VID: Cuddeback discusses Plato on unifying virtue, Government and community

A video lecture well worth pondering: embedded by Embedded VideoYouTube Direkt To clarify a point or two, let us observe a handy outline of Plato’s types of Government, where he — and IIRC he was once captured and enslaved, having to be ransomed — feared continual deterioration ending in enslavement under tyrants: and Aristotle’s six […]

Theistic evolution: Square peg, round hole

From Waynesburg University (Pennsylvania) biology prof Wayne Rossiter, author of In the Shadow of Oz,, offers a new series on theistic evolution, starting with Square Peg for a Round Hole: Robinson admits that Dennett has struck a vital spot in pro-Darwinian theology: “His remarks stung: there is indeed a legitimate question about whether the way […]

Dawkins: The gift that keeps on giving

From Adam Shapiro at Religion Dispatches: Did Richard Dawkins hand creationists their next school strategy? It’s not just ID and antievolution that has historically found itself entangled with religious advocacy. According to Luskin, evolution’s history is also rife with supporters making religious or irreligious claims. When a New Atheist figurehead like Richard Dawkins claims that […]

At Quanta: Is infinity real?

From Pradeep Mutalik here: Three puzzles test whether the concept of infinity has purchase in the physical world. Editor’s note: The reader who submits the most interesting, creative or insightful solution (as judged by the columnist) in the comments section will receive a Quanta Magazine T-shirt. More. Readers can always submit here if they wish. […]

Math can’t conjure aliens?

From Ross Andersen at Atlantic: We can’t extrapolate from our experience on this planet, because it’s only one data point. We could be the only intelligent beings in the universe, or we could be one among trillions, and either way Earth’s natural history would look the exact same. … We certainly don’t have grounds to […]

Solar system has 10 or more planets?

From Sarah Knapton at Telegraph: In January, astronomers Professor Konstantin Batygin and Professor Mike Brown from California Institute of Technology predicted the existence of a ninth planet after discovering that 13 objects in the Kuiper Belt – an area beyond Neptune – were all moving together as if ‘lassooed’ by the gravity of a huge […]

Common descent: Ann Gauger replies to Vincent Torley

The Opossum Files!: On June 6, philosopher Vincent Torley, one of our Uncommon Descent authors, asked us to consider the opossum as evidence for common descent: Consider the opossum (a marsupial mammal): the evidence for common descent (Vincent Torley, June 6, 2016): Remarkably, the recent spate of articles over at Evolution News and Views (see here, […]

Experience, Rational Debate & Science Depend On The Supernatural

I’m going to lay out three basic arguments for belief in the supernatural. First, science itself would not be possible were it not for the effects of unseen, higher-order supernatural causes. Second, science and rational debate would not be possible unless we all have faith in the supernatural – unseen spirits not bound to material […]

The probability of the multiverse has been calculated!

By mathematician (and string theory skeptic) Peter Woit at Not Even Wrong: It seems that Carroll was arguing that the multiverse shows that we need to change our thinking about what science is, adopting his favored “abduction” and “Bayesian reasoning” framework, getting rid of falsifiability. Using this method he arrives at a probability of the […]

Evolutionary Theorists Discover How mp4 Videos Work

  Over on this thread we’ve had a lively discussion, primarily about common descent.  However, one of the key side discussions has focused on the information required to build an organism. Remarkably, some have argued that essentially nothing is required except a parts list on a digital storage medium.  Yes, you heard right.  Given the right […]

Net neutrality to produce broadband shortage?

From Yahoo: WASHINGTON, June 15, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — “Allowing the FCC to rule the Internet like a public utility under Title II of the 1934 Communications Act will do nothing but produce a broadband shortage,” said George Gilder, bestselling technology author and Discovery Institute senior fellow. “This just creates new incentives for broadband providers to […]

Conception: Like a Swiss army knife

From Globe and Mail: While fertilization is the crucial first step to all human life, it has not been easy for scientists to determine precisely what happens when egg and sperm meet. In addition to the technical challenges, experiments that require human fertilization immediately raise ethical issues. To sidestep these dilemmas, researchers in both groups […]

Bad Neanderthal genes! Bad!

From Emily Singer at Quanta: According to the new findings, published in Genetics this month, Neanderthal genomes were rife with harmful DNA that significantly reduced the species’ fitness. The researchers conclude that Neanderthals were roughly 40 percent less fit than modern humans, meaning they were less likely to produce offspring. More. Okay, so it turns […]

NASA “shameful” in not looking harder for alien life?

From New Scientist: “NASA has been shameful in not searching for extraterrestrial life and at the same time claiming that’s one of the motivations for their programmes,” says Chris McKay, an astrobiologist at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Mountain View, California. “The Mars programme counts life as the reason for the programme, and then the […]

Douglas Axe on science and public opinion

From Douglas Axe, author of Undeniable, in response to Atul Gawande (“Scientific explanation stands in contrast to the wisdom of divinity and experience and common sense”), who was complaining about lack of public confidence in science. At Evolution News & Views: Maybe the better way to restore public confidence is to abandon the condescending mindset […]

Microbes that live on electrons

From BBC: The microbes, called Geobacter metallireducens, were getting their electrons from organic compounds, and passing them onto iron oxides. In other words they were eating waste – including ethanol – and effectively “breathing” iron instead of oxygen. f course, this is not breathing as we would recognise it. For one thing, bacteria do not […]

Todd Wood: New findings on homo Naledi?

Comments on a new study on the phylogeny of Homo naledi published today in the August issue of Journal of Human Evolution. For this analysis, Dembo et al. used Bayesian methods to infer the phylogeny. I’ve always been a bit suspicious of Bayesian methods, mostly because of the need for a model for which the probability […]

Top ridiculous academic papers

From Daily Caller: Twitter lost one of its leading lights earlier this month when user @Real_PeerReview, who chronicled ridiculous, useless, and unintelligible academic papers, shut down their account in an apparent effort to avoid having their real-life academic career ruined. While @Real_PeerReview’s tweets have been deleted from Twitter, they fortunately are not gone entirely, and […]

Convergent evolution of pythons, boas

From ScienceDaily: The Australian National University (ANU) study found that by living in the same habitat, pythons and boas evolved independently to look similar. This happened at least five times in different habitats. Aquatic pythons look like aquatic boas, burrowing pythons look like borrowing boas and tree-dwelling pythons look like tree-dwelling boas. … Other famous […]

Sea snakes have an extra sense?

From ScienceDaily: “We believe sea snakes use these organs to sense objects at a distance by ‘feeling’ movements in the water. This hydrodynamic sense is not an option for land animals. In water, a new way of sensing the environment becomes possible.” Sea snakes evolved from land-living snakes, taking to life in the sea between […]

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