Thursday, June 18, 2015

Rational Links

About a month ago Massimo Pigliucci announced his "resignation" from the skeptic and atheist movement (SAM). His parting remarks were cutting and brutally honest.
[SAM is ] a community who worships celebrities who are often intellectual dilettantes, or at the very least have a tendency to talk about things of which they manifestly know very little; an ugly undertone of in-your-face confrontation and I’m-smarter-than-you-because-I-agree-with [insert your favorite New Atheist or equivalent]; loud proclamations about following reason and evidence wherever they may lead, accompanied by a degree of groupthink and unwillingness to change one’s mind that is trumped only by religious fundamentalists; and, lately, a willingness to engage in public shaming and other vicious social networking practices any time someone says something that doesn’t fit our own opinions, all the while of course claiming to protect “free speech” at all costs.
I will certainly miss both his insights, his ability to take other skeptics to task, and his deep understanding of the power and limitations of science.

Listen to this debate with Michael Shermer, for instance. He skillfully tears down the his opponents' arguments.


Anonymous said...

I recently read the book "The Master and His Emissary," which talks about the relation between the two halves of the brain, and their complementary cognitive styles. Dogmatic atheism and dogmatic fundamentalism seem to both have a left-brain bias. (Dogmatisms in general, for that matter.)

To put it very briefly, the right brain comes up with the insight, but needs the left brain to do the proof/verification/application. The problem is when the two halves don't work together enough. In western culture, the usual pathology is that the left half decides it's self-sufficient, denigrates the right half, and sets its own priorities. But then it lacks the sound premises supplied by the right half.

Sachin Shanbhag said...

I concur. My problem with dogmatic atheism or dogmatic fundamentalism is intellectual/moral hubris, which underplays the axioms/premises on which the arguments are based.