Mirror neurons: Solving a problem that doesn’t exist?

At Notes from Two Scientific Psychologists, Andrew Wilson (the other is Sabrina Golonka) reflect on, "Mirror Neurons, or, What's the Matter with Neuroscience?" (August 9, 2011), noting,

… there's no such thing as theory-free observations – all data comes from this experiment rather than that experiment, and even simply reporting a result is laden with theoretical assumptions, even when these aren't explicitly identified.

One thinks immediately of all the cunningly designed experiments to "demonstrate" that humans are really selfish and that chimpanzees are really altruistic. The researchers' evidently have an emotional need to use science to demonstrate that their materialist worldview is … science, and must be accepted by all, irrespective of the usual, normal evidence.

Continue reading

Lotteries shocka!!: It isn’t chance that someone gets multiverse-level lucky.

You knew that, of course. Design inference. You just didn’t know how they were doing it. Mostly, they were “spotting patterns and exploiting loopholes.”

In “Lottery wins come easy, if you can spot the loopholes” (New Scientist, 19 August 2011), Ferris Jabr brings us up to date on how sharp people make their own luck.

Continue reading

Mike Behe on a new journal paper advocating “neutral evolution” – with bureaucracy as the creative power

Behe, a biochemist and author of Edge of Evolution comments on an expanded version of a short essay called “Irremediable Complexity?” featuring prominent evolutionary biologist W. Ford Doolittle as an author. The short version was published last year in Science – the expanded version is in IUBMB Life:

“Irremediable Complexity” (9 August 2011)

… the gist of the paper is this. The authors think that over evolutionary time, neutral processes would tend to “complexify” the cell. They call that theoretical process “constructive neutral evolution” (CNE). In an amusing analogy they liken cells in this respect to human institutions:

Continue reading

US Prez hopeful Perry is not useful to ID?

 Says political theorist John West here:

Earlier this summer, Perry's education commissioner recommended for use supplementary science curricula that fail to offer any critical analysis of Darwinian claims, contrary to the state's own science standards. At the same time, Perry's education commissioner allowed his staff to spike the one proposed curriculum that did try to follow the Texas science standards.

Presumably, he thinks everyone who supports him is dumb as a post.

Continue reading

Why many of our neighbours think what they do, and why they shouldn’t

In “The Interstitials” (New Republic, August 17, 2011), Michael Kimmage reviews Robert Vanderlan’s Intellectuals Incorporated: Politics, Art and Ideas inside Henry Luce’s Media Empire, an account of Henry Luce’s Time, Life, and Fortune empire:

Intellectuals Incorporated is a bracing contribution to American intellectual history. It is full of well-drawn biographical portraits, and through them Vanderlan analyzes a dynamic whereby intellectuals transform and are transformed by the world around them.

Continue reading

Human evolution: Before ape man there was the wild child

In "Peter the Wild Boy" (History Today Volume 60 Issue 4 2010), Roger Moorhouse recalls for us the "wild child" myth of the early days of modern science: "If we could just get hold of a genuinely wild child, raised in the woods by animals, we will learn about human nature." In 1725, a 12-year-old boy was found in the woods, naked, mute, and quadruped (at the time) – later baptised as "Peter," What to make of him? Absent Darwin, they couldn't decide that he was a human-ape hybrid, but other theories abounded.

Continue reading