Massimo Pigliucci is professor of philosophy at the City University of New York–Lehman College, a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and author of Nonsense on Stilts: How to Tell Science from Bunk. His essays can be found at rationallyspeaking.org.
Is There a Difference between Basic and Applied Science?
Humans like to classify things into discrete boxes. It helps us make sense of our complex and often chaotic world. A classic problem in philosophy is whether...
The Moral Duty of a Skeptic
I assume that most readers of the Skeptical Inquirer think that skepticism is a good thing...
Logophobics have developed strategies to obfuscate clear thinking, which they deploy whenever pressed by a skeptic.
On the Moon
There is nothing like new facts to add some excitement to supposedly established theories.
Hard and Soft Science: Physics vs. Psychology
It turns out that the replicability of findings in psychology is no worse than that of findings in particle physics.
The Tree of Life
Darwin famously drew only one figure in The Origin of Species, which was published 150 years ago...
Experimental Philosophy, an Oxymoron?
Is it inconveivable, for instance, for an ethical philosopher to write a paper in that field as if he had never heard of...
The Brain on Justice
Justice, fairness and the efficient distribution of resources do not seem at first the sort of topics that should interest...
Theories and hypotheses are the outcome of creative thinking, and creative thinking requires imagination, not just knowledge.
Creationist Peer Review
Arguing, teaching, and doing research means that one accepts the rule of rational, evidence-based discourse...
Toward a Consilience of Sciences and Humanities?
In 1998, biologist Edward O. Wilson published a controversial book titled Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge...
Is Intelligent Design Creationism?
The fossils produced by the paleontologist make a compelling case because they are of the appropriate morphology...
Beyond Selfish Genes
Richard Dawkins' classic book, The Selfish Gene (1976), presented to the public the astonishing idea that...
A meme, according to the by-now-standard dictionary definition, is "an element of a culture or system of behavior that may be...
Is Dawkins Deluded? When Scientists Talk About Religion
By some accounts, 2006 was the year atheists struck back. Three books in particular made headlines across the world...
Can There Be a Science of Free Will?
A splendid article by Dennis Overbye in The New York Times gave me the impetus to talk about...
Is There Such a Thing as Macroevolution?
Even creationists make progress.
Evolutionary Epistemology, Anyone
Wittgenstein wrote that "Darwin's theory has no more to do with philosophy than any other hypothesis in natural science."
The Neuro-philosophy of Regred
For millennia, the study of the mind and the relationship between reason and emotions was the exclusive domain of philosophy.
One More Take on Reductionism vs. Holism
Do you think that nature is characterized by complex systems that interact with each other and whose properties are not...
When Philosophy Matters
Philosophy is often accused of being out of touch with reality, the esoteric pursuit of a vanishing academic elite that...
Is Physics Turning into Philosophy?
Physics is, by most people's—especially physicists'—accounts, the queen of the sciences.
Is Evolutionary Psychology a Pseudoscience?
Evolutionary psychology is the most current incarnation of what started out as sociobiology, a branch of evolutionary theory...
Planet X and the Issue of Definitions in Science
Planet X, the long-hypothesized tenth member of the solar system, has finally been discovered by a group of astronomers...
Just the Facts, Ma’am: Empirical vs. Rationalist Approaches to Understanding
Skeptics tend to be empiricists. They want the facts. Indeed, it is this emphasis on empirically verifiable statements that...
The Power and Perils of Metaphors in Science
Humans apparently cannot avoid thinking, at least occasionally, by images and parallels to already known situations.
Are the Historical Sciences Sciences?
Are historical sciences somehow inferior to experimental ones? This attitude, sometimes referred to as "physics envy..."
The So-called Gaia Hypothesis
Is Earth a living organism? Broadly speaking, this is the chief claim of a family of theories often referred to as "Gaia."
Do Extraordinary Claims Really Require Extraordinary Evidence?
Carl Sagan had a rare gift for making clear rather abstruse ideas.
Piltdown and How Science Really Works
When one debates creationists, one is bound to run up against the infamous Piltdown forgery. This is the case of an alleged...