50 words for snow 4; species

All classificatory terms are impossible of exact definition. Their use always has and always will depend upon the consensus of opinion of those best qualified by wisdom, experience and natural good sense. They will never become stable; we shall never cease to amend, to change, to repudiate old and propose new, because we shall never Read More…

50 words for snow 3: what are phenomena?

If experienced observers are trained to observe natural phenomena in their environment, pace the “interference” of cultural accidents, what is it they observe? As I mentioned before, we are not born into a world of ready made phenomena. William James referred to the sensory world of a newborn baby as a “blooming, buzzing confusion”: Experience, from Read More…

50 words for snow 2: or, the economics of cultural categories

Humans evolved in a world where knowing whether an animal was an antelope or a lion was essential for their survival: they could eat the antelope, and they could be eaten by the lion. Accordingly, the human mind seems to have evolved to organize its knowledge of the natural world into sets of related categories Read More…

Even more videos by Adam Ford

Adam has caught up with the remainder of his interviews with me and put them on Facebook. Once more I remind viewers this was entirely ad hoc and unrehearsed. Late note: I have now added all the videos. Many thanks to Adam. Check out his Youtube feed.

Accommodating Science overview

I have done quite a lot of blogging under this heading lately so I thought it might be useful to get all the posts used in order: On beliefs Why do believers believe silly things? The function of denialism Why do believers believe THOSE silly things? The “developmental hypothesis” of belief acquisition How to argue Read More…

Accommodating science: Faith and reason

[This is the penultimate chapter. I can’t be bothered trying to get the references or footnotes included in the posts, so you’ll have to wait for the book. Some of this has appeared on the blog before in less well written form, so don’t worry about the deja vu] All religious systems, it is confessed, Read More…

Accommodating Science: Unpicking the arguments

So given that it is not entirely clear what religion is, or even what science is, it would help if we could put the arguments clearly. It is hard to find clear statements of either the accommodationist or the anti-accommodationist positions, so what we have to do first is reconstruct them. And to do that, Read More…

Accommodating Science: What is the problem?

[As I write the first draft of my accommodationism book, I will post chapters here under the Category “Accommodationism”. Here is the latest – which comes before Undefining Religion] The religion-versus-science debate took a special turn in the West because of the existence not only of doctrinal religion but of a monopolistic doctrinal religion that Read More…

Science outreach: A conversation

From the Freethinkers Blog Con: With PZ Myzer and Aron Ra.

Why do believers believe THOSE silly things?

If, as I argued in the last post, believers believe silly things in order to make the community cohere in the face of competing loyalties of the wider community, why is it that they believe the things they believe? For example, you will often see Jews attempt to argue that kashrut (kosher, in Yiddish) dietary rules Read More…