Mind Matters Natural and Artificial Intelligence News and Analysis

CategoryPhilosophy

glowing-huge-nebula-with-young-stars-space-background-stockpack-adobe-stock
Glowing huge nebula with young stars. Space background

Has a Superintellect Monkeyed With Our Universe’s Physics?

Groundbreaking astronomer Fred Hoyle was a staunch atheist but then he tried showing that carbon, essential to life, could form easily. Steve Meyer explains.

In this second portion of a talk at the Dallas Conference on Science and Faith (2021), philosopher Steve Meyer discusses the ways in which groundbreaking astronomer Fred Hoyle (1915–2001) dealt with the fact that the universe seems fine-tuned for life. Hoyle’s widely cited comment on the subject was “A commonsense interpretation of the facts suggests that a superintellect has monkeyed with physics, as well as chemistry and biology, and that there are no blind forces worth speaking about in nature.” That was an unsettling idea for Hoyle, who was a well-known atheist, and he certainly sought ways around it. How did he fare? Dr. Meyer, author of The Return of the God Hypothesis (Harper One, 2021), reflects on Hoyle’s struggle.…

crystal-prism-stockpack-adobe-stock
Crystal Prism

Schrödinger Believed That There Was Only One Mind in the Universe

The quantum physicist and author of the famous Cat Paradox believed that our individual minds are not unique but rather like the reflected light from prisms

Consciousness researcher Robert Prentner and cognitive psychologist will tell a prestigious music and philosophy festival in London next month that great physicist Donald Hoffman, quantum physicist Erwin Schrödinger (1887–1961) believed that “The total number of minds in the universe is one.” That is, a universal Mind accounts for everything. In a world where many scientists strive mightily to explain how the human mind can arise from non-living matter, Prentner and Hoffman will tell the HowtheLightGetsIn festival in London (September 17–18, 2022) that the author of the famous Cat paradox was hardly a materialist: In 1925, just a few months before Schrödinger discovered the most basic equation of quantum mechanics, he wrote down the first sketches of the ideas that he…

abstract-futuristic-stripe-line-printed-circuit-board-pattern-with-gear-wheel-and-math-fornula-on-blue-color-background-math-science-engineered-drawn-project-plot-concept-stockpack-adobe-stock
Abstract futuristic stripe line printed circuit board pattern with gear wheel and math fornula on blue color background. Math science engineered drawn project plot concept

Mathematics Can Prove the Existence of God

Atheist biologist Jerry Coyne finds that difficult to believe but it’s really a matter of logic

In a recent post, atheist biologist Jerry Coyne takes issue with a commenter who asserts that God exists in the same sort of way mathematics exists. Here’s the analogy the commenter offered, as quoted by Coyne: Think of numbers for example, or mathematical equations, these are metaphysical things, that have not been created, however were discovered. The number 7 was the number 7 before anything at all came into existence. This is also true concerning the nature of God. He is not some material being that has come into existence, he is like a number that has always existed, (and by the way nobody will deny this logic with the number, however when someone mentions God a problem occurs). Jerry…

amyloid-plaques-in-alzheimers-disease-stockpack-adobe-stock
Amyloid plaques in Alzheimer's disease

Trust in Science? Fraud Now Claimed re Key Alzheimer Paper

Autism and COVID-19 research have also been marred by misrepresentation, raising issues about what “trust in science” should mean

[This article is republished with permission from The Epoch Times (July 26, 2022) where it appeared under the title “Scientists Are Destroying Our Trust in Science.”] A just-published exposé in the journal Science claims that a seminal study on the causes of Alzheimer’s disease may contain falsified data. The 2006 report concluded that Alzheimer’s is caused by a buildup of a certain type of plaque in the brain—a finding that has guided research into cures for Alzheimer’s ever since. But now, critics claim that the original authors “appeared to have composed figures by piecing together parts of photos from different experiments” calling their conclusions into significant question. If true, this is a scientific scandal of the worst order. As the Science article…

trust-concept-stockpack-adobe-stock
Trust Concept

Claim: If Science Were Properly Presented, Trust Would Grow!

