Uncommon Descent Serving The Intelligent Design Community

At SciTech Daily: New Theory Suggests That the Origin of Life on Earth-Like Planets Is Likely

According to a recent paper by a math professor at the University of Arkansas, the existence of life on Earth provides proof that abiogenesis is relatively easy on planets similar to Earth, refuting the “Carter argument” conclusion. Does the presence of life on Earth provide any insight into the likelihood that abiogenesis—the process by which life first emerges from inorganic substances—occurs elsewhere? That is a question that has baffled scientists for a while, as well as everyone else inclined to think about it. Astrophysicist Brandon Carter makes the widely accepted claim that the selection effect of our own existence limits our ability to observe. Nothing can be concluded about the likelihood of life existing elsewhere based on the fact that we had Read More ›

At Evolution News: Early Humans Were More Sophisticated than We Thought

Denyse O’Leary writes: Recent findings suggest that some things we take for granted in human civilizations are much older than thought. Now, these findings are provisional but they are worth looking at. Some owl stones from 5,500 and 4,750 years ago may be children’s art: But new research suggests the palm-sized plaques decorated in geometric patterns and with two engraved circles at the top might be the work of children. Numbering in the thousands and made from slate, the owl-like objects — previously dated the stone objects to be between 5,500 and 4,750 years old — may be “the archaeological trace of playful and learning activities carried out by youngsters,” according to the team of Spanish researchers behind the new study… They suggest Read More ›

A rabbi shares the insights from a new space alien friend about random evolution

Lee Spetner, in his extremely informative book The Evolution Revolution, drives home the point that if you don't have a mechanism to explain circumstantial evidence, your evidence simply doesn't count. Read More ›

At PopSci.com: With one snapshot, Apollo 17 transformed our vision of Earth forever

Today, we can realize how geographically limited our planet really is--it's the only place in the solar system that could support our civilization. We can be thankful for how well our needs are met by Earth's physical design and resources. Read More ›

At Quora: Is it possible to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that intelligence was required to create life?

John von Neumann mathematically showed that the information content of the simplest self-replicating machine is about 1500 bits of information. This is a vast amount of information, far exceeding the information content of the physical (non-living) universe. Read More ›

At Science Daily: Hearing is believing: Sounds can alter our visual perception

Audio cues can not only help us to recognize objects more quickly but can even alter our visual perception. That is, pair birdsong with a bird and we see a bird — but replace that birdsong with a squirrel’s chatter, and we’re not quite so sure what we’re looking at. “Your brain spends a significant amount of energy to process the sensory information in the world and to give you that feeling of a full and seamless perception,” said lead author Jamal R. Williams (University of California, San Diego) in an interview. “One way that it does this is by making inferences about what sorts of information should be expected.” Although these “informed guesses” can help us to process information Read More ›

Origenes: “The Emergence of Emergentism: A Play for Two Actors”

The stage is in darkness, with sombre mood music, then light rises . . . Origenes, 226 in the Pregnancy thread: <<Two desperate naturalists in a room. A: “I feel completely desperate. There is no way we will ever be able to explain life and consciousness.”B: “I feel the exact same way. The main issue is that we have nothing to work with. All we have is mindless particles in the void obeying mindless regularities. Starting from that, how can we possibly explain life, not to mention personhood, freedom, and rationality? There is simply no way forward.”A: “Exactly right. Sometimes I feel like such a loser. The other day I heard that current science cannot even explain liquidity.”B: “What did Read More ›

At Evolution News: Your Intelligently Designed Body Is a System of Systems

Natural processes tend to destroy information-rich, functional systems over time. The body's remarkable hierarchy of interdependent life-support systems stands as the most unnatural physical phenomenon in the universe. Read More ›