Make the Most of Your Skepticism

See also Nicholas Clairmont’s recent article on “The Skeptic’s Credo.” It wrestles with the challenge of being appropriately and fairly skeptical in practice. And while sometimes doubting the reports of those in authority can be an example of misguided conspiracy theory thinking, when footage is captured that provides evidence, we may have good reason to withhold our [Read More...]

Don’t Diss the Blog!

It is an older article, but Jennifer Raff’s piece on differentiating between science and pseudoscience only came to my attention recently (despite the fact that it quotes Doctor Who in the process of making its point!). It suggests the following ranking of sources: I don’t think anyone would disagree about placing YouTube comments at the [Read More...]

How Did Luther Die?

I was asked recently how Luther died, and wanted to fact-check what I thought the answer to that question was. So I did what anyone would do – I typed the question in on Google. Here is the top part of the result: Am I the only one surprised that a question about “Luther” gives top [Read More...]

Americans – Prepare for Nonsense

Did you see the above advertisement in today’s USA Today? This quote from an article by Quassim Cassam on conspiracy theory thinking: It is in the nature of many intellectual character traits that you don’t realise you have them, and so aren’t aware of the true extent to which your thinking is influenced by them. [Read More...]

CIC Information Fluency Workshop

I am currently in Baltimore with some colleagues, at a workshop focused on information fluency in the disciplines of religion, philosophy, and the history of ideas. It started yesterday, and has already offered a lot of fascinating perspectives from faculty and librarians, including practical examples and specific online tools that can be used for teaching [Read More...]

EasyBib

I asked my students directly about the strange citations and citation formatting in their work, and one volunteered a possible explanation – the website Easybib.com. Now, I tried it out and it did a pretty OK job creating a citation for a post on my blog. And so the issue seems to still be what [Read More...]

Wikipistemology

The blog Only a Game had a wonderful post recently about the issue with Wikipedia, which is not about the information that is in many of the articles, but about what can be known to be behind them, and thus the confidence that one should or should not place in them. Here is a quote: The [Read More...]

Quote for the Start of Semester

The quote from Jimmy Wales, founder of Wikipedia, comes from an article in the Chronicle of Higher Education, “Wikipedia Founder Discourages Academic Use of His Creation.” The same can be said of the dictionary – I find it hard to believe that I get students starting essays with “Webster’s Dictionary defines…” – or worse still, [Read More...]

Viva La Library Remix

I feel quite honored – my parody of “Viva La Vida,” “Viva La Library (The Information Literacy Song),” has been covered by the librarians at Ivy Tech Community College. I think they did a great job, and needless to say the video itself is much more impressive than my still slides with the words. They made a [Read More...]

Just Another Kind of Gullibility

“Conspiracy believers are the ultimate motivated skeptics. Their curse is that they apply this selective scrutiny not to the left or right, but to the mainstream. They tell themselves that they’re the ones who see the lies, and the rest of us are sheep. But believing that everybody’s lying is just another kind of gullibility.” [Read More...]

Can University Walls Keep Out The Internet?

This is my conference paper for the Metacriticism of Biblical Studies section at SBL: ______ Can University Walls Keep Out The Internet? James F. McGrath, Butler University   ABSTRACT Statements can be found on the websites of many sectarian educational institutions, indicating that faculty and students are required to subscribe to a particular doctrinal statement. [Read More...]


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