Homo Naledi had sophisticated but small brain

From Colin Barras at New Scientist: It’s not the size of your brain, it’s how you organise it. The most recently discovered species of early human had a skull only slightly larger than a chimpanzee’s, but its brain looked surprisingly like our own – particularly in an area of the frontal lobe with links to […]

We’re all hallucinating so shut up and do as I tell you

From Anil Ananthaswamy at New Scientist: Welcome to one of the more provocative-sounding explanations of how the brain works, outlined in a set of 26 original papers, the second part of a unique online compendium updating us on current thinking in neuroscience and the philosophy of mind. In 2015, the MIND group founded by philosopher […]

New: First Things on March for Science, cites junk DNA as reason not to trust “consensus”

From Wesley J. Smith at First Things: Science is never truly settled. Indeed, challenging seemingly incontrovertible facts and continually retesting long-accepted theories are crucial components of the scientific method. Examples of perceived truths overturned by subsequent discoveries are ubiquitous. Here’s just one: So-called junk DNA that does not encode proteins was, until relatively recently, thought […]

Have researchers imaged dark matter, as per a recent claim? Rob Sheldon comments

From Nancy Atkinson at LiveScience: Now, researchers have produced what they say is the first composite image of a dark matter filament that connects galaxies together. … In their paper, they explained that in order to study the weak lensing signal of the dark matter filaments, they required two sets of data: a catalog of […]

Reflecting on the March for Science after the death of reason

  From Denyse O’Leary (O’Leary for News) at MercatorNet: Croatian philosopher of science and politics Neven Sesardic (b. 1949) retired from Lingnan University, Hong Kong, in 2015. He wrote a book shortly thereafter, When Reason Goes on Holiday: Philosophers in Politics (Encounter Books, 2016). He was wise to wait till he had his pension… He […]

Australopithecus Sediba to be dumped from human family?

From Ann Gibbons at Science: A remarkably complete skeleton introduced in 2010 as “the best candidate” for the immediate ancestor of our genus Homo may just be a pretender. Instead of belonging to the human lineage, the new species of Australopithecus sediba is more closely related to other hominins from South Africa that are on […]

Science has outgrown the human mind? Now needs AI?

From molecular cancer biologist Ahmed Alkhateeb at Aeon: Science is in the midst of a data crisis. Last year, there were more than 1.2 million new papers published in the biomedical sciences alone, bringing the total number of peer-reviewed biomedical papers to over 26 million. However, the average scientist reads only about 250 papers a […]

Why is the recent dating of Homo Naledi to 250 kya a problem?

From Colin Barras at New Scientist: Our earliest hominin ancestors lived at least seven million years ago. The first species to look a little like modern humans appeared between about two and three million years ago. But our own species – Homo sapiens – evolved about 200,000 years ago. So, if H. naledi lived 300,000 […]

Stasis: Early jawbones present 507 mya seem like can openers

From ScienceDaily Paleontologists have uncovered a new fossil species that sheds light on the origin of mandibulates, the most abundant and diverse group of organisms on Earth, to which belong familiar animals such as flies, ants, crayfish and centipedes. Named Tokummia katalepsis by the researchers, the creature documents for the first time the anatomy of […]

Bill Nye now wants to shrink science classrooms further

At least, that would be the outcome of his crackdown on kids: You’ve maybe already heard this one: In his Netflix series, Bill Nye asks, bluntly, ‘Should we have policies that penalize people for having extra kids in the developed world?’ The Internet is rightly mocking the complete disaster that is the Rachel Bloom “My […]

The March for Science drinking game

Toiling too long in a clean lab, micromanaging the lives of mice, can really put stress on a person. Something like that might have happened to the poor sot who wrote us the following, outlining a Drinking Game, to help get through March for Science coverage on the lunchroom TV: The “March for Science” Drinking […]

That didn’t take long: Darwin’s man Jerry Coyne defends zombie science

Of course, he allows us to know, he did not read Jonathan Wells’ book, Zombie Science: I will be accused of having “reviewed” Wells’s book here without having read it, but this isn’t a review: it’s a notice that a scientifically rejected charlatan has published another book, and has even issued a “teaser trailer” for […]

Wikipedia founder wades into the fake war on fake news

From Alex Hern at the Guardian: Jimmy Wales, the co-founder of Wikipedia, is launching a new online publication which will aim to fight fake news by pairing professional journalists with an army of volunteer community contributors. Wikitribune plans to pay for the reporters by raising money from a crowdfunding campaign. Wales intends to cover general […]

Futurism: Science should be wary of exploring links between minds and quantum phenomena

From Karla Lant at Futurism: The revelation that observing and measuring quantum effects changes their behavior is troubling, but it also suggests to many people that consciousness itself is part of quantum theory. Moreover, as humans creating AI that, for all its achievements still can’t master some of the things that come so easily to […]

These vids certainly show a different side to Bill Nye…

And won’t likely help his reputation: My Sex Junk is a message to the world about sexuality. We can probably miss the one where ice cream cones discover sex. Pop science is no match for identity politics, as we might have guessed. Someone asks, does Nye has a future as the ”Pee Wee Herman of […]

Where did language come from?

Novelist Cormac McCarthy at Nautilus: There are influential persons among us—of whom a bit more a bit later—who claim to believe that language is a totally evolutionary process. That it has somehow appeared in the brain in a primitive form and then grown to usefulness. Somewhat like vision, perhaps. But vision we now know is […]

March for Science: Sagan fan on how the “Carl Sagan” culture ruined science

From Robert Tracinski at the Federalist: I am a Carl Sagan fan from way back. His 1980 TV miniseries “Cosmos” hit me at just the right age and inflamed a lifelong love of science. But we’ve had nearly 40 years to assess the long-term effects and see how Sagan unwittingly contributed to a trend that […]

Suck it up Buttercup: On Leftist History of Science Denialism

Refusing To Believe Early Progressives Loved Eugenics Will Not Erase The Horrible Truth After seeing the end result [of pushing eugenics in the early 20th century] in the Holocaust, progressives naturally sought to bury their connection to this genocidal concept, and succeeded in doing so, at least when they can discredit conservatives who persist in mentioning […]

Christian philosopher Alvin Plantinga wins Templeton Prize

“an American scholar whose rigorous writings over a half century have made theism – the belief in a divine reality or god – a serious option within academic philosophy” Here: — Tuesday, 25-April-2017 WEST CONSHOHOCKEN, Pa. – Alvin Plantinga, an American scholar whose rigorous writings over a half century have made theism – the belief […]

Could dingo help unravel mystery of how dogs become tame?

From Kacey Deamer at LiveScience: The wild-born, pure Australian desert dingo recently took first place in the World’s Most Interesting Genome competition, and will have her DNA decoded thanks to the Pacific Biosciences SMRT Grant Program. The grant provides genome sequencing for “a particularly fascinating plant or animal.” … “Sandy is truly a gift to […]

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