Category Archives: philosophy

Massimo Pigliucci goes after “scientism” for the umpteenth time

Here we have philosophy professor Massimo Pigliucci speaking about scientism at last year’s CSIcon in Las Vegas; his title is “The variety of scientisms and the limits of science.” There are several talks recently posted from this meeting, which I think is the successor to Randi’s “The Amazing Meeting”, and I’ll highlight a few of […]

Are some truths not worth knowing?

I was listening for the first time to the famous “Four Horseman” video discussion with Richard Dawkins, Dan Dennett, Sam Harris, and Christopher Hitchens, and noted that, near the end, they discuss the possibility that some scientific facts might not be worth knowing, or even be dangerous to know. (Dan mentions determinism, though he doesn’t […]

My podcast on free will at Left at the Valley

Left at the Valley is an atheist/science/politics podcast emanating from the Fraser Valley of Western Canada. I’ve been on it once before, talking about evolution, but this time they wanted to discuss free will. Before you get all het up and ready to pound the keys, I defined the kind of free will I’m discussing […]

Jesus ‘n’ Mo ‘n’ morals

Here’s the new Jesus and Mo strip, called “say”. The accusation is quite familiar to many of us; not only are we, as secularists, not supposed to have any “grounding” for our morality, but are also said to be arrogant and evincing morally superiority. Well, if “morally superior” means that we think about how to […]

Edinburgh Coursera lecture equating evolution and creationism as equally “faith based” vanishes from the web, but the science-bashing continues

Three days ago I put up a post showing a short lecture by philosopher S. Orestis Palermos that was part of a University of Edinburgh Coursera course on Science and Philosophy. His lecture basically equated evolutionary biology with creationism, dismissing both as “pseudoscience”. (The course was also sponsored by—to its eternal shame—the John Templeton Foundation.) […]

Tom Clark on the upside of determinism

Reader Tom Clark, who runs the site Naturalism.org and comments here on that topic, gave a lecture last winter on determinism, and I’ve put the video below. The YouTube notes say this: Talk given for the Campus Atheist and Secular Humanists at University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, Nov. 2, 2017. For a related article, see “Fully […]

Why do intellectuals avoid discussing free will and determinism?

One thing that’s struck me while interacting with various Scholars of Repute is how uncomfortable many get when they have to discuss free will. I’m not talking about Dan Dennett here, as of course he’s a compatibilist and is glad to cross swords with anybody—while admitting sotto voce that yes, we could not have chosen […]

Raoul Martinez on free will and the implications of determinism

I’ve published related talks by polymath Raoul Martinez before (see here), but not this one: a 17.5-minute talk delivered in 2013 and called “Creating freedom.” It has only a bit more than 36,000 views, and given the importance of its message, it deserves more. I suppose it’s because it’s delivered in a very low key manner, […]

A free course on Effective Altruism, taught by Peter Singer

Coursera is offering a free course in “Effective Altruism“—taught by the famous (and controversial) philosopher Peter Singer—starts on January 22.  Here’s the summary: About this course: Effective altruism is built on the simple but unsettling idea that living a fully ethical life involves doing the most good one can. In this course you will examine […]

E. O. Wilson: confused about free will

An article in the September 14 Harper’s, “On Free Will (and How the Brain is like a Colony of Ants”), gives an excerpt from Wilson’s book released that year, The Meaning of Human Existence.  In the piece and the passage below, Wilson appears to be a sort of compatibilist, but I find his discussion so […]