Taking aim at the idea that consciousness is an illusion, as claimed by Daniel Dennett

A friend writes to draw our attention to this lecture, assuming you are in England now that April’s there:   — Durham Castle Lecture – Professor Markus Gabriel 25th April 2018, 20:00 to 21:30, Senate Room, Durham Castle, University College ‘Are We Real? Consciousness and Fiction’ It is a widespread believe in our contemporary natural […]

New Scientist denounces patriarchy; Salvo defends it

From Anil Ananthaswamy and Kate Douglas at New Scientist: Chimpanzees are not a proxy for our ancestors – they have been evolving since our two family trees split between 7 and 10 million years ago – but their social structures can tell us something about the conditions that male dominance thrives in. Common chimpanzee groups […]

Apologetics Academy webinar, with Paul Nelson, on ontogenetic depth – is it real?

Jonathan McLatchie writes to say, “This week we will be joined by philosopher of biology Dr. Paul Nelson, who will discuss the concept of ontogenetic depth and why it matters to evolutionary theory.” 9pm British time (4pm Eastern / 3pm Central / 1pm Pacific (Time zones.) In this session, Discovery Institute senior fellow Dr. Paul […]

A Progressive Auto-da-fé

Long time readers know we have occasionally indulged in Sam Harris fricassée in these pages.  See here, here and here for examples.  Harris is one of the leading proponents of the “consciousness is an illusion” school, which means he denies the Primordial Datum – the one thing that everyone (including Sam Harris) knows for a […]

Sound Bite Responses to Sound Bites on Evolution

When someone asks you “Do you believe in evolution?” they probably won’t take the time to listen to your 15 minute exposition on the different meanings of “evolution” and why you reject one or more of them, and they probably won’t read “Darwin’s Black Box” if you gave them a copy, so what do you […]

The AI revolution has not happened yet. Probably never will, actually.

From electrical Engineering prof Michael I. Jordan at Medium: Of course, classical human-imitative AI problems remain of great interest as well. However, the current focus on doing AI research via the gathering of data, the deployment of “deep learning” infrastructure, and the demonstration of systems that mimic certain narrowly-defined human skills — with little in […]

About ravens, we told you. They caused a mysterious glitch in LIGO data

😉 From Emily Conover at Science News: The source of a mysterious glitch in data from a gravitational wave detector has been unmasked: rap-tap-tapping ravens with a thirst for shaved ice. At the Advanced Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory, or LIGO, in the desert of Hanford, Wash., scientists noticed a signal that didn’t look like gravitational […]

Is the term Darwinism a “scientific slur”?

Darwinian Ken Miller is promoting his new book, The Human Instinct: How We Evolved to Have Reason, Consciousness, and Free Will. In a guest column at Scientific American, he claims that the use of the term “Darwinism” is a slur against science: A number of purposes are served by reducing an entire scientific field to […]

Researchers: Horizontal gene transfer drives global infectious disease

From ScienceDaily: A new study by scientists at the University of Liverpool documents, for the first time, how the ability of bacteria to swap genetic material with each other can directly affect the emergence and spread of globally important infectious diseases. Known as ‘horizontal gene transfer’, this phenomenon is understood to have played a role […]

Laszlo Bencze on the current campaign against Karl Popper’s falsification criterion for science

Recently, we noted a piece by astrophysicist Adam Becker at Aeon, asking whether “fetish for falsification and observation” holds back science. Essentially, multiverse cosmologists have been trying for some time to undermine basic principles of science such as the requirement for evidence and the capacity for falsification, in order to get their evidence-free theories accepted […]

Does physics deconstruct our sense of time?

From Andrew Jaffe at Nature, reviewing Carlo Rovelli’s The Order of Time: According to theoretical physicist Carlo Rovelli, time is an illusion: our naive perception of its flow doesn’t correspond to physical reality. Indeed, as Rovelli argues in The Order of Time, much more is illusory, including Isaac Newton’s picture of a universally ticking clock. […]

Origin of life: Rob Sheldon on “lies, damn lies, and models”

Pos-Darwinista writes to draw our attention to the following Abstract: Universal biology and the statistical mechanics of early life Nigel Goldenfeld, Tommaso Biancalani, Farshid Jafarpour Published 13 November 2017.DOI: 10.1098/rsta.2016.0341 All known life on the Earth exhibits at least two non-trivial common features: the canonical genetic code and biological homochirality, both of which emerged prior to […]

Is psychology one of the reasons why government science is so bad?

From Peter Wood and David Randall at the Wall Street Journal: Half the results published in peer-reviewed scientific journals are probably wrong. … The biggest newsmakers in the crisis have involved psychology. Consider three findings: Striking a “power pose” can improve a person’s hormone balance and increase tolerance for risk. Invoking a negative stereotype, such […]

2018: Serious exoplanet search begins

From Lisa Grossman at Science News: TESS, the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite, is headed to an orbit between the Earth and the moon, a journey that will take about two months. In its first two years, the telescope will seek planets orbiting 200,000 nearby, bright stars, and identify the best planets for further study. TESS’ […]

Three Things Biologists Rarely Know About Biology

I’ve talked to a number of biologists, and it seems like there are a number of important facts that are left out of a standard biological education.

“Bad” antibodies become powerful weapons to fight disease

From ScienceDaily: The ‘bad apples’ of the immune system are also its secret weapon, according to major Australian research published today in the world-leading journal Science. In a world first, scientists from Sydney’s Garvan Institute of Medical Research have revealed how a population of ‘bad’ antibodies in the immune system — which are usually ‘silenced’ […]

Sabine Hossenfelder revisits Jim Baggott’s Farewell to Reality

Sabine Hossenfelder reflects on British science writer Jim Baggott’s 2013 book Farewell to Reality at her blog, Back(re)action: I largely agree with Baggott’s assessment, though I am less critical of research on the foundations of quantum mechanics and I could quibble with his take on black hole evaporation, but it seems somewhat besides the point. […]

Researcher: “[i]t’s amazing how clear cut the change from ‘no dinosaurs’ to ‘all dinosaurs’ was.”

From ScienceDaily: Lead author Dr Massimo Bernardi, Curator at MUSE and Research associate at Bristol’s School of Earth Sciences, said: “We were excited to see that the footprints and skeletons told the same story. We had been studying the footprints in the Dolomites for some time, and it’s amazing how clear cut the change from […]

What makes citing problems with Darwinism heresy?

From Cornelius Hunter at ENST: Who is the author of the following statement? In contrast [to trait loss], the gain of genetically complex traits appears harder, in that it requires the deployment of multiple gene products in a coordinated spatial and temporal manner. Obviously, this is unlikely to happen in a single step, because it […]

Did sweet potatoes cross the Pacific without humans 100 kya?

From Dan Garisto at Science News: New genetic evidence instead suggests that wild precursors to sweet potatoes reached Polynesia at least 100,000 years ago — long before humans inhabited the South Pacific islands, researchers report April 12 in Current Biology. If true, it could also challenge the idea that Polynesian seafarers reached the Americas around […]

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