The Backfire Effect shows why you can't use facts to win an argument

"Never let the facts get in the way of a good story" isn't just a maxim for shady politicians and journalists. It's also the way people often live their lives. One study indicates that there may even be a "backfire effect," which happens when you show people facts that contradict their opinions. » 10/14/13 9:30am 10/14/13 9:30am

Listen to Bertrand Russell and F.C. Copleston debate the existence of…

As philosophical debates go, it doesn't get much better than this. On January 28, 1948, British logician Betrand Russel faced off against Jesuit priest F.C. Copleston on BBC radio in a now-famous debate over the existence of god, and the metaphysical and moral implications of a god-governed (or godless) universe. Open … » 11/15/12 9:40am 11/15/12 9:40am

How to distinguish crap denialism from legitimate scientific debate

In the latest issue of Environmental Health Perspectives, science writer Wendee Holtcamp highlights the manifold differences between unreasoned denial of scientific evidence and legitimate, rational controversy and debate. Being able to distinguish between the two, she notes throughout her essay, is crucial if one is… » 8/14/12 8:15am 8/14/12 8:15am

Science Versus Magic — Is There a Difference in the World of Fiction?

One of the biggest debates among people who like scifi — aside from the Star Wars vs. Star Trek thing — is where to draw the line between science and magic. Some adhere to the idea that magic is simply science that we don't yet understand, others feel that magic represents an essential mystery that can't be understood … » 7/08/08 3:22pm 7/08/08 3:22pm