Hossenfelder: If one adds 7 dimensions of space to our normal three dimensions, then one can describe all of the fundamental forces of nature geometrically. And that sounds like a really promising idea for a unified theory of physics. Indeed, in the early 1980s, the string theorist Edward Witten thought it was intriguing that seven additional dimensions of space is also the maximum for supergravity. However, that numerical coincidence turned out to not lead anywhere. This geometric construction of fundamental forces which is called Kaluza-Klein theory, suffers from several problems that no one has managed to solved.
Egnor: The cause of the universe must be something other than the universe itself and must have the power to cause things independently of the laws of nature. That is what all men call God.
Mathematician Kurt Gödel showed that there is an infinite number of truths that are provably unprovable. That’s bad news for scientism, though not for science.
Avi Loeb has come up with a very reasonable idea for searching for evidence of other civilizations in our galaxy: Look for alien debris on our still, lifeless, atmosphere-free Moon.
At RealClearScience: Science is a method and discipline, but Scientism is something more – it establishes a set of beliefs by which to view things. It sees science as “realistic” or “just the facts”, like some objective totem. What’s more, Midgley argued that Scientism is invariably aligned with some kind of excessive reductionism, where everything is reduced to neurons or evolutionary psychology, for instance.
Well then, how did a complex process like photosynthesis get the time to “evolve” by natural selection acting on random mutations (Darwinism)? Researchers (wisely, for now) state such findings without making any obvious inferences. But the number of these situations is building.
Well, that’s good news for the hope of finding life on other planets! But researchers hoping to rush in and save Darwinism should know that if the earliest organisms could photosynthesize, an intelligent origin of life is virtually certain.
There’s a way we can do that, provided the spider has anything to say. One of the presentations at the American Chemical Society’s Spring 2021 meeting featured an algorithm that makes music from the analysis of spiders’ webs.
It sounds as though some would like to hold onto the name of Darwinism while — in reality — adopting panpsychism. That would be consistent with other trends we’ve noted.
The other comments are quite interesting but that one is framable. If we have too many answers, we don’t have enough questions.
At The Scientist: With the potential moves against Marcy and Ayala, “We are watching social change happening in front of our eyes,” says Nancy Hopkins, an NAS member and emeritus biologist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. “It has been a long time coming.” …
Takehome: Horgan finds that, despite the enormous advances in neuroscience, genetics, cognitive science, and AI, our minds remain “as mysterious as ever.”
The main reason that interest in panpsychism is growing is probably the inability of materialism to provide a coherent account of consciousness.
Paul Nelson: … unless I misunderstand (always a live possibility), we’re back to postulating a “freak environment,” meaning the OOL explanation is a one-off event after all. The chemical determinism of hundreds of thousands, or millions of alkaline chimneys operating in parallel disappears, and we’re back to one very lucky setting.
It’s anyone’s guess how much of this will hold up, but positing some numbers to dispute is a worthwhile effort at sleuthing.