined subject, a regression from 30 years ago when I was at least able to study Physics, Biology and Chemistry as separate subjects at secondary school.

I know a number of recent government initiatives have recognised this shortfall and some tentative policies have been suggested to address this issue. I don’t want to sound like a member of the opposition by simply claiming it’s all too little, too late, but I would welcome some original policies on solving this problem.

And if you’re scrabbling around for some more polices to add to your manifesto to fully secure my vote, why not eject the Bishops from the House of Lords.

Sunday 22 March 2009

Noah's Ark Zoo Farm

A couple of very good Christian friends of mine in Bath have been raving on for a while about a place called "Noah’s Ark". It’s a sort of Zoo / Working farm for families and school trips near Bristol.

I have to admit to never visiting, and I don’t really want to, but after hearing about a recent visit Micahel Shermer made, I thought I’d look it up on the web to find out some more.

Although this looks like a perfect family day out with lovely attractions and animals, it seems to me that there is a darker underbelly. I’ve pasted a few quotes directly from their website, followed by my comments

“The BBC has recently run an excellent but controversial series of programmes presenting Evolution by natural selection as the mechanism to explain the origin and all subsequent variation of life. See Creation Biology & Evolution: Yes and No along with the Earth History material for another perspective on this important subject.”
There’s nothing controversial about the account of Evolution presented recently by the BBC at all. Conventional scientists are in as much agreement over evolution by natural selection as they are over gravity. There may be some minor differences down in the detailed mechanisms, but the overarching theory itself is not in contention. Suggesting there is a controversy is an underhand way of trying to undermine scientific fact that simply doesn’t match with biblical texts by playing on the general public’s lack of understanding of evolution

“Popular media presents us with only two theories to explain the origins of life: Darwinism or Creationism. Both are flawed in their theory; both are extremes in their own rights. One theory leaves no room for a God or a Creation, only randomness and mutation to provide the great abundance and variety in nature; the other requires a God for Creation and a strict Genesis chronology without evolution in any form.”
Critical thinkers will recognize the "False Dichotomy" logical fallacy here. Evolution by Natural Selection (given the name Darwinism, to sound more sinister) is presented as an extreme view that has no compatibility with God, therefore forcing it to be an unavailable option for Christian’s. This is of course not the case as even the Pope has accepted evolution (for fear of having to apologize again as in the Galileo case). The Noah’s Ark web site goes on to offer an alternative of a God Created world, using elements of evolution where even they do not have the gall to deny the evidence.

“We can draw a number of conclusions from this. First, the ark was a real vessel, not a fanciful addition to the story. Second, the righteous man in the story must have been forewarned, or he would not have thought of building an ark. And third, the Flood was a global event. At least two of every animal kind had to be preserved so that the earth thereafter could be recognized.”
Do I really need to counter argue this completely absurd claim? Rather than list a ream of reasons why the earth could not possibly have been completely covered in global flood, with all rescued animals gathered aboard an Ark, I’ll ask the question do you want your children to be taught this as fact on their school trip?

“Crystalline rocks usually give very old radioisotope dates, within a broadly consistent sequence from older to younger. There is also other evidence that a substantial amount of radioactive decay has gone on in the past:
  • The right amount of decay products - just what we would expect from millions of years of decay at today's rates.
  • Short-lived radioisotopes are absent - suggesting that long ages have passed to allow them to all decay away.
  • Visible scars (radiohalos) left by decay - direct evidence for hundreds of millions of years' worth of decay at today's rates.
  • Crystal damage (fission tracks) left by splitting atoms - indicating millions of years of decay at today's rates.
  • The expected heat in rocks near the Earth's surface - left by millions of years of decay at today's rates.
Many people think that evidence such as this proves that the Earth is billions of years old.”
Yes indeed, many geologists do believe that, but as that evidence does not fit in with the predefined dates required by the religious proprietor of Noah’s Ark, he has to invent a reason why it is wrong. As you can see in the examples above, the estimates in radio carbon dating are based on the current decay rate, therefore rather than accepting the answer that the earth is billions of years old based on those observable decay rates, he prefers to stick with the answer he likes and assume instead that the rate of decay was obviously much quicker in the past.

