Skeptic’s critique of Skepticism: Science Ed

Today I heard a very compelling argument of being a Skeptic of Skepticism by Science Punk Frank Swain. This was part of the WestMinster Skeptics in the Pub. You can hear it as a podcast @ Pod Delusion.

What I gathered from Frank’s argument is that if trying to promote scientific method and scientific learning, leaning only on the facts is not going to work. To connect, there needs to be a good story and an appeal to emotions. The story needs to be told in a way that touches people. That’s why series like RadioLab are so popular and are absolutely brilliant in their ability to promote the science.

They focus on individuals, add humor which includes slapstick, create tension of opposing view points – essentially keeping the attention  without straying away from the latest scientific knowledge. And the best thing about it is that it is one of the few podcasts that my wife would listen along with me (and enjoy it as much as I do).

Sometimes looking at the question from different perspectives as RadioLab does is just what is required for things to move forward beyond the usual “I am right because I know the facts as science tells me and you are an ignorant idiot who still believes in fairy tales” and at least have a basis of engagement that would be good for all. RadioLab tells stories as we all love to listen, science just intertwines through them – naturally. I would leave you with the first RadioLab that I listened to.

Being an Atheist improves your brain

One advantage of many during my journey understanding Atheism is learning a host of brand new words. This blog is some what a tongue in cheek allusion to the perception of Atheists being elitist, but it is quite true that you would learn words that you won’t normally see otherwise. Some of these words were found while reading up about Atheism. A significant number of the atheist authors that I read are scientists in some respect and their words describe scientific properties and methodology.

It is fascinating as to how your language changes based on your world view. Just as we have heard the Inuits having 50+ odd words for ice, the language cannot be independent of the culture and location where it is spoken. So the new words that you learn show the realm you are stepping into.Here are few samples from words that I looked up with relevant meanings from dictionary.com. I may have more blogs about the words as I find them.

  • Anisotropic
    • –adjective
      1. Physics . of unequal physical properties along different axes.Compare isotropic ( def. 1 ) .
      2. Botany . of different dimensions along different axes
  • Auteur
    • a filmmaker whose individual style and complete control over allelements of production give a film its personal and unique stamp
    • –adjective
      1. Physics . of equal physical properties along all axes. Compare anisotropic ( def. 1 ) .
      2. Zoology . lacking axes that are predetermined, as in some eggs.
  • Epistemology
    • –noun
      a branch of philosophy that investigates the origin, nature, methods, and limits of human knowledge.
  • Eschatology
    • –noun Theology .
      1. any system of doctrines concerning last, or final, matters, as death, the Judgment, the future state, etc.
      2. the branch of theology dealing with such matters.
  • Screed
    • –noun
      1. a long discourse or essay, especially a diatribe.
      2. an informal letter, account, or other piece of writing.
  • Ineffable
    • –adjective
      1. incapable of being expressed or described in words;inexpressible: ineffable joy.
      2. not to be spoken because of its sacredness; unutterable: the ineffable name of the deity.