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 […]

Physicist Rob Sheldon responds to Objectivity is a myth. Bring the social justice warriors into science!

He concedes that William A. Wilson makes some good points at First Things but … A truly excellent article on the metaphysics underlying the scientific enterprise. Every debate on MN needs to begin with this essay. I know the first paragraph sounds very post-modern, but by the time you reach the end of the essay, […]

Speciation: “More than 10 percent of all bird species have been known to hybridize at least once”

From Irby Lovette at All About Birds: Just a few steps from my desk here at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, a tall cabinet holds 800 stuffed reminders of how difficult it can be to define the exact boundaries between bird species. These specimens are hybrids between what we now know as the Baltimore Oriole […]

Study: Darwinian fitness does not overcome mutational decay during tens of thousands of bacteria generations

With comments by Michael Behe. The finding is a setback for origin of life theories that depend on conservation of favorable mutations. Creation-Evolution Headlines draws our attention to a very recent paper on the Lenski long-term evolution experiment (LTEE) which shows that, contrary to hopes, Darwinian fitness did not overcome mutational decay: “Here, we document […]

Are blind cave fish breaking the laws of evolution?

Some seem to be in a tizzy about that, according to Michael Le Page at New Scientist: We’ve found out why a Mexican cavefish has no eyes – and the surprising answer is likely to be seized upon by those who think the standard view of evolution needs revising. … It was assumed that these […]

From Biology Direct: Darwinism, now thoroughly detached from its historical roots as a falsifiable theory, “must be abandoned”

Evolutionary biology, we are told, does not need a master theory. Researchers should think in terms of “contemporary mainstream thinking.” From Arlin Stoltzfus at Biology Direct: Why we don’t want another “Synthesis” Abstract:High-level debates in evolutionary biology often treat the Modern Synthesis as a framework of population genetics, or as an intellectual lineage with a […]

Genomics is upsetting the classification of bird species

Further to “Nineteen new “species” of gecko? Or 19 new fundraising opportunities…?,” now and then we see people confronting the problem. From Rebecca Heismann at Living Bird, What’s in a Name? How Genome Mapping Can Make It Harder to Tell Species Apart The biological species concept remains the most widely accepted standard among ornithologists for classification […]

Another view: Objectivity is a myth. Bring the social justice warriors into science!

From software engineer William A. Wilson at First Things: My friends who work in scientific fields were aghast when they saw that the organizers of a planned “March for Science” had tweeted that “colonization, racism, immigration, native rights, sexism, ableism, queer-, trans-, intersex-phobia, & econ justice are scientific issues [black power emoji][rainbow emoji].” Who can […]

Can AI become just like us?

We’ve been hearing a lot about that. From Rodney Brooks, former director of the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory at MIT , in “The Seven Deadly Sins of AI Predictions” at Technology Review, featuring the fourth sin: When people hear that machine learning is making great strides in some new domain, they tend to […]

Consciousness researcher: Objectivity is “cultural discrimination”

From lit prof Tim Parks and AI philosopher Riccardo Manzotti at New York Review of Books: Manzotti: One of the comedies of modern thinking is that we treat objects that exist relative to the tools of scientists as more real, more correct, somehow, than other objects. In the case you mention, there are four objects: […]

Rob Sheldon: Dark matter has finally been found—in pop science mags

Recently, we reported on the question of whether the missing dark matter of the universe has finally been found, and we cautioned, Keep the file open but remember: We did find the Higgs boson (and Peter Higgs got the Nobel). But gravitational waves and dark energy are questionable despite the Nobels awarded. More. Our physics […]

Nineteen new “species” of gecko? Or 19 new fundraising opportunities…?

From Michael Le Page at New Scientist: The number of known species of geckos has just jumped upwards, with 15 new species being formally described this week. … The 19 species all live in a small area of Myanmar just 90 by 50 kilometres in size. “That’s the really amazing thing about it,” says Grismer. […]

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