One of the things I've pondered a few times on this blog is our ability to recognize another intelligence, such as an extraterrestrial intelligence. On the face of it, this seems straightforward. Do they form societies, use technology, manipulate their environment, and overall show signs of intelligence? Except an alien intelligence may be so different from … Continue reading The power of symbolic thought
There's been a mild amount of angst on the internet in recent days over a couple of well known science communicators espousing nonsense on matters outside of their field. The first was Bill Nye, who made comments about philosophy that most charitably could be described as uninformed. The second was Neil deGrasse Tyson's tweets about biology expressing … Continue reading The reliability hierarchy of expert opinion
Yesterday was the Presidential primary in my state. My vote went to Hillary Clinton, principally because I'm a Democrat and Clinton's views are slightly closer to mine than Bernie Sanders. At heart, I'm a pragmatist who isn't a big fan of hopeless battles. I agree with many of Sanders's aspirations, such as universal healthcare and free college, … Continue reading Voting in the primary
Consider a rock outside somewhere. It sits there, starting off in the morning in a certain state. The sun comes out and proceeds to warm it up. Its temperature climbs through the day until the sun sets, whereupon it cools through the night. The cycle starts again the next morning. The rock is going through … Continue reading Are rocks conscious?