Tag Archives: Michael Shermer

Do Democracy, Mass Education, and Economic Prosperity Weaken God Belief?

Michael Shermer thinks so, and he has some data that supports him. Writing at Scientific American, here he is on democracy and mass education: One factor [in the decline of God belief internationally] is the dramatic spread of democracy around … Continue reading

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Carl Sagan Day: Three Historians Reflect on Carl Sagan’s Life

For “Carl Sagan Day” (which is today), this extended reflection on Carl Sagan’s life seems fitting to post.

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Baloney Detector

How well does a belief that you currently subscribe to hold up under these 10 questions? Do I have any actual evidence for the thing I say I believe, and what is the extent and quality of that evidence? If … Continue reading

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Flim-Flam Watch: Microbiologist Rosie Redfield on Felisa Wolfe-Simon’s Mono Lake Arsenic Based Life Claim

In a recent blog post, microbiologist Rosie Redfield is scathing concerning Felisa Wolfe-Simon’s recent claim, made in a scientific paper (Wolfe-Simon et al. 2010, A Bacterium That Can Grow by Using Arsenic Instead of Phosphorus) that arsenic based life may have been … Continue reading

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Biologist Jerry Coyne vs. Adam and Eve

At his blog this week, Jerry Coyne calls out the BioLogos Foundation, a self-professed reconciler of good science with reasonable religion, for not unequivocally rejecting the historicity of Adam and Eve: BioLogos does not take an official position on the historicity of … Continue reading

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Silencing atheism: I find this news report sad

A billboard put up by an atheist group is vandalized by a theist who apparently could not bear a dissenting opinion on religion within his community: Oops. It doesn’t embed. See it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1SO7K4UL7kk When you can’t even stand exposure to opinions … Continue reading

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La Brea Tar Pits’ Page Science Museum sells a pseudoscience product—“Mystery Marbles”—at its museum store

The George C. Page Museum, adjacent to the famous La Brea Tar Pits in Los Angeles, is a natural history museum devoted to the fossil discoveries drawn from the tar pits. In other words, it’s a place for science and … Continue reading

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John Stuart Mill (1806-1873) on Hell Belief and Critical Thinking

In John Stuart Mill’s Autobiography  is a brilliant reflection on hell belief: he argues that belief in hell is made paradoxically both strong and weak by an across the board system failure in critical thinking. Here are the two critical thinking errors that Mill … Continue reading

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Teaser for the Pilot TV Show “The Skeptologists”

Michael Shermer and his gang of skeptical inquirers look like they’re channeling the Sopranos. And in the word “skeptologist” I feel a vague association with “exorcist.” I don’t know if this show is ever going beyond the pilot stage—or if any … Continue reading

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A Great Critical Thinking Quote from Groucho Marx

Watching Animal Crackers last night, a line of Groucho’s jumped out at me as the voice of all people possessed of a vested interest in producing and maintaining a culture hostile to critical thinking (which, of course, is damn near everybody): Once we … Continue reading

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Is Atheism Just the Rejection of Belief in Gods?

In discussing atheism with atheists I’ve noticed that there is a good deal of resistance on their part whenever I claim that atheism, logically, is in the possession of a positive ideology: naturalism. No, they will say, an atheist is just someone who sees no good … Continue reading

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Blogging Schick and Vaughn’s “How to Think about Weird Things,” Chapter 3, page 37

Something that jumped out at me early on in chapter 3 of the college critical thinking text, Schick and Vaughn’s How to Think about Weird Things (5th edition, 2008), is the distinction that was made between argument and persuasion. To win support for … Continue reading

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Blogging Schick and Vaughn’s “How to Think about Weird Things,” Chapter 2

Every other year or so I find myself returning to Theodore Schick and Lewis Vaughn’s critical thinking text, How to Think about Weird Things, and rereading the whole darn thing through again. Schick and Vaughn’s book is a rather popular college text, and it’s in its sixth edition. … Continue reading

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Should Liberals Have a Scientistic or Poetic Vision for Society?

This is a question that Stanford philosopher Richard Rorty used to ask, and he put it another way as well: is it the scientist or the poet who is (or should be) the liberal’s hero? Or to put it yet another way: Is a human … Continue reading

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A Golden Rule for the 21st Century? And a Quote That Rivals Anything in Shakespeare or the Bible?

I certainly don’t always live up to it, but this quote of Spinoza’s, like Shakespeare’s “to be or not to be”, or the Bible’s “love your neighbor”, is also a taut summing up of one aspect of existence, the intellectual … Continue reading

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Barack Obama and Critical Thinking

According to the New York Times today, President Obama’s decision to send an additional 30,000 troops into Afghanistan was the product of a painstaking process of deliberation, dialogue, reading, debate, and general critical analysis: The three-month review that led to … Continue reading

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Michael Shermer, Responding to Jerry Coyne’s Accusation that He is a “Faitheist”, Quotes Me as More Properly Characterizing His Position

Here’s what Shermer says about his perspective on atheist accommodation of religion: This comment well captured my position and needs no further comment: “What Shermer is trying to make peace with are sensible moderate theists, not fundamentalists. It is the people in … Continue reading

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Atheist Michael Shermer, in the Huffington Post, Quotes Me

And favorably! Shermer thought I had offered an amusing blog post retort to Jerry Coyne’s charge that he (Shermer) had gone soft on theism and now deserved the label “faitheist”. See Shermer’s Huffington Post piece here, and my blog post that Shermer quotes from here.

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Dissent in New Atheistland: Jerry Coyne Takes After Michael Shermer!

At Jerry Coyne’s blog today, Coyne takes after Michael Shermer for being a little too cozy with religion: It always amuses me when an accommodationist tells the faithful that no, there is no conflict between science and religion, at least not if they … Continue reading

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Go with Throttle Up? Skeptic Magazine on the Large Hadron Collider

In reading my most recent dead tree edition of Skeptic magazine, I noticed that there were two articles on the Large Hadron Collider and the potential catastrophic effects that could come from bringing it up to full power (black holes eating the Earth, etc). … Continue reading

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