a tippling philosopher

Showing Tag: "science" (Show all posts)

How Physics and Neuroscience Dictate Your "Free" Will

Posted by Jonathan Pearce on Sunday, April 29, 2012, In : Philosophy 

Physics and neurobiology can help us understand whether we choose our own destiny 

From the Scientific American

By Christof Koch  | Thursday, April 12, 2012 | 27




In a remote corner of the universe, on a small blue planet gravitating around a humdrum sun in the outer districts of the Milky Way, organisms arose from the primordial mud and ooze in an epic struggle for survival that spanned aeons.


Despite all evidenc...

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AAARRRRGGGHHH!!! How do we help science???

Posted by Jonathan Pearce on Sunday, February 19, 2012, In : Politics 

I am really quite scared about the future of, well, the world. We are potentially in the hands of big corporations and idiot politicians. What is particularly worrying is the potential presidents of the US: the Republican Party candidate leaders. There were several articles in the Guardian today which scared the bejesus out of me. This was one of them:


Attacks paid for by big business are 'driving science into a dark era'

Researchers attending one of the world's major academic conference...

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Laurence Krauss on religion and science (from the Guardian)

Posted by Jonathan Pearce on Tuesday, February 7, 2012, In : Religion 

The faithful must learn to respect those who question their beliefs

Tensions between religion and science will persist unless believers recognise that skepticism is a hallmark of science



Issues of personal faith can be a source of respectful debate and discussion. Since faith is often not based on evidence, however, it is hard to imagine how various deep philosophical or religious disagreements can be objectively laid to rest. As a result, skeptics like myself struggle to understand or an...

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Why Christianity is not 'responsible for science' (Part 2)

Posted by Jonathan Pearce on Sunday, January 29, 2012, In : Religion 

Epistemologically speaking, truth was often seen as being the product of revelation, whether from God or the Pope. Therefore, empiricism was frowned upon as a method to arrive at truth and certainly could not trump revelation.


What was also frowned upon was scientific progress. This value was seen as poor in comparison to the value of the Gospels and spreading the good word, and the resulting relationship with God. These value positions were not antithetical to God, but they likewise did ...

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Why Christianity is not 'responsible for science'. (part 1)

Posted by Jonathan Pearce on Saturday, January 28, 2012, In : Religion 

I have recently been involved in an argument online which is a very common argument and one which annoys me just a little. It is also an argument which I have had many times before with Christians. The claim goes something like this:


“Christianity is responsible for the development of science.”


The word science can be swopped with hospital, charity, education and so on. In the case in hand, there were statements such as:


“the essential neccesity of Christianity to the origin...

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Balance isn't everything - misrepresenting science in the media

Posted by Jonathan Pearce on Wednesday, December 28, 2011, In : Science 
This is a fantastic article which I read a year or so ago and have subsequently dug up, written by Mark Henderson, Science Editor of The Times. It details how media organisations falsely promote balance when reporting science, and end up doing science a gross disservice.

Dear BBC: balance isn't everything

By Mark Henderson

At the end of September 2009, a 14-year-old girl collapsed and died at her school in Coventry. Natalie Morton, an autopsy showed, was killed by a large chest tumour that had n...

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We're gonna live forever!

Posted by Jonathan Pearce on Thursday, November 3, 2011, In : Science 

Erasing the Signs of Aging in Human Cells Is Now a Reality

ScienceDaily (Nov. 3, 2011) — Scientists have recently succeeded in rejuvenating cells from elderly donors (aged over 100). These old cells were reprogrammed in vitro to induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC) and to rejuvenated and human embryonic stem cells (hESC): cells of all types can again be differentiated after this genuine "rejuvenation" therapy. The results represent significant progress for research into iPSC cells and a fur...

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God has no free will. The universe is immutably set in stone.

Posted by Jonathan Pearce on Saturday, April 16, 2011, In : Religion 

I was wondering recently about the issue of God’s foreknowledge. It has long been understood that with God’s omniscience, he could not be contrary to his own predictions. This means that if God predicted beforehand that he would make himself a spaghetti bolognaise for supper on Friday, then when it came to making Friday’s supper, he would have no choice but to make the spaghetti bolognaise. This is because if he decided to be contrary to his own prediction and cook, say, pizza, then his...

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Species - is there such a thing?

Posted by Jonathan Pearce on Monday, March 14, 2011, In : Science 

Recently, I have been thinking about evolution. Not unusual for me. Many apologists attack evolution, and attack the notion that species can evolve into new species, and that there is no transitional fossil evidence for X,Y and Z. However, what they do not realise is that there is no such thing as a species. Objectively, such an idea does not exist.

'Species' is a label that we humans have attached to groups of organisms that we see common characteristics between. We also tend to attach arbit...

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LOST - it has issues

Posted by Jonathan Pearce on Wednesday, February 23, 2011, In : TV 
I have been watching the final series of the much acclaimed LOST. I have enjoyed ABC's series in some ways. It tries to grapple with philosophical subtexts and bring them to a wider audience, which is no bad thing. However, it is often utterly incoherent requiring you to unpick it (unsuccessfully) in a manner which should be unnecessary for a well-thought out piece.

Aside from the scatter-gun approach of firing off half-philosophies and theologies in a random manner, I have one major gripe. On...
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James Delingpole and Horizon's 'Science Under Attack'

Posted by Jonathan Pearce on Sunday, February 6, 2011, In : Science 
James Delingpole is a Cilmate Sceptic who writes blogs for the Telegraph. He is politically and philosophically, and unashamedly, very right-wing. Unfortunately, this presupposition of the veracity of his political stance over and above his willingness to deal with real science, means that he has come to conclude (before properly assessing anything that remotely looks like evidence) that climate change is happening, certainly under the causal influences of man and man's activities.

Sir Paul Nu...
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