new photo blog

i started this blog in 2006, and it's shifted along with my interests through the years. it's been witness to a lot of learning for me...

still, i feel that i need a home for my photography -- so from now on, i'll be posting my pictures on the journal on my reworked website. if you like my photos, you might decide to follow me there!

my first post is here -- check it out!

as for this blog, i'm not sure what will happen. i don't think i'm willing to let it go, and certainly i'll keep it as an archive, but i need some time to figure it out.

for those of you that pop in from time to time, thanks for the visits and encouragement.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

a field guide to bullshit

an interview with stephen law in new scientist:


you identify some strategies people use to defend black hole beliefs. tell me about one of them - "playing the mystery card"?

this involves appealing to mystery to get out of intellectual hot water when someone is, say, propounding paranormal beliefs. they might say something like: "ah, but this is beyond the ability of science and reason to decide. you, mr clever dick scientist, are guilty of scientism, of assuming science can answer every question." this is often followed by that quote from shakespeare's hamlet: "there are more things in heaven and earth, horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy". when you hear that, alarm bells should go off.




in your book you also talk about the "going nuclear" tactic. what is this?

when someone is cornered in an argument, they may decide to get sceptical about reason. they might say: "ah, but reason is just another faith position." i call this "going nuclear" because it lays waste to every position. it brings every belief - that milk can make you fly or that george bush was elvis presley in disguise - down to the same level so they all appear equally "reasonable" or "unreasonable". of course, you can be sure that the moment this person has left the room, they will continue to use reason to support their case if they can, and will even trust their life to reason: trusting that the brakes on their car will work or that a particular drug is going to cure them.


read the full interview...

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