Word of the Day: Hyperactive Agency Detection

In honor of Charles Darwin’s birthday on February 12, let’s look at some concepts that tie together religion and evolution. [Read more…]

Word of the Day: Burqa, Niqab, Hijab

Muslim traditional clothing requirements for women are often in the news. Let’s get the names straight for the different elements of clothing and look at some of their consequences. [Read more…]

Word of the Day: Irreducible Complexity

A system is irreducibly complex when every part is necessary. Remove any part, and the system breaks, so how could such a system have been built, piece by piece, by nature? Any precursor would have been useless and therefore selected against by evolution. But an example with which we’re all familiar undercuts this argument. [Read more…]

Word of the Day: Beg the Question

To beg the question means to assume the conclusion in your premise. This fallacy is similar to the fallacy of circular logic. Since most people don’t use “beg the question” correctly, I suggest avoiding it. [Read more…]

Word of the Day: Shermer’s Law

Michael Shermer made a useful distinction between how we came to a belief and how we now defend that belief. Often, we came to a belief without much consideration, but if we’re forced to defend it, we won’t admit the weak justification. Rather, we’ll apply all our intellect to cobble together our best defense and then fool ourselves that that’s the reason. [Read more…]

Word of the Day: Systems and Wicked Problems

We all deal with systems—for example, the many parts that work together to make a car work or the many people who work together (or not) to make a community work. The concepts of tame vs. wicked problems provide insight into how systems work. [Read more…]

Word of the Day: CE and BCE

AD/BC (Anno Domini/Before Christ) as year labeling conventions are being replaced by CE/BCE (Common Era/Before Common Era). Here’s a little background. [Read more…]

Word of the Day: Pareidolia

Pareidolia is perceiving meaning in something random—a face in a cloud, for example. Or Mary in a grilled cheese sandwich. We don’t need to imagine a supernatural explanation for these images when the natural explanation explains the evidence. [Read more…]

Word of the Day: Poe’s Law

How do you tell the extreme Christians like Fred Phelps from the parodies? Sometimes it’s impossible. [Read more…]

Word of the Day: Apologetics

It’s time we define one of the most important words in our area of interest. [Read more…]