Uncommon Descent Serving The Intelligent Design Community

How can we make low-energy concrete for the Moon or Mars — or, Earth?

The C18 rediscovery/ re-invention of concrete . . . it had apparently been made by the Romans, Greeks and Egyptians [–> earlier, the Nabataeans] (and many natural, volcanic or sedimentary rocks are concrete-like) . . . opened up a world of new building possibilities; especially, when it is reinforced by steel. As, we can see all around us. But, concrete here uses a high energy process based on limestone, so how can we break through such barriers for the Moon or Mars? And, how could this be relevant to our home world, Earth? We could look at bones and teeth. For: >>The minerals found in human teeth and bones that give them their hardness and strength belong to a group Read More ›

Test: If naturalists are right, totalitarian states should be just as creative as free ones

A Chinese university is dumping intellectual freedom from their charters yet China hopes to be the world’s top AI power. Is there a contradiction here? Read More ›

At Aeon: Religion, science, and post-modernism

McLeish: Much of ‘postmodern’ philosophical thinking and its antecedents through the 20th century appear at best to have no contact with science at all, and at worst to strike at the very root-assumptions on which natural science is built, such as the existence of a real world, and the human ability to speak representationally of it. Read More ›

Fossilized Cambrian arthropod brains found

Had to happen eventually. And when a Cambrian arthropod brain turns up that can be analyzed, if it turns out to be pretty much like a modern arthropod brain, what reasonable conclusion should we draw about the design of life or the alleged lack thereof? Read More ›

At New Scientist: Our puny human brains can’t imagine alien life

Not true! We humans more or less invented the whole idea of aliens. Without us, they probably wouldn’t exist even as a story. Just think: There would be no market for ET tales, films, and trade goods except for us humans. Don’t believe me? Try to get clams or termites interested in ET and see what happens… Read More ›

One of the biggest science stories of the last decade: The Descent of Man gets crowdsourced

Those old Descent of Man charts were sometimes fun, showing a bacterium ending up as some poor slob hunched over a workstation. Some sort of moral was always pounded into us by these tales, usually not an uplifting one. But real history is always better and more interesting. Read More ›

Consciousness: Philosopher Massimo Pigliucci skates around the main problems

It’s time to revive dualism: “And lastly, Pigliucci insists, without offering evidence, that dualism is “antiscientific.” Dualism is a logical conclusion from our circumstances; we are beings of both mind and matter. And those who would refute dualism tend to involve themselves in stranger claims, as we have seen.” Read More ›

drc466 exposes the argument from incredulity fallacy

Here at UD, we will headline particularly noteworthy comments spotted in discussion threads. Today, drc466 has a gem, in the Show a Natural OoL for $10 mn prize thread,: drc466 , no. 21:] “there is nothing more irritating than the constant (invalid) refrain from evolutionists of “argument from incredulity”. And the variant “God of the Gaps” or “Goddidit” accusations. When a scientist, engineer, or layman for that matter, conclusively demonstrates mathematically or empirically that something is impossible, that is not an “argument from incredulity”. It is a proof requiring evidence to the contrary. Say, for example, that I make the claim “Iron doesn’t float”. That’s not an argument from incredulity, that is a positive hypothesis based on experimental observation that Read More ›

A note on technology-driven economic long waves (aka, the ghost of “Kondratiev” roars)

Nikolai Kondratiev was a Russian economist in the 1930’s who was shot by Stalin on September 17, 1938, because he had the integrity and courage to say the economic crisis of that decade, on statistical evidence, was largely a generation(s) length cyclical oscillation; not the Crisis of Capitalism leading to global Socialist Revolution that Marxist theory as understood by Stalin demanded. (Echoes in current debates on trends vs oscillations in climate trends etc are not coincidental. [Note, climate, technically, is a 30+ year moving average of weather.]) Joseph Schumpeter picked up his thought, and there has been a (somewhat marginalised/ “misunderestimated”) school of thinking on long waves across time. One aspect of that, has been a focus on how key Read More ›