Uncommon Descent Serving The Intelligent Design Community


At Mind Matters News: Do any dogs go to heaven? If so, why?

Neuroscientist Christof Koch was troubled as a child by the Catholic tradition that dogs like his beloved Purzel did not go to heaven. Ironically, human exceptionalism, which Koch decries, holds out the possibility that some beloved animals may indeed share immortality with humans. Read More ›

Evolutionary biology: Animals as restless clocks, unquiet machines

Historian of science Jessia Riskin wonders if a mechanistic view of life is due for a revival: Today, the tension between active and passive mechanism is still evident, for example, in evolutionary biology. While evolutionary theorists reject creationism, of course, concepts such as adaptation and fitness are in fact grounded in a passive-mechanist view of living structures. That view has traditionally banned any talk of evolutionary agency within living organisms, and instead ascribed their forms and structures to forces acting from outside them. At the same time, evolutionary theory retains an important inheritance from the active mechanist tradition; indeed, active mechanist ideas seem currently to be in the ascendant. Recent work on ‘niche construction’ for example attends to the ways Read More ›

Can reptiles experience love?

 A turtle fancier wonders: About a week ago, as I went to feed my 10-year-old pet turtle Grover a bunch of dried turtle pellets, I looked deep into his eyes and wondered: “Does he even know who I am?” “Does he trust me?” Or even, dare I ask, “Does he love me?” Obviously he gave me no indication of his affection, or lack thereof: He just chomped on those pellets without any regard for my feelings whatsoever. It was weird to think that I’ve had my reptilian friend for more than a decade now, and yet, I have no idea whatsoever how he views me. Van Hooker decided to ask animal behaviorists and came up with a Top Ten list, Read More ›