Posted 10 hours ago

The intuitional problem of consciousness

The intuitional problem of consciousness

Originally posted on Scientia Salon:

turingmachineby Mark O’Brien

Could a computer ever be conscious? I think so, at least in principle.

Scientia Salon has seen a number of very interesting discussions on this theme which unfortunately have failed to shift anybody’s position [1]. That much is to be expected. The problem is that the two sides seem to be talking two different languages, each appearing…

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Posted 12 hours ago

Genes show mysterious Paleo-Eskimos survived 4,000 years until sudden demise

Genes show mysterious Paleo-Eskimos survived 4,000 years until sudden demise

Genetics seems to have really come into its own in recent years, shining light on many prehistoric mysteries: Genes show mysterious Paleo-Eskimos survived 4,000 years until sudden demise – The Washington Post.

New genetic research on ancient bones reveals that a prehistoric population of hunters migrated into the high Arctic of North America and Greenland and survived for 4,000 years in almost…

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Posted 16 hours ago

Split brains and functioning consciousness

Split brains and functioning consciousness

I’ve written before about split-brain patients, those who, due to severe epilepsy, had the connections between the two hemispheres of their brain severed, yet were subsequently able to lead normal lives without themselves even noticing any cognitive change, which has profound implications for how consciousness works.

It turns out that there are people who are born with no connections between…

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Posted 4 days ago

When did the Neanderthals go extinct?

When did the Neanderthals go extinct?

Originally posted on Why Evolution Is True:

by Greg Mayer

In a recent paper in Nature (abstract only), Tom Highamof Oxford and several colleagues report on their effort to determine by radiocarbon dating when Neanderthals went extinct. Higham et al. conclude that it was about 40,000 years ago. It’s gotten a fair amount of media coverage—more on this below—but let’s look at the science first.…

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Posted 5 days ago

New theory could be an alternative to the multiverse

New theory could be an alternative to the multiverse

It seems like there have been a number articles recently talking about the soul searching currently going on in the Physics community over the failure of the LHC to find evidence for super-symmetry (at least so far), a theory that had a lot of theoretical work resting on it.  This article discuses that and a new theory: scale symmetry.  Radical New Theory Could Kill the Multiverse Hypothesis |…

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Posted 6 days ago

Is logic and mathematics part of science?

Is logic and mathematics part of science?

Partial view of the Mandelbrot set.

Partial view of the Mandelbrot set. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Last week was scientism week at Scientia Salon, and I reblogged a post by Coel Hellier on a defense of scientism, mostly by arguing that mathematics was actually part of science.  As I indicated in my comment on that reblog, while I agree with Coel that both logic and mathematics have foundations that are empirically observable (my…

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Posted 1 week ago

Doctor Who: ‘Deep Breath’ - I like the new Doctor

Doctor Who: ‘Deep Breath’ – I like the new Doctor

doctor_who_peter_capaldiThe new Doctor Who season started Saturday and I just got around to watching the season opener.  I think Peter Cabaldi is going to make an excellent Doctor.  I’m pretty pleased to see the show return to an older Doctor.  Since it was restarted in 2005, the Doctors have been getting younger and younger, but anyone who watched the classic show knew that the Doctor has historically been a mature…

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Posted 1 week ago

Science is not a frog

Science is not a frog

Originally posted on Scientia Salon:

enjoy_scienceby Steven Paul Leiva

I am the author of a science fiction novel, Traveling in Space, and there is a bit of an irony in that. When I was in high school and college I was lucky to achieve even a D in science courses, and to this day any math beyond the four basics — addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division — puts me into a cold sweat. Even the four…

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Posted 1 week ago

Defending scientism: mathematics is a part of science

Defending scientism: mathematics is a part of science

Originally posted on Scientia Salon:

1+12[Editor’s Note: This essay is part of Scientia Salon’s special “scientism week” and could profitably be read alongside other entries on the same topic on this site, such as this one by John Shook and this one by yours truly. My take on the issue is very different from that of the authors who contributed to this special series, and indeed close to that of…

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Posted 1 week ago

xkcd: California drought

I’m reminded of Jared Diamond’s point in his book ‘Collapse’ about Montana, that if it were an independent civilization with the same environmental problems, not integrated with the rest of the United State, that it might have already collapsed.  Seeing this about California’s drought, it’s tempting to wonder the same thing about them, or the southwest in general.

Click through for full sized…

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