The strange phenomenon of the cult of facts: three case studies

by Massimo Pigliucci I am a scientist, I appreciate the importance of verifiable facts. Moreover, my empirical research was in quantitative genetics, so I have a salutary respect for quantification and statistical analysis. But I’m also a philosopher, which means I recognize that there simply isn’t such a thing as facts without a given theoretical … Continue reading The strange phenomenon of the cult of facts: three case studies

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What is science and why should we care? — Part III

by Alan Sokal In all the examples discussed so far I have been at pains to distinguish clearly between factual matters and ethical or aesthetic matters, because the epistemological issues they raise are so different. And I have restricted my discussion almost entirely to factual matters, simply because of the limitations of my own competence. … Continue reading What is science and why should we care? — Part III

What is science and why should we care? — Part II

by Alan Sokal Let me now pass to a second set of adversaries of the scientific worldview, namely the advocates of pseudoscience. This is of course an enormous area, so let me focus on one socially important aspect of it, namely so-called “complementary and alternative therapies” in health and medicine. And within this, I’d like … Continue reading What is science and why should we care? — Part II

What is science and why should we care? — Part I

by Alan Sokal I propose to share with you a few reflections about the nature of scientific inquiry and its importance for public life. At a superficial level one could say that I will be addressing some aspects of the relation between science and society; but as I hope will become clear, my aim is … Continue reading What is science and why should we care? — Part I

An artificial one-liner generator

by Zach Weinersmith The following is an idea I’ve been mulling over and talking to friends about for a few months. I thought I’d finally share it to see if anyone liked it or was interested in working on it. Warning: evolutionary psychology just-so story to follow. Think of it as a parable, not as … Continue reading An artificial one-liner generator

Scientia Salon: a manifesto for 21st century intellectualism

by Massimo Pigliucci During the Enlightenment, the Marquis de Condorcet defined a public intellectual as someone devoted to “the tracking down of prejudices in the hiding places where priests, the schools, the government, and all long-established institutions had gathered and protected them.” A number of years later, on 13 January 1898 to be precise, the … Continue reading Scientia Salon: a manifesto for 21st century intellectualism