In Shermer's interview with the Noah’s Ark proprietor, he stated that the proprietor was keen to distance himself from those "Crazy American Young Earth Creationists" who think the earth is only 6,000 years old. No, he thinks the earth is about 100,000 years old. This is based on his own research as opposed to the globally agreed scientific opinion that the earth is 4,540,000,000 years ago. Yeah that’s nowhere near as crazy.

“The creation account in Genesis states that God made animals 'according to their kinds'. This does not mean that God made the animals according to the species we see today. Rather, he made them with the potential to diversify into many species; all the genetic material required for such diversification was there from the beginning.”
In this passage he has found a way of interpreting the book of Genesis to imply that God did not make the animal and plant kingdoms as we see them today. This allows for accepting a little bit of evolution for variety within species, but sticks to the rigid dogma of all creation coming from God. Sadly, however we have seen direct evidence where this is not true, the genetic make up of the AIDS virus has evolved within the last 50 or so years, before our very own eyes, creating new DNA not present before.

The whole web site, lists ridiculous claim after claim that even an amateur like me can easily debunk. Rather than further demonstrate the prosperous claims of the web site, I’ll leave you to do the others yourself, or this blog is in danger of becoming far too long.

I did however want to raise one more critical point. Noah’s Ark is presented primarily as a Zoo and Working Farm to appeal to children, families and schools. It has all sorts of interesting animals and activities to stimulate its visitors. It also appears to promote standard key stage elements of the National Teaching Curriculum to attract school trips. However it looks to me that this is fancy façade to draw in unsuspecting minds before submitting them to unfounded and dangerous misinformation.


Following the publication of this blog a couple of months ago I have noticed a bit more coverage of this place that I wanted to link to.

Sink The Ark: Is a website dedicated to this attraction and highlights the misinformation it presents.

There is also a Number 10 petition to withdraw government support for this attraction.

And a fair and unbiased entry in Wikipedia

God In the Lab: Conway Hall - 21st March 2009

I attended a rather interesting set of 4 lectures at Conway Hall yesterday covering the science behind religious beliefs.

As I was sat next to “FaithlessGod” who was doing a live blog of each lecture, it would seem rather foolish to try and repeat his excellent work.

So this is a rather lazy blog and simply links to his four comprehensive blogs of each lecture.

Do ghosts get itchy? Mind, body, and afterlife in cross-cultural perspective

Divine Madness

Born Believers: The Naturalness of Childhood Theism

Religious Based Analgesics

Friday 20 March 2009

Daniel Dennett: A Darwinian Perspective on Religion (Lecture at Conway Hall)

I attended this lecture put on by he British Humanist Association at Conway Hall last night and just had to write a few quick words about it.

I shan’t attempt to review the lecture in full by going through all the points covered, partly because I wasn’t taking notes, but mainly because it was filmed and you’re much better off watching the film than my diluted transcripts and spoilers.

Apparently the video will be posted on the British Humanist Association web site. Link here. However, it wasn’t up last time I checked, but may well be by the time you read this.

Richard Dawkins introduced Daniel Dennett and gave him a great and worthy build up, including the inevitable comment on the physical similarities between Dennett and Darwin.

Dennett mused on the origins of language and applied Darwinian principles of evolution to show how words are naturally coined and enter the language, in much the same way as genes in a species. By comparing a linguistic family tree to a biological tree it can be seen how the present day languages and species are but a small subset of all that has ever been with successful genes and words mutating and spreading down the branches.

The same principles are then applied to show how superstitions, rumours and folklore memes can take a hold until such a time, as the successful ones are able to acquire stewards to shepherd them, propagate them further and equip them with the attributes for survival.

Religions may well have formed a necessary part in our evolutionary past much like Dumbo’s magic feather or “Nurse Crops” that are planted amongst the hay to control weeds and provide support until such a time as the main crop can rise above and stand on it’s own.

The time has now come for the Magic feather to be thrown away, the nurse crops may have given us a good start, but now they just hinder, and Dennett urges us to throw away the religious crutch.

At the top of the lecture, Dennett listed 5 possible ways in which things could play out, from a regression to religions dominance to a complete disregard of religion. One questioner asked what Dennett thought was the most likely scenario. Dennett opted for a middle ground where religions retain their pageantry and ceremony but the creed withers and becomes irrelevant. And maybe that would be a satisfactory outcome.

