I have been involved in a number of arguments about scientific consensus. The most recent debate has convinced me to write about the topic in depth. The idea of scientific consensus has been popular since reports that 97% of all papers offering a position on climate change assert that climate change is happening. I am not going to address the validity of theories on climate change. But it is important to point out a number of issues with relying on consensus among scientists. First, peer reviewed publishing is dominated by a handful of authors.« Continue »
Certain people who argue against the existence of an eternal afterlife like to argue that it would feel like “hell” or that we cannot even imagine it. I disagree. There are ways that we can guess what it would be like, and to find a clue to this question, all one needs is a little bit of calculus.« Continue »
Religion is not an illness. This short discussion provides one of many arguments as to why this is the case.« Continue »
Faith and Belief: Remnants of Our Ancestry Used to Enslave Our Minds, by Glen Vickers, attempts to look at the evolutionary psychology of religion, but fails miserably. It had the potential to be a solid work, however it could have benefited from better fact checking, a more skilled copy editor, and the reliance on citation. It also suffers from clear biases against religion, expressed by the author, rather than scientific objectivity. « Continue »
I have written a few articles on the misrepresentation of scientific theory. I have pointed out that theories are not “fact.” They are not known to be true. In the past, I have used the word “consistent” rather than “true” in order to address a theory, but consistency is not really enough to describe how “good” a theory is. For this, “robustness” is needed. While this short discussion does not generate an actual metric for robustness, I use the term enough that I should at least explain what I mean, in general, when I say that a theory is or is not robust.« Continue »
The other day I received my mug from MST3K. I was one of the lucky (or unlucky) ones that received an intact mug. Of course, calling it a mug is debatable, since it has no handle. So the task with which I was faced was to create some kind of drink that does not require a handle. For that, I created the Mad Scientist cocktail, named after the Mad family from the show. « Continue »
Omiai is the tradition of arranged marriages in Japan, and it was a very large component of finding relationships in Japan, up until the 60s. Indeed, according to Typing the Knot, just half a century ago, around 70% of all marriages were arranged marriages, but by 1998, that number fell to less than 10%. Now, whether arranged marriages are “good” or not is beyond the scope of this article. There are benefits and there are negatives.
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Whether or not we are to oppose a cultural system depends on a variety of factors.
Some atheists are offended when people say that they will pray for them. I have no such issue with prayer. I simply don’t believe it will work.« Continue »