Saving science from its fanboys

From Joseph Bottum, a review of David Wootton’s The Invention of Science at Weekly Standard, David Wootton has written a long book to save science from something, even if he’s not quite sure what that something is. The demystification, deconstruction, and doubt of post-modernity, maybe. Or revitalized religious faith, from Radical Islam to Protestant Fundamentalism. […]

Reproducibility problem making science extinct?

From Deborah Berry at The Conversation: In 2012, the biopharmaceutical company Amgen reported that it had been unable to reproduce 47 of 53 “landmark” cancer papers. For confidentiality reasons, however, the company did not release which papers it could not replicate and thus did not provide details about how it repeated the experiments. As with the […]

How men evolved to wear cufflinks

Further to “Men probably evolved beards for intimidation … ”* at Real Clear Science philosopher and photographer Laszlo Bencze fills us in on the breakiest story in evo psych: The Cornull University “Evolution in Action” study group headed by Dr. Davidson Petney has just released an abstract of their latest results. They have discovered a gene-linked trait […]

Man swallowed by black hole

Pay no attention to the coffee room logo. It really happened, as follows, related in New Statesman: The story of the search for gravitational waves is ostensibly a grandiose tale, involving billions of light-years of space, decades of preparation, and multimillion-dollar instruments: interferometers that stretch for kilometres but must be sensitive to billionths of a billionth […]

Blueprint for science without evidence

Sarah Scoles at the Smithsonian Magazine on the multiverse: Astronomers are arguing about whether they can trust this untested—and potentially untestable—idea Detailing the objections of those who want evidence, she then explains, Other scientists say that the definitions of “evidence” and “proof” need an upgrade. Richard Dawid of the Munich Center for Mathematical Philosophy believes […]

Electrically silent source starts brain waves

From ScienceDaily: The researchers discovered a traveling spike generator that appears to move across the hippocampus — a part of the brain mainly associated with memory — and change direction, while generating brain waves. The generator itself, however, produces no electrical signal. “In epilepsy, we’ve thought the focus of seizures is fixed and, in severe […]

How Did Mathematics Come to be Woven Into the Fabric of Reality?

We all learned pi in school in the context of circles.  Pi is the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter.  It is an irrational number approximated by 3.14. It turns out that pi shows up all over the place, not just in circles.  Here is just one instance.  Take a piece of paper […]

Surviving as a whistleblower in science

When Nature is giving you the advice, … you know there’s a problem and you better listen. There is no handbook that describes what to do in these situations. If you decide to be a whistle-blower, you must realize that it will be stressful. And because it is so stressful, you want to ensure that […]

Tyson sucks fun out of universe?

So says Sam Kriss at Wired: Neil deGrasse Tyson is, supposedly, an educator and a populariser of science; it’s his job to excite people about the mysteries of the universe, communicate information, and correct popular misconceptions. This is a noble, arduous, and thankless job, which might be why he doesn’t do it.More. We think Tyson […]

Will Templeton continue to fund BioLogos? Why?

BioLogos? They’re Christians for Darwin, or evolution or something, but for sure not for ID or anything. At Hump of the Camel, Jon Garvey, a retired British physician and theologian, notes that BioLogos writers accuse ID folk of heretical or bad theology by thinking of God as a designer. But, he says, their own theological […]

How will rethinking Darwin affect the ID community?

Recently, we’ve seen some rather abrupt shifts: The Royal Society is suddenly rethinking the importance of Darwinism in evolution—which will have huge ramifications even if they lose heart and flee the scene. It’s enough that they even considered such grave apostasy. For most people who grew up in the English-speaking world, evolution (indeed, all of […]

RNA-Directed DNA Methylation: The Evolution of a Complex Epigenetic Pathway in Flowering Plants

The problem with epigenetic mechanisms is that they respond to future, unforeseen, environmental challenges. They don’t work in the present, and so even if random mutations somehow created such mechanisms, they would not be selected for. In other words, epigenetic mechanisms contradict evolutionary theory—there is no fitness improvement at the time of origin by random […]

Denton on the growing chorus of dissent

From Michael Denton,’s Evolution: Still a Theory in Crisis, Admittedly, there are still many prominent figures such as Michael Ruse, Jerry Coyne, Daniel Dennett, and Richard Dawkins who strictly adhere to a pan-adaptational framework and to the notion that all macroevolutionary phenomena, from the origin of life to the origin of man, can be generally […]

Tyson bombshell: Universe likely just computer sim

Kevin Loria tells us at Business Insider: Neil deGrasse Tyson thinks there’s a ‘very high’ chance the universe is just a simulation … So at this year’s 2016 Isaac Asimov Memorial Debate at the American Museum of Natural History, which addressed the question of whether the universe is a simulation, the answers from some panelists […]

The End of Reasonable Debate

From this 2005 interview: “Political correctness is communist propaganda writ small. In my study of communist societies, I came to the conclusion that the purpose of communist propaganda was not to persuade or convince, nor to inform, but to humiliate; and therefore, the less it corresponded to reality the better. When people are forced to […]

Jerry Coyne defends Sam Harris

Readers may recall “No I in me and no sense in Sam Harris” wherein Waynesburg University (Pennsylvania) biology prof Wayne Rossiter, comments on the conundrum that Harris thinks dispensing with the idea that one exists is the key to deeper knowing of the nature of reality. But, Rossiter, not to worry, some can go Harris, […]

Collins: Cosmos fine-tuned for science discovery

From David Snoke’s notes on the annual meeting of the Christian Scientific Society Robin Collins gave a great overview of the topic of fine tuning in cosmology, and raised the argument (subject of new work he is doing) that the cosmos is fine tuned not only for the existence of life or observers, but for […]

What biology could learn from physics

But can’t, for psychological reasons. First, why the divorce? From Philip Ball at Nautilus: [Ernst] Mayr made perhaps the most concerted attempt by any biologist to draw clear disciplinary boundaries around his subject, smartly isolating it from other fields of science. In doing so, he supplies one of the clearest demonstrations of the folly of […]

Evolution shows our perceptions are not real?

From Amanda Gefter at Quanta: The Evolutionary Argument Against Reality It’s an interview with cognitive psychologist Donald Hoffman on the basic theme “Evolution has shaped us with perceptions that allow us to survive. But part of that involves hiding from us the stuff we don’t need to know. And that’s pretty much all of reality, whatever […]

Bill Nye the authority guy

Following on: Bill Nye open to jail time for climate change skeptics, from The Federalist: But Nye isn’t just speculating about putting people in jail. He is referring to a specific attempt to use the model of those old tobacco lawsuits to prosecute any company that has ever funded research or advocacy skeptical of claims […]

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