Death: Child Grave From 80,000 Years Ago Shows Abstract Thinking

death:-child-grave-from-80,000-years-ago-shows-abstract-thinking

A child’s grave, found recently in Kenya, pushes clear evidence of abstract thinking back to 80,000 years ago, the Middle Stone Age. The child, nicknamed “Mtoto” (child in Swahili) by the archaeologists, was 2½ – 3 years old; whether a boy or a girl is as yet unclear: In a tour de force of discovery, … Read more

A Vulnerable System: Fake Papers and Imaginary Scientists

a-vulnerable-system:-fake-papers-and-imaginary-scientists

In the last two posts, we examined how scientific publication has ceased to be a good measure of scientific accomplishment, and how the peer review system is being gamed by unscrupulous publishers and researchers alike. Now, we will continue the discussion on the undermining of scientific publication using two examples: SCIgen and citation counts. SCIgen In 2005 … Read more

Gaming the System: The Flaws in Peer Review

gaming-the-system:-the-flaws-in-peer-review

Last time, we examined how scientific publication has ceased to be a good measure of scientific accomplishment because it has now become a target, following Goodhart’s Law. In today’s post, we will continue that examination by turning to the peer review system, and how that system is being gamed by unscrupulous publishers and researchers alike. … Read more

Intelligent Design Is Not What Most People Think It Is

intelligent-design-is-not-what-most-people-think-it-is

When I tell people that I do work in Intelligent Design (ID) research, either the person I’m talking to has no idea what Intelligent Design is, or they have quite a faulty idea of what Intelligent Design is. This isn’t their fault — media reports don’t seem to be able to make sense of what … Read more

An Unlikely Collaboration to Elucidate Life’s Blueprints

an-unlikely-collaboration-to-elucidate-life’s-blueprints

What happens when you get sixty biologists and engineers together in a conference for three days? That’s the question asked by Steve Laufman, head of the Engineering Research Group at Discovery. In the recent “Conference on Engineering in Living Systems,” biologists and engineers of every stripe got together to see how the two disciplines could … Read more

Publish or Perish — Another Example of Goodhart’s Law

publish-or-perish-—-another-example-of-goodhart’s-law

The linchpin of scientific advances is that scientists publish their findings so that others can learn from them and expand on their insights. This is why some books are rightly considered among the most influential mathematical and scientific books of all time:  Elements, Euclid, c. 300 B.C.Physics, Aristotle, c. 330 B.C.On the Revolutions of Heavenly Spheres, Nicolaus … Read more

U.S. Moratorium(ish) on Gain-of-Function Research

us.-moratorium(ish)-on-gain-of-function-research

In the last two articles, we discussed the vindication of the lab leak theory through the publication of several investigative articles, and the risky nature of gain-of-function research and the evidence that it may be a key component to the cause of the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, we turn to the U.S. Due to the risky … Read more

A Physicist’s Defense of Reality, Despite Quantum Physics

a-physicist’s-defense-of-reality,-despite-quantum-physics

In the wake of quantum physics, King’s College philosopher of physics Alexander Franklin is concerned to stress that “everyday reality is not illusory but emergent”: Popular science often tells us that we are radically deceived by the commonplace appearance of everyday objects and that colour and solidity are illusions. For instance, the physicist Sir Arthur … Read more

What If a Loved One Aged Much Faster Than You? – Sci-fi Saturday

what-if-a-loved-one-aged-much-faster-than-you?-–-sci-fi-saturday

“ARK” at DUST by Nelson Cruz (June 8, 2021, 8:19 min) “Captain Mira Bernhard is finally home after a lengthy mission to the new planet, GAIA – humanity’s last hope. But what’s only been a 5-year trip for her, has been 45-year wait for her husband.” Review: ARK debuted in 2020. Time, we are told, … Read more

What Is Gain-of-Function Research and Why Is It Risky?

what-is-gain-of-function-research-and-why-is-it-risky?

Last time, we talked about the vindication of the lab leak theory, as a growing number of investigative articles have pointed to a lab accident as the cause of the COVID-19 pandemic. Now,we turn to the role risky gain-of-function research may have played in the affair. To understand why some in the U.S. government and … Read more