- A philosopher explains why machines are not creative
When you consider all the reasons why machines cannot be creative, one must ask, is the belief that we can build superintelligent machines rooted in naturalism (nature is all there is), often called “materialism,” or in evidence?
- Gaia needs a reboot and New Scientist is here to explain
A machine built from scavenged parts from Britain’s Royal Air Force started randomly but ended in equilibrium. Can it boost the Gaia cult?
- Atheist public intellectual John Gray separates the atheist wheat from the chaff
Graham McAleer: This book should put to rest the canard that atheism is free thinking, and oh so much more broad-minded and gentle than what is on offer from the dull and cramped-spirited God-fearing types.
- Does the idea of a blind, undirected cosmos govern our ideas of sexuality?
Is there a natural way to live? Are we happier if we follow it? Are we happier if we follow it? Nancy Pearcey, author of Love Thy Body: Answering Hard Questions about Life and Sexuality, defends that view.
- Darwinism’s influence on philosopher of science Thomas Kuhn
A friend writes, "There was one paradigm that Kuhn assumed was not a paradigm, but a fact of nature: Darwinism. His whole approach to scientific revolutions was Darwinian. New paradigms emerge as accidental mutations, not because of new evidence. "
- Philosopher of science Steve Meyer will be on Ben Shapiro’s show Sunday
Steve Meyer is the author of Signature in the Cell and Darwin’s Doubt. Not everyone wants to hear what he has to say: It was announced on Twitter this morning, and as you can imagine, the Twitterati are not pleased. They are bombarding the show with replies about “bunk science and the 6,000 year old […]
- Was philosopher of science Thomas Kuhn “evil”
Postmodernism is to science what rabies is to dogs. That is, it will lead to post-science as surely as rabies leads to post-dogs. But by all means, let them fight in the meantime.
- One way viruses get spread “should never have evolved”?
Maybe in some fields, we need more “stupid” ideas that don’t depend on what “should have” evolved.
- Insectologists swat insects-are-doomed paper
The temptation for some seems to be to resort to apocalypse voodoo to demonstrate a crisis, at the expense of the methods that make scientists worth listening to, as an alternative to supermarket tabloids. File this one with: The real reasons people don’t "trust science"
- Are the best measurements to date deepening the “cosmological crisis”?
Two things many cosmologists would like to get rid of are the Big Bang and apparent fine-tuning of the universe. Telling a different story is difficult mainly due to lack of evidence for a different story but they can make do with discrepancies. But then maybe the years have made some of us cynical.
- Biologist responds to fretting over “denialism” at Nature
Why should we trust "authority," when it has been publicly embarrassed over and over?
- New US free speech policy for universities miffs boffins at Nature
The universities are “spooked by” Trump, are they? Well, they brought him on themselves. They could have listened before, when someone nicer than he is was telling them.
- At Nature: Waging war on the science deniers!
Sadly, there is a war on science, of sorts, afoot. Social justice warriors, for example, are taking dead aim at math. And at objectivity generally. It’s as if, unable or unwilling to even name, let alone withstand the threat, establishment science types hope to distract themselves with a different story until it goes away. Good luck with that. They see you have funding. And they always need more money.
- Would 3-D virtual fossils speed up research?
And would everyone think that was a good thing? They’re here but not as popular as you might think. Many paleontologists fear losing control of the story: One of the characteristics of information is that, unlike matter and energy, it is not reduced by being shared. And when it is shared, it can generate new […]
- Thousands of Cambrian fossils discovered in China, new to science
These animal groups lived in the ocean over half a billion years ago but were buried by a subterranean mudflow: Paleontologists found thousands of fossils in rocks on the bank of the Danshui river in Hubei province in southern China, where primitive forms of jellyfish, sponges, algae, anemones, worms and arthropods with thin whip-like feelers […]
- Templeton winner Marcelo Gleiser endorses the Rare Earth principle
Gleiser: So when people talk about Copernicus and Copernicanism—the ‘principle of mediocrity’ that states we should expect to be average and typical, I say, “You know what? It’s time to get beyond that.”
- Abandon statistical significance, learn to live with uncertainty, scientists demand
Let’s see where this goes. Will it lead to less magic with numbers or more and bigger magic?
