Saturday, 27 April 2013

Apology to English graduates

I understand that I may have upset all English graduates (that's graduates with BA degrees in English, not necessarily written in English) when I suggested in a humourous and partly satirical manner than James Delingpole BA (Oxon) was an English graduate and linked this to his inability to think critically.

I wish to wholeheartedly apologise.  It was a clear oversight on my part and I should have been more careful to make the distinction that it is only some English graduates who cannot string two scientific ideas together and not all of them.  Furthermore, in a blog post over at the Daily Telegraph's website the other day, Mr Delingpole himself pointed out that a number of proponents of global climate change caused by the actions of human beings were themselves proud possessors of a BA in all sorts of humanities subjects, some of whom might have studied English.

Furthermore, Mr Delingpole points out that although he doesn't have a qualification in science, it doesn't matter because you don't need to understand science to see that everything is a conspiracy and a plot to undermine world civilisation.  Perhaps.

According to Mr Delingpole:

It's not a science degree you need to negotiate the complexities of this tottering edifice of propaganda, tortured data, lies, misinformation, political wrangling, rampant greed, corporatist manoeuvring and establishment cover-ups: it's the mental clarity you develop translating the Battle of Maldon, the powers of endurance you develop from reading the Countess of Pembroke's Arcadia, and the critical nous you acquire while trying to understand what the hell Spenser was on about when he wrote the Faerie Queene.

I'm sure you did.  Problem being, you don't have Edmund Spenser (died 1599) there to tell you whether you are right or not and a persuasive argument is not proof of being correct.  I, for my part, spent a good deal of the 1980s studying, from personal interest, Shakespeare.  Can't promise to be an expert but I could see how arguments based on the interpretation of a few words and phrases might get mired in special pleading and cherry picking.  Science has a different arbiter. 

Anyway, I offer as counter evidence this video from a comedian and.... English graduate Robin Ince

If he can do it, then so can James Delingpole.

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