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Posted inHistory

The unmaking of Enlightenment myth

Reading Time: 2 minutes In this week’s first column, “The Enlightenment didn’t change everything,” I explored how vaguely gesturing at histories of “The Enlightenment” does a disservice to the present. There was no magical transformation in human neurobiology in the 17th and 18th centuries. No sudden shift from a time of mystic thinking to an era without. Enlightenment myth […]

Posted inHistory

The Enlightenment didn’t change everything

Reading Time: 9 minutes My eldest nephew was three years old the first time I let him down. We were watching a video about deep-space exploration, and I had just finished explaining that “we” had launched Voyagers 1 and 2 in 1977, to study the outer solar system and interstellar space. “We? Did you do that?” “Well, no, I […]

Posted inGeneral

Carl Sagan: Brilliant Skeptic

Reading Time: 3 minutes By James A. Haught Astronomer Carl Sagan wrote a blunt attack on all forms of magical thinking. In The Demon-Haunted World, he assails: Astrology horoscopes, faith-healing, UFO “abductions,” religious miracles, New Age occultism, fundamentalist “creationism,” tarot card reading, prayer, prophecy, palmistry, transcendental meditation, satanism, weeping statues, “channeling” of voices from the dead, holy apparitions, extrasensory […]

Posted inGeneral

Other Minds and Problems with Idealism

Reading Time: 11 minutes Time to get back to some philosophy. Today we will be briefly looking at the position of idealism as developed by many German philosophers, but including the famous Bishop Berkeley and then taken on by Moravian philosopher Edmund Husserl and other Continental philosophers. Defining our terms Here are some pretty basic definitions of some useful […]

Posted inEvolution, Philosophy, Science

Answering Questions about Empiricism as Foundational: Abiogenesis, Language and Incredulity

Reading Time: 6 minutes Goodness me. Here’s another comment from See that he demands is answered, dripping as it is with condescension, and full of naivety. This came in the middle of his points being soundly debunked. As ever, I write this not so much for him, but for all the other readers. Some of See’s comments are regular […]

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