A Materialist Gets It (Almost)

A recent exchange with Allan Keith illustrates how materialists have allowed their intellect to become literally enslaved to their metaphysical commitments.  Allan proves one can understand the logic fully and even accept the logic.  And then turn right around and deny the conclusions compelled by the logic.  Let’s see how: We will pick up the […]

In what sense is Stephen Hawking equivalent to Isaac Newton?

Pos-Darwinista writes to say that Stephen Hawking’s ashes are to be interred beside those of Isaac Newton at Westminster Abby, as reported at BBC: The Dean of Westminster, the Very Reverend Dr John Hall, said: “It is entirely fitting that the remains of Professor Stephen Hawking are to be buried in the Abbey, near those […]

Sixth mass extinction, but no news on defining “species”?

From Phoebe Weston at the Daily Mail, who offers a convenient bullet point format: Revealed: The worrying state of Earth’s species in numbers as scientists warn the sixth mass extinction is here and wildlife is in a ‘global crisis’ Two species of vertebrate, animals with a backbone, have gone extinct each year Currently more than […]

More rubbish on consciousness: “not a nonphysical phenomenon”

From Harriet Hall, in a review of Daniel Dennett’s book, Bacteria to Bach and Back, at CSICOP: Consciousness is not a nonphysical phenomenon. It is an evolved user-illusion, “a system of virtual machines that evolved, genetically and memetically, to play very special roles in the ‘cognitive niche’ our ancestors have constructed over the millennia.” There […]

Neanderthal gene flow was mostly one way

From ScienceDaily: The team also compared these Neandertal genomes to the genomes of people living today, and showed that all of the late Neandertals were more similar to the Neandertals that contributed DNA to present-day people living outside Africa than an older Neandertal from Siberia. Intriguingly, even though four of the Neandertals lived at a […]

Researchers: Modern humans “interbred with” Denisovans twice

From ScienceDaily: Modern humans co-existed and interbred not only with Neanderthals, but also with another species of archaic humans, the mysterious Denisovans. Research now describes how, while developing a new genome-analysis method for comparing whole genomes between modern human and Denisovan populations, researchers unexpectedly discovered two distinct episodes of Denisovan genetic intermixing, or admixing, between […]

God’s perfect proofs? Are there such things?

From Erica Klarreich at Quanta: In January, Ziegler traveled to San Diego for the Joint Mathematics Meetings, where he received (on his and Aigner’s behalf) the 2018 Steele Prize for Mathematical Exposition. “The density of elegant ideas per page [in the book] is extraordinarily high,” the prize citation reads. The 2014 book is Proofs from […]

Sabine Hossenfelder: Hawking’s final theory is just one of “some thousand” speculations

From Sabine Hossenfelder at Back(Re)Action: Yesterday, the media buzzed with the revelation that Stephen Hawking had completed a paper two weeks before his death. This paper supposedly contains some breathtaking insight. About the multiverse (parallel universes). The paper is based on an old idea by Stephen Hawking and Jim Hartle called the “no-boundary” proposal. In […]

Strawson Attacks the Great Silliness

BA77 points us to Galen Strawson’s brilliant The Consciousness Deniers in the New York Review of Books.  Strawson takes to task his fellow materialists, especially Daniel Dennett, for espousing what he calls the Great Silliness.  The Great Silliness is, of course, denying what I have called “the primordial datum” — each person’s subjective experience of  […]

Researchers: Humans traded with distant groups by 320,000 years ago

From ScienceDaily: Anthropologists at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History and an international team of collaborators have discovered that early humans in East Africa had — by about 320,000 years ago — begun trading with distant groups, using color pigments and manufacturing more sophisticated tools than those of the Early Stone Age. These newly […]

At PNAS: Reproducibility problems in science are slammed as fake news

From Daniel Fanelli at PNAS: Ultimately, the debate over the existence of a reproducibility crisis should have been closed by recent large-scale assessments of reproducibility. Their results, however, are either reassuring or inconclusive. A “Many labs” project reported that 10 of 13 studies taken from the psychological literature had been consistently replicated multiple times across […]

Evolution: Mice change when humans feed them

From ScienceDaily: Many tame domesticated animals have a different appearance compared to their relatives in the wild, for example white patches in their fur or shorter snouts. Researchers have now for the first time shown that wild house mice develop the same visible changes — without selection, as a result of exposure to humans alone. […]

Polite request to stop cyberbullying scientists falls, of course, on deaf ears

From Alex Berezow at ACSH: Their first coordinated campaign against Mr. Neidenbach targeted his Facebook page. Facebook capitulated, temporarily blocking his page and banning Mr. Neidenbach – for the “crime” of promoting biotechnology. His page was soon reinstated, but their success only served to embolden the activists. Their most recent tactic is to try to […]

Admitted? We may never know for sure how everything began?

From Ross Pomeroy at RealClearScience, on understanding the Big Bang: “It certainly looks like the universe that we observe around us… definitely had a beginning,” MIT cosmologist Alan Guth, the originator of the theory of cosmic inflation, said in an interview for the PBS show Closer to Truth. “That doesn’t mean that that beginning was […]

Did Stephen Hawking discover a means of detecting parallel universes just before he died?

From Henry Bodkin at the Telegraph: A final theory explaining how mankind might detect parallel universes was completed by Stephen Hawking shortly before he died, it has emerged. Colleagues have revealed the renowned theoretical physicist’s final academic work was to set out the groundbreaking mathematics needed for a spacecraft to find traces of multiple big […]

The Universe Hawking Created from Nothing

We’ve recently noted with sadness the passing of Dr. Stephen Hawking, noted theoretical physicist and cosmologist, and one of the most well-known authors and speakers on these subjects in our lifetime. Over at Evolution News, David Klinghoffer points us to an interview of Professor John Lennox by Dr. Jay Richards regarding some of the things […]

Was Stephen Hawking (1942–2018) right to object to the Kalam cosmological argument?

Kalam cosmological argument: The cosmological argument is less a particular argument than an argument type. It uses a general pattern of argumentation (logos) that makes an inference from particular alleged facts about the universe (cosmos) to the existence of a unique being, generally identified with or referred to as God. Among these initial facts are […]

Every so often, one hears whispers of Darwin doubt

This one from 2010, sent in by a reader. From John Horgan at Scientific American: Early in his career, the philosopher Karl Popper ,, called evolution via natural selection “almost a tautology” and “not a testable scientific theory but a metaphysical research program.” Attacked for these criticisms, Popper took them back (in approx 1978). But […]

JAD on “Self-Replicating Machines and OoL”

Here at UD, we often have commenters whose remarks are well worth headlining. Here, we have JAD in action, suggesting to GP: “Here is something you might consider as a seed for a future topic for a future OP.” Yup, and even as an embryonic thought, it is well worth posting — a first, rough […]

Scientists who laboured in comparative obscurity who made a big difference

Science historian Michael Flannery kindly writes to offer a list (in case anyone was tempted to measure achievement by invites to yada yada talk shows): 1) Girolamo Fracastoro (aka Fracastorius) proposed a form of germ theory of disease in his On contagion and contagious disease in 1546 over 300 hears before Pasteur. 2) Josiah Clark […]

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