Edward Willett

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A long, in-depth interview with…moi! (Trigger warning: includes questions about religion and politics)

Recently Everitt Foster over the blog A Natural Reaction asked me to answer some questions for an online interview, one of a series he's been conducting with authors who have been early adopters of the new social media platform Gab, a would-be Twitter rival. (My handle over there is ewillett.) You can read the interview over there, or you can read it right here, if you want to know more about me than you probably actually want to know about me. I even talk about religion and politics. Quelle horreur! Tell me a little about how you were raised. What was your family like? Did they encourage reading, writing and artistic pursuits from a young age or we’re ...

Posted by Edward Willett at 15:47, December 5th, 2016 under Blog, Writing and Editing | Comment now »

A modest proposal (for the complete overhaul of the legislative process)

Back in high school, I was a debater...kind of. I say kind of, because like football, debate was something I did for only one year. (What, you don’t think football players usually end up on the debate team? Then you didn’t go to a small enough school.) I don’t know that I was a very good football player, although we did have a very successful team the one year I played (center: I couldn’t catch and I couldn’t run, but I could snap the ball and I was big and rather enjoyed running into people), but I seem to have been a pretty good debater. I jumped straight into the Open ...

Posted by Edward Willett at 7:55, December 5th, 2012 under Blog | Comment now »

A bit about bias: the encore

I don’t usually repeat columns quite as soon as I’m repeating this one on bias, but my big brother Jim recently suggested this might be a good time, with the Canadian election on, and I always do what my big brother tells me to. (Right, Jim?) Also, I’m swamped with editorial revisions on two novels at once, and so... Elections have a way of generating, in most people’s minds, a very serious question: How on Earth can so many people be so pig-headed and blind as to disagree with you and me (I’m assuming, of course, that you agree with me) about who to vote for, when it is blatantly obvious that ...

Posted by Edward Willett at 14:38, April 8th, 2011 under Blog, Columns, Science Columns | Comment now »

Political irrationality

[podcast]http://edwardwillett.com/wp-content/upLoads//2011/04/Political-Irrationality.mp3[/podcast] This week, in honour of the Canadian federal election coming up May 2, I’m revisiting a column from a few years ago that seems apropos. It’s all about political irrationality, and if you read that phrase and immediately assume it’s referring to the obvious irrationality of the political beliefs of those who plan to vote for candidates belonging to that stupid/evil/corrupt other party, well, think again: by making that assumption, you’re actually the one demonstrating political irrationality. Political disagreements tend to turn hot very quickly. And that’s just one way they’re unusual, says Michael Huemer of the University of Colorado in Boulder. In “Why People Are Irrational About Politics,” posted on ...

Posted by Edward Willett at 8:23, April 1st, 2011 under Blog, Columns, Science Columns | Comment now »

The case for accidental politicians

[podcast]http://edwardwillett.com/wp-content/upLoads//2011/03/Accidental-Politicians.mp3[/podcast] Canada is about to enter a federal election campaign, and you know what that means. Platforms, proclamations, partisanship, preening, pretending, pandering and pestering, not to mention politicians on your porch. It’s enough to make you tired, but at least here that knock on the door is a smiling politician and not the secret police. As Winston Churchill famously noted, “democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried.” That doesn’t mean it can’t be improved, of course. In Canada, we periodically get calls for parliamentary reform, but there’s one kind of reform I’ve never heard mentioned, one that may sound drastic, but boasts mathematical evidence ...

Posted by Edward Willett at 13:56, March 25th, 2011 under Blog, Columns, Science Columns | 1 Comment »

And we’re off! 2011 and beyond…

So...Happy New Year! If you're going to build readership on a blog, you have to post regularly. Everyone knows that. I know it; you know it. And periodically I've attempted it, never with any great success. But you know what? Hope springs eternal, and with the start of a new year, I've got another chance to do several worthwhile things: lose weight, write more, and blog more...beyond simply plugging my latest book or pointing out reviews. I read quite a few blogs, political blogs, science fiction blogs, science blogs, and more. Perhaps I would get more readers if I were to focus on one particular topic land stick to it. But my interests ...

Posted by Edward Willett at 10:57, January 5th, 2011 under Blog | Comment now »

The uselessness of celebrity endorsements

[podcast]http://edwardwillett.com/wp-content/upLoads//2010/05/Celebrity-Endorsements.mp3[/podcast] I don’t have much use for celebrity endorsements of, well, anything. Oh, sure, it’s conceivable you could be a talented entertainer and also have an informed, thoughtful opinion that adds more light than heat to the debate surrounding a contentious issue, but just because something is possible it doesn’t mean it’s likely. And let’s face it, the mere fact you’re pretty good at pretending to be somebody else in front of a camera does not give you any special insight the rest of us lack. I also resent lectures from affluent millionaires who use private jets like we use cars and have just expended vast amounts of energy making Pocahontas In Outer Space with blue people telling the rest of us we ...

Posted by Edward Willett at 8:04, May 3rd, 2010 under Blog, Columns, Science Columns | 2 Comments »

The World in the Satin Bag picks Terra Insegura’s cover as best of 2009

Blogger Shaun M. Duke, who really liked Terra Insegura, has chosen its cover, by Stephan Martiniere, as the winner of his award for best cover of 2009. I agree with him, of course. It really is a terrific cover. Shaun writes: The artwork for Terra Insegura is stunning, as are all of Martiniere's paintings. A big plus is the cover actually matches what is in the book. What more can I say? Just look at it! However, I must take issue with some of Shaun's other comments in his list of awards for 2009, particularly the notion that you should refuse to buy books from someone whose opinions you ...

Posted by Edward Willett at 15:06, January 1st, 2010 under Blog | Comment now »

The silent majority

[podcast]http://edwardwillett.com/wp-content/upLoads//2009/10/The-Silent-Majority.mp3[/podcast] It’s probably happened to you. It’s certainly happened to me. You’re at some social gathering or public event when someone says something so outrageously extreme that you can’t believe it. The thrower of this verbal bombshell seems to assume everyone agrees with him...and since no one speaks up,  except for a couple of people who express approval, you come to the conclusion that he’s right, that you’re the odd person out, and that, therefore, “This group is more left-wing/right-wing/certifiably insane than I thought!” Take heart: you probably aren’t as out of step with the beliefs of others in the group as you think. The person making the extreme statements may think his views are in the majority...but he’s very likely wrong. That’s the indication ...

Posted by Edward Willett at 12:54, October 22nd, 2009 under Blog, Columns, Science Columns | 1 Comment »

A bit about bias

A Bit About Bias Now that both the Canadian and the American elections are over, it’s time to ask ourselves a serious question: How on Earth could so many people be so pig-headed and blind as to have disagreed with you and me (I’m assuming, of course, that you agree with me) about the best people to vote for, when it was blatantly obvious that our candidates were superior in every way? Blatant bias and serious stupidity, obviously. No doubt fueled by the media. After all, we all know how biased they are. Alas, say psychologists contacted for a recent Philadelphia Inquirer article on the subject, we’re all biased. And one of the most basic ways in which we’re biased is ...

Posted by Edward Willett at 20:57, November 10th, 2008 under Blog, Science Columns | 1 Comment »