- Sabine Hossenfelder: How you can help science out of a rut
With her publisher’s permission, Sabine Hossenfelder is making Appendix C of her book Lost in Math: How Beauty Leads Physics Astray, available at her blog: This bit of that excerpt is addressed to the science-minded public: As a science writer or member of the public, ask questions: ● You’re used to asking about conflicts of interest […]
- We are now informed that evolution can go backward
Of course, they must see evolution as a benevolent deity instead of an impersonal one, if it can act to prevent a bad outcome, as described above. Well, if it's an established religion, it's an established religion.
- What? Oumuamua was just a comet? After all the ET hype?
Yeah. Sure. But let’s not lose sight of the fact that it was orthodox science media (Scientific American, we are looking at you… ) who were marketing the space alien thing, not some crackpot in a tinfoil hat. And yet the same people have the nerve to sponsor reams of stuff on why “people” believe in pseudoscience.
- Survival at a price: Bacteria cut off flagella to stay alive
The world of Darwinian evolution features so many exceptionally clever animals that are nothing like the humdrum creatures we must tie down or tranquilize in order to help. And the profs just attribute it all to natural selection, as if that would explain anything in a situation where some prevision seems required.
- Templeton winner: Atheism is inconsistent with the scientific method
Marcelo Gleiser: "Atheism is a belief in non-belief. So you categorically deny something you have no evidence against."
- Robert J. Marks: Things Exist That Are Unknowable
The mathematically provable idea that something exists but is unknowable has clear philosophical and theological implications.
- Apparent non-crackpot physicist wins Templeton Prize
Marcelo Gleiser sounds as though he thinks that the great mysteries of physics are about this universe, not space aliens, computer sim universes, cyborgs, and so forth (on that score, see 2011 Templeton winner Sir Martin Rees).
- Researchers: Mammals’ “arms” backdated 100 million years; predate dinosaurs
From ScienceDaily: Bats fly, whales swim, gibbons swing from tree to tree, horses gallop, and humans swipe on their phones — the different habitats and lifestyles of mammals rely on our unique forelimbs. No other group of vertebrate animals has evolved so many different kinds of arms: in contrast, all birds have wings, and pretty […]
- Study: Oddly, it’s not media but researchers who pile on hype
Most of the article is just establishment hand wringing. The main reason so many people don’t “trust science” is the same one that causes people not to trust used car dealers.
- Researchers build public “library” to help understand photosynthesis
From ScienceDaily: It isn’t easy being green. It takes thousands of genes to build the photosynthetic machinery that plants need to harness sunlight for growth. And yet, researchers don’t know exactly how these genes work. Now a team led by Princeton University researchers has constructed a public “library” to help researchers to find out what […]
- Rob Sheldon responds to demand to get rid of elderly scientists
Sheldon: If they had actually done their homework, instead of rebelling against their parents, they would have learned what we knew by 2011: The average age for great discoverings is older now.
- OOL researcher Paul Davies: They used to make fun of me for saying Earth, Mars swapped microbes…
If we discover life on Mars and it turns out to be a lot like life on Earth, as Davies suggests, will that be experienced as an achievement or a disappointment? It certainly won’t prove anything like what some have hoped. Heck, it won’t even prove that We Are NOT Alone...
- How bacteria use harpoons to speed horizontal gene transfer
Well, if that’s a way bacteria evolve, what becomes of common descent and speciation? What do we mean by “bacterial species”?
- Neuroskeptic: Atheists are NOT genetically damaged
Of course, the claim is nonsense but then those of us who have listened to rubbish about the God gene and such can’t help hiding a giggle. Hey, given that it's Hate Your Local Atheist Week anyway, how about "Atheists have mutant genes, don’t live as long " 😉
- Why we don’t find space alien trash
We invent explanations for not seeing the trash, quite apart from the fact that we have never seen the aliens. There, you stupid peasant, that’s real science thinking for you.
- Our superiors explain why “people” believe in pseudoscience
Elite reasoning is interesting. People who see no evidence for design in nature are quite prepared to believe that interstellar object Oumuamua is an alien spacecraft and that an evidence-free multiverse must really exist. And no evidence for fine-tuning of our universe for life is really evidence.
- An astrophysicist makes clear why a multiverse MUST exist
You should be suspicious of any science claim that could have been thought up as a sheer work of the imagination. The multiverse is just such a concept: Somewhere, everything and its opposite happens or doesn’t, in an infinity of infinities. No math needed.
- What is it with the Japanese and robots?
