Tag: Skepticism

Quote of the Day: Father Brown on Skepticism


‘It’s what I call common sense, properly understood,’ replied Father Brown. ’It really is more natural to believe a preternatural story, that deals with things we don’t understand, than a natural story that contradicts things we do understand. Tell me that the great Mr Gladstone, in his last hours, was haunted by the ghost of Parnell, and I will be agnostic about it. But tell me that Mr Gladstone, when first presented to Queen Victoria, wore his hat in her drawing-room and slapped her on the back and offered her a cigar, and I am not agnostic at all. That is not impossible; it’s only incredible. But I’m much more certain it didn’t happen than that Parnell’s ghost didn’t appear; because it violates the laws of the world I do understand.

Much as I enjoy reading G.K. Chesterton’s Father Brown mysteries, perhaps they’re best taken one at a time. There’s a certain uniformity to them, and I don’t just mean that the murderer never turns out to be Catholic. There are always sound, practical, men of the world who are deceived by some sort of supernatural occurrence, and Father Brown solves the mystery by disbelieving in old curses or modern magicians. While allowing for the vagaries of fiction there are things well worth learning in those stories.

Ayaan talks with Michael Shermer about the hijacking of the scientific method, science being used as a political tool, vaccine hesitancy, and more.

Michael Shermer is the Founding Publisher of Skeptic magazine, the host of The Michael Shermer Show, and a Presidential Fellow at Chapman University where he teaches Skepticism 101.

Ayaan talks with Michael Shermer about his journey in and out of religion, the ten commandments of freedom of speech, and the concept of moral politics.

Michael Shermer is the Founding Publisher of Skeptic magazine, the host of The Michael Shermer Show, and a Presidential Fellow at Chapman University where he teaches Skepticism 101.

What That Houston Tesla Couldn’t Possibly Do


Last month, a Tesla was involved in a fatal single-car collision near Houston in which both the owner of the vehicle and one passenger died. The incident has raised some controversy because of preliminary reports suggesting that there was no one in the driver’s seat at the time of the collision and that the car was traveling at high speed. The car’s battery was damaged in the crash, resulting in a fire that burned for several hours and destroyed both the car and its event data recorder (black box).

It now seems likely that the car was not in self-driving mode, that there was a driver behind the wheel, and that the accident was not a case of a self-driving Tesla accelerating wildly and running off the road. (Glenn Reynolds links a Car and Driver story on the incident.)

Here’s What’s Wrong with ‘Trust the Science’


Think about the times you’ve been told to “trust the science.” Two occasions should come to mind immediately: when discussing climate change and when talking about the Wuhan coronavirus.

There’s a lot of science being done on the subject of climate change. There’s a lot of science being done on the subject of the coronavirus. Let’s assume, for the sake of discussion, that the vast bulk of this is “good” science — that it’s being conducted by competent people acting in accordance with the techniques and standards of science. That’s almost certainly a safe assumption.

Quote of the Day: Dishonorable People


“One of the common failings among honorable people is a failure to appreciate how thoroughly dishonorable some other people can be, and how dangerous it is to trust them.” — Thomas Sowell

This statement by Thomas Sowell is almost a truism to many of us; anyone who studies the political scene might roll his or her eyes in response. Can we trust anyone on the political Left?

But if we move beyond the obvious, we realize that our trust of some people that we thought we could trust must, at the very least, be viewed with skepticism. As sincere as Dr. Fauci, Dr. Brix, medical authorities, and model makers may be, we must now question the validity of their statements, challenge the way they interpret the data, and how they communicate their views to the public. Those of us who like to give education, authority, experience their due now must ask, “Are all those credentials enough for us to trust anyone?”

Member Post


Only four things are certain since social progress began: Dogs will eat to excess; pigs will enjoy being unclean; people will play with fire; & GOP politicians will do the Philistine song & dance for the national audience, making sure no one suspects that their presidential-looking bodies harbor souls moved by the greatest enterprises known to mankind. It’s a […]

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Nutbag Theories On Wellness — DocJay


What is your favorite stupid health theory?

I saw a patient recently with diabetes, hypertension, arthritis, hyperlipidemia and obesity. She was discussing the homeopathic “medications” and Indian spirit guidance her cleaning lady was espousing to her as a way forward.  My job at times means that I have to listen to various crackpots discuss these kind of theories, so I listened for a while about this lady’s cleaner and her path to wellness.