Non-Religious and Religious Engagement: Common Ground & Where it Can Lead

This is a talk I delivered to the Yale Humanist Community of New Haven, Connecticut at one of their monthly gatherings called Humanist Haven on October 15, 2017. I extend my deepest gratitude to the Executive Director, Kathleen Green, and the extraordinary people of YHC who dream of a better world, like us all.  Julian Baggini, founding editor of The Philosopher’s Magazine, and author, co-author of twenty books and quite involved in the study of religious and atheist dialogue, shares… Read more

When Secularism Becomes Discrimination: Quebec Prohibits People With Face Coverings From Receiving Public Services

The National Assembly of the Canadian province of Quebec passed a law Wednesday that prohibits people who cover their face from receiving public services or being employed by the government of the province. As the New York Times reports, many observers characterize this move as an exclusively anti-Muslim ordinance. Islamophobia as Public Policy What is the motivation for this kind of legislation? The Times quotes Quebec’s Minister of Justice, the bill’s sponsor, as saying the bill is intended to “foster social… Read more

Scientific Progress, GMOs, and Racism: The Ugandan Food Crisis Seen Through Western Eyes

The matter of GMOs in Africa expose the alliance between science and big business; discussions about it show the racism in the science-fan blogosphere. African Famine, and What Else Is New? The Ugandan Parliament, faced with a food crisis, recently passed the National Biotechnology and Biosafety Bill. This legislation allows for the regulated use of GMO crops in this drought-stricken African nation. The controversy surrounding this legislation was fierce, but what was it all about? According to a columnist at… Read more

The Scientific Mindset and the Exclusion of Meaning

The scientific view of the universe isn’t wrong, but it’s not complete. What’s missing is meaning. Excluding the Subjective Even a stopped clock is right twice a day. Even though I suspect Jordan Peterson’s average is lower than that, he made a remarkably perceptive comment in his discussion with Stefan Molyneux earlier this year. (I’m not going to link the video; if you really need to see and hear two right-wing gasbags backslap each other for an hour and pretend… Read more

Tyson’s Blunder: All Caps SCIENCE and Critical Thinking

My least favorite science-fan meme douched up science march season earlier this year. “The good thing about SCIENCE is that it’s true whether or not you believe in it.” — Neil deGrasse Tyson A Facebook friend-of-a-friend posted this among other “awesome” science signs he saw at the science march he attended this past Spring. I realize that protest sign slogans can’t in themselves be faulted for oversimplification. But in my experience, people really do consider this slogan a pithy phrase… Read more

Defending Free Speech with Neurobabble

If you can’t fight speech codes with logic and reason, hit ’em with science-words! In the right wing’s ongoing crusade against academia, speech codes have become the latest battlefield. Universities have come under fire for imposing rules about appropriate speech designed to create a more welcoming and respectful atmosphere on campuses for people who’ve been victims of oppression or violence. Free speech absolutists say this is an unconscionable infringement of the “free exchange of ideas,” but so far universities have… Read more

The Google Memo and Bro Science

It’s time we acknowledge that science is still being used to denigrate women. Bro Science The brouhaha over the Google memo stoked the paranoia of all the science bros: right-wing dung nozzle Quillette ran an article called “The Google Memo: Four Scientists Respond,” in which the Google memo got dusted off and praised for its bravery in speaking truth to the politically-correct powers that be. Anyone not quite as infatuated with the pseudoscience of evolutionary psychology as Quillette’s editors should… Read more

Post-Atheism: There’s No God, Let’s Move On

We’re now in the age of post-atheism, and not a moment too soon. The Utopia That Never Was If the study of science and history teaches us anything, it’s that everything has a lifespan. Organisms, species, and even civilizations originate, develop, thrive, and then die out. The universe itself will someday expire through heat death. So welcome to the age of post-atheism. In the aftermath of 9/11, atheism seemed like a great idea. The new millennium was supposed to represent… Read more

That’s Not Critical Thinking: Dillahunty’s Folly

“I want to believe as many true things and as few false things as possible,” goes the motto of radio show host Matt Dillahunty. As critical thinkers, we need to ask whether this is a valid approach to truth. True and False It sounds to me like Dillahunty is making a simplistic distinction between true things and false things, as if claims either have some inherent property of trueness or they don’t. There’s no quickie litmus test for truth; the… Read more

Science Deserves Our Skepticism, Not Our Cheerleading

Science is too important to our culture for us to idealize it, and it warrants our skepticism. Applying Skepticism to Science Critical thinking means applying skepticism not only to the things other people believe, but to things we consider important too. Science is the basis for the way we define life, the universe, and our history. So it’s important that we have a realistic view of science, the good and the bad. I’m not suggesting that we reject scientific theories… Read more

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