Why is a scientific mindset superior to competing epistemological frameworks? Science is far more than a body of knowledge and facts. It is far more than the myopic stereotype of donning lab coats, shaking beakers and peering through microscopes. It truly is a way of thinking about everything.
A discussion about the recent overuse of the word bullshit in science and skeptic journalism. Must we really have to just call everything "bullshit" this often now in journalism? Is there no more room to use sophisticated, varied and non-inflammatory language to make a point? Does it not also affect the credibility of an otherwise important message when resorting to fifty cent words? Or is this simply a clickbait, sensational and opportunistic journalistic approach?
Last night, SCTS was tagged in a post from a new age spiritual page. It's not clear why, but we ended up, unsurprisingly, disagreeing with the claims being made and had some interesting conversations.A subscriber on that page contacted me last night and asked me a few questions. I thought I would share our response. TLDR warning! Question: I really enjoyed the debate but you left me hanging without a response on several issues. The unanswered question I'm most curious about is: if everything must come from something, how does science explain initial creation? Maybe I'm wrong but you guys believe in the Big Bang right? Where did all of that energy come from in the beginning if there was no creator? I've never been able to ask an atheist this question. I'm honestly and sincerely curious of your response. Thanks! XXX
Why “Alternative” Medicine isn't medicine, misunderstood, cheap, or harmless. I know this is a polarized subject that makes most people uncomfortable. Apart from those who oppose “alternative” medicine, people either accept the validity of one or another practice, or feel that it is “bad manners” to “tell people how to live their lives”. It’s their money, their health, their choice; what moral and tolerant person would go about telling people they’re making bad choices? My answer is, the kind of person that actually cares about what’s good for people, both individually and collectively.
Self awareness is a function of our evolved conscious brain. But why the sensation of an "I" or a "self." Why are we not just a robot without an inner voice? Why do we have the impression of having a little homunculus sitting behind our eyes, with whom we can engage and even talk with?
This picture is a good example for discussing subjectivity and objectivity. It is also a good opportunity to discuss philosophical relativism. If you were to see this object from the right side, you would claim it to be circular. If you were to see it from the left side, you would claim it to be a square.
The supposedly immaterial soul, we now know, can be bisected with a knife, altered by chemicals, started or stopped by electricity, and extinguished by a sharp blow or by insufficient oxygen.
When we positively assert something, we are making ontological claims. We are all doing it all the time, often without even knowing it. We are essentially claiming that a phenomenon or thing 'is' (exists) or that A causes B, for example. We can also make a positive ontological claim of non existence or that A does not cause B. To be intellectually honest, these assertions carry with them an obligation on our part to support that claim using reason and evidence.
We live at an amazing time. Information has never been so available and abundant. Modern technology affords virtually every human being the ability to access a global database of human knowledge and information with only a few keystrokes and a cheap internet connection. We have the instantaneous capability to query, parse and review all of recorded history, legal and political deliberations and records, public companies' financial information, education resources and technical scholarly material, including the most cutting edge ideas and data in science and technology.
What does solipsism, postmodernism, biocentrism, relativism –moral or any other– and supernaturalism have in common? They claim there is no “objective” reality. Invariably, a conversation about scientific realism or morality ends up hitting the wall of “subjectivity”. “But all of your arguments are only subjective! How can you say they are applicable to anyone else?” Also, invariably, quantum mechanics is used as “scientific proof” of solipsism; our “consciousness” creates the world, after all.