Philosophy

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Category archives for Philosophy

When Wilhelm Johannsen coined the word “gene” back in 1909 (hmmm, less than two years until the Centennial), the word was quite unambiguous – it meant “a unit of heredity”. Its material basis, while widely speculated on, was immaterial for its usefulness as a concept. It could have been tiny little Martians inside the cells,…

On Being Human

Three good talks at Duke this Fall: This year’s series explores how advances in neuroscience, genomics, robotics, and artificial intelligence are not only changing our conception of what it is to be human but also creating possibilities for changing ‘human nature’ in fundamental ways. Monday, October 29, 2007 – 5:00 pm Love Auditorium, Levine Science…

There is no Soul. Deal with it.

Galilei kicked us out of the Center of the Universe. Darwin kicked us off the Pinnacle of Creation Freud kicked the Soul out of our Brains. Few remain adherents of Geocentrism. The opponents of evolution are legion and very vocal (in this country, and a couple of Middle Eastern ones), but they have been defeated…

Ethics Code for Scientists?

BBC reports that scientists working in the UK government have adopted a Scientific Ethics Code, written by Professor Sir David King. Here is the Code: Act with skill and care, keep skills up to date Prevent corrupt practice and declare conflicts of interest Respect and acknowledge the work of other scientists Ensure that research is…

Unfortunately, due to the Murphy’s Law of conference dates, I will have to miss this fantastic meeting, because I will at the time be at another fantastic meeting, but if you can come, please do – registration will be open online in a few days. Autonomy, Singularity, Creativity The conference theme is about bringing scientists…

Bravo, Bravissimo!

John Wilkins just published a paper (…”a review of the centenary festschrift for Mayr…”) and got a book accepted for publication (the book grew out of series of excellent blog posts about species definitions – who says that blogging is bad for your health?) Congratulations!

Obligatory Reading of the Day

All you need to know about Philosophy of Science (but were too afraid to ask) you can read in John Wilkins’ triptych: Philosophy is to science, as ornithologists are to birds: 1. Introduction Philosophy is to science, as ornithologists are to birds: 2. Two topics of philosophy of science Philosophy is to science, as ornithologists…

Google was really no help in finding the exact quote, but everyone in the animal behavior field has heard some version of the Harvard Rule of Animal Behaviour: “You can have the most beautifully designed experiment with the most carefully controlled variables, and the animal will do what it damn well pleases.” Anyone here knows…

Darwinian Method

OK, this is really ancient. It started as my written prelims (various answers to various questions by different committeee members) back in November 1999, and even included some graphs I drew. Then I put some of that stuff together (mix and match, copy and paste) and posted (sans graphs) as a four-part post here, here,…

So, why do Creationists and other quacks try so hard to sound all ‘scienc-y’? (June 15, 2005)