In the last post, in response to my criticism of Chalmers for relying on the standard but vague "something it is like" definition of phenomenal consciousness, someone pointed out that Chalmers has talked before metaphorically about a movie playing in our head, notably at the beginning of his TED talk on consciousness. I think this … Continue reading The problem with the theater of the mind metaphor
This talk by David Chalmers on the relationship between consciousness and moral status is pretty interesting. You don't have to watch the video to follow this post, but it's in response to arguments he makes in the talk. The video is 75 minutes but the talk only lasts about 50 minutes with a Q&A afterward. … Continue reading Consciousness and moral status
A crucial point about science I couldn’t have put any better. Science is an ongoing conversation, not a series of absolute determinations. Anytime a radical result is announced, we should really think about its implications in terms of if the results are replicated or hold up under further analysis. Every paper is only part of that conversation.
So there’s this notion in the popular press that when a new scientific paper comes out, that paper should be taken as the final definitive word on an issue. Science has spoken. This is a scientific fact now. But that is not how science works.
When new research is published, you should expect there will be followup research, and then that followup research will be followed up by even more research. A new scientific paper really shouldn’t be seen as a proclamation of fact but rather as the beginning of a dialogue among scientists, or perhaps as the continuation of a dialogue that’s already in progress.
The recent detection of phosphine in the atmosphere of Venus has turned out to be a fantastic example of this ongoing dialogue in action. The initial research was published in two separate papers (click here or here). Basically, astronomers found the…
View original post 409 more words
Philip Ball has an article up at Aeon: Life with purpose, which resonates in theme with the one a few weeks ago by Michael Levin and Dan Dennett on purpose in nature. Like Levin and Dennett, Ball argues that we shouldn't be shy about discussing purpose in biology, or feel obliged to put quotes around … Continue reading Agency, consciousness, and purpose
The black hole information paradox has been receiving some attention lately. This is the fact that information, that is any pattern of matter, that falls into a black hole is completely crushed as it approaches the singularity, losing whatever differentiation it might have had before. This has long been recognized as a problem, because in … Continue reading A basic question on the black hole information paradox
Well, that's a relief. Even though there were warnings for weeks and months before the election about a "red mirage" that might happen election night, a result of Trump supporters voting on election day and Biden supporters voting heavily by mail, and the order in which the ballots would be counted, even though many of … Continue reading An election fit for 2020