What is Skeptic's Play?

The widespread distrust of intellectuals in America reflects a tendency to depreciate their playfulness and distrust their piety. Ours is a society in which every form of play seems to be accepted by the majority except the play of the mind.

-Richard Hofstadter
What does the title mean?

Skepticism is a method of thought based on the scientific method.  Skeptics are aware of the many biases that affect us, and carefully practice critical thinking to avoid them.  Skeptics oppose ideas built on distorting science or reason, such as alternative medicine, creationism, or conspiracy theories.  The Skeptics Society has a nice intro and manifesto if you want to learn more.

But Skeptic's Play is mostly not about skepticism.  My perspective is strongly influenced by the skepticism, but I am entirely unable to stay on topic.  Instead, I play around with various ideas, occasionally about skepticism and critical thinking, but more often about physics, atheism, queerness, and beyond.

What exactly is the blog about?

See the list of categories, or my best selection of posts.

Who is this mysterious writer?

I go by "trivialknot", although sometimes people might refer to me as "Siggy" or "miller".  "trivialknot" is preferred here.

I am a graduate physics student studying high temperature superconductivity.  I am male.  I am an atheist.  I identify as between asexual and gay (see also: asexuality 101).  I also run a group blog on asexuality (targeted at asexual readers, not people new to the topic).  I participate in skeptical, atheist, gay, and asexual communities offline as well as online.  Sometimes I do activist work too.

My approach to many issues is influenced by my long-time enthusiasm for puzzles.  I tend to see issues as intellectual challenges, interesting in themselves.  It's not about convincing people or finding answers, it's about the process.  It's also about the math; I am a fan of the math.

Comment Policy

Pretty much any comments are allowed on this blog.  It's pretty quiet most of the time, and trolls won't stick around without much of an audience.

If a comment does not immediately appear, please e-mail me to see if I can correct it.

Off-topic comments are acceptable but discouraged.  Spam-like comments and incomprehensible nonsense will be deleted at my own discretion.

E-mail policy

I also have an e-mail address. It is skepticsplay a-t gmail d-o-t com. I reserve the right to publish any e-mail correspondence unless you explicitly forbid it (but I have never exercised this right). I prefer that discussion remain in the comments, but I understand the need for private communications.

Note on site design

I created the site's design by slightly modifying of one of Blogger's default templates.  Does white text on a dark background bother you?  Some people prefer it, and some don't.  I'm truly sorry if it is an issue for you.  You can try reading the site through the rss feed, which is black text on white.