Proof that the external world exists?

Eric Schwitzgebel is reading Stannis Lem's novel 'Solaris' and discovers in the novel a test of the existence of the external world: I instructed the satellite to give me the figure of the galactic meridians it was traversing at 22-second intervals while orbiting Solaris, and I specified an answer to five decimal points. Then I sat … Continue reading Proof that the external world exists?

The End of the World: Science or Religion? | Seth Shostak

Harold Camping died last month. In case you don't remember, Camping, the president of evangelical Family Radio, predicted that the world would end in 2011. Twice. He made these prognostications on the basis of numerology, which sounds like it might be a sophomore-level math subject, but isn't. The data for the calculations Camping used to … Continue reading The End of the World: Science or Religion? | Seth Shostak

‘Just Babies – The Origins of Good and Evil,’ by Paul Bloom – NYTimes.com

Is morality innate? In his new book, “Just Babies,” the psychologist Paul Bloom draws from his research at the Yale Infant Cognition Center to argue that “certain moral foundations are not acquired through learning. . . . They are instead the products of biological evolution.” Infants may be notoriously difficult to study (rats and pigeons … Continue reading ‘Just Babies – The Origins of Good and Evil,’ by Paul Bloom – NYTimes.com

BBC News – Neanderthals could speak like modern humans, study suggests

An analysis of a Neanderthal\'s fossilised hyoid bone - a horseshoe-shaped structure in the neck - suggests the species had the ability to speak. This has been suspected since the 1989 discovery of a Neanderthal hyoid that looks just like a modern human\'s. But now computer modelling of how it works has shown this bone … Continue reading BBC News – Neanderthals could speak like modern humans, study suggests

Attempts To Terraform Mars Could Fail – With No Chance To Try Again

Most science fiction and news stories describe Mars terraforming as a long term but simple process. You warm up the planet first, with greenhouse gases, giant mirrors, impacting comets or some such. You land humans on the surface right away and they introduce lifeforms designed to live on Mars. Over a period of a thousand … Continue reading Attempts To Terraform Mars Could Fail – With No Chance To Try Again

Neanderthals and the Dead – NYTimes.com

Early in the 20th century, two brothers discovered a nearly complete Neanderthal skeleton in a pit inside a cave at La Chapelle-aux-Saints, in southwestern France. The discovery raised the possibility that these evolutionary relatives of ours intentionally buried their dead — at least 50,000 years ago, before the arrival of anatomically modern humans in Europe. … Continue reading Neanderthals and the Dead – NYTimes.com

More on computer consciousness

After discussion on my post the other day on consciousness being in the eye beholder, I realized that I probably should expand a bit on my hypothesis about what we would intuitively consider to be a conscious being. We, as minds, are aware.  We have awareness from our senses: sight, hearing, smell, touch, and taste.  From the … Continue reading More on computer consciousness