Tuesday, January 29, 2013


Brief little post and not responding to a video. PZ myers, Steven Novella et al have been discussing skepticisms and its limits. Really this has been going on for some time but it has flared up again. For my part I want to take a moment to define what skepticism is for me.

To me the key concept of skepticism is question everything. Challenge, explore, criticize examine everything. Nothing should get a free pass. If the ideas are valuable and useful they should stand against examination if they aren't they we should discard* them and move on. There are some (Barbara Drescher comes to mind search micahelD in the comments) who limit skepticism to scientific skepticism saying that skepticism can only examine testable claims everything else is beyond it. I disagree, to me science is only part of skepticism which should not be limited to science but all of critical thinking. Where science ends philosophy begins and that is where skepticism and critical thinking should continue.

Our values and untestable beliefs inform our actions and our actions  have consequences, I don't think anyone disagrees with this. As they have consequences both on ourselves and others there is all the more reason to challenge them, examine them and if necessary discard or change them. If you examine a value you shouldn't use science (although it may influence your views) but use philosophy and ethics. If you examine an untestable claim you should look to epistemology. Someone reading this might say that without science finding the truth about them is hard, maybe impossible. To me that's only a call for greater thought, greater discussion, and yes greater skepticism.

Skeptical bunny borrowed from deviant art.

*I want to leave a little note that it's not as simple as absolute right or wrong. There are plenty of wrong ideas that can still be useful in certain discussions as long as you are aware of the limitations. See Asimov's the Relativity of Wrong for a further discussion.

[Edit/Update] It seems (there's always a chance we've miscommunicated) for what it's worth that Novella agrees with the view that skepticism is about more then examining scientific claims (although I don't know how far he'd go for sure) See comments section ctrl + F for harker

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Extra credits on faith

And now for something a bit different. Another commentary on a video well 3 videos discussing a religion related topic but from outside the atheist community or youtube community for that matter.

In this case I'll be responding to extra credits a penny arcade show discussing the more artistic/technical aspects of games and game design. Over Christmas they decided to address the topic of religion in games spread over 2 videos and a third responding to the ensuing controversy. I actually really like the show for the most part but I think they really mangled their discussion of faith in games so after thinking it over I'm this is a response to them. More particularly where they went wrong discussing faith in games.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Feminism poisons atheism part 2 response.

Here we are once again those dinosaur names try to say them out loud and then say them again!  err youtube atheists.

Phil Mason* has releases another video and after some debate I've decided to respond. In for a penny in for a pound. There may be some minor paraphrasing in my transcript part but I have tried to keep the ideas intake as they are presented as much as possible and be honest to all that is being said. Here is a link to the original video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ApozFPboUAQ Why 'feminism' is poisoning atheism (Part 2)

Friday, January 4, 2013

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

A response to Thunderf00t's latest video

Ok this is a break down and response to thunderf00t's latest video on youtube 
Why 'feminism' is poisoning atheism

Originally posted in the comments section of pharyngula http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2013/01/01/the-company-you-keep/#comments

Provided here all together for easy reading and with minor edits. The first 1.5-2 minutes are paraphrases of his comments after about the 2 minute mark I tried to accurately record the speech of everyone instead of paraphrasing. I may go back and fix the first 2 minutes at a later time.