November 25, 2009

n. A person who believes that the U.S. government perpetrated or allowed the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

Kings and Cisterns

September 13, 2009

“As so often happens when I feel melancholy, as I did after going through the incident I will describe, I found myself thinking of the story about the king and the water that makes people crazy. According to the story, a certain king, having received word from a local sage that a great rain would bring water that would make all people crazy, decided to gather as much of the existing water as he could before the rains came. He collected that water in private, covered cisterns, reasoning that, as king, he should remain sane even if everyone else went crazy. When the rains came as predicted, the people began to act in unaccountable ways. The king went down among them and tried to tell them what had happened, but they took him for a lunatic and threatened him with blows. So he retreated to his cisterns, there to sit for some days, drinking the bittersweet waters of sanity. This went on for some time, until finally, deciding that truth was not its own reward, the king decided to go down among the people and drink the new water, abandoning his palace and his cisterns — and, as it turned out, his reason, for he soon began acting just as madly as his subjects, forgetting about his cisterned water, his sense of dignity, and the sage. The people, when in their newfound lunacy they regarded him at all, took him for a madman who had been miraculously cured.”

Tim Lyons, Cisterns,


August 31, 2009

“Truthiness” – a term used “to describe things that a person claims to know intuitively or “from the gut” without regard to evidence, logic, intellectual examination, or facts.”

Wikipedia has a remarkably detailed entry on this.

Free “Free the Facts!” – Dave Gray on the need for open access to scientific journals

January 18, 2009

Free the Facts!

Gist: critical thinking needs access to good factual information, information that has itself been derived through a process of (relatively, at least) good CT.  We have been accumulating a very large amount of such factual information (i.e., scientific knowledge).  This is mostly publicly-funded.  People should have access to that information, but it is hidden behind “toll booths” of journal fees. 

Interesting use of handwriting and drawing in a PowerPoint-type format. 

Chomsky on seeking truth

December 5, 2007

The search for truth
is a cooperative, unending endeavour. We can, and should, engage
in it to the extent we can and encourage others to do so as
well, seeking to free ourselves from constraints imposed by
coercive institutions, dogma, irrationality, excessive conformity
and lack of initiative and imagination, and numerous other obstacles.

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