Declining population is only one factor. Ancient cultural beliefs are another. I (O’Leary for News) wrote about this at Mind Matters: Ito sees our problems as originating in the idea that humans are special and urges that we “develop a respect for, and emotional and spiritual dialogue with, all things.” Illustrating this approach to life, […]
- Why has a historic medical publication gone weird?
A science writer asks, citing several distinctly odd viewpoints aired in the journal that was founded in 1823, including This year, the weirdness continued. A paper in The Lancet argued that certain food experts should be banned from food policy discussions. (Of course, the experts that should be banned are any that are associated with […]
- Webinar: Jonathan McLatchie interviews Joshua Swamidass
On Michael Behe’s new book, Darwin Devolves. Join here. Just a friendly reminder about the webinar I am hosting later today with Joshua Swamidass to discuss Behe’s new book [which Swamidass attacked in Science]. You are welcome to participate anonymously if you want — questions can even be submitted anonymously. We kick off at 3pm […]
- Hossenfelder: Now they are marketing non-discoveries as discoveries
If Hossenfelder means that it won’t work scientifically, she is correct. But “won’t work” can be construed in other ways. In the age of the multiverse and "ET’s gotta be out there," it is quite possible for something that is entirely without evidence to retain a place as science. Thus, it should easily be possible for non-discoveries to be marketed as discoveries.
- Reuters: Twitter wars hound scientists
Say what you want about the brand new world of the raging Woke, lots of scientists are going to find out what the Dissent from Darwinism crowd know: People will say mean and crazy things about you if you go where the evidence you have personally seen leads. That’s the price of being honest these days.
- The Neanderthals are undergoing a renaissance
The artwork accompanying a recent essay makes them look positively human. Just where Ooga! Ooga! has got himself to now, we are not sure.
- Symbiotic bacteria help frogs find mates (but the real story is all the wrong assumptions we make)
Contrary to assumption, 1) smell was important in locating mates and 2) males and females had different smells 3) produced by symbiotic bacteria. One wonders how many other life forms would challenge simple evolution tales if they were closely studied.
- Researchers: When mates are rare, birds help their parents raise more offspring
Male birds are more likely to do so: After a five-year experiment, researchers from Florida State University and the Tallahassee-based Tall Timbers Research Station found that when fewer mates were available for brown-headed nuthatches, these small pine-forest birds opted to stay home and help their parents or other adults raise their offspring… Associate Professor of […]
- Birds are found to plan like humans for their offsprings’ future
Popscience: No natural mechanism is remotely suggested, so we must assume that it is sheer mental power, of the sort that we species-ists once thought existed only in humans, that enables the hen bird to plan for her chicks' future. Shame on us!
- Should research funding agencies move resources away from particle physics to fighting climate change?
You know particle physics is in serious trouble when the idea of just putting the money into climate change instead gets serious face time.
- Will AI merge with evolution to shatter human exceptionalism?
The advantage of adding talk of evolution to transhumanism is that it turns a perennial tale of immortality just out of reach into a chronicle of inevitable ascent, like the fabled “Ascent of Man.”
- “Very few” exoplanets have strong magnetic fields like Earth’s
This means that the search for extraterrestrial life should focus on planets with strong magnetic fields. Meanwhile, why is it that a thousand coincidences pointing in the same direction never seem to add up to a pattern, just something to explain away?
- Astrophysicist: Photons with mass wouldn’t solve the dark matter puzzle
He examines the possibilities and decides that photons probably do not really have mass. But even if they did, that wouldn’t help much with the puzzle that we need dark matter but can’t find it.
- Hugh Ross: The fine-tuning that enabled our life-friendly moon creates discomfort
Astronomer Robin Canup has spent fifteen years developing models that seem to demonstrate that, whether it is a desired finding or not: Such fine-tuning was not lost on Canup, who remarked in a recent Nature review article, “Current theories on the formation of the Moon owe too much to cosmic coincidences.”4 Indeed, the required “coincidences” […]
- At Quanta: Cells find “optimal” solutions, not just good ones
What then becomes of “bad design” arguments, like those of Nathan Lents? In a transient world, any solution can only be optimal for a given life, as it must be factored against other lives.
- Sabine Hossenfelder: Cosmic inflation is overblown
he author of Lost in Math: How Beauty Leads Physics Astray, makes clear that cosmic inflation was intended to deal with evidence for fine-tuning, which she considers a “waste of time.” But, as she shows, the cosmology has gone nowhere.