Category Archives: Zeitgeist

Maybe the brain communicates via electrical fields after all

An interesting finding by scientists at Case Western Reserve University, that neurons may communicate via electrical fields: Scientists think they’ve identified a previously unknown form of neural communication that self-propagates across brain tissue, and can leap wirelessly from neurons in … Continue reading

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When does personhood begin?

Gary Whittenberger has an article at Skeptic on discussing personhood and abortion: The pro-person position, as I have outlined it in this essay, recognizes the late fetus and the host woman both as persons with human rights. When these rights … Continue reading

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Why are we real?

Nathaniel Stein has an interesting article at Aeon, The why of reality: The easy question came first, a few months after my son turned four: ‘Are we real?’ It was abrupt, but not quite out of nowhere, and I was … Continue reading

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Strong vs weak emergence

The Neuroskeptic has an interesting post on a paper challenging theories of mind based on strong emergence. A new paper offers a broad challenge to a certain kind of ‘grand theory’ about the brain. According to the authors, Federico E. Turkheimer … Continue reading

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Being committed to truth means admitting the limitations of what we can know

Michela Massimi has a long article at Aeon defending scientific realism. The time for a defence of truth in science has come. It begins with a commitment to get things right, which is at the heart of the realist programme, despite mounting Kuhnian … Continue reading

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Manufacturing liquid fuel

One of the things that I think is often not appreciated about petroleum oil, is that it’s essentially stored solar energy.  Energy that was originally captured by life forms that died, sank to the bottom of oceans or lakes where … Continue reading

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Is it time to retire the term “artificial intelligence”?

Eric Siegel at Big Think, in a new “Dr. Data Show” on the site, explains Why A.I. is a big fat lie: 1) Unlike AI, machine learning’s totally legit. I gotta say, it wins the Awesomest Technology Ever award, forging advancements … Continue reading

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Blindsight explained and conscious perception

Warning: neuroscience weeds. Every so often we get into discussions about where in the brain consciousness lies.  Sometimes it’s asserted to be in the brainstem, other times in the thalamus, sometimes in the parietal lobe, and yet other times in … Continue reading

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The dangers of artificial companionship

Lux Alpstraum at Undark argues against “Our Irrational Fear of Sexbots”: When most people envision a world where human partners are abandoned in favor of robots, the robots they picture tend to be reasonably good approximations of flesh-and-blood humans. The … Continue reading

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What positions do you hold that are not popular?

Rebecca Brown has an article at Aeon on how philosophy can make the previously unthinkable thinkable.  She starts with a discussion of the Overton window: In the mid-1990s, Joseph Overton, a researcher at the US think tank the Mackinac Center … Continue reading

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