Category Archives: Scepticism

Frankly, Rationalists Should Be Less Aspirational…

Scott Alexander writes with some frustration on smug critics of the “rationalist” movement, who, for him, criticise its supposed utopianism and arrogance without acknowledging its efforts to avoid such errors. I think there is value in their attempts to objectively … Continue reading

Posted in Rationalism, Scepticism, Uncategorized | 7 Comments

On Pinkglossianism

Steven Pinker is not wrong to say that some things have got better – or even that some things are getting better. We live longer. We have more food. We have more medicine. We have more free time. We have … Continue reading

Posted in Scepticism | 4 Comments

Seven Signs of Bad Conspiracy Theories…

I’m very open to a bit of conspiracy theorising. Yes, I know my MKUltra from my COINTELPRO. I still doubt that Megrahi did the Lockerbie bombings. World Trade Center 7 did look weird as it came down. I even suspect … Continue reading

Posted in America, Scepticism | 2 Comments

In Praise of Bias…

We sometimes talk as if “bias” is a bad thing. It can be. If I want to answer a purely factual question, for example, bias may be an impediment. Yet the fact that we are biased suggests that it has … Continue reading

Posted in Rationalism, Scepticism | 2 Comments

More Fun With New Atheists…

More astonishingly unintentional new atheist humour comes from the biologist Jerry Coyne. Coyne is known for reviewing books he has not read and now attacks a conference that has yet to take place. Not only is Coyne’s hostile judgement based … Continue reading

Posted in Rationalism, Religion, Scepticism, Science | 2 Comments

More on Middlebrow Epistemology…

A while ago I wrote on “middlebrow epistemology”… that form of argumentation that has the essential qualities of a pub argument – the factoids, the simplifications, the argumentum ad passiones – but decently covers them with a figleaf of rationality. … Continue reading

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The Virtues of Staying Quiet…

“Whereof one cannot speak,” wrote Wittgenstein in Tractatus, “Thereof must one be silent.” The immediacy and excitement of social media and online journalism have encouraged people to ignore this and hold forth on everything. Mouthing off with insufficient knowledge of … Continue reading

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