Thought for the Day – BBC

15 March 2011

It is time for me to have another gripe at the BBC’s Thought for the Day. Naturally the contributors are now turning their attention to Japan and how a benevolent God could allow the combination of earthquake and tsunami to happen (the nuclear emergency could conceiveably be put at our own door as humanity). The Catholic commentator, Catherine Pepinster (pictured, left), started the ball rolling on Saturday (12 March) with the following explanation: “For all the sudden eruptions of nature, God plays by the rules. Creation includes the thermodynamics that lead to earthquakes and tsunamis, but the same laws of chemistry and physics allow us to have brains capable of understanding those thermodynamics. There’s a consistency about the universe that means we can learn about the kind of world we inhabit in all its complexity.”Then yesterday (Tuesday) the extraordinary Professor David Wilkinson (pictured right), an astrophysicist, offered the following: “Yet underneath, is the search for a coherent long-term narrative, which understands the natural world and science as both good and risky. As a Christian I find such a narrative in the conviction that this world is the creation of a good God, who risks giving freedom to human beings and the natural world. Today the people of Japan will take inspiration from their own history of rebuilding a nation in the face of devastation. For those who are inspired by a God who walks the pages of human history in Jesus to demonstrate the prioritize compassionate action towards all those in need, the challenge to stand with them is clear.”
Decoding these rather insensitive bits of prose is not my task now. But the BBC’s continued concession to these people to have free rein to spout this nonsense gets increasingly intolerable.
23 January 2011
We have waited some time for the winner to be announced of the Platitude of the Day annual award – the Web’s antidote to the nonsense that is Thought for the Day on Radio 4. Those of us who are regular contributors to the Platitude blog agreed with the Adminstrator that it should be Clifford Longley for his consistency over the preceding year. The Adminstrator last week offered a list of nominees which included Ratzinger’s effort on 24 December (despite it not being particularly platitudinous). However, Ratzinger has offered plenty of platitudes over the previous year. Not enough, it was Longley. Incidentally, the quality of contributions so far this year has been poor relative to the last quarter of 2010.

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