Was Einstein Wrong?
April 25, 2011
Relativity and quantum mechanics are among the weirdest ideas that educated people have taken seriously. They required suspending belief in the most intuitive concepts we have of time, space, and matter. But just because they appear to work does not necessarily mean they are true. In fact, physicists continue to beat on one or the […]
Scientists Invade Religion
April 21, 2011
Science and religion, those uneasy combatants in turf wars, do not get equal treatment in the media. The referees in the science news media frequently overlook invasions by science into religious territory, but fail to heed calls of foul by the invaded. World religion: Last month in New Scientist, Kate Douglas theorized about what an […]
Upsets in Space
April 18, 2011
Three different astronomy teams have announced findings that upset long-held beliefs. What does this portend about the confidence we can have in other theories? Galaxy growth: direct challenge: “Galaxies are thought to develop by the gravitational attraction between and merger of smaller ‘sub-galaxies’, a process that standard cosmological ideas suggest should be ongoing,” announced the […]
Secular Science Analyzes Jesus
April 17, 2011
In a classic religion-vs-science confrontation, Live Science took on the question, “Jesus Christ the Man: Does the Physical Evidence Hold Up?” The answer may say more about science than about Jesus. To begin with, reporter Natalie Wolchover drew distinctions between scientific evidence and belief – as if evidence requires no belief or assumption […]
Evolutionary Language Lingo Contradictory
April 16, 2011
Human language is such a unique feature of our species, it would seem to defy evolutionary explanations. Can evolutionists take this living phenomenon and fit it into a historical narrative? A couple of papers in leading journals attempted to do so. Are their conclusions the only ones that can be drawn from the evidence? […]
Researchers Violate Separation of Science and State
April 8, 2011
What are the limits of science? Many of us envision men and women in white lab coats holding test tubes, studying readouts on instruments, or hacking rocks with picks. A look at headlines from science news sites, though, shows some scientists inserting their opinions in areas traditionally led by scholars in the humanities – and […]
Assuming Reality: Can Crater Dating Be Tested?
April 3, 2011
Two astronomers in Paris have come up with a new crater chronology for the moon and offered it as a way to date other objects in the inner solar system. Their paper in Icarus,1 however, assumes so many unobservable things, the reader may wonder if it talks about the true history of the moon or […]
Science Discovers the Unexpected and the Obvious
March 30, 2011
Young’s Law jokes, “All great discoveries are made by mistake.” Here are some recent examples. Arch-istan: Think the world’s natural features are all well known? “Researchers from the Wildlife Conservation Society have stumbled upon a geological colossus in a remote corner of Afghanistan: a natural stone arch spanning more than 200 feet across its base,” […]
Scientists: Who Can You Believe?
March 29, 2011
Scientists form a kind of knowledge priesthood in our modern world, but when long-taught principles get overturned, it raises questions on what scientists really know. Windy geology: Wind is a more powerful force for eroding mountains than previously thought. University of Arizona quoted Paul Kapp, an associate professor of geosciences at U of A saying, […]
Dont Tell the Creationists
March 12, 2011
John Horgan, a blogger for Scientific American, wanted to use this headline 20 years ago, but the editor didn’t let him. Now that editor is gone, so Horgan let the cat out of the bag: “Pssst! Don’t tell the creationists, but scientists don’t have a clue how life began.” Well, he just did. […]
Assessing Evolutionary Explanations
March 11, 2011
No matter the biological discovery, evolutionists are ready with their explanations. The explanations, however, are often riddled with puzzles, surprises, and seemingly arbitrary appeals to chance. Do such explanations really provide more understanding than those of creationists, who explain that living things were designed for a purpose? Shrimp deal: “Many deep-sea species have close relatives […]
Word Choice Affects Scientific Impact
March 8, 2011
The emotional reaction to scientific ideas can change depending on the words used. Can words manipulate public opinion? “Wording matters,” said Jonathon Schuldt [U of Michigan] in a press release posted on PhysOrg. His team found that opinion polls yielded a 16% difference among Republicans depending on whether they were asked if global […]
Is the Mind a Computer?
March 5, 2011
After a computer named Watson beat two contestants on Jeopardy last month, people are asking if the human mind is becoming obsolete. What are the similarities and differences between gray matter and deep blue? PhysOrg asked, “Machines beat us at our own game: What can we do?” For one thing, they should have […]
February 27, 2011
Philosophy of science is a broad discipline incorporating many sub-disciplines such as intellectual history, sociology, ethics, rhetoric, logic, demarcation of science from pseudoscience, classification, discovery, verification, explanation and more. A dozen recent news stories discussed some of these topics. Medical ethics: PhysOrg reproduced an AP story about medical research on humans in the US in […]
Is Star Formation Understood?
February 22, 2011
Astronomers often speak with apparent confidence about regions of active star formation in nebulae or galaxies. A look at the fine print, however, shows plenty of wiggle room when observations don’t quite match theory.