An elderly man in a suit adjusts the hand of the Doomsday ClockThe saying goes “even a stopped clock gives the right time twice a day”. The implication is that no matter how wrong you are, how broken your reasoning, or how unfounded your opinion, once in a while (by chance) you’ll be right about something. There’s also an inverse corollary here: No matter how good your reasoning and your facts are, no matter how often you’re right, sometimes you’re going to make a mistake and be wrong.

Life’s tough like that, and we all really know these things, but it is largely these two principles that have led into a long-term distrust of the process of science.

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May 26 2012

An image of a mouth, showing the tongue and teethOur physical sensory systems lie to us in all sorts of routine ways, and I like to occasionally share some examples of that.

What’s the big difference between popular chicken-flavoured potato crisps, and unpopular garlic-and-onion flavoured potato crisps?

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Why is it that people open up so much, online? That we make friends faster, may fall in love more readily, that we are faster to trust someone online, whom we do not know. Why we open up to each-other, and exchange more private and intimate details and ideas than we would with any person offline?

You could attribute it to a small measure of relative safety given by pseudonymous identities giving people the freedom to be their genuine selves, but that’s not it. Or, rather, that isn’t all of it. The written word is key.

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Dec 22 2010

How would you feel if someone called you a liar and a godless charlatan? If they suggested that you were engaged in a long-term campaign of deception, and they tried to make sure that you got less money to do what you do, so that they could get more?

How would that make you feel?

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