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Naked Skeptic

The Naked Skeptic column

Is Philosophy Dead?

By Peter Bowditch

Beware the strawman when arguing that science has outgrown philosophy.

Smart people have recently talked about the uselessness of philosophy with regard to science. Yes, science grew out of philosophy, but the claims are now that science has outgrown philosophy completely and it has no relevance at all. An example is a recent video made by Bill Nye in which he responded to a student asking him: “Is philosophy meaningless?”.

The problem with his comments was not that they were just wrong about philosophy; they were fractally wrong. Nye didn’t know what he was talking about. His concept of philosophy was extremely naïve.

The Bloated Truth About Gluten

By Peter Bowditch

Only 1% of people have coeliac disease, so why are so many people sensitive to gluten?

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Skeptics Aren’t Always Skeptical

By Peter Bowditch

Skeptical minds aren’t always applied when it comes to colonies on Mars and self-driving cars.

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Why Did the Dog Go “Quack”?

By Peter Bowditch

People who reject evidence-based medicine also subject their pets to veterinary quackery.

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School Daze

By Peter Bowditch

Is there any science behind the theory that a child’s visual, auditory or kinesthetic learning style should determine how they’re taught?

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The Myth of “The Myth of Mental Illness”

By Peter Bowditch

Scientologists argue against the existence of the mind, and therefore mental illness.

Some time ago I attended a dinner function where the speaker was advertised as coming to talk about philosophy and the mind. I spent some enjoyable times studying this sort of stuff at university, so I looked forward to an entertaining evening.

The presentation started out with a mention of how René Descartes had proposed the still-unsolved problem of the interaction between a material body and an immaterial mind. The speaker then went on to solve the duality problem by simply declaring that there is no such thing as a mind: an interesting, although rather naïve, philosophical position.

Put the Lyme in the Quackonut

By Peter Bowditch

There is little evidence that chiropractors are willing to reform their practices.

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What Is a PhD Worth?

By Peter Bowditch

The University of Wollongong has tarnished its reputation by accepting a PhD thesis that presents anti-vaccination dogma in place of primary evidence.

In late 2015 the University of Wollongong accepted a PhD thesis by Judy Wilyman entitled: “A critical analysis of the Australian government’s rationale for its vaccination policy”. She will now be awarded a doctorate.

There are three players in the drama: Dr Wilyman, Prof Brian Martin (who supervised the process) and the University of Wollongong (which awarded the degree).

Smart People, Strange Ideas

By Peter Bowditch

Even people who are rational about most matters can hold opinions that aren’t supported by science or even common sense.

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University Research Is Losing Its Independence

By Peter Bowditch

Universities can no longer be relied upon to allow unconventional voices to be heard – unless there’s sponsorship attached.

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