Rutgers conference on multiverse, evil, and fine-tuning

June 10–11, 2016 From NY/NJ Philosophy of Science group: ===========ABSTRACTS================ Title: Everettian Quantum Mechanics and Evil Author: Jason Turner Abstract: The problem of evil has been around for a long time: How can an all-powerful and all-good God allow evil of the sorts we see in the world? If the Everettian interpretation of quantum mechanics […]

Supersymmetry now needed to “save physics”

But there is so little evidence to go on. From Columbia math prof Peter Woit at Not Even Wrong: Maybe this should have its own entry for This Week’s Hype, but I’ll just mention here that the June Scientific American has The Collider That Could Save Physics. It seems that SUSY [supersymmetry] is needed to […]

Liberal Fascists Strike Again

This time they are burning books in Portland. Read the last paragraph of this resolution adopted by the Portland School Board. Because the suppression of doubt or skepticism is the foundation of any good science education.  Right? As Robert Tracinski reports: Actually, the story is even worse than what conservative news sites have reported. It’s not […]

Royal Society to announce guest list for “rethink evolution” meeting – at last

From Suzan Mazur at Huffington Post: The Royal Society science office says the suspense will soon be over. It will announce presenter names/topics for the November evolution paradigm shift conference within two weeks — democratically, by email to all those registered to attend the public meeting. What’s more, it has added to its original list […]

Epigenetics is “dangerously fashionable”

Say Brian Boutwell and J.C. Barnes at Nautilus: That’s right, the most compelling evidence for transgenerational epigenetics is in rodents, not humans. We are fans of animal research, but as Pinker noted, the strengths of it (fast reproductive cycles allowing for the study of numerous generations in a short window of time) may also curtail […]

Free will as a convenient lie

More goodness brought to us by naturalism From philosopher Stephen Cave at the Atlantic: The sciences have grown steadily bolder in their claim that all human behavior can be explained through the clockwork laws of cause and effect. This shift in perception is the continuation of an intellectual revolution that began about 150 years ago, […]

Darwin, religion, and the blind cave fish

Only religion prevents us from seeing the Darwinian truth about evolution. Or at least that’s what one would think reading ScienceDaily: Generally seen as antithetical to one another, evolution and religion can hardly fit in a scientific discourse simultaneously. However, biologist Dr Aldemaro Romero Jr., Baruch College, USA, devotes his latest research article, now published […]

Nature tries to referee Horgan vs. the Skeptics

Readers may recall that unusually thoughtful science writer John Horgan recently told “Skeptics” Scientific American to do something useful with their lives. (Bash Bigfoot less, pop science more.) The Skeptics, of course, protested that soft targets are fun. (The multiverse can be science even if unfalsifiable…) The exchange identified the issue clearly. The Skeptical science […]

Forget nature: Redefining death to suit euthanasia

From Wesley J. Smith at First Things: Most people understand the word “death” to mean the end of biological life or, as Merriam-Webster defines it, “a permanent cessation of all vital functions.” But now an influential cadre of utilitarian bioethicists wants to redefine it to include a subjective and sociologically based meaning. Their purpose isn’t […]

Junk DNA back “with a vengeance”

From ScienceDaily: What used to be dismissed by many as “junk DNA” is back with a vengeance as growing data points to the importance of non-coding RNAs (ncRNAs) — genome’s messages that do not code for proteins — in development and disease. But our progress in understanding these molecules has been slow because of the […]

Subjectivists Need to Check Their Moral Privilege

Many of our interlocutors here often complain about the lengthy comments KF often posts which frame the necessity of a cohesive and coherent worldview when it comes to moral views and arguments. With others, their arguments often hinge around the insistence that either morals simply are not objective in nature, or that there is no […]

Chimps filmed grieving for dead friend

From the BBC: It is clear the chimpanzees were aware something was wrong, and they gathered next to Thomas, lying on his back. What surprised the researchers most was the way the chimps sat quietly around their deceased friend for long periods. “Chimps never do that in other contexts,” says Dr van Leeuwen. “There is […]

Epigenetics part of new normal in plant studies

From ScienceDaily: Researchers chart landscape of genetic, epigenetic regulation in plants New findings yield insights into how plants get their traits. Revealing a landscape of protein-binding zones on DNA, collectively dubbed the “cistrome,” shows how plants control where and when genes are expressed. Previous methods for mapping the cistrome in plant cells were difficult and […]

Complex life billion years earlier than thought?

From the Guardian: Fossils from China are said to prove that multi-cellular organisms evolved as early as 1.5bn years ago – but some experts dismiss findings “Our discovery pushes back nearly one billion years the appearance of macroscopic, multi-cellular eukaryotes compared to previous research,” said Maoyan Zhu, a professor at the Nanjing Institute of Geology […]

Alarming spin in medical research claims

From Kelly Crowe at CBC: What gets clicks? Words like “breakthrough,” “groundbreaking,” “game changer” and “lifesaver.” And that’s how much of medical news is described. In one week last June, researchers counted 36 different cancer drugs being described using those superlatives. But when they took a closer look at the actual drugs, half were not […]

FYI-FTR: Is there such a thing as objective moral truth? (Or, are we left to the clash of opinions? Esp. as regards sex?)

In a current WJM thread on transgenderism, CF has been arguing that different cultures and religions take different views and each holds themselves to be superior — of course this overlooks for just one instance a key remark C S Lewis made in his essay, “Men Without Chests” on what he called the Tao, on […]

Jonathan Wells on claim that Mendel now holds back genetics teaching

In response to “Mendel holds back genetics teaching,” a post on the way in which Nature is moving to quietly distance itself from today’s Darwinism, Jonathan Wells writes to say, Radick is right to criticize the gene-centric view that dominates modern biology, but the problem was not Gregor Mendel, who merely described patterns of inheritance for […]

Study: Plate tectonics explains early Earth’s oxygen

If early Earth even had much oxygen. From Rice University: Based on a new model that draws from research in diverse fields including petrology, geodynamics, volcanology and geochemistry, the team’s findings were published online this week in Nature Geoscience. They suggest that the rise of oxygen in Earth’s atmosphere was an inevitable consequence of the […]

Claim: Early life “could indeed” have been simple

From ScienceDaily: How did life originate on Earth and what were its chemical building-blocks? One possible source of answers to these questions can be found in outer space. On the surface of comets planetary scientists have detected simple organic molecules that could also have been available on the young Earth — either because they were […]

Settled science: Bunk with clout

From Jonah Goldberg National Review: For starters, why are liberalism’s pet issues the lodestars of what constitutes scientific fact? Medical science informs us fetuses are human beings. The liberal response? “Who cares?” Genetically modified foods are safe, sayeth the scientists. “Shut up,” reply the liberal activists. IQ is partly heritable, the neuroscientists tell us. “Shut […]

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