Uncommon Descent Serving The Intelligent Design Community


Video Presentation: Why the Debate Over Intelligent Design Really Matters

I have recently posted a new video presentation on my YouTube channel. In the video I talk about some of the reasons why I think the debate over Intelligent Design and biological origins is of great significance. Aside from just being a fascinating area, it has many implications in several areas of life. This video, while far from perfect, is a big step up from my last few videos. I’ve done a fair amount of editing on this one, and took time to make it a little more professional, with music, slides, and photos. I hope you enjoy it, and it gets you thinking a little about why this topic is of importance to you also. Why the Question of Read More ›

Thinking More Deeply About Causation

Most people (including experts) tend to have a one-level view of causation. That is, they have a static idea of what the subject matter is, and then they look to see how the pieces bounce around within that static structure. That more or less works for physics. It totally fails everywhere else. Read More ›

Could the recent Pew Center survey on meaning help us interpret some controversies?

What do Americans think matters in life? Americans with high levels of household income and educational attainment are more likely to mention friendship, good health, stability and travel. A quarter of Americans who earn at least $75,000 a year mention their friends when asked to describe, in their own words, what makes life meaningful, compared with 14% of Americans who earn less than $30,000 each year. Similarly, 23% of higher-income U.S. adults mention being in good health, compared with 10% of lower-income Americans. And among those with a college degree, 11% mention travel and a sense of security as things that make their lives fulfilling, compared with 3% and 2%, respectively, who name these sources of meaning among those with Read More ›

Silenced! Selectivity too close to truth?

Should science pursue truth regardless of consequences? Or must we succumb to political correctness? Must selectivity of females always equal males? Consider:
Academic Activists Send a Published Paper Down the Memory Hole – by Theodore P. Hill
“In the highly controversial area of human intelligence, the ‘Greater Male Variability Hypothesis’ (GMVH) asserts that there are more idiots and more geniuses among men than among women. Darwin’s research on evolution in the nineteenth century found that, although there are many exceptions for specific traits and species, there is generally more variability in males than in females of the same species throughout the animal kingdom.” . . . Read More ›

News-watch: yet another incident of mass violence in FL, USA — where is this nihilism coming from?

First, condolences and prayers for victims and families. Daily Mail has a useful header that seems to capture key themes to ponder as we head into the weekend: These was of course — within minutes — the usual talking point exchange on firearms, gun-free [= target-rich] zones, mental illness and effects of certain antidepressants, affiliations (Antifa and Islamism have also been suggested and there is a picture of him in a MAGA hat) and the like, etc. U/D: My email inbox has a link to Townhall that points to a claim that “Leon County law enforcement sources told the Tallahassee Democrat that they could not find information linking Cruz, 19, to the Republic of Florida Militia, as first reported by Read More ›

The core of Christian ethics (for those inclined to put God in the dock)

There is such a strong tendency to project all sorts of accusations against Christian ethics that I believe it is necessary to put the indisputable core of the Christian ethical tradition on the table, to clear the air. And so, Matt 5 – 7, ESV: >>The Sermon on the Mount 5 Seeing the crowds, he [Jesus] went up on the mountain, and when he sat down, his disciples came to him. The Beatitudes 2 And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying: 3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 4 “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. 5 “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. 6 “Blessed are those who hunger and Read More ›

HGP responds to “society consensus morality,” i.e. cultural relativism

Over the years, I have noticed a tendency at UD and elsewhere to ignore and bury quite significant and substantial comments when discussion threads reflect interactions with those more concerned to make points rather than to have serious dialogue. Ironically, serious dialogue is what is necessary if a genuine consensus is ever to be built. In one of the current threads, HGP (welcome aboard) has made a substantial comment in reply to Seversky, apparently based on an earlier discussion.  He highlights some of the main challenges of cultural relativism in an outstanding comment. One that is well worth headlining. (And yes, headlining of exceptional comments is a way to recognise and encourage those who make thoughtful contributions to genuine dialogue.) Read More ›

Why is Wonder Alien to Social Psychology?

A recent article tries to tackle some important and often-missed points of social psychology. [Unbridled skepticism] has given rise to a belief that what we think about ourselves and our lives together cannot be held with any confidence until objective, scientific insight into these problems is obtained. The result of taking such a stance on our knowledge in this realm is that we become thoroughly unsure of the only seat of experience available to us: ourselves. Doubt penetrates to the deepest level such that we begin to wonder if we are merely mirages, and the scientific method is seen as the sole means of reassurance that this is not the case. In consequence, the prospect of making genuine discoveries, ones Read More ›

Rationalia: Rule by science a bad idea

From Jeffrey Guhin at Slate: First, experts usually don’t know nearly as much as they think they do. Experts often get it wrong, thanks to their inherently irrational brains that, through overconfidence, bubbles of like-minded thinkers, or just wanting to believe their vision of the world can be true, mislead us and misinterpret information. Rationality is subjective. All humans experience such biases; the real problem is when we forget that scientists and experts are human too—that they approach evidence and reasoned deliberation with the same prior commitments and unspoken assumptions as anyone else. Scientists: They’re just like us.More. Well, rule by science doesn’t really mean anything, any more than rule by ecology or religion would. What are the specifics? Does Read More ›

Why There Is (And Should Be) No Legal Right To Transgender Protections

Transgenderism is when a person considers themselves to internally be the opposite sex of their physical body. They mentally “self-identify” in contradiction to the physical fact of their body sex. Transgender law advocates insist that self-identified “transgenders” be given legal right to have unfettered access to all public facilities currently reserved for one sex or the other (male and female restrooms, lockers, showers, women’s shelters, etc.) Obama has recently decreed that all schools that do not fully adopt transgender protections and policies will face the revocation of federal funding. Usually, when a person believes they are something in contradiction to the physical facts (such as believing one is Napoleon, or believing one is a horse), we call that view delusional, Read More ›

Society, Rights, and Self-Identification

Does a man have the right to identify himself as a woman and enter their locker rooms and bathrooms, demanding equal rights for their self-identification?  Does a person have the right to identify herself as a native American and, when filling out forms for employment or college, indicate her ethnicity as such, even though she is not?   Should the force of law support such self-identifications which contradict the physical facts and insist that society accommodate any such self-identifications? Where is the line between socially protected self-identification in conflict with physical facts and delusion?  Can physically unrelated people identify themselves as family and represent themselves as such on legal forms?  Can an adult self-identify as a child and thus obligate his Read More ›

The incredible shrinking social sciences

From the Weekly Standard: The behavioral sciences scandal On this August morning Science magazine had published a scandalous article. The subject was the practice of behavioral psychology. Behavioral psychology is a wellspring of modern journalism. It is the source for most of those thrilling studies that keep reporters like Vedantam in business. Over 270 researchers, working as the Reproducibility Project, had gathered 100 studies from three of the most prestigious journals in the field of social psychology. Then they set about to redo the experiments and see if they could get the same results. Mostly they used the materials and methods the original researchers had used. Direct replications are seldom attempted in the social sciences, even though the ability to Read More ›