One would think that a scientist, trained in exact modes of thought and research, would not fall into such a blatant confusion. Or if he is not confused 'in his own mind' why is he writing like a sloppy sophomore? Scientific American is not a technical journal, but it is certainly a cut or two above National Enquirer.The problem is that philosophy, unlike 'science' is a subject which most people feel qualified to talk about. Unlike physics or maths or chemistry, it is not taught in school, so most people have no idea of the difficulty of acquiring expertise in it. Philosophy is also rather like drama, and unlike music, in that it is difficult for non experts to spot lack of expertise. Let me explain. Bad playing of a musical instrument is immedately obvious to anyone who has no training in music. All parents will remember those primary school concerts when the young ones play violins, trumpets, pianos and so on, where the pain of listening whose only just counterbalanced by the love we all bear towards our progeny. In contrast, bad acting is less obvious to those without training in the dramatic arts.
Supposedly this is why membership of the actor's union Equity is so difficult to obtain, whereas membership of the Musicians Union is not. Being a good actor is something that good actors have to judge, being a good musician is obvious to the world. No one can pretend to be a good musician, everyone can pretend to be an actor, and so rules must be drawn up. Now in an ideal world, there would be a philosopher's union, and no one would be allowed to write or even speak about it unless they were a member. But that is not so, and the best we have is Bill's occasional entertaining ranting - which is good enough, to be sure, and lightens the darkness of our days.