Category: Uncommon Descent Contest

Uncommon Descent Contest 19: Spot the mistakes in bafflegab – winner declared

This contest seemed to have attracted a lot of discussion, with 148 entries, so I spent all yesterday getting through the entries. The contest’s  basis was a fawning review by David B. Hart, of Richard Dawkins’s The Greatest Show on Earth. We are informed – on the mag’s cover – that Dawkins “gets a gold […] more

Uncommon Descent Contest 20: Why should human evolution be taught in school?

I just came across this fact in the journal Nature: Little is known about human evolution other than basic outline. Note: This contest has been judged. Go here for announcement. So, contrary to widely heard huffing, there are huge gaps in our understanding of early humans. In Nature’s 2020 Visions (7 January 2010) Scroll down […] more

Uncommon Descent Contest 19: Spot the mistakes in the following baffflegab explanation of intelligent design theory

In a review in First Things by David B. Hart, of Richard Dawkins’s The Greatest Show on Earth, we are informed – on the mag’s cover – that Dawkins “gets a gold star” for his book of that name (January 2010 Number 199). Indeed, he does get the gold star from reviewer Hart. Hart is […] more

Uncommon Descent Contest Question 15: Can Darwinism – or any evolution theory – help us predict life on other planets? – Winner announced

This one is for people interested in theories about life on other planets. At Britain’s Telegraph (November 04, 2009), Tom Chivers advises that “Darwinian evolutionary theory will help find alien life, says Nasa scientist.” We learn two competing views: And so the limits of Darwinian evolution will define the range of planets that can support […] more

Uncommon Descent Contest Question 14: Is backwards or forwards time travel really possible? Winner announced

This was another one for physics buffs. Contest 13, here, asked: “The Large Hadron Collider is back up and running, but why?” The question there was whether what we would learn is worth nine billion dollars. Two physicists have suggested that Hadron’s woes are due to particles travelling back in time. Their theory has been […] more

Uncommon Descent Contest Question 13: The Large Hadron Collider is back up and running, but why? Winners announced.

Here’s the contest (excerpt follows)” This one is for physics buffs. The Large Hadron Collider (called by some the God Machine) has suffered considerable woe recently – most recently when a passing bird dropped a piece of bread on it, though it appears to be back up and running. Go here for the rest. Basically, […] more

Uncommon Descent Contest Question 18: Can the ancient reptile brain help explain human psychology? If so, how? If not, why not?

(Note: : Go here for Contest 16 (“Are materialist atheists smarter than other types of believers?”) and here for Contest 17 (“Why do evolutionary psychologists need to debunk compassion?”). ) We have, we are told, three brains – reptilian, mammalian, and primate. Here is a conventional science explanation, and here is the pop psychology that […] more

Uncommon Descent Contest Question 17: Why do evolutionary psychologists need to debunk compassion?

This contest has been judged . Go here for winner. Well, it certainly sounds like debunking to me. According to the evolutionary psychologists, either compassion is a useful gene or it somehow spreads our selfish genes or it is an accidental “spandrel” in our makeup. Or whatever. It’s not a choice, and it’s not identification […] more

Uncommon Descent Contest Question 16: Are materialist atheists smarter than other types of believers?

So, for a free copy of the The Spiritual Brain, which argues for non-materialist neuroscience, provide the best answer to this question: Are materialist atheists really smarter than other people? By what measure would we know? What difference does social privilege – such as tenure at a tax-funded institution and general acceptance in popular media make in determining who is smart?
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Uncommon Descent Contest Question 14: Is backwards or forwards time travel really possible?

For a free copy of the Privileged Planet DVD, about the unique position of Earth, provide the clearest answer to this second question: Is backwards or forwards time travel really possible, even for particles? Why or why not? What are the consequences if it is true?

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Uncommon Descent Question 12: Can Darwinism Beat the odds – winner

For Uncommon Descent Question 12: Can Darwinism beat the odds?, we have declared a winner, and it is Philip W at 11. Philip W must provide me with a valid postal address* via [email protected], in order to receive the prize, a free copy of the Privileged Planet DVD. Philip W tells me that he is […] more

Uncommon Descent Question 11 – can biotechnology bring back extinct animals – winners announced

For Uncommon Descent Question 11: Can biotechnology bring back extinct animals?, we have declared a winner, and it is binary! Twins! Aussie ID and Nakashima. I loved Aussie ID’s information about the specifics of attempts to restore the thylacine – he calls it a Tasmanian tiger. Possibly due to culture issues, I am more familiar […] more

Uncommon Descent Contest Question 12: Can Darwinism beat the odds?

But here’s the question that this and other questionable lottery stories leaves me with: The intelligent design theorists emphasize probability issues. Their chief knock against Darwinism is that it appears improbable. In the same way, an accidental origin of the fine-tuned values of our universe appears improbable. If I understand the matter correctly, the universe is assumed to be over 13 billion years old, or so, and Earth over 4 billion years old. (I assume these values for convenience as I believe them to be generally accepted.) So we can assume a basis for computing probability.

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Uncommon Descent Contest Question 11: Can biotechnology bring back extinct animals?

Personally, I am a bit skeptical that an extinct creature can be resurrected from DNA alone, but … wait! What I thought was passing traffic turned out to be a herd of tyrannosaurs heading off to eat the McDonalds. more

Uncommon Descent Contest Question 8: Do the “new atheists” help or hurt the cause of Darwinism? Winner announcement

Recently, we asked Uncommon Descent Contest Question 8: Do the “new atheists” help or hurt the cause of Darwinism? The new atheists’ impact in general is often debated. What exactly have they contributed to atheism? Many traditional atheists or their sympathizers think not much. Bryon R. McCane, Professor of Religion at Wofford College, asks, Has […] more

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