That’s the story of my life

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I don’t have a lot to add to this excellent post about the narrative fallacy at lesswrong. Here are some great excerpts, to convince you to go read the whole thing:

Essentially, the narrative fallacy is our tendency to turn everything we see into a story – a linear chain . . . → Read More: That’s the story of my life

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 . . . → Read More: A god detector

How to Argue

This is a great short podcast on how to argue that talks about a lot of the same points I made earlier. It goes into additional detail about how to prepare and conduct arguments so that everyone benefits.

Argument > Debate

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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; . . . → 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 . . . → Read More: Dishonesty in science: we still win

The emotions of energy

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Hybrid fusion-fission energy generation a possibility via Futurismic.

Isn’t it interesting how this story swept through the internet? Everyone, of course, wants to get rid of nuclear waste right? Awful, evil stuff. Bury it in the earth if you have to. Making it disappear in a magic theoretical reactor is . . . → Read More: The emotions of energy

Closed-minded, all

Photo credit: garryknight from flickr

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. . . . → 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

What would it take?

I saw this somewhere on the Internet a few days ago and have since forgotten the source. But it’s so elegant that I want to spread the meme. Plus, a post on Friendly Atheist reminded me again.

“What would it take to convince you that you’re wrong?”

That one sentence is all you need to . . . → Read More: What would it take?

Willing to be wrong

From Skepchick:

I love that most everyone here is willing to be wrong about everything.

Through disagreements, we are able to see our views reflected back at us and change them if necessary. Or, even if they don’t change, we may gain insight into just why we hold a particular view.

That’s how I try . . . → Read More: Willing to be wrong