Neil Tyson And The Value Of Philosophy

Reprinted from Scientia Salon. You can read the original here.It seems like my friend Neil deGrasse...

What Does It Mean For Something To Be Metaphysically Necessary?

I mentioned before, this semester I’m teaching a graduate level seminar on David Hume, and having...

David Hume And The Missing Shade Of Blue

This semester I’m teaching a graduate level course on “Hume Then and Now,” which aims at...

Is Theologian Alving Plantinga For Real? Alas, It Appears So

I keep hearing that Notre Dame philosopher and theologian Alvin Plantinga is a really smart guy...

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Massimo PigliucciRSS Feed of this column.

Massimo Pigliucci is Professor of Philosophy at the City University of New York.

His research focuses on the structure of evolutionary theory, the relationship between science and philosophy

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If you live in New York and like to feel a part of the local intelligentsia, you simply have to read The New Yorker. Which I do, regularly, every week.
Those of you who know or follow me surely realize that I'm not exactly a guy with a lot of spare time on his hands. Yet, I just launched a second blog devoted to short entries (mostly a paragraph with an accompanying link) to document the fact that gullibility is bad for your health.
I’m reviewing a book by philosopher of science Peter Godfrey-Smith entitled “Darwinian Populations and Natural Selection.” (This is not the book review, forthcoming.) Godfrey-Smith makes an excellent argument at some point in the book (chapter 7, on the gene’s eye view) that genes are not at all the sort of things Richard Dawkins and some other biologists think they are.
I just finished reading an interesting book review by physicist Martin Blume in a recent issue of Nature. Blume was reviewing Eugenie Samuel Reich’s provocative book “Plastic Fantastic: How the Biggest Fraud in Physics Shook the Scientific World,” and the whole thing prompted some further thoughts about scientific misconduct, objectivity, and the peer review system that is crucial to the advancement of science.

Reich’s book is apparently very well researched (I take Blume’s word for it, since material physics is not my field), but she draws exactly the wrong conclusion from the case study she so thoroughly investigated.
I have pondered writing about the transhumanism movement for a while, and the opportunity has finally landed on my desktop when I read a brief article by Kyle Munkittrick of the Institute for Emerging Ethics&Technologies. The article is in the form of a FAQ expressly addressing the question of whether aging is a moral good, and in it Munkittrick briefly explains and (thinks that he) refutes some of the standard arguments against transhumanism. Let’s take a look.
The evidence is in. The scientific community has reached a clear consensus that vaccines don’t cause autism. There is no controversy.” So begins an in-depth discussion of the vaccines-cause-autism nonsense penned by “SkepDoc” Harriet Hall in a recent issue of eSkeptic. It is a must read for any thinking person who has been baffled by the likes of Jenny McCarthy and her unconscionable sponsors, boyfriend Jim Carrey (who bankrolls McCarthy’s dangerous ignorance) and Oprah Winfrey (who provides McCarthy with television time so that she can endanger the lives of even more children).