December 20, 2017

Wormwood tells us the 50s were all about paranoia, secret government drug experiments, and germ warfare. Yep, times were simpler then. If you’re not watching the documentary miniseries Wormwood on Netflix, you’re missing out on a disturbing trip through the mangled psyche of Cold War America. The first episode starts by showing Frank Olson, a family man and biochemist working on a top-secret Army program, plummeting to his death from a New York hotel window in 1953. His family was told it was an… Read more

December 18, 2017

Why are the people who deny the existence of scientism the best examples of scientism? On another blog here at Patheos last week, a poster objected to the notion of scientism and closed his response by demanding the following: And please describe another method of gaining knowledge than science. So let’s get this straight: you object to the implication that people believe science is the sole source of valid knowledge about the world, but then you make it seem like… Read more

December 14, 2017

Just doing a little fact-checking of the New Atheist History Channel. I just saw a comment on one of my posts here on Patheos from a fellow atheist who said: If we had given up on exploring in the 15th century because some ninny had insisted the earth was flat, we would still be wondering what might be out there. It appears this poster thinks that most people in the Middle Ages believed that the Earth is flat. It turns out this misconception is… Read more

December 13, 2017

Who wants to fight the Science Wars all over again? Scientists have never been more disdainful of philosophy and philosophers as they are these days. High profile scientists and science writers have gone on record as saying philosophy is useless, and irrelevant to the practice of science. Lawrence Krauss calls philosophy “a waste of time.” Stephen Hawking says, “Philosophy is dead.” Neil deGrasse Tyson dismisses philosophy as useless and impractical. Why do these intelligent people all come off as being… Read more

December 12, 2017

High-tech eugenics and artisanal babies! What couldn’t go wrong? According to The Nation, the fact that we’re developing the ability to edit genes could have positive consequences for preventing genetic illnesses. But some see the specter of eugenics lurking in the background. The classic eugenicist aim of improving the human community by weeding out bad specimens seems old school compared to the sci-fi fantasy of directing the genetic destiny of ourselves and our families. And even though we’re aiming at… Read more

December 11, 2017

Just in time for the holidays, here’s Driven to Abstraction, the newest blog in the nonreligious section of Patheos. Welcome, readers and posters! This is going to be a place for discussions about knowledge, science, culture, and society. We’ll examine our beliefs about history, progress, and truth. It’s not the low-hanging-fruit orchard, it’s not the argument clinic, it’s a new kind of public space. I’m Shem, and I’ve been blogging here and at Disqus for over a year. I’ve discussed… Read more

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