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.

Monday, June 07, 2010

Massimo's Picks

* The new Rationally Speaking podcast is about Nonsense on Stilts, we apologize for the self-indulgence.
* And here is my recent appearance on American Freethought.
* Two more about self-promotion, then I quit: interview at KERA Public Radio from Texas...
* ... and on WNYC's Brian Leher show in New York.
* How rejection of scientific findings in one area leads to general skepticism about science.
* A computer program "recognizes" sarcasm. But does it get it?
* The third installation of the NYT's new philosophy blog, The Stone, finally gets it right. Read this article about the problems with stoicism.
* David Sloan Wilson doesn't like "angry atheists."
* How parenting makes you stupid, at least temporarily.


  1. Loved the podcast.

    This is probably a stupid question but in regard to seti, wouldn't setting the hypothesis as "ET intelligent does NOT exist" satisfy the criteria of falsification.

  2. downquark,

    well, if one thinks of that as the null hypothesis for SETI, it is very likely that it will never be falsified, since by far the most probable outcome of the entire program is that we won't find anything. This would be a very unusual case where the null has a huge advantage over the alternative hypothesis.

  3. The podcast was so interesting that I just ordered the book.

  4. Massimo,

    David Sloan Wilson is right, at least about one "new atheist."

    Dawkins does deny any benefits to religion. You can see an example of this by following Michael's link in his May, 11th 2010 picks.

    When it comes to religion Dawkins isn't a scientist, he's a Puritan.

  5. Sorry Massimo,

    I misread Hemant's statement.

    "No one — including Dawkins — denies that religion offers benefits like community and hope."

    In the Australian discussion panel Michael has a link to, I think Dawkins denied there were any mental health benefits.

    Which would be consistent with Hemant's claim.

  6. Although Traister exaggerates some, regrettably he is also somewhat correct. Fatherhood has severely cut into my reading time. Can't wait until my 6 year old turns about 15 and doesn't want to have anything to do with me. :)


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