About Rationally Speaking

Rationally Speaking is a blog maintained by Prof. Massimo Pigliucci, a philosopher at the City University of New York. The blog reflects the Enlightenment figure Marquis de Condorcet's idea of what a public intellectual (yes, we know, that's such a bad word) ought to be: someone who devotes himself to "the tracking down of prejudices in the hiding places where priests, the schools, the government, and all long-established institutions had gathered and protected them." You're welcome. Please notice that the contents of this blog can be reprinted under the standard Creative Commons license.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Massimo's picks

* A philosopher's take on why atheists do care about religion.

* Hey! The Huff Post gets it right on pseudoscience, for once!

* The real problem with the Arab world: religious intolerance.

* Turns out, real atheists are happy people!

* An op-ed in the New York Times about Palin's poison and the sorry state of the American political debate.

* An old gem: Bill Maher interviews Noam Chomsky, back in 2004.

* For laughs: Daily Show's Larry Wilmore on how whites will soon be the new minority.

* Recommended book: Carl Sagan's The Varieties of Scientific Experience.

* The "death panels" are already here, according to Salon: they are held by health insurance companies.

* Why moderate conservatives are complicit in anti-health care violence and should do something to stop it.

* Fiji water: drink it if you'd like to ruin the environment and support a brutal dictatorship.

* 538's challenge to global warming skeptics: put your money where you mouth is.


  1. The Canadian college prof's essay on being careful in criticizing religion is spot on ! Thank you.
    BTW, Massi, what do you think of Kindle?

  2. Here's a great op-ed by Rick Perlstein, a historian who has been specializing in the history of the conservative movement (he's written a book on Goldwater and one on Nixon; his next will cover Reagan.) It's about the consistency of crazy within the conservative movement, but the difference today being we lack a responsible media to treat crazy accordingly.

  3. Sabio,

    oh, I've written before about the Kindle, I love it, despite some obvious room for improvement. Here is a whole post about it: http://rationallyspeaking.blogspot.com/2009/07/new-yorker-vs-kindle.html

  4. I love Bill Maher and his show. But I am not so sure he and the format of his show was worth Chomsky's time.

    Chomsky has addressed the question of why he is not asked to go on Nightline like shows, and why he generally doesn't like to. Because most of television is not amenable to serious discussion.

    You could see how Chomsky felt uncomfortable with the first question, because it was something that calls for more sophisticated analysis than is allowed for in this context.

  5. Thanks for the link. It makes me very happy, and flattered, that people are spreading this one around.

  6. Stephanie,

    you are welcome. Very good piece.


  7. You all might be interested in this YouTube video by an atheist titled:

    "Why Atheists Care About YOUR Religion"

  8. Speaking of the history of the conservative movement, theocracywatch.org has amassed a great deal of information on the subject, including some very informative videos that deserve a wider audience. In particular, I suggest The Rise of Dominionism, as it provides a very interesting and informative history of how the religious right rose to power and made the Republican revolution of the 80s possible. In many instances, the astroturfing and anti-democratic tactics we are seeing today are identical to what went on then.

    These powerful forces do not hesitate to violate any aspect of the social contracts that make civil societies possible, whenever it advances their interest to do so. Their interest? Uncontested power, of course.

    People need to wise up and rise up. We are closer to seeing the end of the Great Experiment than people seem to realize if we do not. It would be far better to fix the system than scrap it...but it would require a true grassroots movement to do it. Short of direct action by the people on a massive scale, corporate "personhood" appears to be a juggernaut that may only be stopped by its own self-destruction. Unfortunately, it seems that most of the people who are prepared to act are getting duped into colluding with the astroturfing efforts...although that may well be merely a misperception brought to you by corporate media.


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