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On paradox and burden

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Science started out fairly modestly; with a collection of mostly wrong ideas that seemed plausible at the time. It has accreted and evolved over time to offer compelling and staggeringly consistent explanations for most of the observed universe.

There are still puzzle pieces that don’t fit perfectly: . . . → Read More: On paradox and burden

Our stories whisper

Listening to the always excellent Skeptics’ Guide to the Universe this week, I was delighted to hear an interview with the lovely, talented, Sara Mayhew (whose blog name I (not so?) cleverly reference here in meme form).

The blog has been in my skeptic list for some time, but I previously knew precious little . . . → Read More: Our stories whisper

You make and break your own religion

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Note: I addressed the following essay to the general population of the No Agenda Forums, a community that I cherish despite frequent frustration. It is peopled by many conspiracy theorists and champions of various “alternative” things, such as alternative explanations, alternative medicine, etc. In short, people I cannot really reach on . . . → Read More: You make and break your own religion

Emit poetry

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Science consensus

Bucked by genius, and morons.

The latter is common.

More debate fail

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I love everything about this Skeptoid post, in which Brian makes great points about the peril of debating when the truth is on your side. It’s counter-intuitive on first consideration, but as I’ve mused previously, debating has relatively little to do with truth and mostly pivots on charisma and debate tactics . . . → Read More: More debate fail

A god detector

Density plots of hydrogen's electron

Reading this analysis of yet another god of the gaps argument, I noted an intriguing passage:

With quantum mechanical uncertainty and the chaotic unpredictability of complex systems, the world is now understood to have a certain freedom in its future development. (…) It is thus perfectly possible that God . . . → Read More: A god detector

Argument > Debate

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Debating

Like most sports, I’m not much good at debate. I say it’s a sport because it’s a competition with a winner and loser where the participants’ skills have the largest bearing on the outcome.

I think that most people casually lump debate and argument into the same mental bin; if . . . → Read More: Argument > Debate

Dishonesty in science: we still win

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As Orac states:

Science as it is practiced today relies on a fair measure of trust. Part of the reason is that the culture of science values openness, hypothesis testing, and vigorous debate. The general assumption is that most scientists are honest and, although we all generally try to present our . . . → Read More: Dishonesty in science: we still win

Closed-minded, all

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We suck at thinking, all of us– humanity. It’s poetically tragic given that we haven’t met any life forms who can do a better job of it yet.

We skeptics enjoy thinking of ourselves as rational and reasonable, smugly superior among a vast sea of credulous, closed-minded believers. But . . . → Read More: Closed-minded, all

A critical baseline

There are so many fallacies and biases that I can’t keep them straight, even though critical thinking is something I value highly. I’m not much good at debate, and although I’d love nothing more than to engender critical thinking and skepticism in others, I don’t have any good ideas on how to do that, . . . → Read More: A critical baseline