That’s just your science

An article over at Wired talks in detail about the overblown reputation and fears of the notorious brown recluse spider (Loxosceles reclusa) and, as is so typical of any attempt to impart some needed perspective to the general public, it crashes like a wave against the rock of human nature – at least, if [...]

Recognizing pseudoscience

One would think that recognizing pseudoscience is an easy thing, almost intuitive – and, to be honest, it is, provided the right measuring stick is used. But there’s simple, and then there’s simple, you know?

First off, we can get some other bits out of the way first. There’s no reason to get all [...]

Alien psychology

I feel slightly guilty about appending an ‘astronomy’ tag to this, because it’s going to seem not just distantly-related, but wholly out of place to some reading. Yet, there really is a legitimate bearing, as I hope to demonstrate. So let’s take a brief look at the history of extra-terrestrial encounters, because sometimes it [...]

To the rescue! Or, not…

I think most people know that there are certain kinds of fires that you don’t throw water on to extinguish, primarily grease, oil, gasoline, and electrical. In such cases, water is simply going to make matters much worse, either by splashing and floating the burning substances to disperse in a wider range, or by [...]

I read this article that said…

When I was taking an online course on reasoning and constructing good arguments (which I never completed, but that’s another post,) there was one interesting tidbit that was covered: some conclusion might be perfectly correct, but the argument leading to the conclusion could be flawed or unsupportive. That’s the most applicable thing that can [...]

Marvel of design

[Click on the 'Play' arrow below for the podcast version. If it stalls, try reloading the page.] [Audio clip: view full post to listen] I delayed this one slightly to serve as my Darwin Day post ;-)

I freely admit that there are some really stunning things to be found in nature – in [...]

Grecian troublemakers

This is a revisit of a subject that I first broached in this post, which I felt needed more examination. So let’s return to that radical concept of Phi.

Phi is a mathematical ratio that, curiously enough, has more than a few close representations in nature. It is an irrational number, one of those [...]

Seneca Falls, we have a problem

All right, I admit that title might be a little confusing, since not too many people are familiar with the hamlet of Seneca Falls, New York, but on top of it being only 12 km from where I grew up (which is well worth remembering,) it was the location of the first Convention on Women’s Rights in 1848. We’ve come a long way since then – unfortunately, the direction has become somewhat questionable. While there is a lot of support for feminism being closely aligned with skepticism, enough that many people believe they are sisters, the grim reality is that their relation is superficial at best, and almost diametrically opposed at times. And the fact that pointing this out is sufficient to engender long diatribes in response is actually support of it by itself, but let’s go into it a bit deeper than that. This is long, so it continues after the break.
Continue reading “Seneca Falls, we have a problem”

Attorney for god

Over at Why Evolution Is True, Jerry Coyne featured a comment from a reader giving very precise criteria for his/her own conversion to believing evolution. Provided with several examples, however, said reader suddenly became intently interested in the fine print and actual wording of both their own statement and those of the responses. Why [...]

Superstitious?

During a phone conversation with a friend the other night, I admitted to holding some senseless superstitions, and got (rightfully) berated for it. As punishment, he assigned me a five hundred word essay on superstition, so don’t be blaming me if this is boring – it’s his assignment. I’m just not sure I can [...]