Category Archive: Philosophy

Mar 19 2014

I like this message

Steven Pinker and Rebecca Goldstein explain the importance of reason…and empathy.

Feb 12 2014

I shall not even try to list all the things science has failed to anticipate

Help me wrap my brain around this tweet. I can’t grok it. Philosophers' historic failure to anticipate Darwin is a severe indictment of philosophy. Happy Darwin Day! — Richard Dawkins (@RichardDawkins) February 12, 2014 Philosophers’ historic failure to anticipate Darwin is a severe indictment of philosophy. Happy Darwin Day! John Wilkins isn’t helping. @pzmyers @RichardDawkins …

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Feb 03 2014

The CU-Boulder philosophy department gets failing marks

This is the school where my daughter has just started graduate work, and now a scathing review of the philosophy departments’ practices has been released. Turns out it was a nest of snakes. (Fortunately, my daughter is in the computer science department, and believe me, she’d be speaking out if things were this bad there). …

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Jan 25 2014

Plumbing philosophy


A commenter left a link to this comic here; now we know what happens when you combine plumbing and philosophy. Good timing, too. On my to-do list for today is to pop off the trap for the bathroom sink — we think the satanic cat who is lurking in our house knocked something into it, …

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Jan 24 2014


I have seen scientism, and it’s usually not us. The most blatant example recently was Pinker’s appalling essay in which he suggested that Hume could have used some instruction in molecular biology; I’ve seen people like Hawking and Krauss claim that philosophy is dead, killed by science. But usually the prominent atheists manage to step …

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Nov 18 2013

A strangely un-Christian view of life

That might be why I like it. Are you living life for the now, or for the ever-receding, never-to-be-reached destination?

Sep 26 2013

Please, please people: stop using the naive dictionary meaning of words in place of context

I know I’m notorious for complaining about those goofy definitions of atheism (“it just means “not believing in god”, nothing more!”, the superficial mob will say) because the word has acquired much deeper resonances that we ignore at our peril, and has implications far greater than simple rejection of one assertion. But the other word …

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Sep 26 2013

A philosopher agrees with me

I don’t know whether this is a good thing, or a bad thing, but at least he’s agreeing for a different reason. On the question of whether we’ll someday be able to download brains into a computer, I’ve said no for largely procedural reasons: there is no way to capture the state of all the …

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Sep 10 2013

Oh, those secular ethics

In case you’re interested, DJ Grothe will be speaking at the Midwest Philosophy Colloquium on the University of Minnesota Morris campus next week. I can’t attend; it’s scheduled at the same time as one of our HHMI student research events. He’s speaking on secular ethics. By the way, of no possible relevance at all, I’m …

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Sep 10 2013

Can we rehabilitate post-modernism, please?

I’m about to alienate even more knee-jerk skeptics (and good riddance!) by saying something incredibly daring: post-modernism isn’t so bad. Skeptics ought to embrace it. It’s sad that so few do: Mano Singham seems to be the rare one. I think maybe because he actually understands it. Many scientists hate what they think of as …

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