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.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Massimo's Picks

* The latest Rationally Speaking podcast is out, featuring National Center for Science Education's Eugenie Scott.
* Massive update of my PlatoFootnote site. You'll find lots of downloads of both technical papers and general articles, as well as links to recent media appearances.
* Here is my little discussion with Skeptico, a apropos of, among other things, near death experiences.
* Maureen Dowd on gay marriages. Such a no brainer, really.
* A brief philosophical analysis of why treating corporations as persons is a bad, bad idea.
* Are the New Atheists the New Martyrs?
* David Brooks' commentaries in the NYT belong to the realm of magical thinking...
* My genes made my cholesterol bad, it wasn't the triple cheese burgers!
* Not recent, but very good, commentary by Daniel Loxton about the limits of skepticism.
* Why American self-described deficit hawks are actually hypocrites.
* Insightful commentary about certain unquestioned assumptions in the media, the result of buying whole sale the Republican's "framing" of certain issues.
* Peter Singer makes a contribution to the NYT's philosophy blog.


  1. "The New Martyrs" article, while it has a point, ironically comes across incredibly whiny and martyrish on behalf of the "accommodationists".

  2. * Why American self-described deficit hawks are actually hypocrites.

    And the answer is...
    "They’re eager to slash benefits for those in need, but their concerns about red ink vanish when it comes to tax breaks for the wealthy."

    What's hypocritical? Eagerness to cut both spending and taxes? Opposing the redistribution of wealth from the rich to the poor?

  3. You must be some kind of libertarian, they seem to be the only ones not to understand that tax cuts for rich people also increase the deficit, and that they are by far the less fair economic policy a government can institute. Go on, bring the standard libertarian nonsense to bear on this one.

  4. Massimo,

    You link to a text on the "New Atheists Martyrs". I checked a few of the so-called "things" that Myers and others (M&O) are supposed to do and I found misrepresentations after misrepresentation. The one on vandalism of church property is singularly ridiculous; others are attributed to M&O while they are comments by readers of their blog; others I could not even verify; one however seems correct (the contest); I stopped after a few - I had enough. Mark you, I don't care one bit about Myers but there is nothing to gain by distorting so much of what they are saying. This discredits anything else that the author(s) of this text might say: how can one trust them when they show so much disregard for the facts? I'm quite surprised that you linked to such a text.

  5. But without straw men, "accommodationists" wouldn't have anything to criticize "New Atheists" about?

    Massimo, hope you discuss the interview on Skeptiko on the next podcast. Great job!

  6. Not only is the "yournothelping" blogger whiny (as downquark notes) and prone to distorting matters of fact (as JP notes), he's also been exposed as a habitual sock-puppeteer. There's only one word for such a person: pathetic. Massimo, I'm surprised that you found any merit in this intellectual lightweight's agenda-driven drivel.

  7. Massimo,

    Your response was not only rude, but also undermined your argument.
    If libertarians are, as you say, "the only ones not to understand that tax cuts for rich people also increase the deficit," then they're not hypocrites for advocating tax cuts.

  8. Max,

    I guess I'm losing patience with libertarians. I am beginning to think of them as an ideological cult impervious to argument and devoted to selfishness, not my cup of tea, thank you.


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