Category Archives: scientism

Nathaniel Comfort gets all angry about a tweet from Steve Pinker

Two days ago I wrote a critique of a curiously disjointed and poorly written article by science historian Nathaniel Comfort: a critique of science and “scientism” published in Nature. It was a garbled mixture of postmodern and woke sentiments, making a bogus claim that discoveries like the microbiome and epigenetics have radically altered our “sense […]

Op-ed in science journal Nature disses science and “scientism”, questions Enlightenment values

Nathaniel Comfort, author of the risible Nature essay at hand (click on screenshot below), is a professor in the history of medicine at Johns Hopkins University. We’ve met him three times before on this site; he seems to be a postmodernist who dislikes genes, New Atheism, and Richard Dawkins.  Now he’s written about. . . . […]

A misguided attack on scientism in Quillette

How many times do I have to criticize attacks on scientism, all of which use various permutations of the same three claims? Here they are: 1.) There are “other ways of knowing” that don’t involve science. These often involve “why” questions, like “Why am I here? (i.e. what is my purpose?)” or “Why is the […]

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 […]

Ways of Knowing: my talk in Bangalore

Here’s the full content of yesterday’s talk in Bangalore, “Ways of Knowing: Science versus Everything Else”, along with the questions at the end. Due to my poor hearing and occasional inability to make out Indian-accented English, I had to ask for some help in translating a few questions. It was livestreamed but is now on […]

Oy! Rebecca Goldstein versus Professor Ceiling Cat (Emeritus)

I am doubly aggrieved this morning, for even us battle-hardened website bosses can be hurt, especially when it’s by a friend. Or at least I thought philosopher Rebecca Goldstein was a friend, as our relations have always been amiable and I’ve admired her work. So I was hurt when I discovered yesterday, by accident, that […]

NY Times hires science disser as op-ed writer

Late last month, the New York Times hired conservative Bret Stephens as an op-ed writer. Only 43 years old, Stephens had previously worked at the Wall Street Journal, where he won a Pulitzer Prize for commentary in 2013. While Stephens isn’t an out-and-out denialist of global warming, he’s always tried to minimize its potential effects on our planet. […]

Two creationists and an anti-“scientism” advocate write in

This is just a small selection of some recent comments that didn’t make it below the fold, but are being displayed in prime time here. I can either ban the writers (creationists and science-dissers usually get automatic bans), or can moderate them and let you do battle. Remember, though, that the chances they’ll change their […]

At last: a rational thinker at “The Stone”

Over the years I’ve repeatedly documented the wooly thinking, religious apologetics, and general mushbrain-y analysis at “The Stone”, a philosophy blog at the New York Times. But very rarely the editors will deign to let a rationalist or—horrors!—an atheist have a column. And today it’s Duke University philosopher Alex Rosenberg, who is about the most “militant” atheist—and […]

Templeton invades the World Science Festival (again)

Every year the World Science Festival, organized by physicist Brian Greene and CEO Tracy Day, gets a dollop of cash from Templeton (the sponsors are here), and every year it has a few “Big Ideas” Symposia directly sponsored by Templeton. Most of the ones for this year (program here) look fairly tame, but then there’s […]