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What’s The Point of Materialist Psychology?

I have often wondered what the point of materialist psychology is.  Set aside mental illnesses that are manifestations of biological pathologies.  I am talking about, for example, the man who goes to a therapist because he is having marital difficulties  Why shouldn’t the therapy session proceed along these lines: Patient (let’s call him John):  Doc, I feel terrible.  My marriage is on the rocks. Therapist (let’s call him Sigmund):  Let’s explore why that might be. John:  Oh, way ahead of you there doc.  My wife Jill caught me having sex with her best friend Sally.  Let me tell you; she was not keen on that.  And you know I feel kinda bad about it too. Sigmund:  Do you hope to Read More ›

New find sheds light on how and when DNA replicates

"If you duplicate at a different place and time, you might assemble a completely different structure," Gilbert said. "A cell has different things available to it at different times. Changing when something replicates changes the packaging of the genetic information." Read More ›

2018 saw mechanobiology, including biophysics, come to the fore

The mechanome, “the body of knowledge about mechanical forces at work in the molecular, cellular, anatomical, and physiological processes that contribute to the architecture of living structures and their physical properties,” became more prominent this year in discussions of biology (though one story on the physics of biology late last year garnered 354 comments). For so long, the genome ran away with all the interest and publicity but maybe that’s changing. At her blog, science writer Suzan Mazur talks about the way that mechanobiology is becoming mainstream: “When I say mechanobiology is all the rage, I’m not simply referring to lab research and scientific conferences on the subject, although they are, of course, central. But also to: (1) mechanobiology university Read More ›

Webcast: New Horizons flying by Ultima Thule New Year’s Day

For a far out New Year’s Day, try Ultima Thule, 4 billion km from the sun. “The object was subsequently designated 2014 MU69, given the minor planet number 485968, and based on public votes, nicknamed "Ultima Thule", which means ‘beyond the known world.’” Read More ›

Getting at what we MEAN by “truth”

Yeah, truth. In an age when fishwraps claim to be telling us “The Truth” even while books are written about post-truth (Oxford’s Word of the Year 2016), a look at the different things people can mean does not come amiss. Read More ›

The phony war of science vs. religion pales in the face of the “social justice” assault on Darwin

Coyne is right. Atheists got hold of science. But the atheists’ opponents have traditionally been theists who are scientists who believe that truth is important. And much that is claimed to be “science” in Coyne’s own field is questionable but is defended because it supports atheism. But now, along come the social justice warriors... Read More ›

Michael Egnor on the immateriality of the mind – more

It is much easier to talk about the mind as a “meat robot” than about the reality, especially these days, when a Twitter putdown or TED talk is all you need by way of an argument. Few will bother to seek out someone who knows why it’s absolute nonsense. Read More ›

Will the Large Hadron Collider doom particle physics?

They’ll find the money to continue. Consider: The Standard Model begins with the hated Big Bang. Nothing that supports string theory, eternal cosmic inflation, or a multiverse has been found. Don’t many people just have to keep looking and keep quiet about what they find that wasn’t what they hoped for? Read More ›

Can Big Data beat the humans who compile it? A computer pioneer bet No

Fred Brooks says that human intelligence augmented by artificial intelligence will always beat artificial intelligence alone. Is he right? Jed Macosko, an assistant prof at Wake Forest University, explains: Before we envision scary scenes from The Matrix, we need to remember that Zor, Deep Blue, and any future AI systems are inevitably designed by humans. Developing an algorithm to beat humans or humans-plus-computers in chess requires a lot of other humans doing careful engineering. Not only that but their program designed to play chess won’t suddenly become a champion at Monopoly—or even very good at checkers. The bottom line is that Brooks’ Bet and his IA>AI inequality principle is a good reality check in the face of fears and hype Read More ›