Table of Contents
Massimo Pigliucci's monthly column that covers a wide variety of skeptical subjects including politics, religion and ecology.
What's New in Rationally Speaking
From Column to Blog
By Massimo Pigliucci
Posted on: 08/06/2005
Updated on: 05/08/2006
Marking the end of an era, and the start of a new one.
Read entire article...
- N. 57, January 2005: Nonsense on Stilts, an Example
Massimo takes a "modern" philosopher to task for publishing confused and torturous thinking as if it contained seriously deep thoughts, and in the process shines a new light on the "New Age."
- N. 58, February 2005: God Did It, or Did He?
Massimo looks at God's tragedies and miracles, and doesn't particularly like what he sees.
- N. 59, March 2005: And They Say Liberals Are Whiny!
Massimo discusses the last bastion of liberalism in America, the university.
- N. 60, April 2005: Useless Feats
Massimo rants about some rather stunning failures of the de facto "entertainment" industry.
- N. 61, May 2005: Habemus Papa!
Massimo takes a look at the old Pope, and the new one.
- N. 62, June 2005: On Holy Books
Massimo takes a look at one the latest targets of opportunity.
- N. 63, July 2005: OK, I Changed My Mind (Three Times!)
Massimo presents an excellent example (himself) of just how skeptics are open-minded and likely to re-evaluate their tentative conclusions.
- From Column to Blog
Marking the end of an era, and the start of a new one.
- N. 45, January 2004: On Tolerance vs. Respect
Massimo compares respect and tolerance, both for people and ideas.
- N. 46, February 2004: What's Wrong with the Palestinians?
Massimo looks at the problems faced by the today's Palestinians, and has some suggestions for progress.
- N. 47, March 2004: An Open Letter to Colin Powell
Massimo explains why Mr. Powell should get the heck out of Washington.
- N. 48, April 2004: Intellectual Midwifery
What use is there in discussing anything? Massimo lets us know.
- N. 49, May 2004: Illiberal Democracy
Just what do we mean by "democracy," and do we live in one?
- N. 50, June 2004: Soldiers' Morality
Have the words "personal responsibility" lost all meaning?
- N. 51, July 2004: The Neurobiology of Regret
Massimo examines the organic root of counterfactual thinking, and its implications.
- N. 52, August 2004: Changing our mind: a Bayesian Approach
Ever wonder how you go about changing your mind? Massimo discusses one possible process.
- N. 53, September 2004: Monty Python's Guide to Philosophy
Are secular humanists a bunch of dreary negative Nellies? Monty Python and Massimo say 'no'.
- N. 54, October 2004: Abortion, a Philosophical Approach
If you think you're confident in your opinions about abortion, perhaps Massimo can help you loosen up a bit.
- N. 55, November 2004: I, Robot
Massimo seeks the mind-body connection.
- N. 56, December 2004: Dude, This IS Your Country!
Come on, Massimo, don't hold back: tell us what you really think about the current US political environment.
- N. 32, January 2003: Human Instincts and Virtue Ethics
Massimo offers us a nice review of ethics, happiness and Aristotle.
- N. 33, February 2003: Gays, in the Military and Outside of It
Massimo examines the implications of social policy regarding sexual orientation.
- N. 34, March 2003: America, Europe, and the Rest of the World
Massimo examines the results of a recent study which show that the US and Europe aren't so different after all.
- N. 35, April 2003: Whence Animal Rights?
Massimo begins to examine this broad topic with the consideration of vegetarianism.
- N. 36, May 2003A: On Being Proud of
Massimo examines nationalistic pride with the simple question: why?
- N. 37, May 2003B: Post-War
Massimo further analyzes the Iraq war and US foreign policy.
- N. 38, June 2003: It's the Fundamentalism, Stupid!
Massimo discusses the problems with religious extremism, especially when practiced by those in power.
- N. 39, July 2003: Why Skeptic Doesn't Mean Cynic
Massimo examines the difference between cynicism and skepticism, from dictionary defintions to common knowledge.
- N. 40, August 2003: Are We Afraid of the Wrong Things?
Massimo talks about why we might fear some things out of proportion to other things.
- N. 41, September 2003: Are You a Bright?
Massimo discusses the latest term for secular humanists.
- N. 42, October 2003: Bush, the Pope, and Gay Rights
Massimo re-examines the idea of the "naturalness" of homosexuality in light of the arguments both for and against it.
- N. 43, November 2003: Edward Teller, Dr. Strangelove
Massimo examines Edward Teller's contribution to global terror.
- N. 44, December 2003: Israel, Anti-Semitism, and World Peace
Massimo examines the response of some Israelis to criticism of their policies.
