Does anyone have a link to a detailed description of the cosmological horizon problem?

So, I'm trying to understand cosmic inflation a bit better, and I've concluded that I don't understand one of the chief itches that it scratches.  I know the standard explanation about regions of space being too far apart to have ever interacted, but I don't get why they couldn't have interacted when the universe was … Continue reading Does anyone have a link to a detailed description of the cosmological horizon problem?

Consciousness: the interpreter, the lexicographer, the reporter

I recently read Michael Gazzaniga's book, 'Who's in Charge: Free Will and the Science of the Brain'.  Gazzaniga, working with Roger Sperry, performed some of the famous split-brain patient experiments.  The results of these experiments had implications for our understandings of consciousness, the self, and free will. In patients with certain types of severe epileptic … Continue reading Consciousness: the interpreter, the lexicographer, the reporter


Last year, when the History Channel showed the Bible miniseries, it also premiered another show that aired immediately after it, Vikings.  Coming out at the same time as the other miniseries, I wasn't sure where this one would be going.  But it's a historical drama of the story of Ragnor Lodbrok and other Vikings in … Continue reading Vikings

Movie review: Ender’s Game

In his early career, I was enthralled by the works of Orson Scott Card.  He had the ability to create vivid phantasmagorical worlds with protagonists in agonizing situations that you couldn't have anything but sympathy for.  In college, I was in a science fiction book club, and accidentally received one of his books, 'Wryms'.  I … Continue reading Movie review: Ender’s Game

Religion is natural, science is hard

Conner Wood takes a look at Robert McCauley's book, 'Why Religion is Natural and Science is Not'. Robert McCauley, a philosopher and cognitive scientist at Emory University, thinks that religion is natural, but science isn’t. Such a claim could easily inspire all manner of outrage and uproar from both offended believers and irked scientists alike. But what … Continue reading Religion is natural, science is hard

PHD Comics: Cosmic Inflation Explained

So, even though I already linked to two sources about cosmic inflation this week, this is good enough that I'm also going to throw it in.  It's fascinating to me that the large scale structure of our universe is ultimately caused by quantum fluctuations in the earliest moments of the big bang. Click through for … Continue reading PHD Comics: Cosmic Inflation Explained

Scientia Salon: a manifesto for 21st century intellectualism

Scientia Salon

Arcimboldo's Librarian by Massimo Pigliucci

During the Enlightenment, the Marquis de Condorcet defined a public intellectual as someone devoted to “the tracking down of prejudices in the hiding places where priests, the schools, the government, and all long-established institutions had gathered and protected them.” A number of years later, on 13 January 1898 to be precise, the writer Emile Zola showed the world — and in particular the French government — what public intellectualism could do. He penned his famous “J’accuse” letter to the President of France, concerning the abysmal behavior of the French authorities in the infamous Dreyfus affair.

Intellectualism, of course, has its detractors, particularly in the United States. Richard Hofstadter’s classic “Anti-Intellectualism in American Life” [1] traces several strands of the phenomenon all throughout American history, and we can very much see it today in the form of religious-based opposition to the teaching of evolution in public schools, or…

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How do you separate the objective from the subjective?

So, I'm a skeptic, and I've had my share of debates on comment threads with people about purported phenomena without scientific evidence.  One of the claims often asserted is that so many people have experienced it, there must be something there.  It's not unusual for these debates to get mired in epistemological fights about how … Continue reading How do you separate the objective from the subjective?

The difference between life and machine

Addy Pross has an interesting post up at HuffPost looking at what actually makes Most of us recognize that there is a fundamental difference between mechanical objects designed and created by man, no matter how sophisticated, and the naturally derived complexity of living things. In fact, my granddaughter, when she was just 2, already … Continue reading The difference between life and machine