(Warning: neuroscience weeds) I've discussed global workspace theories (GWT) before, the idea that consciousness is content making it into a global workspace available to a vast array of specialty processes. More specifically, through a neural competitive process, the content excites key hub areas, which then broadcast it to the rest of the specialty systems throughout … Continue reading The location of the global workspace
Philip Goff has an article in Scientific American, looking at one popular rational for the multiverse, the anthropic principle, or argument from fine tuning: We exist, and we are living creatures. It follows that the universe we live in must be compatible with the existence of life. However, as scientists have studied the fundamental principles … Continue reading Doubting fine tuning
Miguel Morales at Ars Technica is beginning a new introductory guide on quantum mechanics, one he promises won't require any math. If you've watched some of us wrangle over the implications of QM and wondered just what the heck we were so worked up about, this looks like it will be a good series for … Continue reading Ars Technica has a new series on quantum mechanics (no math)
Julia Galef has been a bit quiet lately. Her YouTube channel has been dark for along time, and even her podcast, Rationally Speaking, has slowed down for a while, so it's good to see this from her. In it, she discusses a letter from Charles Darwin to one of his critics, one that actually thanked … Continue reading Darwin’s letter to a critic
What a year. With pandemics, racial unrest, a slew of natural disasters, and a bizarre seemingly unending election, it seems like 2020 was determined to be uniquely remembered in the history books. Well, it succeeded. People who are old enough can reportedly just say "1968" to each other, and the meaning is clear. For the … Continue reading Merry Christmas
Matt Williams has an interesting article at Universe Today on the Aurora hypothesis, a part of a long running series on the Fermi Paradox: if alien civilizations are numerous, where are they? The Aurora hypothesis is that the reason we don't see signs of alien colonization throughout the galaxy is that most biospheres are not … Continue reading The Aurora hypothesis
When discussing eternalism and the block universe, the concept of "now" always ends up getting relegated to an aspect of our consciousness, not something "out there". "Now" seems to be the boundary between what we can remember and what we can only anticipate. But if, aside from entropy, the laws of physics are reversible and … Continue reading Why Do You Remember The Past But Not The Future?
Mark Solms is coming out with a book on consciousness, which he discusses in a blog post. Solms sees the key to understanding consciousness as affects, specifically feelings, such as hunger, fear, pain, anger, etc. In his view, the failure of science to explain the hard problem of consciousness lies in its failure to focus … Continue reading The dual nature of affects
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