Dennett lecture was packed full of original and brilliant thought, perfectly understandable and irrefutable. It was a real treat for the mind, please keep checking back at the BHA website or YouTube when it comes online.

Wednesday 18 March 2009

Carl Sagan: The Demon Haunted World – Science as a Candle in the Dark

I have read several articles recently highlighting the rise of scepticism here in the UK. While I’m sure scepticism is something that’s always been with us in some guise or other, there certainly seems to be a recent growth of sceptical thinkers forming a more coherent movement. I see much of the foundations of this modern skeptism in America, with three key architects: James Randi, Michael Shermer and Carl Sagan. While Randi has been writing books and exposing charlatans since the early70’s and Shermer has been publishing the Skeptic magazine and various books, Sagan, to my mind, was the key mover in popularising real science, and I’m sure still would be if he was still with us today. I see this book in particular, originally published in 1995, as one of the cornerstones of the modern skeptical movement, so I expect you’ve read it already.

I can really think of no other popular science writer who so effectively communicates the sense of awe and wonder in the universe and enthuses his readers to understand the universe through the critical eyes of reason and rationality as Carl Sagan.

However, I fear that the lines between science and pseudoscience maybe somewhat blurred in many people’s minds. Purveyors of alternative medicines and old fashioned quacksalver’s have often employed scientific sounding jargon to try and add an air of credibility to their snake oil. Conversely, genuine science is often misrepresented by sensationalist headline grabbing journalists keen to jump on the band wagon with ill-founded stories such as the MMR vaccination scare. Phrases like “scientifically tested” now seem less in vogue than claims of “natural” or “organic”. Added together with vendors of paranormal and new age beliefs, it’s hardly surprising that the layman doesn’t know who or what to believe and which claims are genuinely based in scientific fact.

Sagan starts out with an anecdote to illustrate the confusions people have between science and pseudoscience. He tells the story of a taxi driver taking him to the airport who recognised him as “the science guy of the TV”. Wishing to take advantage of his scientifically minded passenger, the driver proceeded to ask a number of questions, all of which turned out be founded on misinformation and popular myths perpetuated by the media and modern culture and confused with real science.

In this book Sagan aims to show what is real and what is not, not by listing his fixed interpretation of the truth like a religious text, but by equipping us with the tools and methods to go away and work it out for ourselves.

Sagan takes us through a number of beliefs with no credible scientific evidence to support them including UFO’s, ESP, faith healing, astrology, mediums, superstitions, religious beliefs, reincarnation and psycho-kinesis. Each one is critically examined and scrutinised in an open minded way with no preconceptions determining the outcome. However, for each extraordinary claim he demands extraordinary evidence and for each of the above, none is forthcoming.

“The Demon Haunted World” provides us with a “Baloney detection kit” which consists of methods such as independent confirmation of facts, peer reviewed papers and the use of Occam’s razor. The “Baloney Detection Kit” also includes ways of recognising common fallacies of logic and rhetoric. Once versed in these fallacies it becomes easy to see the flaws and weaknesses in certain arguments supporting various bogus claims. I’ll not go through these logical fallacies here, but the SGU have produced a great summary list and explanation of the top 20 here.

Sagan also spends some time explaining how science actually works. Over the years I have gradually learnt the difference between the scientific body of knowledge I was taught at school and the scientific method. I no longer see science as a collection of fixed laws, rules and formula’s, I see it as a method for understanding the universe. Sagan clearly explains the scientific method from the formulisation of hypothesis through to widely accepted theories. He explains that even though our current scientific understanding may one day be refined, merged or updated they are the nearest approximations to the truth, and quite possibly the most precious thing we have.

When reading authors like Dawkins and Sagan I have to be very careful not to step in to the trap that Sagan clearly alerts us to in this book. It would be all too easy to blindly accept the arguments of their writing based purely on the respect they have gained. If I was however to do this I would hopefully be drowned out by a chorus of skeptics trilling: “Argument from Authority”.

