Category Archives: Science

Pelham’s Law of Cognitive Error

Pelham’s Law of Cognitive Error:  “I am most likely wrong about many things.”

Cognitive science has solidly identified certain traits of human behavior by which people operate habitually at a sub-optimal level.  We make frequent cognitive errors, some of which have the further-counterproductive tendency of covering up error itself, making it even harder for us to correct ourselves.  Hence, Pelham’s Law of Cognitive Error.

It is a strategic safeguard of awareness, designed for the purpose of avoiding cognitive error by way of keeping one’s own tendency toward error ever in view.  But even deeper than that, it’s simply the truth.  I am most likely wrong about a great many things!  My track record suggests as much, and even though I have corrected many of my beliefs so far, there are undoubtedly more yet to be corrected.  

Continue reading Pelham’s Law of Cognitive Error

Bill Nye the Science Guy Waxes Unscientific on the Theories of Evolution and Creation

NOTE: The author of this article believes not only that irrational creationists and irrational evolutionists alike are in the wrong, but that there are practically as many of one as there are of the other.  The goal of this criticism of Nye, therefore, is not to promote creationism, as many might ignorantly presume, but to criticize irrational argumentation wherever it exists—even when it emanates from a demigod of popular science.  I could just as well write a critique of the rhetoric of a famous preacher, and may well do that when I’m finished with this present piece.  Continue reading Bill Nye the Science Guy Waxes Unscientific on the Theories of Evolution and Creation

The False Left-Brain/Right-Brain Dilemma

It’s too bad that people tend to look at such diagrams with the false left-brain/right-brain dilemma in mind. They totally ignore the function of the corpus callosum, the spaghetti-like mass that links both sides of the brain together so that all these brain functions can WORK TOGETHER. As a result, they tend to view human behavior as an “either/or”, rather than as a “both”. Either smart OR emotional, either rational OR creative, and so forth. What they should be looking for instead is a way to be ALL of these things together, without any of them being compromised or shut off. Continue reading The False Left-Brain/Right-Brain Dilemma

I was with you right up until…

As I regularly discuss controversial topics with people, I’m often left to interpret the silence with which some people respond to certain logical challenges.  (I call this “crickets”, as in hearing nothing but the crickets chirping.)  Anyway, being always the one to wonder how the silence should be best interpreted, I think I have noticed a few trends along the way.  At times, certain conversations seem to be going along quite nicely until the silence comes, and it’s at that point that I always wonder what happened. Continue reading I was with you right up until…

The Dishonesty of Drive-By Assertions

What’s a “drive-by assertion”?  It’s my name for an assertion that one makes and thereafter dodges rational debate on the matter.

Here are a few varied scenarios that I believe to be typical of what’s going on in our cavalier hearsay society:

  • Billy hears someone say that the Civil War was about states’ rights, so he immediately chimes in, “The Civil was about slavery.”  But when Billy is asked to prove that assertion, he fails to make a reasonable case that is based on actual evidence.
  • Sally hears a fellow church member criticize the church’s habit of calling the priest Continue reading The Dishonesty of Drive-By Assertions

If You Haven’t Done the Math, You Don’t Really Know Anything!

“He’s always late!” complains the boss.  It turns out, however, that he’s late 8% of the time over the last year.  But the boss doesn’t know the numbers; he’s content just to go with his perception.

“Our church really follows the Biblical principle of tithing,” boasts the member.  He has no idea that never once in the Bible is there any record of Jesus or the apostles ever teaching the Christians to tithe.  He has never quantified this “principle” in which he so adamantly believes. Continue reading If You Haven’t Done the Math, You Don’t Really Know Anything!

On The Brink of Truth: Dabblers and Divers

In my continual observation of the world, I note with sadness how it seems that a great many people have not made the commitment to immerse themselves in an uncompromised lifetime of truth.  They have somehow squelched, or someone else has managed to squelch for them, that most natural of childhood traits by which people want to know and to understand the truth about things.  The “why” has all but disappeared from view, at least in some areas of life; the reasons for things have become less important.  The explanations and the logic behind things doesn’t seem to matter nearly as much as it once did, and they value the security of certainty in a matter much less than before.

Please understand that I’m not suggesting that most folks have made a commitment to a lifetime of falsehood and deceit.  No, that’s not where I’m going. Continue reading On The Brink of Truth: Dabblers and Divers

We Love Our Labels!

I’m about to crack open a can of worms that can’t be fully dealt with in a single article.  This is a topic that has been strongly on my mind lately and it seems time at least to get it on the record, if only briefly so.

I observe that a great many people seem to label themselves in various ways.   This is a common behavior and we see examples of it every day.  Here are a few examples, just to get the ball rolling: Continue reading We Love Our Labels!