Drama, journalism and science

Recently the Jonah Lehrer scandal was raised again when he was paid $20,000 to speak on his journalistic dishonesty by the Knight Foundation. I cynically noted on Twitter that being honest and as accurate as I could be netted me exactly nothing in the way of honoraria (I think I got a bottle of scotch Read More…

More on reductionism

I am presently teaching in a history subject dealing with ideas of nature, and I notice that the historians we are using often refer to a distinction between reductionism and holism. The former is the Bad Old Science (“we murder to dissect”) and the latter is the New Improved Science. This is something often stated as Read More…

Thoughts on gun control

There had been the Weapons Law, for a start. Weapons were involved in so many crimes that, Swing reasoned, reducing the number of weapons *had* to reduce the crime rate. Vimes wondered if he’d sat up in bed in the middle of the night and hugged himself when he’d dreamed *that* one up. Confiscate all Read More…

What is critical thinking

I’m typing away the pain tonight so I aim to be a bit crappy and annoyed. I often read on various websites, blogs, mailing lists and other propaganda (yes, this blog is propaganda: look it up) that this or that person or organisation is devoted to “critical thinking” and “rational thinking”. Obviously these are noble Read More…

Begging questions about philosophy, science and everything else

Those who know me well take great care not to say (at least when I am in earshot) “That begs the question…” and mean by that “That raises the question…”, or else they will get a dissertation delivered for a period on the right use of that phrase. That’s right, folks, I am a prescriptivist, at Read More…

Urkkkh!

If words were water, I would be paddling hard up to my ears being nibbled by piranha as an alligator came for me. So I haven’t said much here for a while. There’s this paper, this book, this contract, this report and this tendency for me to post comments elsewhere. So I recommend you all Read More…

Community, unbelief, and the rise of secularism

One of the things that losing full use of a limb causes, is that everything takes four times as long as it used to. So I haven’t blogged due to my being very busy, tired, or both. Sorry. I promised to reflect out loud on the Global Atheist Conspiracy Convention, but haven’t been able to Read More…

Dark days

In case you didn’t notice, just recently a number of web giants, as well as innumerable other websites, went “dark” in protest against the attempts to control the internet by the US government. But the US isn’t the first nation to attempt this. Iran, Turkey, India, China, and to the eternal shame of all Australians, Read More…

Prescriptions for atheists

Jeez. You go away for a few days, to the beach and countryside, and come back to find that progress has been made in philosophy; in particular regarding the right view to hold about religion and the religious. The story so far: I wrote a series of posts about agnosticism, especially one on what agnosticism Read More…

Why am I not speaking at 2012 Global Atheism?

Next year, in Melbourne, where I live and 2 hours from where I have been living over the past several years, the Global Atheism Convention will be held. I am an Australian practical atheist (and philosophical Agnostic, which will become significant in a minute), who has published in The Australian Book of Atheism and published Read More…