Announcement: Server upgrade, security tag

Some time in the next few days. Apologies for past down time and any near-future upgrade-related down time. We will at that time be introducing our security tag, so that posts will begin with the code https, instead of just http Your patience and generosity are always appreciated. Follow UD News at Twitter!

Design Disquisitions: William Dembski Moves on From ID: Some Reflections

There’s a new article posted at my blog. I know this one is old news now, but my blog wasn’t around in 2015 and didn’t see any coverage on it here or at ENV. I wanted to take note of Dembski’s decision, and some of the reaction to it. Everyone who has taken part in the […]

Yes, the new science of morality can ground moralities in science—all of them, in fact

Further to Barry Arrington: Can science ground morality?, looking at James Davison Hunter’s and Paul Nedelisky’s  Where the New Science of Morality Goes Wrong: Indeed, some believe that we are at the start of a new age, when the power of science will dispel myths surrounding morality and moral difference and establish a truly rational […]

Carlo Rovelli: Theories of everything ill-conceived but we can learn to understand quantum mechanics

From physicist Carlo Rovelli, author of Reality Is Not What It Seems:  The Journey to Quantum Gravity, interviewed by Cody Delistraty, at Nautilus: You’ve said before that space and time don’t “really exist.” Why say that? We study in school that fixed space is like a table over which things happen and time just passes. […]

Deep problem created by Darwinian Ron Fisher’s p-values highlighted again

Maybe this time it will matter. From Frank Harrell at Statistical Thinking: In my opinion, null hypothesis testing and p-values have done significant harm to science. The purpose of this note is to catalog the many problems caused by p-values. As readers post new problems in their comments, more will be incorporated into the list, […]

BBC: Human mind’s link to quantum physics is real?

From Philip Ball at BBC: Nobody understands what consciousness is or how it works. Nobody understands quantum mechanics either. Could that be more than coincidence? The problem is not that we don’t understand consciousness but that we don’t know how to understand it. And our rules may very well preclude us from finding out. Which […]

Watch nature documentaries with caution. They are often sermons, of sorts.

From Colin Dickey at New Republic: By focusing on high-definition thrills, nature documentaries obscure more than they reveal. What is a lemming, exactly? Most of us, I’m guessing, could name few of its basic biological attributes. (It’s a rodent weighing one to four ounces and measuring three to six inches in length that lives in […]

Speciation: Madeira weevils to be the new Darwin’s finches?

From ScienceDaily: The molecular analysis confirms that all Laparocerus weevils have a common evolutionary ancestor (monophyly), but could not clarify whether that ancient founding species arrived from southern Europe or northwestern Africa. The two extant Moroccan species were found to be the result of a back-colonisation from the Canary Islands to Africa, and not the […]

Peer review: Bad science justifies second-hand smoking bans?

From Jacob Grier at Slate: We Used Terrible Science to Justify Smoking Bans For three anti-smoking advocates—local physicians Richard Sargent and Robert Shepard, and activist and researcher Stanton Glantz from the University of California at San Francisco—this sudden drop in heart attacks was proof that smoking bans usher in extraordinary benefits for public health. “This […]

Tom Bethell muses on Evolution Weekend

From Tom Bethell, author of Darwin’s House of Cards: A Journalist’s Odyssey Through the Darwin Debates, at American Spectator: The Lord’s Day, Meet Darwin Day… and Shudder – Methodological Atheism Gray told Darwin that he didn’t see why they couldn’t have both Darwin’s theory of evolution and a role for a designing intelligence. Darwin would […]

Washington Post reporter mongers fear over South Dakota academic freedom bill

And in other breaking news that’ll really surprise you, snowbanks continue to pile in Ottawa, Canada. 😉 Seriously, from Sarah Chaffee at Evolution News & Views: Strauss provokes alarm about a lack of accountability — “maverick teachers” who can teach whatever they wish. However, SB 55 offers very limited freedoms. Indeed, the language of the […]

Can Science Ground Morality?

Of course not, as we have often noted in these pages. James Davison Hunter’s and Paul Nedelisky’s  Where the New Science of Morality Goes Wrong is a great primer on the subject.  Their take down of Sam Harris is especially good: The new moral scientists sometimes provide certain examples that they think illustrate that science has […]

Cosmologist Sean Carroll: If we are Boltzmann brains, our perceptions are befuddled

In a universe where we did not evolve so as to understand reality, someone is supposed to have developed a theory by which we need not worry about the Boltzmann brain From Anil Anathaswamy at New Scientist:  Any theory that lets bizarre brains randomly pop into existence can’t be a valid description of the universe. […]

Dark matter: An invisible civilization could be living right under our noses…

From Lisa Randall at Nautilus: If we were creatures made of dark matter, we would be very wrong to assume that the particles in our ordinary matter sector were all of the same type. Perhaps we ordinary matter people are making a similar mistake. Given the complexity of the Standard Model of particle physics, which […]

Fine tuning: Van Allen belts more “bizarre” than expected

From Elizabeth Howell, offering 25 facts about our solar system that elude ready explanation: at Space.com: Earth’s Van Allen belts are more bizarre than expected Earth has bands of radiation belts surrounding our planet, known as the Van Allen belts (named after the discoverer of this phenomenon.) While we’ve known about the belts since the […]

OFFICIAL VIDEO: 2017 March for Life

. . . being a peaceful witness (on the 44th annual occasion) against the ongoing global holocaust of the unborn; which has to date credibly mounted up to 800+ millions in 40+ years, and — per Guttmacher-UN numbers — is mounting up at one million more per WEEK: embedded by Embedded VideoYouTube Direkt And, ever, […]

Is the term “biological information” meaningful?

Some say that it’s not clear that the term is useful. A friend writes, “Information is always “about” something. How does one quantify “aboutness. ” He considers the term too vague to be helpful.” He suggests the work of Christoph Adami, for example, this piece at Quanta: The polymath Christoph Adami is investigating life’s origins […]

Live birth in lizards at 250 mya

From ScienceDaily: Until recently it was thought the third major group of living land vertebrates, the crocodiles and birds (part of the wider group Archosauromorpha) only laid eggs. “Indeed, egg-laying is the primitive state, seen at the base of reptiles, and in their ancestors such as amphibians and fishes,” Professor Aitchison said. … “Further evolutionary […]

Philosopher: We cannot ignore the fact that science is not value-free

From Daniel J. McKaughan at Big Questions Online: The idea that science is a “value-free” enterprise is deeply entrenched. “Under standard conditions, water boils at 100°C.” This and countless other facts about nature are mind-independent; that is, they do not depend on what you or I think or feel. And the procedures by which we […]

Cannibalism love: We do get some odd-seeming messages from science these days…

Could just be the air we breathe. From Rachel Newer, a Valentine’s Day riff, at Smithsonian: Fall in Love With Cannibalism This Valentine’s Day We “civilized” folk tend to write off cannibalism as a freak phenomenon reserved for psychopaths, starvation and weird animals (I’m looking at you, praying mantis). In fact, eating others of your […]

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