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Rebecca Watson, a speaker at skeptical conference and events, and someone who has courted controversy before (I think she was involved in the Elevatorgate issue, though I know almost nothing about it since it holds little interest to me)., has taken it upon herself at the recent Skepticon conference to diss Evolutionary Psychology (EP). I use the term diss, because that’s about the sum of it. There seemed to be no real desire to interact with the required academia or methodology involved in critiquing scientific findings. This is sad coming from the source and the event that it did.

A co-writer here at SIN, Ed Clint, is an evolutionary psychologist and took umbrage at Watson’s attack, both in content and methodology, on EP. He wrote a long and detailed refutation of her points. Now, say what you want about EP, this is not the point to me, but if you want to adequately refute something then you must use adequate techniques. There is gross hypocrisy when you do not. We expect non-skeptics and theists to be able to defend their positions and attack ours using a robust, non-fallacious system of argumentation. We should expect even more form our own ranks.

Ed, in a polite and level-headed essay, superbly crafted, showed that such sloppy work is irresponsible, especially from someone in such a well-regarded and influential position.

Check out his essay here, and let me know what you think.

Simply put, I expect more and better from such speakers.

Jonathan MS Pearce

A TIPPLING PHILOSOPHER Jonathan MS Pearce is a philosopher, author, columnist, and public speaker with an interest in writing about almost anything, from skepticism to science, politics, and morality,...