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.

Friday, February 05, 2010

Julia's Picks

* A geologist friend of mine up at Yale just made a groundbreaking discovery that appeared in Science this week: we now know how to infer the color of a dinosaur from its fossil. Spoiler alert: They were pretty zany-looking.

* The infamous, severely flawed paper that originally linked vaccines and autism has finally been officially repudiated by the journal that published it.

* Great interview with David Albert, a Columbia philosopher of science, touching on questions like: How is our everyday notion of time flawed? and What are some of the biggest misconceptions about science? (Note: you can click "Interview transcript" if you'd rather read than watch.)

* Ricky Gervais explains Genesis.

* Hundreds of protestors last week downed entire bottles of homeopathic pills, to prove they're ineffectual.

Six fields in which the "professionals" don't know what they're talking about, from stock experts to wine tasters.


  1. Well, there is another side to the homeopathic story. Those from brainwashed Western medicine who decry the efficacy of not only yak penis for fertility, but vitamins as well.

    If these daring doers are of the same ilk, I've got a bottle of B-vitamins I'd love to see them down.

  2. I don't know that the comedian on Genesis is particularly brilliant or funny. Comedians are known foremost for mocking things that they don't understand. The key point that he seems to miss tho Julia is that NO ONE was there to observe the beginning of time and the beginning of the creation of the universe. So while it seems quite profound that he can pull the ideas about creation and Genesis apart in theory, I wonder if this Ricky guy has been able to CREATE anything substantive but doubt in people? Not hard to do really. Like serpent in Genesis said, "Hath God said?" I guess the man is just a mouthpiece after that order.

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  5. A geologist friend of mine up at Yale just made a groundbreaking discovery...

    Really? A geologist made a groundbreaking discovery? *sigh* Humor has really hit rock bottom around here. I thought this blog occupied the top strata of the internets, but now it's the pits. Massimo, where did you dig up this Julia kid?


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