January 16, 1964|
|Philosophy of science, Philosophy of pseudoscience, Relationship between science and religion|
Massimo Pigliucci (Italian pronunciation: [ˈmassimo piʎˈʎuttʃi]; born January 16, 1964) is Professor of Philosophy at CUNY-City College, co-host of the Rationally Speaking Podcast, and the editor in chief for the online magazine Scientia Salon. He is an outspoken critic of pseudoscience and creationism, and an advocate for secularism and science education.
Pigliucci was born in Monrovia, Liberia, although he was raised in Rome, Italy. He has a doctorate in genetics from the University of Ferrara, Italy, a Ph.D. in biology from the University of Connecticut, and a Ph.D. in philosophy of science from the University of Tennessee. He is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry.
Pigliucci was formerly a professor of ecology and evolution at Stony Brook University. He explored phenotypic plasticity, genotype-environment interactions, natural selection, and the constraints imposed on natural selection by the genetic and developmental makeup of organisms. In 1997, while working at the University of Tennessee, Pigliucci received the Theodosius Dobzhansky Prize, awarded annually by the Society for the Study of Evolution to recognize the accomplishments and future promise of an outstanding young evolutionary biologist. As a philosopher, Pigliucci is interested in the structure and foundations of evolutionary theory, the relationship between science and philosophy, and the relationship between science and religion.
Pigliucci writes regularly for Skeptical Inquirer on topics such as climate change denial, intelligent design, pseudoscience, and philosophy. He has also written for Philosophy Now and maintains a blog called "Rationally Speaking'. He has debated "deniers of evolution" (young-earth creationists and intelligent design proponents), including young earth creationists Duane Gish and Kent Hovind and intelligent design proponents William Dembski and Jonathan Wells, on many occasions.
Critical thinking and scepticism
While Pigliucci is an atheist himself, he does not believe that science necessarily demands atheism because of two distinctions: the distinction between methodological naturalism and philosophical naturalism, and the distinction between value judgements and matters of fact. He believes that many scientists and science educators fail to appreciate these differences. Pigliucci has criticized New Atheist writers for embracing what he considers to be scientism (although he largely excludes philosopher Daniel Dennett from this charge). In a discussion of his book Answers for Aristotle: How Science and Philosophy Can Lead Us to a More Meaningful Life, Pigliucci told Skepticality podcast host Derek Colanduno, "Aristotle was the first ancient thinker to really take seriously the idea that you need both empirical facts, you need an evidence-based approach to the world and you need to be able to reflect on the meaning of those facts... If you want answers to moral questions then you don't ask the neurobiologist, you don't ask the evolutionary biologist, you ask the philosopher."
Pigliucci describes the mission of skeptics, referencing Carl Sagan's Demon Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark saying "What skeptics are about is to keep that candle lit and spread it as much as possible". Pigliucci serves on the board of NYC Skeptics and on the advisory board of the Secular Coalition for America.
Massimo Pigliucci criticised the newspaper article by Pope Francis entitled, "An open dialogue with non-believers". Pigliucci viewed the article as a monologue rather than a dialogue and, in a response personally addressed to Pope Francis, wrote that the Pope only offered non-believers "a reaffirmation of entirely unsubstantiated fantasies about God and his Son...followed by a confusion between the concept of love and truth, the whole peppered by a significant amount of historical revisionism and downright denial of the ugliest facets of your Church (and you will notice that I haven’t even brought up the pedophilia stuff!)."
In August 2000 Massimo started with a monthly internet column called Rationally Speaking. In August 2005 the column became a blog where he wrote blogs till March 2014. Since 1 February 2010 he co-hosts the bi-weekly Rationally Speaking podcast together with Julia Galef, who he first met at the Northeast Conference on Science and Skepticism, that was held in September 2009. The podcast is produced by the New York City Skeptics. In 2010 Neil DeGrasse Tyson explained on the show his justification for spending large amounts of government money on space programs. He eventually printed the transcript of his performance as a guest on the show in his book Space Chronicles as a full chapter covering eight pages. Another episode in which Tyson explained his position on the label atheism, received attention on NPR.
- Philosophy of Pseudoscience: Reconsidering the Demarcation Problem (with Maarten Boudry, eds., University of Chicago Press, 2013, ISBN 978-0226051963)
- Answers for Aristotle: How Science and Philosophy Can Lead Us to a More Meaningful Life (Basic Books, 2012, ISBN 978-0-465-02138-3)
- Nonsense on Stilts: How to Tell Science from Bunk (University of Chicago Press, 2010, ISBN 978-0-226-66786-7): This book presents a number of case studies on controversial topics in order to examine how science is conducted, how it is disseminated, how it is interpreted, and what it means to our society.
- Evolution: The Extended Synthesis (with Gerd B. Muller, MIT Press, 2010, ISBN 978-0262513678)
- Making Sense of Evolution (with Jonathan Kaplan, University of Chicago Press, 2006, ISBN 978-0-226-66837-6): A philosophical examination of the fundamental concepts of evolutionary theory and practice.
