WERE THERE RUSSIAN MOLES IN ASIO? WELL YES, PRIME MINISTER.

By | AusPolitics, Critical Essays, Geopolitics, Intelligence | No Comments

  The final volume of the official history of ASIO admits, in muted tones, that there were multiple Soviet moles in the organization during the Cold War. Not one or a possible one, as so often rumoured in the past; but a number of them. The language is vague and elliptical, but the statement is there and it is buttressed by the rhetorical question with which the authors finish the whole work: ‘how extensive was the betrayal and how extensive was the damage?’ The official history was the best possible place to answer this question, but its authors were forbidden…

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EXPERT KNOWLEDGE AND SCIENTIFIC THINKING ARE UNDER SIEGE

By | Book reviews for the press, Cognitive Science, Geopolitics | No Comments

A social Issue of New Scientist, dated 1 April 2017, was devoted to the question ‘What is Knowledge?’ The sub-title was ‘The Biggest Questions about Facts, Truth, Lies and Belief’. It was clearly not intended as an April Fool’s Day joke, but there would be plenty of scope for a spoof which had done just that, given the bizarre beliefs and attitudes to truth held by altogether too many human beings. As Carl Sagan expressed it some thirty years ago, we have created a scientific civilization, but have allowed a situation to develop in which the vast majority of people…

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UNDOING THE CONFUSIONS OF THE INTUITIVE BRAIN

By | Book reviews for the press, Cognitive Science, Psychology | No Comments

  Michael Lewis writes good books. They tend to be concise, highly readable, immensely lucid and concerned with fascinating matters of human confusion and how to find one’s way through it. He also tends to be highly interested in thinkers who operate outside the range or authority of both popular prejudice and conventional intellectual wisdom. His first book, Liar’s Poker (1989), was about his strange experience in a Wall Street bank’s bond trading department. Since then, he has written a string of best sellers. Perhaps the most famous of them have been Moneyball (2003) and The Big Short (2010). His…

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