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Category Archives: science
On Having No Head: The Headless Squid Bowl, The Flying Spaghetti Monster, And The Cosmos’s Undirected, Mutually Interdependent Arising
The headless squid bowl sometimes served in Japanese restaurants is odd and fascinating. It strikes me as a metaphor for the cosmos: it goes without a head. How strange. In a sense, even conscious beings like ourselves go without a … Continue reading
_____ The hate that dares not speak its name. If this doesn’t look like Nazi Germany in the 1930s, then what is it? And at the University of Virginia. And around a statue of the greatest humanist of the Enlightenment, … Continue reading
Clarity. A must-view, short video from Vox surveying some of the political science data on authoritarianism and its relation to Trump. A really excellent summary.
Best explanation vs. ad hoc explanation. A sign that you may not be seeking the best theory surrounding the truth of a matter, and instead protecting a favored theory—one you want to be true over all others—is if you’re doing … Continue reading
Scientific Method For Poets: What Is Scientific Method, Exactly, And Can It Be Separated From Our Values?
Scientific method. If we’re not engaging in self-deception, trying to ad hoc our way across the bridge from logical possibility to the actual truth of a matter, we see that we have a variety of genuinely objective tools ready-to-hand to … Continue reading
The problem. 2018 will mark the 40th anniversary of the collective suicide of the Jim Jones cult. In 1978, over 900 people left California, set up a commune in Guyana in South America, and ultimately died there together, notoriously drinking … Continue reading
I don’t like the phrase “not my president.” I understand the sentiment, but I think it would be a more accurate reflection of that sentiment to say, “not my America.” Trump’s America is not my America in exactly the same … Continue reading
In a recent article at The New York Times (“Why We Believe Obvious Untruths”), two cognitive scientists, Philip Fernbach and Steven Sloman, claim that dispersed knowledge is a ready and overriding explanation for why people profess belief in foolish things … Continue reading
Steve Bannon’s chief goals are outlined in the link below to a recent Washington Post article. Among them is a large strategic vision grounded in national sovereignty. Bannon thinks that Western countries have surrendered ever increasing degrees of sovereignty to … Continue reading
Robert Young is Probably Wrong. Trump Neutrality Endangers Resisters. And That’s Why Scientists Should March on Washington
The more people who peel off, the more dangerous it becomes for those remaining in the streets who resist. So this is hard for me to read. I post a link to the below article by Robert Young, not because … Continue reading
We are all subject to flawed reasoning. Any one of us may catastrophically misread the landscape we’re navigating, whether literal or metaphorical, causing us to arrive at false beliefs that end in our deaths. We may also be thwarted in … Continue reading
Pretty darn interesting. Bart Compolo, a former evangelical minister who evolved intellectually toward atheism, has discovered the world needs some of the same basic things that he did as a pastor, so he’s doing them in a low-key way at … Continue reading
Information. Physicist Brian Greene, in his book The Hidden Reality (Knopf 2011), gives a three word definition of information: “Information answers questions” (252). Curiously, in physics you can give a three word definition for entropy as well: entropy measures questions. (That is, … Continue reading
Below is a clip of the future Secretary of State on climate change. His argumentative maneuvers in the attached clip are predictably glib: (1) climate models possess a wide range of uncertainty; (2) the problems look manageable to him; and … Continue reading
No, this is not a joke. This is real. Donald Trump’s national security adviser is going to be Michael Flynn. “Michael Flynn is a crackpot,” claims Paul Waldman, a senior writer at The American Spectator. He also observes that Flynn … Continue reading
We’re in a hostage crisis. And a fog. What I think those of us who are white males haven’t absorbed yet about this election is that there’s no being a “citizen,” male or female, second-class or otherwise, in a liberal … Continue reading
Well, I’m searching for something that reflects accurately the emotion evoked in me by this election result. When the past year was ongoing, it was the ending of Hitchcock’s The Birds that seemed the apt metaphor for what I was … Continue reading
An interesting floor mosaic at the University of Notre Dame memorializing the evolutionary biologist who coined the familiar saying, “Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution.” The image of the double helix of DNA recalls the … Continue reading
__________ In the video above, from Harvard Medical School, bacterial evolution is on display in real time. At the end of the video, there’s even an overlay of the the branching family trees that developed in the experiment. That’s the … Continue reading
Can my fellow liberals, who too frequently count themselves among the idiotic “No GMO!” constituency, please get off the science-denial bandwagon now, leaving it to the far-right, with its young Earth creationists and global warming denialists? 107 Nobel laureates sign … Continue reading