FYI-FTR: The lesson of how Athens — the first great democracy — fell by march of folly

Athens, the first great democracy — the city state and naval power that in company with the great Greek land power Sparta led Greece in its successful defense against Persian aggression — foolishly and arrogantly grasped for empire and wealth; so it fell due to its hubris. By march of folly [I add, cf vid […]

Robots and Rationality

If humans are just meat robots, can we be rational creatures? Tim Stratton argues the case that libertarian free will is required in order to consider ourselves in any way rational – that if our decisions are solely the result of physics and chemistry, then we cannot then trust them to be rational in any […]

Authors: There is a worrying amount of outright fraud in psychology

We’ve heard so much about the problems of psychology as a discipline in science. And as our own Jack Cole points out, psychologists may simply be more inclined to self-report. But a reader sent this one in from Tom Farsides and Paul Sparks at Britain’s Psychologist, and it merits a mention anyway: Opinion: Buried in […]

Rob Sheldon: Life from space?

Further to Will the shooting stars please rise? Rob Sheldon writes to say Just to set the record straight. The meteorite they showed in the article, was not a piece of iron, it was a “framboid” from an extinct comet made up of Fe3O4 “magnetite”. The reason it looks all lumpy, is that it is […]

We Can Say It, But You Can’t

As Carl Woese explained in 2004: Read more

Secret human (?) genome synthesis meeting revealed

From The Scientist: Harvard Medical School’s George Church and his collaborators invited some 130 scientists, lawyers, entrepreneurs, and government officials to Boston last week (May 10) to discuss the feasibility and implementation of a project to synthesize entire large genomes in vitro. … Church told STAT News that the original intention was to make the […]

Why Evolution is Different

The following story is excerpted from chapter 2 of my new book Christianity for Doubters. As the title indicates, much of this book is explicitly theological, but the first two chapters are about intelligent design. Used by permission of Wipf and Stock Publishers. In the current debate between Darwinism and intelligent design, the strongest argument […]

“Junk DNA” important to flower evolution?

A reader sent this link to a free 2013 paper in Genome Biol Evol wherein we read: Although once said to be “junk,” or “parasitic,” DNA (Doolittle and Sapienza 1980; Orgel and Crick 1980), a recent large and rapid accumulation of evidence indicates that transposable elements (TEs) have been a significant factor in the evolution […]

Thousands of “vegetative” patients aware?

From Aeon: I had just finished giving a talk about severe brain injury, and told the story of Terry Wallis, a man in Arkansas who’d had a car accident in 1984. He survived but was left in a vegetative state, and his doctors and family thought he would be unconscious forever. Then in 2003 he […]

How far can we go in the universe?

Even with sci-fi tech, not as far as we might hope, apparently: What’s really unlimited is the human imagination. We can even think up other universes; we just can’t make them exist. See also: Cosmology, the skinny Follow UD News at Twitter!

Why There Is (And Should Be) No Legal Right To Transgender Protections

Transgenderism is when a person considers themselves to internally be the opposite sex of their physical body. They mentally “self-identify” in contradiction to the physical fact of their body sex. Transgender law advocates insist that self-identified “transgenders” be given legal right to have unfettered access to all public facilities currently reserved for one sex or […]

Pop science speaks: Ventriloquists, religion, and consciousness

One almost doesn’t expect to see a hedder like this: How Consciousness Explains Ventriloquists and Religion But there it is. Were I writing a parody of pop science writing today, I would put that in my sketch notes, then erase it, saying no, no, too obvious. Even cheerleaders for “science” don’t write like that. But […]

FYI-FTR: D reminds us on the lesson of the White Rose martyrs

As we continue to look at the issue of wedges used at watersheds to trigger slides down mutually polarised slippery slopes to ruin, D reminds us on the lesson of the White Rose martyrs . . . a movement that is now pivotal in some key ways to the modern self-understanding of the German people. […]

Carl Woese: Mechanisms of evolution still a problem

Carl Woese (1928-2012), the discoverer of the third kingdom of life, the archaea, told Suzan Mazur that he felt Darwin had grabbed the spotlight, unearned: I’ve maintained for a long time up until the end of the 20th century that the problem of the evolutionary process is a problem before its time. Darwin was trying to get […]

Poetic naturalism: The stick is the business end

  From Clara Moskowitz, reviewing Sean Carroll’s The Big Picture at Scientific American, and interviewing Carroll: Naturalism is the viewpoint that everything arises from natural causes and that there is no supernatural realm. You coin the term “poetic naturalism” for your own particular brand of this guiding philosophy. Why the need for a new term? […]

Earth is flat and childbirth SHOULD be painful?

Learned scholars shout into the wind frequently re science writer myths about how stupid people were in the Middle Ages, etc. Such myths would include the odd claim that mediaeval Europeans believed that Earth is flat. Hint: They could not have believed that, due to other things they believed. Tales of an ignorant past give people […]

FYI-FTR: Exposing the PC juggernaut’s mass manipulation (“brainwashing”) game

As discussion continues on the march of folly watershed and slippery slopes of wedging apart, polarisation and ruin, it is time to expose mass manipulation tactics. Aka, “brainwashing.” Here, I clip comment 771: ______________ >>>Can “mind control” techniques really rob us of ability to think, decide and act for ourselves? Are we really responsible, free, […]

Berkeley biologist’s bitch against epigenetics

From Michael Eisen: Epigenetics is used as shorthand in the popular press for any of a loosely connected set of phenomenon purported to result in experience being imprinted in DNA and transmitted across time and generations. Its place in our lexicon has grown as biochemical discoveries have given ideas of extra-genetic inheritance an air of […]

Multiverse booted in 1614?

In a 1614 mathematical attack on multiverse by Locher From Christopher M. Graney at the Catholic Astronomer: The most surprising things can be found in astronomy’s history—like “the multiverse,” that collection of parallel universes that is the central theme in Brian Greene’s 2011 book The Hidden Reality: Parallel Universes and the Deep Laws of the […]

Darwinism explains beetles’ same sex behaviour?

From Eurekalert: The frequent occurrence of same-sex behaviors in beetles of one sex could be explained by genes that are favored by natural selection when expressed in the opposite sex, according to a study published in the open access journal BMC Evolutionary Biology. The study by researchers from Uppsala University, Sweden sheds new light on […]

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