- N. 20, January 2002: Mr. Bayes and the true nature of scientific hypotheses
Massimo gives us an overview of Bayesian statistics, as compared to the more well-known "frequentist" sort.
- N. 21, February 2002: Is philosophy useless?
Massimo lets us in on philosophy's practical side.
- N. 22, March 2002: Darwin's what?
Massimo makes suggestions regarding the public celebration of the realities of science - one particular science, actually.
- N. 23, April 2002: Those who understand Bin Laden
Massimo makes some serious, and far too obvious distinctions.
- N. 24, May 2002: The meaning of life
Massimo discusses how challenges are central to human existence.
- N. 25, June 2002: Ecology vs. ecophily - being reasonable about saving the environment
Massimo shows us that lying for a cause hurts that cause, even if it's extremely important.
- N. 26, July 2002: Economic vs. Social Health - It's NOT the Economy, Stupid!
As Massimo demonstrates, the "American Dream" isn't nearly as accessible as most people think.
- N. 27, August 2002: Is God in Our Brains?
Massimo ruminates upon meditation and prayer.
- N. 28, September 2002: Why Bother? Why Being Liberal Is Not a Lost Cause
Things might look hopeless, but Massimo assures us that they are not.
- N. 29, October 2002: On Intuition
Massimo shows us that neither rationality nor intuition should be thrown on the scrap heap.
- N. 30, November 2002: Is the US the Ultimate Rogue Nation?
Massimo offers some sincere and precise critcism of US foreign policy.
- N. 31, December 2002: What Do You Mean, Rationally Speaking?
Massimo shows off a peculiar sort of "fan mail."
- N. 6, January 2001: Split brains, paradigm shifts, and why it is so difficult to be a skeptic
With the help of neurological studies, Massimo shows us why it's tough for people to change their minds.
- N. 7, February 2001: The Greatest Democracy in the World and the Unfairness of American Elections
Massimo discusses various voting methods, and their improvement upon the electoral college.
- N. 8, March 2001: Game Theory, Rational Egoism and the Evolution of Fairness
Massimo, based upon some interesting research, shows that selfishness can be bred out of social animals.
- N. 9, April 2001: Red or Blue? What kind of life would you choose?
Should we allow ourselves to live in a fantasy world, or face brutish reality. Massimo has some insights on why we might make the choices we do.
- N. 10, May 2001: The many faces of anti-intellectualism
Ever wonder why geeks and nerds are the lowest of the low in high-school social hierarchies? Massimo tells us why.
- N. 11, June 2001: God on the highway
Massimo points out the offensive and sinful nature of common arrogant advertisements.
- N. 12, July 2001: The Wedge - What Happens If Science Is Taken Over by Ideology?
Massimo warns us about the very real possibilities of a post-Wedge United States with a cautionary Soviet tale.
- N. 13, August 2001: Frankenfoods vs. the Neo-Luddites
Massimo gives us a short history of Ludditism, and relates it to modern-day genetically modified food protestors.
- N. 14, September 2001: The Dark Side of Philosophy
Massimo and friends show that philosophy, like any other human endeavor, can (and has) been abused for inappropriate social or political goals.
- N. 15, September 2001: Special Edition - Of Terror and Insanity (on 9/11/01)
Massimo discusses the fake Nostradamuses, the fake psychics and the callous evangelists in public view after September 11th.
- N. 16, October 2001: Heart Disease and the Myth of Individual Responsibility
Heart disease, Massimo shows, is more likely due to job stress than "vices" like alcohol, tobacco, fast food or even genetics.
- N. 17, November 2001A: Beer and Circus in American Education, Part I
Massimo goes on the attack against the "big time U's" in the first of a two-part article.
- N. 18, November 2001B: Beer and Circus in American Education, Part II
Massimo offers solutions to the problems of athletics in college in the second of a two-part article.
- N. 19, December 2001: The Great Unicorn Debate
Massimo teases his students with money, but it's not going anywhere but back in his pocket.
- N. 1, August 2000: The Rationalist Fallacy
Massimo shows us how to avoid thinking of the credulous as morons.
- N. 2, September 2000: The place of science
Religion and science are simply different ways of knowing the same things? Massimo shows us the crumbling truth behind that facade.
- N. 3, October 2000: Whence natural rights? A dialogue
Massimo shows that "universal rights" aren't as self-evident as some would have you believe.
- N. 4, November 2000: Intelligent Design, the classical argument
Paley, Massimo shows, either missed or ignored Hume's work a half-century before him.
- N. 5, December 2000: Intelligent Design, the modern argument
And Behe, also, has apparently missed much of the work that came before him, according to Massimo.