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People’s Choice Awards: Our most read stories June 2013


Top three in January (here), February here), March here), April (here), May (here).

1. News: Why materialist neuroscience must necessarily remain a pseudo-discipline (611 comments, no less):

Qualia? As Mario Beauregard and I (Denyse O’Leary) wrote in The Spiritual Brain,

There are good reasons for thinking that the evidence for materialism will actually never arrive. For example, there is the problem of qualia. Qualia (singular, quale) are how things appear to us individually—the experiential aspects of our mental lives that can be accessed through introspection. Every person is unique, so complete understanding of another person’s consciousness is not likely possible in principle, as we saw in Chapter Four. Rather, when we communicate, we rely on general agreement on an overlapping range of meaning. For example, historian Amy Butler Greenfield has written a three-hundred-page book about one primary color, A Perfect Red.

As “the color of desire,” red is a quale if ever there was one. Reviewer Diane Ackerman notes:

Anger us, and we see red. An unfaithful woman is branded with a scarlet letter. In red-light districts, people buy carnal pleasures. We like to celebrate red-letter days and roll out the red carpet, while trying to avoid red tape, red herrings and going into the red. Indeed, fashion houses rise and fall on the subtleties of shades of red. Yet, however “red” affects us individually, we agree communally to use the word for a range of meanings and connotations, not merely a range in the color spectrum. (pp. 104–5)

Sometimes, the signals can be completely opposite and we still converge on a common meaning! In the United States, red connotes “conservative” in politics; in Canada, it connotes “liberal.”

Scan that, genius. Your first task will be to sort out the people who are exclusively Canadian in culture from those who are exclusively American in culture, and good luck with it. You picked it up; you own it.

Biological Information 2. Barry Arrington: Nick Matzke – Book Burner?:

Nick Matzke famously got the publishing company Springer to suppress the publication of the papers of a conference held at Cornell. See here. He did this without having seen, much less read, any of the papers. Obviously, his motivation could not have been the content of the papers. He was motivated by the mere fact that several of the conference participants were well-known ID proponents.

Let us do a little thought experiment. Suppose that Nick had published his famous piece on Panda’s Thumb a few days later, and the head of Springer had called him up and said, “Hey, Nick, I’ve got some bad news and some good news. The bad news is that it is too late to stop publication of the book. The printer has done his work and the first printing of the book is finished. The good news is that not a single copy has left the printer’s warehouse, and they are all in a pile that has been drenched in gasoline. Nick, all you have to do is come over and toss a …

Perhaps the most accurate answer to the thought experiment is, it isn’t legal yet.

Darwin's Doubt 3. News: Steve Meyer’s new book, Darwin’s Doubt is overwhelmed with trolls … and customers … at Amazon:

I’m very happy to see science and religion side by side. You have to love the 2 one star reviews….one not refuting anything, but attacking the publisher, and the second launching verbal attacks at Meyer. I purchased this book today and I look forward to reading with an open mind as I did, “The Greatest Show on Earth” by Richard Dawkins……aka the “Fred Phelps” of atheism.

Somewhere, two trolls are bawling up a storm in their cave.

Based on experience, had there been any way of suppressing Darwin’s Doubt, Darwin’s followers would certainly have employed it.

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OT: Amber fossil reveals ancient reproduction in flowering plants - January 2, 2014 Excerpt: A 100-million-year old piece of amber has been discovered which reveals the oldest evidence of sexual reproduction in a flowering plant – a cluster of 18 tiny flowers from the Cretaceous Period – with one of them in the process of making some new seeds for the next generation.,,, It appears identical to the reproduction process that “angiosperms,” or flowering plants still use today.,, The pollen of these flowers appeared to be sticky, Poinar said, suggesting it was carried by a pollinating insect, and adding further insights into the biodiversity and biology of life in this distant era.,, During the Cretaceous, new lineages of mammals and birds were beginning to appear, along with the flowering plants.,,, “It’s interesting that the mechanisms for reproduction that are still with us today had already been established some 100 million years ago.” http://oregonstate.edu/ua/ncs/archives/2014/jan/amber-fossil-reveals-ancient-reproduction-flowering-plants Flower in Amber Shows No Evolution - January 5, 2014 Excerpt: The origin of angiosperms (flowering plants) is often called “Darwin’s abominable mystery” by evolutionists. This find does not solve the mystery. It only reinforces the impression of complex systems appearing out of nowhere, then remaining virtually unchanged for 100 million years or more. http://crev.info/2014/01/flower-in-amber-shows-no-evolution/ bornagain77

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