skepticism

skepticism


Is It True That “Everything Happens for a Reason”?

everything happens for a reason November 18th, 2019

At first, this might sound like a foolish title, because in one sense of the phrase, everything does happen for a reason. The universe operates according to the laws of physics which posits that everything is determined and so on (well, quantum physics kinda is the fly in that ointment). I get determinism and physics’ position. However, in a different vein, the more commonly-used vernacular you hear is, “Everything happens for a reason.” But is that true? I would say the evidence does not point in that direction, though, as some are quick to point out, “God works in mysterious ways” and almost anything is possible. This post explores metaphysics and truth and other heady subjects.

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The Risks of an Open Mind

an open mind October 19th, 2018

I was just having a discussion about my nemesis, Donald Trump, with a libertarian friend of mine. An economist, no less. I informed him that the American deficit just reached a seven-year high! It’s amazing that Obama was working with a horrible economy given to us by (drum roll……..) the Republicans – and still had a smaller deficit than what we do in 2018. Stimulus spending was the order of the day back then. The GOP loves to claim the Dems are “capital-S” Socialists who will run us into the ground with profligate spending on Medicare for All and such. Yet, the record seems to show that the GOP likes to spend tax revenue, but they also like to cut taxes to please their donors and feather their own nests. My friend tried to tout the idea that when we cut taxes, revenue increases. It’s magic! Actually, George H. W. Bush, then running against Ronald Reagan, did call this phenomenon “voodoo economics”!! I claim that supply-side economics doesn’t have good support, but it was my friend’s contention that it does. It led me to want to write a blog about the risks of one keeping an open mind in today’s hyperpartisan culture.

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Religion, Faith, and Spirituality Examined

religion August 20th, 2018

It’s very easy for me, as a skeptical kind of person, to find fault in religion and to criticize it as more about the placebo effect than some kind of benefit bestowed by a powerful ally in the sky. However, religious and faithful persons have demonstrably improved and advantageous lives either due to or at least associated with their belief in a higher power. That much has been shown by social science. They can even find evidence of various beliefs and states in the brain when a person undergoes an fMRI and such. There is a huge functional brain effect from mediation, for example. Here are a few thoughts on the benefits of religion in a person’s life.

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Quotations About Hope, Optimism, Doubt & Skepticism

quotations about hope July 2nd, 2018

The question I want to explore in this blog is whether life is worthy of hope and optimism. Conversely, perhaps you tend to feel that humankind’s existence is more fraught with difficulty, absurdity, despair, and deserves a skeptical and doubtful attitude. One can marshal quotations about hope and quotes about doubt to cast a favorable light on one’s predetermined conclusions. I urge you to suspend your judgment and view the following quotations about hope and skepticism with an open mind. I am of the opinion that the philosophical question of what the nature of life is is a bit hard to definitively determine. Well, here we go – a look at some very unique quotations about hope and an equal measure of apt doubt, skepticism, and pessimism quotes.

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35 Science Quotes from Many Great Scientists

science February 17th, 2018

Science is the preeminent method of knowing. It is true that intuition has merit, and much that is good and useful is not scientific per se. But if you want to understand the universe, yourself, your society, insect behavior, evolution, or any number of interesting questions, science is your method! It certainly is more reliable and insightful than religion, guessing, superstition, authority, and probably philosophy. In this blog you will find 25 science quotes by a diverse group of famous scientists. If you don’t have polio, ate food shipped in from Latin America, or are reading this blog right now, you can thank science!

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Evaluating Evidence: A Superlative Skill

evaluating evidence January 30th, 2018

Evaluating evidence is a superlative skill. That is, if one can sift through various claims and find the truth (or at least, the validity of a particular question or issue), one is at a great advantage in this world. Indeed, there are compelling reasons to hold that an ability to see two sides of an argument – both with passionate and seemingly-confident defenders – is a critical skill. Rare though it may be, and challenging as it is, it will pay huge dividends if one can harness this power. In this blog, I will present examples of complex dilemmas that call for a keen mind and an excellent skill set.

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An Exploration of Wisdom: An Interview

an exploration of wisdom December 2nd, 2017

Wisdom is the heart of the enterprise Values of the Wise, so I look forward to today’s discussion here on the radio show, Values and Ethics: from Living Room to Boardroom. Wisdom is an apparently simple, yet surprisingly elusive matter, so I’m geared up to interview two capable and conversant individuals who can speak with me and help us all understand wisdom a bit better. First I have Wes Nisker on the program; he goes by “Scoop.” Usually I call the guest by their first name, with permission, of course; however, today I will see if I can call Wes, Scoop! He is an author of a best-selling book called The Essential Crazy Wisdom, an underground classic.

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“What Does the World Say About God?”

what does the world say about God? October 2nd, 2017

This piece expresses my questioning of the existence and nature of God:

What should the reasonable person conclude about God?
If God is omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent, and benevolent,
Why do his creations – precious children, the tribes of Israel –
Face atrocity wrought by nature unbridled and humans malevolent?

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Doubt and Skepticism: Philosophical & Religious (V&E-3)

doubt and skepticism September 5th, 2017

The topic of the day is philosophical and religious doubt and skepticism. With my very able guest, Jennifer Michael Hecht, Ph.D., I explore some history of the subject, and learn about her fascinating book. This is a transcript of an audio interview with Dr. Hecht on a then-program entitled Values and Ethics: from Living Room to Boardroom (available as a podcast). It then became Chapter 3 in a book of the same name in 2017. Let’s look into one of the most critical precursors of wisdom: doubt.

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Philosopher Bertrand Russell Quotes

Bertrand Russell quotes August 16th, 2017

Congratulations. You have found arguably the best collection of Bertrand Russell quotes in the Milky Way Galaxy. Culled mostly by hand from some works that are rare and fecund, many topics are represented in these most interesting of Bertrand Russell quotes. You will find thoughts on philosophy, doubt, skepticism, critical thinking, peace, and society. More food for thought was produced by this inimitable man than by nearly anyone known to us today. Put your thinking cap on, and enjoy these insights, warnings, and bits of philosophy.

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