Duchy Originals: New Lines coming soon

100% organic and locally sourced bullshit in a bottle

Free Range Baloney Panini with Gullibility Garnish

Duchy Originals: Organic Beer Goggles (3 bottles turns any ropey old tart into a princess

Homeopathic AIDS cure (recommended to be used instead of scientifically tested anti retral viral drugs as a safe and effective alternative)

Extra Large Ear Candles

Duke of Cornwall my arse, as a Cornishman, the flappy eared fuckwit is no Duke of mine.

Friday 13 March 2009

Top of the Pods

Public broadcasting is all well and good when your message has broad appeal. Sadly the interest in scientific and critical thinking seldom has such widespread interest. Until recently technological ability has made efficient and effective narrowcasting a little tricky. The podcast however is the ideal vehicle for reaching a suitable target audience, and with any luck promoting its content to a wider audience as interest grows and blossoms. (As Chris French tells us it is in the Guardian this week)

A very healthy crop of scientific and critical thinking podcasts have been seeping their way into the thinking community, and I myself have been downloading numerous shows and experimenting with them. Due to the limitations enforced by the amount of hours in a week, I have distilled these podcasts down to a manageable amount that I can keep up with and regularly listen to. Which has left me with ten top regular science and critical thinking podcasts that are just crying out for chart run down....

In Our Time
Melvyn Bragg’s weekly Radio 4 programme, where his guests help him explore the history of ideas covering philosophy, science, religion and literature, and what impact those ideas have had on our current lives. This show is admittedly a national broadcast but is also not solely restricted to the title of my blog page

Bad Science
Ben Goldacre’s podcasts to accompany his excellent “Bad Science” blog is an ad hoc affair that if you subscribe to occasionally seems to appear on your iPod. The podcasts are normally audio clips taken from relevant TV or radio shows. The last couple of which I found a little harrowing especially listening to Jeni Barnet’s verbal diarrhoea concerning her bigoted and poorly informed views on the MMR vaccine. I believe Ben had to remove that particular episode but I look forward to being kept up to date with any more quackery.

The Skeptic Zone
The science and reason podcast from Australia presented by Richard Saunders and Stefan Sojika. This is the newest entry in my list of weekly podcasts and is rapidly becoming a favourite with its guest interviews and various contributions from other sources.

The Royal Society
For over 350 years the Royal Society has been at the cutting edge of scientific research and progress and has influenced science policy and promoted scientific debate. Many of their lectures and events are now easily accessible as straightforward audio or even video recordings and available for download as podcasts. As I listen to the audio only podcasts, I especially enjoy the lecturers who don’t use PowerPoint / Keynote presentations.

Skepticality is the official fortnightly podcast of the Skeptic Magazine. Skepticality is presented by Derek and Swoopy and generally features an interview from a special guest.

Brian Dunning’s short 10 minute podcasts manage to take a different topic each week and apply some impressive critical thinking and research to present us with rational explanations for paranormal, pseudoscientific, religious and new age phenomenon.

Brian is an accomplished barber with Occam’s razor, and skilfully wields it to deftly cut through the crap and logical fallacies surrounding many popular myths.

Point Of Inquiry
Hosted by D.J. Grothe, Point of Inquiry is the première podcast for the Center for Inquiry (CFI). The topics and issues discussed and addressed by the CFI align rather nicely with my particular interests and concentrate on secularism, religion and its intersection with science as well as pseudoscience, paranormal and alternative medicine. Guests on the show include leading minds in all of these fields

Material World
Quentin Cooper’s weekly radio 4 afternoon science show is made readily accessible to me via the flexible convenience of the podcast. Material world is a 30 minute scientific magazine usually covering 2 scientific topics each week with appropriate guests.

Quentin obviously also has a keen interest in popular music as he frequently embeds a few oblique musical references into his introductions and comments which I always enjoying picking out. I also enjoy the sound of Quentin guffawing away to himself in the background after making one of his frequent humorous interjections.

The Skeptics Guide to the Universe
The Skeptics guide to the Universe is a weekly podcast hosted by Dr Steven Novella and with witty, informative and intelligent comment from: Bob Novella, Jay Novella, Evan Bernstein and Rebecca Watson. Previous episodes also featured cofounder Perry DeAngelis who sadly passed away in 2007.

