Dan Brown smacked down by real-life physicist he wrote about

Jeremy England. From John Ellis at PJ Media: In his new novel Origin, Brown includes a character named Jeremy England who is a physics professor. This fictional character based on the real-life Jeremy England has “identified the underlying physical principle driving the origin and evolution of life.” Furthermore, according to the book, Professor England has […]

Why Teach Algebra, Pt. 2

Denyse was kind enough to post a link to the first part of my article on why Algebra is an important subject for high-school and college students. Part 2 of my article is now available as well.

Writing fiction about extinct peoples 34kya is definitely okay. But hey, why call it science?

From ScienceDaily: Early humans seem to have recognised the dangers of inbreeding at least 34,000 years ago, and developed surprisingly sophisticated social and mating networks to avoid it, new research has found. The study, reported in the journal Science, examined genetic information from the remains of anatomically modern humans who lived during the Upper Palaeolithic, […]

New Mexico: Science standards changes draw protest

  From Stephen Sawchuk at Education Week: A standard dealing with the process of evolution deletes that word entirely, replacing it with a standard that asks students to construct an explanation based on evidence that biological diversity is “influenced by” things like competition for limited resources, the proliferation of organisms that are better equipped to […]

Rob Sheldon challenges zoo-ocentric thinking in evolution

In response to Jumpin’ Genes!: A quarter of cow DNA came from reptiles, our physics color commentator writes, This whole business of parasites transmitting retrotransposons from reptiles to cows is just so zoo-centric. What about plants? What about viruses? Don’t they get to originate DNA too? When are they going to admit that this whole […]

Jumping’ Genes!: A quarter of cow DNA came from reptiles?

From Ed Yong at The Atlantic: This jumping gene seems to have entered the cow genome from the unlikeliest of sources: snakes and lizards. Retrotransposons typically jump around within a single genome, but sometimes they can travel further afield. Through means that scientists still don’t fully understand, they can leave the DNA of one species […]

Neuroscience: Walking back “Perception a controlled hallucination”

From Ari N. Shulman at Big Questions Online: Is human perception a controlled hallucination? That was the claim advanced in a pair of talks at the Human Mind Conference in Cambridge, England in June, one by Anil Seth, a neuroscientist at the University of Sussex, the other by Andy Clark, a philosopher at the University […]

Physics “tweezers” help study the engine room of the cell

From Matteo Rini at Physics: Life is hectic inside a living cell. To keep a cell functioning, myriad processes such as protein synthesis, power generation, waste disposal, and DNA replication are constantly and simultaneously running. These processes all rely on the precise and coordinated transport of organelles, proteins, and other biomolecules to the places where […]

Poor robot can’t pass Turing test

From Becky Feirrera at Motherboard: All stories about robots are, on some level, reflections of human behavior, and Thom’s efforts to flirt like a human—borrowing overheard phrases from others to compensate for his lack of self—is familiar enough in the human dating scene. But by the end of “The Flirtbot’s Condition,” a friendly chat with […]

Uncommon Descent Contest: What should we call the reviewer of a book on evolution who seems to be shouting Amen! fifty times? — judged

Here. Years ago, we pioneered the term noviewer, to describe people who review books without reading them. Now a friend has written to ask for a contest to come up with term to describe the reviewer who is the author’s public relations specialist. For example, the book is called Darwin was right and the reviewer […]

Atheist immortality: Uploading one’s mind to a computer

From Shivali Best at Daily Mail: Professor Cox said that he found ‘no reason at all’ why human intelligence couldn’t be simulated by computers – although he did not express a timeline for this to happen. Classic. Last we heard, the mind doesn’t really exist and our perceptions are hallucinations. funny, all that stuff disappears when […]

Dan Brown: AI Collective consciousness will replace God

Yes, that Dan Brown, of da Vinci code fame, on the book tour circuit. From Reuters via Daily Mail: Brown said technological change and the development of artificial intelligence would transform the concept of the divine. ‘We will start to find our spiritual experiences through our interconnections with each other,’ he said, forecasting the emergence […]

Postmodernism in science 101: You think outside your brain and the world thinks for you

From Sam Kriss at Atlantic: Among philosophers, biologists, and cognitive scientists, this nightmare is an exciting new field of study, known as embodied or extended cognition: broadly, the theory that what we think of as brain processes can take place outside of the brain. In some cases, this isn’t a particularly radical idea. The octopus, […]

Why the genome must be a product of intelligent design

Watch the human genome fold itself in four dimensions: By removing and then adding this protein, called cohesin, researchers made specific DNA loops that disappear and then reappear, they report this month in Cell. But cohesin really only affects looping that brings genes on the same chromosome into contact. A second, still-undefined mechanism seems to […]

Philip Cunningham’s critique of methodological naturalism

Here. From the paper: “Contrary to what many people believe, “Methodological naturalism is certainly NOT a ‘ground rule’ of science today”. Paper. See also: Why the “Naturalism” Part of “Methodological Naturalism” is Both Misleading and Unnecessary (Barry Arrington)

Alpbach Symposium: Another 1960s revolt by serious thinkers against Darwinism

Science historian Michael Flannery writes to tell us of another early revolt by serious thinkers against Darwinism: While this may be old news, I thought I’d share my belated discovery of the Alpbach Symposium held in March of 1968 edited by Arthur Koestler and J. R. Smythies. The title, Beyond Reductionism: New Perspectives in the […]

SETI prediction: Evidence for aliens by 2035 if they exist

Due to more efficient technology, says SETI astronomer Seth Shostak at Nautilus: Most of our experiments so far have used large radio antennas in an effort to eavesdrop on radio signals transmitted by other societies, an approach that was dramatized by Jodie Foster in the 1997 movie Contact. Unlike other alien potboilers, Contact’s portrayal of […]

Researchers: Novel mechanism protects mitochondrial DNA

From Eurekalert: Researchers at the University of Eastern Finland have discovered a novel mechanism safeguarding mitochondrial DNA. The study, published in PNAS earlier this week, was carried out in close collaboration with research groups from CBMSO in Madrid, Spain, and Umeå University in Sweden. A central part of the protective mechanism is an unusual enzyme, PrimPol, […]

At Forbes: Wishing the multiverse into existence

From astrophysicist Ethan Siegel at Forbes: The multiverse is inevitable and we’re living in it What is the Multiverse, then? It may go well beyond physics, and be the first physically motivated “metaphysics” we’ve ever encountered. For the first time, we’re understanding the limits of what our Universe can teach us. There is information we […]

Shock! Darwinism does not explain why old women exist

Not even the “Grandma looks after the kids” pop sci filler buys this one. From Steve Fleischfresser at Cosmos: Jacob Moorad and Craig Walling from the Institute of Evolutionary Biology at the University of Edinburgh in the UK drew on one of the world’s most extensive sources of genealogical information: the Utah Population Database (UPDB), housed at the […]

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