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, January 13, 2012

Michael's Picks

by Michael De Dora

* State lawmakers set a record in 2011 for the most anti-reproductive rights provisions enacted in a single year, according to a new report from the Guttmacher Institute. Laura Bassett has more on this story.

* Should Christians be exempted from basic educational and professional standards because of their deeply held religious beliefs? That’s the question taken up in a recent article by David Moshman, professor of educational psychology at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

* James Croft says that secularists could be more effective in defending church-state separation if they instead framed such issues as a matter of church-state protection.

* Roman Catholic bishops in Illinois charge that being forced to follow the law while working with taxpayer money limits religious freedom. Susan Jacoby has more on this argument, which is unfortunately becoming popular.

* Many people think that moral beliefs and values cannot or should not be promoted or discredited by the government. Yet Anthony Sheldon, writing in The Guardian, argues that this notion is mistaken.

* Wendy Kaminer discusses a troubling animal rights law that could serve to protect commercial interests and make terrorists out of people who want to voice their concerns.

* Neuroeconomist Paul Zak has gotten a lot of attention for his just-released TED talk, titled “Trust, morality, and oxytocin.” While you can watch the 16-minute lecture here, CNN has now published a short article by Zak on that topic.

* Women in Egypt are fighting back against a vigilante group of ultra-conservative Muslim men who has been harassing retail shops and their customers for “indecency,” according to the news outlet Bikya Masar.


  1. Zak's work displays a frightening lack of thoughtfulness, clarity and understanding of the topic he is discussing. He seems blissfully unaware of the mountain of problems that face his approach. As an aside, the bit on Aristotle is hilariously uninformed. I would expect more from a blog called "Rationally Speaking".

  2. Nick,

    In fairness, it is a topical subject and so far nobody on this blog has even given their opinion. It is rash to jump to criticizing the authors of this blog.


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