12 thoughts on “Brian Draper, in Southampton, Associate lecturer at the London Institute for Contemporary Christianity

  1. From an article in the Economist on the same finding.

    “The other route to co-operation is reciprocal altruism of the “you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours” variety. This requires a stump’s neighbours, which are feeding it, to benefit directly from the arrangement. The suggestion Dr Bader and Dr Leuzinger make is that they do—the stump’s role being to extend, at minimal cost, the root networks of its intact neighbours. From their point of view, that makes keeping the stump alive worthwhile.

    “If this is what is going on, however, it is a good illustration of the dangers of anthropomorphic terminology. The arrangement might look reciprocal to human eyes, because it is keeping the stump alive. But since the stump cannot reproduce it might as well, in Darwinian terms, be dead anyway, for it garners no evolutionary benefit from its survival. Unless, of course, to go back to the idea of kin selection, the neighbours it is sustaining are its kin and it is rendering nepotistic assistance to them from beyond the grave.”

    No spiritual interconnectedness needed. Just plain old reciprocal altruism possibly with a little even plainer and older kin selection thrown in . Unlike one of these ” thinkers” to complicate something unnecessarily.


  2. Sort of OT … sorry
    I am running very short of patience with regard to the insistence by the BBC that TFTD is somehow a valid and useful service to the nation. For example two extracts from the BBC reply to my latest TFTD complaint:-

    “At times of national event or crisis it also has the capacity to catch the mood of the nation and speak to it.”

    Now that to me is a grossly over reaching and false assertion. The reply also claims …

    “At its best the short talk plants a seed of thought, a spark of spiritual insight that stays with listeners during the day.”

    TFTD, especially with its current crop of first class numpty presenters, only serves to irritate and offend the sensibilities of the audience of the programme into which it is inserted. If I want any insight into anything the last person I would turn to is a TFTD presenter.

    So here is the point. When did a TFTD actually accomplish anything of the sort?
    Replies please.


    1. Even accepting the BBC’s contention that TFTD is proving a useful service, what is there about this that couldn’t be equally well, if not better, provided by a non religious person?

      “At times of national event or crisis it also has the capacity to catch the mood of the nation and speak to it.” And a secularist couldn’t do that? Seriously?

      “At its best the short talk plants a seed of thought, a spark of spiritual insight that stays with listeners during the day.” And what’s the difference between a ‘spiritual insight’ and an ‘insight’? Keying your insight in to some ancient tradition or book which at best has lost its relevance for 80% of listeners and at worst is subject to ridicule does nothing for your ‘insight’.

      “At its best…” and when have we ever heard it ‘at its best’? Very rarely, if ever, given this restricted rota of tame, inoffensive apologists for fantasy.

      Terry, I admire your persistence in engaging with these numpties in an attempt to get a straight answer from them. Best of luck mate!


    2. I’ve listened to every single TFTD for over 12 years. In that time I can count on the fingers of one hand the number that have actually made me think. Some are better than others though. Vishvapani used to be quite good. Mona Siddiqui has actually become better and better, to the point where you can almost ignore her clunky religious references.

      There was a time when I did little parodies of each TFTD. I’ve kept all of these, unlike the BBC which thinks their contributors’ thoughts are so good that they delete them. Here is my parody of one of the better TFTDs, broadcast by Vishvapani on 17 April 2010.

      I watched the interactive debate on Thursday night between the three party leaders. Election time is a test for voters as much as for politicians. We have to assess their fiercely competing claims and decide who should run the country.

      Something similar is true of religion. The Kalamas people had this problem when visiting preachers all said that they were right and that everyone else was wrong. The Buddha gave them the following advice.

      Don’t rely on scripture, on tradition, on popular understanding, on abstract argument not backed by evidence. Instead, use evidence from your own experience or those of people you trust to assess the claims of those who say they possess truth. Question them and don’t simply accept them at face value.


      1. Just been told by a young person that TFTD refers to the film ‘Tales from the Darkside’ which is a strangely apt desription of the unwanted daily interuption to BBC R4 Today programme.


      2. Some are better than others though. Vishvapani used to be quite good. Mona Siddiqui has actually become better and better, to the point where you can almost ignore her clunky religious references.

        Hard to believe now that there was a time when Geezer Fraser used to be in that same group.


  3. My heart sank at the early use of the word ‘Godsend,’ and my worst fears were soon realised.

    This is one extraordinarily deluded person who reinforces his ‘faith,’ and at the same time attempts to establish a Christian Street Cred by suggesting he understands, accepts and is cool with the findings of science, but then cheerfully claims it all for his IMF (except of course the science that ought to make clear to him that his IMF is a human concept and fabrication). This is the very last resort of the religious who know (or should know) that the game is now up. It’s almost laughable, like that hilarious sketch from “Goodness Gracious Me,” where the intensely patriotic Indian immigrant father claims that everything was made, discovered by, invented by the British.

    Thus, as this load of pious bo**cks proceeded we had ecosystems ‘lovingly sustained by god,’ and a liberal sprinkling of nonsense words like spiritual and creation.

    His fuzzy, feel-good excursion this morning didn’t consider the benefits of felling trees for timber (a sustainable construction material and viable alternative to plastics), medcines (aspirin, quinine etc.), paper etc etc. But that would have been too harsh and realistic an intrusion into his idyllic ‘God world’ where everything is so lovely – “Hello trees, hello sky,” say Fotherington-Thomas.

    How does such an idiotic dork get onto national radio? I watched Jonathan Meade’s latest offering this week. At one point he referred to people ‘crippled by religious belief.’ I think Draper falls readily into this categorisation.


    1. “How does such an idiotic dork get onto national radio?” I suspect he gets on BECAUSE he’s an idiotic dork. Only idiots could spout such nonsense unselfconsciously. Someone with too many brain-cells would be too dangerous for the bland-fest that is TftD.


      1. There used to be a joke [sadly it’s no longer a joke but almost reality] that a politician was someone who underwent brain surgery to have their integrity removed and replaced by bullsh*t.

        Seems like the TFTD speakers have had a similar experience: any rational thinking expunged and replaced by bloviating waffle.


  4. BBC R4 TFTD sank to a new low this week when on the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon landing the TFTD editorial staff chose to award the TFTD slot to Hannah Malcolm, Project Coordinator God and the Big Bang Project which is an organisation funded by the Templeton Foundation with the sole aim of forcing god into the science class room. That a person intent on befouling and retarding science education with religious claptrap gets a free unchallenged and uniterrupted three minutes of prime time exposure on the flagship BBC Radio current affairs programme on the day that celebrates such an amazing feat of scientific, engineering and technological endeavour is a disgrace.

    The opportunity for a truly memorable TFTD was squandered by BBC Editorial Staff. Did anyone not think of inviting either of the two surviving Apollo 11 astronauts, Buzz Aldrin or Michael Collins, to give three minutes reflection on the spectacular acheivment of Apollo 11. I guess the answer was NO. And what did we get. Three minutes christian drivel from a credulous intellectual weakling.

    Shame upon James Purnell, head BBC’s religious affairs programming, and shame on anyone at the BBC who has authority over him for not censuring him for his shocking misjudgement and mismanagement.


  5. Are trees good now?
    By killing them all (a global flood tends to have that effect), cursing a fig tree & being nailed to one, isn’t it obvious that Draper’s IMF has a deep dislike of the poor things?
    But, lo, such is the power of redemption – trees are forgiven!
    Not only that, we’re now told that they’re, like, real actual evidence of an IMF’s design skills* because, well, science, innit.
    * where did it learn these skills? – surely they didn’t just come about by magic…


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