Steven Pinker: Using Grammar as a Tool, Not as a Weapon

I listened to this Point of Inquiry podcast at lunch today, and thought many of you might find it interesting: Steven Pinker: Using Grammar as a Tool, Not as a Weapon | Point of Inquiry. The English language is often treated as delicate and precious, and disagreements about what is “proper English” go back as far … Continue reading Steven Pinker: Using Grammar as a Tool, Not as a Weapon

It’s American Atheists billboards time, again!

Scientia Salon

daveby Massimo Pigliucci

Christmas is fast approaching. So, naturally, American Atheists has launched its usual billboard campaign to nudge closeted atheists to come out and embrace the good news. AA President David Silverman is again spearheading what he calls the organizations’ “firebrand” approach to fighting religion. Despite being a lifetime member of American Atheists, I have criticized the group on this issue before [1], and recently, I did so again, on Twitter, which led to a back and forth with David and some of his supporters [2]. At some point, however, Silverman threw the evidence-based bomb: he claims to have data showing that his approach is working, and since quantitative data is science, and science doesn’t lie, the matter is settled.

Well, not so fast, I think. In this essay I will first explain why I object to “firebrand” atheism and on what principled (i.e., before evidence) grounds. I will…

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