Larry Sanger

Online knowledge organizer. Co-founder of Wikipedia, Ph.D. Philosophy.

Could God have evolved?

1. How a common argument for the existence of God failed—or did it? As a philosophy instructor, I often taught the topic of arguments for the existence of God. One of the most common arguments, called the argument from design or teleological argument, in one formulation compares God to a…

On intellectual honesty and accepting the humiliation of error

I. The virtue of intellectual honesty.Honesty is a greatly underrated epistemic virtue. There is a sound reason for thinking so. It turns out that probably the single greatest source of error is not ignorance but arrogance, not lack of facts but dogmatism. We leap to conclusions that fit with our…

Modern education and culture, or, what did you think would happen?

I. Modern education and culture Look at where we are in education and culture today. Let's catalog the main issues, shall we? School children are often not taught to read properly, and too many fall behind and grow up functionally illiterate. Yet students are kept in schools practically all day and…

Independent study, a replacement for college

There are many things wrong with higher education today, as I've argued on this blog. It's way too expensive.  The amount of bureaucratic overhead is simply ridiculous. The focus on education as vocational training has deeply undercut appreciation and practice of the liberal arts. It…

On the Purposes of the Internet

SISCTI 34 February 28, 2009 Monterrey, Mexico Introduction I am going to begin by asking a philosophical question about the Internet. But I can hear some of you saying, “Philosophy? What does that have to do with the Internet? Maybe I will have a siesta.” Well, before you close your eyes, let me…

Why study higher mathematics and other stuff most people don’t use in everyday life?

This video was posted in a Facebook group of mine here: I find it ironic that some of the most listened-to speakers about education explain that the cure to our educational ills is to point out that education is unnecessary. I call this educational anti-intellectualism. Here's another…

How the government can monitor U.S. citizens

Just what tools do American governments—federal, state, and local—have to monitor U.S. citizens? There are other such lists online, but I couldn't find one that struck me as being quite complete. This list omits strictly criminal tracking, because while criminals are citizens, actual crime…

Why do smart people say such stupid things about politics?

Hey to all my friends who are smart people. (And if you wonder whether this "who" is restrictive or nonrestrictive, you may be one of my smart friends.) When Thoreau said, "Simplify," he was not talking about your political positions. The truth is complex. You know this. You are capable of doing…

Top 10 hidden gems of central Ohio

Today my family discovered yet another hidden gem, a spot we had never been to before, in central Ohio where we live. This inspired me to catalog our favorite "hidden gems." Central Ohio has some excellent landmarks that a visitor would enjoy. The Columbus Zoo is world class; the…

Teaching reading — two suggestions

America’s literacy problems could be solved if parents, preschool teachers, and daycare workers did just two simple things. One is obvious. One is not. First, we should read a lot more to our babies, toddlers, and preschoolers — say, at least an hour per day. That means picking up a good…