Staking positions amongst the varieties of scientism

by Massimo Pigliucci I have never understood why there is so much confusion about the definition of scientism. I just looked it up in my basic Apple dictionary, and it is crystal clear: “Excessive belief in the power of scientific knowledge and techniques.” The devil, and much of the discussion, of course, is in the … Continue reading Staking positions amongst the varieties of scientism

Plato and the proper explanation of our actions

by Rebecca Goldstein [1] PLATO: The disagreement between you reminds me of an argument I heard a long time ago. SHOKET: Well, if it was so long ago I don’t see why it would have any relevance to what we’ve been talking about. We’re talking about our state of knowledge now, not a long time … Continue reading Plato and the proper explanation of our actions

What to do about consciousness

or: How to Deal with Naturalism Without Becoming A New Age Wacko by Mike Trites For people who are not spiritual dualists, we have to eye matter a bit warily. Matter used to be pretty mundane stuff. It sat around and did more or less nothing until some spirit came along to make it think … Continue reading What to do about consciousness

Philosophy, my first five years

by Massimo Pigliucci By any standards I can think of, I’ve so far had a very lucky academic career. I started as an evolutionary biologist at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville [1], back in 1995, where they treated me very well for nine years, nurturing me through tenure as well as promotions to associate and … Continue reading Philosophy, my first five years

Fakery and aesthetics

by Steve Snyder In the various arts, just as in intellectual endeavors, there are two types of what we might commonly call fakery. The first is forgery, plagiarism and similar. It’s obviously a matter of law, not philosophy. The second, which is the concern here, might be called “inauthenticity” — it in some way involves … Continue reading Fakery and aesthetics

Is observational science better than historical science?

by Donald R. Prothero One of the recurring themes at the February 4, 2014, debate between Bill Nye and Ken Ham [1] was Ham’s continuous harping on a supposed distinction between “observational science” (science we can observe in real time) and “historical science” (science that must be inferred from the past). I was part of … Continue reading Is observational science better than historical science?

Human nature, a Humean take

by Massimo Pigliucci Human nature is a funny thing. Some scientists, like biologist E.O. Wilson [1] and linguist Steven Pinker [2] are pretty convinced it is a real thing, and that it seriously constrains what we are going to do with our lives (the entire discipline of evolutionary psychology, or sociobiology as it was known … Continue reading Human nature, a Humean take

Spelling out Scientism, A to Z

by John Shook Friends of religion or spirituality are heard to cry “Scientism!” on occasion. Cultural opponents to scientific or technological strides have used “Scientism!” as a clarion call for resistance as well. Quieter voices have been asking, “Is scientism what I think it is?” The label of scientism may be irretrievably lost to rhetoric … Continue reading Spelling out Scientism, A to Z

Identifying the conflict between religion and science — Part III

by David Kyle Johnson Santa Claus and the Origin of Belief  Religious persons will also engage in unscientific thinking in defense of their belief. Consider a child confronting the evidence presented by their older sibling about the non-existence of Santa Claus: the fact that Santa can’t do it all in one night, the fact that … Continue reading Identifying the conflict between religion and science — Part III

Identifying the conflict between religion and science — Part II

by David Kyle Johnson Phlogiston and the Soul  Many scientists used to think that heat was the product of a material called phlogiston. It flowed into objects to make them hot and out to make them cold. But when they tested for this material, they could find nothing — objects weighed the same both hot … Continue reading Identifying the conflict between religion and science — Part II