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This week on Think Atheist Radio we feature our chat with Dr. Massimo Pigliucci. Dr. Pigluicci is the Department of Philosophy Chair at the City University New York- Lehman College. A double PhD– one from biology from the University of Connecticut and one in the philosophy of science from the University of Tennessee– plus a doctorate in genetics from the University of Ferrara, Italy, he is a prominent skeptic, atheist, and critic of Intelligent Design/creationism and a proponent of scientific materialism. He has published numerous journal articles himself while also being the Editor in Chief of the journal Philosophy & Theory in Biology. He is the author of a catalog of great books including Evolution: The Extended Synthesis (co-written with Gerd B. Müller), Nonsense on Stilts: How to Tell Science From Bunk, and Tales of the Rational: Skeptical Essays on Nature and Science. His newest book, Answers for Aristotle– the topic of our conversation– is a discussion of how philosophy and science work together (indeed, are mutually indispensable) to inform a good, moral, and fulfilling life. During our chat with Dr. Pigliucci we touched on free will, political philosophy, ethics and the evolution of morality, plus more! Join us!
Would President Obama or Mitt Romney be better for US science?
Faye Flam points out, and it's certainly true, that one of the most difficult aspects of evolutionary theory for people to grasp is the notion that random copying errors in DNA can produce anything useful. In two recently published papers it's insects that show how DNA mistakes can create evolutionary innovation.
Our guest on Think Atheist Radio this week, Massimo Pigliucci, writes on two things that drive him nuts, two sides of the same coin– American exceptionalism and politically correct cultural relativism: my society really is better than yours.
Beginning from the fundamental principle of skepticism that you can't trust what you see Steven Novella discusses a recent paper demonstrating that we can trick our brains into perceiving something we are we in fact not experiencing: seeing what we feel.
Installing live camera feeds overlooking the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem, Christian tv networks are getting ready to cover the return of Jesus.
After the Edwina Rogers debacle of a few months ago you would think that the Secular Coalition would take greater care in their decisions regarding who they take on as a part of the organization. But recently they made a leader of their Pennsylvania state group out of Justin Vacula despite Vacula's apparently overt and gleeful anti-woman actions (including the posting of one prominent blogger's home address and an image of her residence). Vacula has since resigned following the ensuing uproar.
California has banned "gay-cure" therapy for minors. Meanwhile, the British Association for Counseling & Psychotherapy wrote to its nearly 30,000 members to let them know that "gay-cure" therapies are unacceptable, going one better on California in the lack of distinction between adults and minors.
The news has a stake in trying to pump up the drama of this election in order to keep people watching. The fact is, there's no contest. And this is still true even after Romney's surprising debate performance (or more accurately, the President's surprising failure). This of course DOES NOT give you leave to stay at home on election day!!!! It assumes that you WILL vote on election day. If you don't. All bets are off...
A new study shows that female baboons that have the most stable relationships and live the longest aren't necessarily those that are the highest in the dominance hierarchy or the ones with the most kin around, they were the nicest.
Why do some of us refuse to face facts? A new study concludes that it's simply easier for us cognitively to trust the lie.
A new study, based on 10 years worth of research, has it that kids behave like scientists all on their own, forming hypotheses, running experiments, and deciphering causal relationships about the world.
Correlation doesn't imply causation? How the internet came to adopt this concept and why people should stop acting like it's a reasonable response, much less the end to a debate.
If you've never seen cognitive psychologists Daniel Simons and Christopher Chabris's "gorilla basketball video" you should. It demonstrates an incredible flaw in our cognition called attentional blindness. It's the idea that, when focusing intently on one thing or task, we can miss utterly some other obvious aspect of our surroundings. Previous studies have used visual clutter to distract. However a new study has demonstrated the same effect by simply asking the subject to recall images from visual memory. Check out Steven Novella for more detail and for the real world implications.
An Arkansas state representative is attempting to do an end-around the law against school-sponsored prayer in schools by getting the kids to sing their prayers. Seriously.
Pro-Catholic Church members in the Australian police in concert with leading US Catholics are accused of derailing an inquiry into a priest accused of raping kids and teenagers in the 1970's.
More and more, cosmologists are pushing back our vision of the universe almost to the beginning of time.
Philosophy will be the key that unlocks artificial intelligence.
There's a lot of concern at the moment over mistakes, misconduct and misbehavior in science right now. Here are the two problems with science.
On the best way to convince an ideological entrenched audience that a worldview is correct.
Groups and gossip drove the evolution of human nature. So much for Ayn Rand...
What's it like to be a black atheist owing to how tied up Christianity is with African-American culture?
On the recent run of high profile peer-reviewed studies on genetically modified foods that are of dubious merit. When bad news stories help bad science go viral.
Will we ever travel faster than the speed of light?
Chris Hallquist took a look this week at William Lane Craig's response to being known as "the apologist that defends genocide."
Matt McCormick discusses a crippling problem with cosmological and teleological arguments for the existence of God.
The woo-woo magazine What Doctors Don't Tell You is threatening to sue skeptic and science advocate Simon Singh for stating on Twitter that the magazine offers health advice that could potentially harm readers. Some of the magazine's claims? You can "sunbathe your diabetes away" and that you can avoid a hysterectomy through diet.
Baby mice have now been created from stem cells.
Turns out the human impact on climate extends back to the Romans and Han Dynasty China.
"Everyone's entitled to their opinion" is a notion that all too often is offered in defense of a belief that should have been abandoned.
The number of people believing that the government should promote "traditional values" is at an all-time low.
Dealing with drama and burn-out in the Atheist Movement.
Voice, looks, and how we perceive people. Michael Shermer on our political irrationality.
Atheism+: What it is and why it's needed.
Paul Broun, Congressman from Georgia and high-ranking member of the House Science Committee, says that evolution and the big bang are both "lies straight from the pit of hell." Ethan Siegel took the opportunity to present all the ways our observations have confirmed the big bang.
1,000 evangelical preachers are going to break the law today and support Republicans from the pulpit and you should report them to the IRS.