Off topic: How did “populism” become such a dirty word? A left-wing journalist offers some thoughts

From Denyse O’Leary at MercatorNet: Mick Hume’s analysis converges closely with traditionalist/conservative streams of thought, especially in criticising claims that fake news determined election outcomes such as Brexit and Trump. The underlying assumption of many pundits is that the public cannot be trusted to make reasonable judgments in the face of fake news, and that […]

Does Bias Enter EA’s?

There’s a Science Magazine article on research into hidden biases in the language that AI systems use. The authors write: Our work has implications for AI and machine learning because of the concern that these technologies may perpetuate cultural stereotypes (18). Our findings suggest that if we build an intelligent system that learns enough about […]

WJM is on a Roll

All that follows is from a comment WJM posted that deserves its own post: KF said: “RVB8 is free to believe whatever he wants to believe…” To which RVB8 said: “True.” As a materialist, RVB8 should have said: “No, I believe whatever happenstance chemical interactions cause me to believe.” RVB8 then spends some time trying […]

Quote of the Day

From our WJM: When one is asked to support the view that the most highly complex and sophisticated, precise, self-correcting, multi-level & interdependent software-controlled hardware machinery known to exist most likely did not come into existence by happenstance interactions of chemistry, you know that we are in an age of rampant, self-imposed, ignorant idiocy. Happenstance physical […]

Spoof: March for Science Exposed

From a prankster (“Viva da Nada”) at “CMM News”: … Bill Nye the science guy was not actually present for this broadcast. Bennetville, California, has been a ghost town since 1890. No liberals were harmed in the making of this film. More. Friends find it heavy-handed; I (O’Leary for News) would send the latter half […]

Sponges vs. jellies: Comb jellies still the “oldest” complex life form, researchers say

Spotted at about 600 million years ago. From ScienceDaily: One of the longest-running controversies in evolutionary biology has been, ‘What was the oldest branch of the animal family tree?’ Was it the sponges, as had long been thought, or was it the delicate marine predators called comb jellies? A powerful new method has been devised […]

Octopuses can turn off Darwinism and edit their own genomes

From Evolution News & Views: Some stunning upsets in conventional thinking about evolution have hit the news in rapid succession, threatening Darwin’s famous tree icon. Under the rules of neo-Darwinism, mutations must be random, providing fodder for the blind processes of natural selection. But here’s a case where animals defy their own neo-Darwinism. More. Yes, […]

Theoretical physics like a fly hitting a window pane?

From Peter Woit at Not Even Wrong: Sabine Hossenfelder is on a tear this week, with two excellent and highly provocative pieces about research practice in theoretical physics, a topic on which she has become the field’s most perceptive critic. The first is in this month’s Nature Physics, entitled Science needs reason to be trusted. […]

Drug resistance evolves readily but vaccine resistance does not? Why?

Abstract: Why is drug resistance common and vaccine resistance rare? Drugs and vaccines both impose substantial pressure on pathogen populations to evolve resistance and indeed, drug resistance typically emerges soon after the introduction of a drug. But vaccine resistance has only rarely emerged. Using well-established principles of population genetics and evolutionary ecology, we argue that […]

FFT: TJG ponders the design inference- objecting mindset

. . . through a case in point: >>tjguyApril 12, 2017 at 2:28 am rvb8 @2 Thank god (heh:), the obvious has been consigned to the rubbish bin of understanding, and we now prefer evidence, experimentation, and the unobvious, to the vacuous, empty, ‘obvious’. What is the problem with this way of thinking? He just […]

BioLogos gravitating to “full-on naturalism”?

Astrophysicist and neuroscientist Casper Hesp wrote a piece at BioLogos, reviewing physicist Peter Bussey’s Signposts to God. Hesp thinks that fine-tuning of the universe is not a good argument for theism. After all, despite massive evidence and the utter improbability of other approaches, we could find out some day that we are wrong. From Wayne […]

Twelve hallmarks of good theories in science

From Michael Keas at Synthese: Essay Abstract: There are at least twelve major virtues of good theories: evidential accuracy, causal adequacy, explanatory depth, internal consistency, internal coherence, universal coherence, beauty, simplicity, unification, durability, fruitfulness, and applicability. These virtues are best classified into four classes: evidential, coherential, aesthetic, and diachronic. Each virtue class contains at least […]

Neurosurgeon defends Aristotelian dualism

The neurosurgeon is Michael Egnor. From David Snoke at Christian Scientific Society: Mike Egnor gave a talk full of brain science data in support of his position of Aristotelean dualism [at the Annual Meeting last weekend]. He contrasted his position with Cartesian dualism, which has two distinct substances, one which is fully material and deterministic, […]

More Astonishing Things Materialists Say

In response to my last post, Sev gives us an astonishing double down: Yes, a microscopic living cell is immensely complex when you look at it closely but comparing one to a factory based on some similarities in the internal processes is an analogy not necessarily evidence of design. To judge the value of an […]

Dembski: Claims for artificial intelligence are overblown

From Bill Dembski at the Best Schools: The White House paper on automation rightly draws our attention to the challenges society faces from the coming disruptions to the job market on account of AI, and machine learning in particular. A real and imminent threat exists here, in which the middle-class could get severely hurt. But […]

Floridi vs. Dembski: Informational structural realism vs. informational realism

Further to Luciano Floridi: Information has been the Cinderella of philosophy, reader Mario Lopez writes to mention, I gave a short review of William Dembski’s Being as Communion in Amazon where I warn the reader not to confuse his ideas with Floridi’s Informational Structural Realism. Here is a short quote to give you an idea […]

Can we pinpoint the origin of oxygen photosynthesis?

From ScienceDaily: The ability to generate oxygen through photosynthesis — that helpful service performed by plants and algae, making life possible for humans and animals on Earth — evolved just once, roughly 2.3 billion years ago, in certain types of cyanobacteria. This planet-changing biological invention has never been duplicated, as far as anyone can tell. […]

Laszlo Bencze: Who decides what is “extraordinary” evidence?

Further to David Deming’s observation that is often misused, Laszlo Bencze offers this thought: reminds us that he reflected a while back on the whole business of extraordinary claims requiring extraordinary evidence. As to Carl Sagan’s “Extraordinary claims demand extraordinary evidence,“ well, my goodness, there’s a flaw here. The person making the demand is always […]

Christian Scientific Society tackles global warming controversy

From David Snokes at Christian Scientific Society: Kevin Birdwell gave a general overview of the issue of global warming and humans’ contribution to it. On the scientific side, one of his main points was that carbon dioxide is not the whole story; there are many other considerations, possibly the greatest of which is the warming […]

Astonishing Things Materialists Say

Sev muses: The problem for creationists is that positing an intelligence that is able to create life out of inanimate materials is to claim that life can be created out of non-living materials. The question then becomes, if it’s possible at the hands of a creator then why not through natural causation? Hmmm.  The space […]

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