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Science is often claimed as the triumph of materialism over idealism, superstition, opinion, etc. For a long time, science was considered to be nothing more than the straightforward, progressive uncovering of facts. Newton famously wrote that he “made no hypotheses” (hypotheses non fingo), he simply observed and explained. This model...

This was the year I started focused work on my PhD, so almost all of the books I finished were fiction (as opposed to last year which had a good balance between fiction and non-fiction), and often not particularly challenging, something to get my mind off my work. I read...

It was announced yesterday that the same transphobic speaker who rented rooms from Vancouver Public Library and Toronto Public Library is scheduled to be on a panel at Seattle Public Library. Seattle Public has responded to critics of this decision with the same trite defenses that VPL and TPL have,...

Canadian librarianship is heading into a moment of truth/crisis around intellectual freedom. The events around hosting transphobic speakers at Vancouver Public Library and Toronto Public Library, accompanied by a doubling-down on free speech absolutism and a dismissal of critics as confused, naive, or inexperienced, have exposed deep faultlines within the...

In my last post I noted how the October 15th, 2019, statement from the Toronto City Librarian, Vickery Bowles, used the expression “free speech” rather than the more usual expression in librarianship, “intellectual freedom”. “Free speech” is absent from Bowles’ previous statement from October 12th, which made me think more...