Meaningless claims about orangutan intelligence

From Science Daily: Without having tasted a new juice mix before, an orangutan in a Swedish zoo has enough sense to know whether it will taste nice or not based on how he recombined relevant memories from the past. Only humans were thought to have this ability of affective forecasting, in which prior experiences are […]

New Earth-like planet?

Don’t bet the farm but, from a href=”http://phys.org/news/2016-08-scientists-unveil-earth-like-planet.html” target=”another”>Phys.org: The exoplanet orbits a well-investigated star called Proxima Centauri, part of the Alpha Centauri star system, the magazine said, quoting anonymous sources. “The still nameless planet is believed to be Earth-like and orbits at a distance to Proxima Centauri that could allow it to have liquid […]

Epigenetic regulation in prokaryotes different from eukaryotes

Here. From Genetics and Epigenetics: The evolution process includes genetic alterations which started with prokaryotes and now continues in humans. A distinct difference between prokaryotic chromosomes and eukaryotic chromosomes involves histones. As evolution progressed, genetic alterations accumulated and a mechanism for gene selection developed. It was as if nature was experimenting to optimally utilize the […]

AI still can’t master language

From Will Knight at Technology Review: Machines that truly understand language would be incredibly useful. But we don’t know how to build them. … SHRDLU was held up as a sign that the field of AI was making profound progress. But it was just an illusion. When Winograd tried to make the program’s block world […]

New T shirt: You have died of peer review

Here. Said to be based on the “Oregon Trail” video game graphics.

Discover Mag: Psychology’s replication crisis

For more than 50 years, psychologists have worried about the robustness of research in their field. … Last year, psychologist Brian Nosek led a consortium of nearly 300 scientists who published the first attempt to estimate the reproducibility rate in psychology by redoing 98 recent studies. The scientists couldn’t reproduce the initial results about 60 […]

Does Bad Metaphysics Lead to Moribund Physics?

Yes, according to Rob Sheldon: Woit & Hossenfelder & Wolchover are saying something more profound than they realize. It is not simply, as Wolchover put it, “a diphoton hangover”, or as Hossenfelder put it, “we are completely lost”, nor even as Woit said in his 2013 essay, a “nightmare scenario” in which, “After centuries of […]

Study: Human brain not exceptional?

Every so often something exquisitely stupid turns up, something worth celebrating on that account: From ScienceDaily: A new scientific study puts the final nail in the coffin of a long-standing theory to explain human’s remarkable cognitive abilities: that human evolution involved the selective expansion of the brain’s prefrontal cortex. It does so by determining that […]

How Progressive Gnosticism Leads to Liberal Fascism

Peter M. Burfeind writes: According to the various social theories—all claiming to be scientific—it is an ironclad law that to be human is to have all your thought and thinking inescapably determined by whatever structures you’re born in. A Cretan can’t stop being a Cretan any more than an apple can stop being pulled to […]

No new particles means what for physics?

From Quanta: In the past two years, some theoretical physicists have started to devise totally new natural explanations for the Higgs mass that avoid the fatalism of anthropic reasoning and do not rely on new particles showing up at the LHC. Last week at CERN, while their experimental colleagues elsewhere in the building busily crunched […]

“Nightmare” in particle physics?

From Columbia mathematician Peter Woit at Nott Even Wrong: The Nightmare Scenario Now back from a short vacation, and there seems to have been a lot happening on the debate over fundamental physics front. From the experimentalists, news that the Standard Model continues to resist falsification: More. See also: Physics to crack wide open? Of […]

The Benefit of Arguments at UD

Probably one of the most daunting aspects of carrying on debates either about proper critical thinking, theism vs atheism, or intelligent design and its implications is the seeming implacable nature of those we debate here and elsewhere. It most often seems that no amount of logic, evidence or even reasonable discourse makes one iota of […]

Tool-making crows are just acting naturally

According to a report in New Scientist, the tool-making behavior of New Caledonian crows may be simply part of their natural repertoire. If this finding turns out to be true, it would cast doubt on claims that the birds are intelligent. A crow that astonished the world by bending a straight piece of wire was […]

Piltdown hoax forger was Charles Dawson?

From Jonathan Webb at BBC News: They conclude that the forged fossils were made by one man: the prime suspect and “discoverer” Charles Dawson. The human-like skull fragments and an ape-like jaw, complete with two teeth, shook the scientific world in 1912 but were exposed as a hoax in 1953. New tests show the bones […]

Methodological Naturalism and Its Creation Story

In the next video from the Alternatives to Methodological Naturalism (AM-Nat) conference, Arminius Mignea points out that when we force science to adhere to naturalism, it requires scientists to simply ascribe supernatural powers to ordinary matter. Remember, the AM-Nat biology conference is coming up in November. We already have several abstracts submitted and you should […]

Aeon puts case squarely: Must science be testable?

From Massimo Pigliucci at Aeon: The broader question then is: are we on the verge of developing a whole new science, or is this going to be regarded by future historians as a temporary stalling of scientific progress? Alternatively, is it possible that fundamental physics is reaching an end not because we’ve figured out everything […]

Monopoles could exist?

From T’Mir Danger Julius at RealClearScience: But just because our classical electromagnetic theories are consistent with our observations, that does not imply that there are no magnetic monopoles. Rather, this just means that there are no magnetic monopoles anywhere that we have observed. Once we start to delve into the murky depths of theory, we […]

Neanderthal vs. modern human fashions?

From Colin Barras at New Scientist: Early modern humans dressed for ice age success – Neanderthals, not so much. An analysis of animal remains at prehistoric hominin sites across Europe suggests modern humans clad themselves in snug, fur-trimmed clothing, while Neanderthals probably opted for simple capes. Even so, the finding suggests our extinct cousin was […]

Why snakes are so long?

Now that we think about it … From Independent: A quirk of evolution means a particular gene stays ‘switched on’ for longer than usual during snakes’ embryonic development Dr Rita Aires, from the Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciencia (IGC) in Lisbon, Portugal, said: “The formation of different body regions works as a strong-arm contest of genes. […]

Remains of butchered animals 250 kya

On stone tools. From ScienceDaily: How smart were human-like species of the Stone Age? New research reveals surprisingly sophisticated adaptations by early humans living 250,000 years ago in a former oasis near Azraq, Jordan. “What this tells us about their lives and complex strategies for survival, such as the highly variable techniques for prey exploitation, […]

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