Reading: “The hard problem of consciousness is a distraction from the real one”

There is a final twist to this story. Predictive models are good not only for figuring out the causes of sensory signals, they also allow the brain to control or regulate these causes, by changing sensory data to conform to existing predictions (this is sometimes called ‘active inference’). When it comes to the self, especially […]

I’m sad that the video about our solar system being a vortex is wrong.

You’ve probably seen this video which shows our solar system traveling along sideways through the galaxy, around with the planets trailing along in a corkscrew fashion. It’s beautiful and amazing… and wrong. This article by Phil Plait explains just why it’s wrong. Vortex motion: Viral video showing Sun’s motion through galaxy is wrong.

Attenborough reveals creationist hate mail for not crediting God | World news | The Guardian

Sir David Attenborough has revealed that he receives hate mail from viewers for failing to credit God in his documentaries. In an interview with this week’s Radio Times about his latest documentary, on Charles Darwin and natural selection, the broadcaster said: “They tell me to burn in hell and good riddance.” Telling the magazine that […]

‘Jesus was born in June’, astronomers claim – Telegraph

Using the St Matthew’s Gospel as a reference point, Mr Reneke pinpointed the planetary conjunction, which appeared in the constellation of Leo, to the exact date of June 17 in the year 2BC. The astronomy lecturer, who is also news editor of Sky and Space magazine, said: “We have software that can recreate exactly the […]

we can read minds now. no, really.

Researchers from Japan’s ATR Computational Neuroscience Laboratories have developed new brain analysis technology that can reconstruct the images inside a person’s mind and display them on a computer monitor, it was announced on December 11. According to the researchers, further development of the technology may soon make it possible to view other people’s dreams while […]

Humans 80,000 Years Older Than Previously Thought?

Using argon-argon dating—a technique that compares different isotopes of the element argon—researchers determined that the volcanic ash layers entombing the tools at Gademotta date back at least 276,000 years. Many of the tools found are small blades, made using a technique that is thought to require complex cognitive abilities and nimble fingers, according to study […]

Creationists fail again: taken for granite

But I’m thinking that no matter what, we’re talking ages significantly longer than say, 6000 years. In fact, unless Antarctica was moving at a pace faster than you can jog, we’re talking millions if not hundreds of millions of years here. Of course, creationists have an answer for this, including “catastrophic plate tectonics”, which apparently […]

Taner Edis – Science and Nonbelief

this is a personal challenge to my good friend john crane. any chance you can devote an hour to listening to this (while you’re folding laundry or something) in the next month? i know you’re just getting back from the UK, so no rush, but i would love your reaction to this: Taner Edis, born […]

Evolution: what’s the real controversy?

Here, it was clear that there simply is no controversy. In contrast to the arguments over bacterial trees and the origin of eukaryotes, none of the researchers felt compelled to explain or justify their focus on the role of mutation and selective pressure. Concerns, when they arose, were simply focused on identifying the consequences of […]

chile volcano the next ompeii?

Chilean authorities are considering the possibility that Region X’s Chaitén Volcano, now in its eighth day of continuous eruption, might collapse and thus release a torrent of red-hot pyroclastic material (burning gas and rock) that could devastate the surrounding area.  Very much a ‘worst case scenario,’ the possibility is nevertheless a very real one, vulcanologist […]