Each show follows a format with a number of great regular features and science news updates and invariable some cheesy English accents from Jay, that I am actually starting to quite enjoy now. It was also nice to see Rebecca visiting us here in London back in January, and it would be great to see the other rouges here sometime, after all TAM London is coming up.

Little Atoms
Little Atoms is produced and presented by Neil Denny and Padraig Reidy and is broadcast on Resonance FM (104.4) in the UK on Fridays between 19:00 and 19:30, or in my case downloaded via iTunes.

Neil gives a brief outline of the shows rationale at the top of each programme that I think perfectly explains what it’s all about. I couldn’t describe it any better so I’ve blatantly lifted this introduction from the little atoms web site and pasted it below. For those who listen to the show regularly it will be impossible to read the following text without hearing it in Neil’s voice.

“Little Atoms is a live talk show about ideas. Each show features a guest from the worlds of science, journalism, politics, academia, human rights or the arts in conversation. If the show has a dominant and recurring theme, then it coalesces around the ideas of the Enlightenment, by which we mean freedom of expression, free inquiry, empirical rationalism, scepticism, the scientific method, secular humanism and liberal democracy. These ideas find their antithesis in superstition, religious fundamentalism, fanaticism, medievalism, totalitarianism, censorship and conspiracy theory. Our guests bring ideas that are challenging, sometimes controversial, often polemical, but always interesting.”

Little Atoms recently celebrated its 100th show party where I was delighted to meet Neil and Paidrag along with a selection of previous guests of the show and other listeners. The past guest list is extremely impressive with major name influential scientists and journalists too numerous to list. (They are however listed on the Little Atoms Web Site).

Shows often concentrate on the recent works of the guests and Neil and Paidrag always demonstrate a good knowledge of the subject material by asking good relevant and incisive questions and inviting their guests to elaborate on particular ideas, thoughts and anecdotes.

Of course this list is just my subjective opinion and bears no relationship to the actual popularity of the shows, but let me know if I have any glaring omissions.

Monday 9 March 2009

Can Wikipedia make us think for ourselves?

I read an interesting news item regarding the updating of Wikipedia with false, incriminating or amusing information last week. Which opened a debate on whether we need to edit and approve the data held on Wikipedia.

So here’s my thoughts on the subject.

I find Wikipedia a tremendously useful research tool. I also think that we are all well aware that it is open source and we are therefore alert to the fact it can easily be updated with misinformation and cyber graffiti.

I don’t see this as a major problem as long as we are aware of these pitfalls and compensate with suitable critical thinking and further research where necessary. In fact in many ways I think the fact that Wikipedia is open to user editing can help us by forcing us to learn some critical thinking skills. This could help us evaluate the validity of the vast amounts of information we seem to process everyday from a variety of sources.

The fact that we know that anyone and everyone can contribute and amend this large body of data is in the back of our mind. So when we read something like:

“Jim Morrison was born in a van, whilst curiously enough Van Morrison was actually born in Gym”

We may be highly amused but deeply suspicious of the validity of the information, and most of us would not be prepared to accept it as the truth without a great deal more evidence to support this bizarre claim.

Prior to Wikipedia we have been used to reading facts from books, magazines and newspapers, or hearing things on Film, TV, Radio, or the pulpit and taking them as gospel when reported in a straight faced manner, because they have been written, preached or performed by an authoritative figure with enough importance to warrant their communications platform. But these people are as susceptible to bias, prejudice, ignorance, ulterior motives, delusions and general tomfoolery as the rest of us.

Much of our culture of superstitions, religions, urban myths and misconceptions must be as a result of taking incorrect authoritative information at face value. Once some individuals have taken the bait the memes can multiple and mutate, and over time become ingrained in our culture.

Wikipedia has supplied us with a mountain of mostly accurate knowledge and hopefully taught us to critically evaluate that data. Let’s embrace Wikipedia and learn to apply the methods of evaluating the accuracy of the data. Then let’s apply these principles to ALL sources of information.

BTW If anyone has some good examples of amusing misinformation posted on Wikipedia, I always find them highly entertaining so please post them in the comments field.

Wikipedia has empowered all of us all to be Ford Prefect, if we want to be.