- Phenotypic Integration (Oxford University Press, 2003) ISBN 0195160436: A collection of technical essays on the evolution of complex biological organs.
- Denying Evolution: Creationism, Scientism, and the Nature of Science. (Sinauer, 2002) ISBN 0-87893-659-9: This book covers the evolution-creation controversy, better science teaching, and why people have difficulties with critical thinking.
- Phenotypic Plasticity (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2001): A technical volume on research concerning nature and nurture questions.
- Tales of the Rational (Freethought Press, 2000): A series of essays on atheism, straw-man arguments, creationism and the like.
- Phenotypic Evolution (with Carl Schlichting, Sinauer, 1998): A technical volume on the current status and future prospects of evolutionary theory.
- "Is evolutionary psychology a pseudoscience?". Skeptical Inquirer 30 (2): 23–24. 2006.
- "Science and fundamentalism". EMBO reports 6 (12): 1106–9. 2005. doi:10.1038/sj.embor.7400589.
- "The power and perils of metaphors in science". Skeptical Inquirer 29 (5): 20–21. 2005.
- "What is philosophy of science good for?". Philosophy Now 44: 45. January–February 2004.
- Pigliucci M, Banta J, Bossu C, et al. (May–June 2004). "The alleged fallacies of evolutionary theory". Philosophy Now 46: 36–39.
Additional articles can be found on his web sites (see "External Links" below).
- Massimo Pigliucci — Curriculum Vitae
- "Cuny - City College — Philosophy Department".
- "Rationally Speaking Podcast".
- "Scientia Salon".
- Pigliucci, Massimo; Boudry, Maarten, eds. (2013). Philosophy of Pseudoscience: Reconsidering the Demarcation Problem. University of Chicago Press. ISBN 978-0226051963.
- Pigliucci, Massimo (10 October 2013). "The Dangers of Pseudoscience". The New York Times.
- Pigliucci, Massimo (2002). Denying evolution: Creationism, scientism, and the nature of science. Sunderland, MA: Sinauer Associates.
- Secular Coalition for America Advisory Board Biography
- Pigliucci, M. (2005). "Science and fundamentalism". EMBO reports 6 (12): 1106–9. doi:10.1038/sj.embor.7400589.
- "Massimo Pigliucci — Short Bio" (PDF).
- "Massimo Pigliucci — Selected Papers".
- "Society for the Study of Evolution — Description of Awards".
- "Massimo Pigliucci". Committee for Skeptical Inquiry.
- "Rationally Speaking — a blog by Pigliucci about skepticism and humanism".
- Pigliucci, Massimo (2002). Denying evolution: creationism, scientism, and the nature of science. Sunderland, Mass.: Sinauer Associates. ISBN 0-87893-659-9.
- "Evolution Debate — Pigliucci vs Hovind". Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science. January 31, 2007. Retrieved 2012-12-16.
- "CV of William Dembski". Retrieved 1 January 2014.
- "Evolution and Intelligent Design: Pigliucci vs Wells". Uncommon Knowledge. January 14, 2005. Retrieved 2008-07-17.
- Pigliucci, Massimo (18 August 2008). "Excommunicated by the Atheists!".
- Pigliucci, M. (2013). "New Atheism and the Scientistic Turn in the Atheism Movement" (PDF). Midwest Studies In Philosophy 37 (1): 142–153.
- Colanduno, Derek (13 February 2013). "Should You Answer Aristotle?" (AUDIO). Skepticality Podcast. Skeptic Magazine. Retrieved 14 May 2014.
- Richard Saunders (24 September 2010). "The Skeptic Zone #101". http://skepticzone.tv/ (Podcast). Event occurs at 32:50. Retrieved 20 July 2014.
- Moreland, J.P. (2013). Debating Christian Theism. USA: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0199755431.
- Pigliucci, Massimo (20 September 2013). "Dear Pope". Rationally Speaking.
- Pigliucci, Massimo (1 August 2005). "Welcome, everyone!".
- Pigliucci, Massimo (20 March 2014). "So long, and thanks for all the fish".
- Stiefel, Todd; Metskas, Amanda K. (22 May 2013). "Julia Galef". The Humanist Hour. Episode 083. The Humanist. Retrieved 3 March 2015.
- Culp, Jennifer (2014). Neil DeGrasse Tyson. Great Science Writers Series. The Rosen Publishing Group. p. 74. ISBN 9781477776926.
- Lombrozo, Tania (8 December 2014). "What If Atheists Were Defined By Their Actions?". NPR. Retrieved 4 March 2015.
- Plato's Footnote – Pigliucci's Webpage
- Rationally Speaking – blog by Pigliucci about skepticism and humanism.
- Dr. Pigliucci's Rationally Speaking Podcast
- Massimo Pigliucci on Secular Web
- Philosophy & Theory in Biology
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