Letters from a skeptic

LiteratureReviewHQ interviewed me about this page, and have a podcast. Turing thinks machines think. Note the equivocation in the use of the word "lies". A common form is an attack on sincerity.

Letters from a skeptic

We find human faces in the moon, armies in the clouds; and by a natural propensity, if not corrected by experience and reflection, ascribe malice or good- will to every thing, that hurts or pleases us. For example, in the discolorations of a burnt tortilla one sees the face of Jesus.

Or one sees the image of Mother Teresa or Ronald Reagan in a cinnamon bun or a man in the moon. Under ordinary circumstances, pareidolia provides a psychological explanation for many delusions based upon sense perception. For example, it explains many UFO sightingsas well as the hearing of sinister messages on records played backwards.

And it explains why some people see a face or a building in a photograph of the Cydonia region of Mars. Under clinical circumstances, some psychologists encourage pareidolia as a means to understanding a patient, e.

Astronomer Carl Sagan claimed that the human tendency to see faces in tortillas, clouds, cinnamon buns, and the like is an evolutionary trait. As soon as the infant can see, it recognizes faces, and we now know that this skill is hardwired in our brains.

Those infants who a million years ago were unable to recognize a face smiled back less, were less likely to win the hearts of their parents, and less likely to prosper. These days, nearly every infant is quick to identify a human face, and to respond with a goony grin Sagan Sagan is right about the tendency to recognize facesbut I don't see any reason to think there is an evolutionary advantage in seeing replicas of paintings, ghosts, demons, and the like, in inanimate objects.

There is, of course, an evolutionary advantage in seeing images of dinner or predators against a varied environmental background. There would be no advantage for, say, a hawk to be dive-bombing shadows on rocks, however.

Letters from a skeptic

It seems likely that the modern mind is making associations with shapes, lines, shadows, and the like that are connected to current desires, interests, hopes, obsessions, and the like. Most people recognize illusions for what they are, but some become fixated on the reality of their perception and turn an illusion into a delusion.

A little bit of critical thinking, however, should convince most reasonable people that a potato that looks like the Hindu god Ganesh, a cinnamon bun that looks like mother Teresa, or a burnt area on a tortilla that looks like Jesus are accidents and without significance.

It is more likely that the Virgin Mary one sees in the reflection of a mirror or on the floor of an apartment complex or in the clouds has been generated from one's own imagination than that a person who has been dead for 2, years should manifest herself in such a mundane and useless fashion.Bill Hicks.

Bill Hicks was an extraordinary comedian and intelligent human being who cared deeply about his country and the state of the world. The Case Against The Case for Christ A response to Christian apologetics literature This review and analysis is of the book The Case for Christ, by Lee Strobel.

Skeptic, colloquially known as Skeptic magazine, is a quarterly science education and science advocacy magazine published internationally by The Skeptics Society, a nonprofit organization devoted to promoting scientific skepticism and resisting the spread of pseudoscience, superstition, and irrational beliefs.

Founded by Michael Shermer, founder of the Skeptics Society, the magazine was first. Ad Hominem (Argument To The Man): attacking the person instead of attacking his argument. For example, "Von Daniken's books about ancient astronauts . Doing Battle: The Making of a Skeptic [Paul Fussell] on ph-vs.com *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers.

In this highly-praised autobiographical work, the author of The Great War and Modern Memory recounts his own experience of combat in WWII and how it became a determining force in his life.

Doing Battle is at once a summing-up of one man's life and profoundly thoughtful portrait of America.

Letters from a skeptic

Jan 14,  · "That a particular specified event or coincidence will occur is very unlikely. That some astonishing unspecified events will occur is certain. That is why remarkable coincidences are noted in hindsight, not predicted with foresight."--David G.

Myers The law of truly large numbers says that with a.

The Case Against 'The Case For Christ'