Massimo Pigliucci

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Massimo Pigliucci
Massimo Pigliucci.jpg
Born (1964-01-16) January 16, 1964 (age 50)
Monrovia, Liberia
Main interests Philosophy of science, Philosophy of pseudoscience, Relationship between science and religion
Alma mater

Massimo Pigliucci (Italian pronunciation: [ˈmassimo piʎˈʎuttʃi]; born January 16, 1964)[1] is the chair of the Department of Philosophy at CUNY-Lehman College[2] and the editor in chief for the journal Philosophy & Theory in Biology.[3] He is an outspoken critic of pseudoscience[4][5] and creationism,[6] and an advocate for secularism[7] and science education.[8]


Pigliucci was born in Monrovia, Liberia, although he was raised in Rome, Italy.[1] 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.[9] He is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry.[1]

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.[10] In 1997, while working at the University of Tennessee, Pigliucci received the Theodosius Dobzhansky Prize,[11] awarded annually by the Society for the Study of Evolution[1] 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.[9]

Pigliucci writes regularly for Skeptical Inquirer on topics such as climate change denial, intelligent design, pseudoscience, and philosophy.[12] He has also written for Philosophy Now and maintains a blog called "Rationally Speaking'.[13] 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.[14][15][16] [17]

Secularism and atheism[edit]

While Pigliucci is an atheist himself,[18] 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.[8] Pigliucci has criticized New Atheist writers for embracing what he considers to be scientism (although he largely excludes philosopher Daniel Dennett from this charge).[19]

Pigliucci serves on the board of NYC Skeptics and on the advisory board of the Secular Coalition for America.[7] He also co-hosts its official podcast, Rationally Speaking, with Julia Galef. In 2001, he debated William Lane Craig over the existence of God.[20]

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!)."[21]



The following are a select few of Pigliucci's articles. Some may be found at the Internet Infidels' Secular Web.

Additional articles can be found on his web sites (see "External Links" below).


  1. ^ a b c d Massimo Pigliucci — Curriculum Vitae
  2. ^ "Lehman College — About the Philosophy Department". 
  3. ^ "Contributors". 
  4. ^ Pigliucci, Massimo; Boudry, Maarten, eds. (2013). Philosophy of Pseudoscience: Reconsidering the Demarcation Problem. University of Chicago Press. ISBN 978-0226051963. 
  5. ^ Pigliucci, Massimo (10 October 2013). "The Dangers of Pseudoscience". The New York Times. 
  6. ^ Pigliucci, Massimo (2002). Denying evolution: Creationism, scientism, and the nature of science. Sunderland, MA: Sinauer Associates. 
  7. ^ a b Secular Coalition for America Advisory Board Biography
  8. ^ a b Pigliucci, M. (2005). "Science and fundamentalism". EMBO reports 6 (12): 1106–9. doi:10.1038/sj.embor.7400589. 
  9. ^ a b "Massimo Pigliucci — Short Bio". 
  10. ^ "Massimo Pigliucci — Selected Papers". 
  11. ^ "Society for the Study of Evolution — Description of Awards". 
  12. ^ "Massimo Pigliucci". Committee for Skeptical Inquiry. 
  13. ^ "Rationally Speaking — a blog by Pigliucci about skepticism and humanism". 
  14. ^ Pigliucci, Massimo (2002). Denying evolution: creationism, scientism, and the nature of science. Sunderland, Mass.: Sinauer Associates. ISBN 0-87893-659-9. 
  15. ^ "Evolution Debate — Pigliucci vs Hovind". Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science. January 31, 2007. Retrieved 2012-12-16. 
  16. ^ "CV of William Dembski". Retrieved 1 January 2014. 
  17. ^ "Evolution and Intelligent Design: Pigliucci vs Wells". Uncommon Knowledge. January 14, 2005. Retrieved 2008-07-17. 
  18. ^ Pigliucci, Massimo (18 August 2008). "Excommunicated by the Atheists!". 
  19. ^ Pigliucci, M. (2013). "New Atheism and the Scientistic Turn in the Atheism Movement". Midwest Studies In Philosophy 37 (1): 142–153. 
  20. ^ Moreland, J.P. (2013). Debating Christian Theism. USA: Oxford Universiy Press. ISBN 978-0199755431.
  21. ^ Pigliucci, Massimo (20 September 2013). "Dear Pope". Rationally Speaking. 

External links[edit]