The ideas examined in these four short essays all assume that scientists are exempt from the bias and self-interest that governs everyone else

Here’s the fourth short essay on an interesting summary at a science news site of a paper that bemoans the decline of trust in science. The summary did a good job — perhaps unintentionally — of typifying in itself the reasons so many people distrust claims made on behalf of science. Earlier, we covered: obliviousness to the damage created by science dogmatism; failing to recognize internal weaknesses; and the fear that the more the public knows, the more problems we will find. The summary concludes with the view that science needs to be presented in the right, targeted learning style: 4. Information is not being presented in the right learning style This problem is the most straightforward of the four…

square-letters-with-text-doubt-and-trust-stockpack-adobe-stock
Square letters with text DOUBT and TRUST

Researchers: If We Tell Folks More About Science, They Trust Less

Part 3: The researchers argue that doubts about science arise from conflict with beliefs. The many COVID-19 debacles suggest other causes…

We’ve been looking (here and here) at a summary at a science news site of a paper that bemoans the decline of trust in science. The author did a good job and doubtless means well. But the outcome — unintentionally — typifies the reasons so many people distrust claims made on behalf of science. For example, the third factor for distrust that we are asked to consider is that information we learn from science sources can go against our personal beliefs: “Scientific information can be difficult to swallow, and many individuals would sooner reject the evidence than accept information that suggests they might have been wrong,” the team wrote in their paper. “This inclination is wholly understandable, and scientists should…

abstract-computer-generated-fractal-design-3d-illustration-of-a-beautiful-infinite-mathematical-mandelbrot-set-fractal-stockpack-adobe-stock
Abstract Computer generated Fractal design. 3D Illustration of a Beautiful infinite mathematical mandelbrot set fractal.

Recent Research: Imaginary Numbers Are Part of the Real World

If we try to leave them out of quantum mechanics, our description of nature becomes faulty

Imaginary numbers, beginning with the square roots of minus numbers, are part of the world in which we live, even though we can’t quite picture them. Try it. The square root of 1 is 1 (1 × 1 = 1). But what’s the square root of -1? It can’t be -1 because if we multiply -1 × -1, we still get 1. The two minus numbers cancel each other out. That’s why the square root of -1 is written as i. Now, here’s the odd part: Imaginary numbers are not just a conundrum; they are part of a science description of the world in which we live in: Though imaginary numbers have been integral to quantum theory since its very…

-stockpack-adobe-stock
総務省 検察庁 国家公安委員会

Why Many Now Reject Science… Do You Really Want To Know? Part 1

COVID demonstrated — as nothing else could — that the “science” was all over the map and didn’t help people avoid panic

A recent science news media release is an excellent and mercifully short illustration of what’s wrong with science today. That can’t have been what the study authors were trying to do but never mind. From ScienceAlert, we learn that distrust in science is a “massive problem” and that it has four sources. Here, let’s deal with their first source: First, they say, we have grown to distrust the information source: “Pro-science messages can acknowledge that there are valid concerns on the other side, but explain why the scientific position is preferable,” says Philipp-Muller. Tessa Koumondoros, “These 4 Factors Can Explain Why So Many People Are Rejecting Science” at ScienceAlert (July 16, 2022) The paper requires a fee or subscription. What?…

terrariums-stockpack-adobe-stock.jpg
Terrariums

Dartmouth Physicist Slams Matrix Idea That Life Is an Aliens’ Sim

A number of prominent people have taken philosopher Nick Bostrom’s idea that our universe is a computer sim seriously

Matrix fans, take heed: Dartmouth College physicist Marcelo Gleiser is not a fan of the idea that we are all living in a giant simulation created by intelligent aliens. He takes issue with it for ethical reasons as well as physics ones: “It is little more than a fancy excuse for escapist fantasizing.” Well, some prominent people in our world are escapists! That would include science broadcaster Neil deGrasse Tyson, driverless car entrepreneur Elon Musk, and former Astronomer Royal Martin Rees. Gleiser, author of The Island of Knowledge (2014), traces the idea that our universe is a computer simulation by advanced aliens to an influential 2003 paper by Oxford philosopher Nick Bostrom, director of the Future of Humanity Institute and…

cute-curious-cat-looking-into-fridge-stockpack-adobe-stock
Cute curious cat looking into fridge

Can We Eliminate the Idea of Function From the Study of Life?

The question is, can biology journals take away what they did not give, without harming their own enterprise?

We tend to assume that our values come in part from the careers we follow. Often, that’s true. If a given mindset works well at work, we may try it at home. But that process can work in reverse. We can start with a mindset and try to graft it onto our work. With mixed results. That seems to have happened in some quarters in biology. For example, the term “function” in life forms is linked historically with the idea that life forms show evidence of design. Therefore, philosopher Emmanuel Ratti and molecular biologist Pierre-Luc Germain argue, biologists shouldn’t use it: The notion of biological function is fraught with difficulties — intrinsically and irremediably so, we argue. The physiological practice…

little-bird-flying-out-of-bird-cage-think-outside-the-box-stockpack-adobe-stock
little bird flying out of bird cage, think outside the box

Why Free Will Is Philosophically and Scientifically Sound

As Michael Egnor points out in a recent podcast, it has been nearly a century since determinism was toppled in physics

In “Neurosurgeon Michael Egnor: Humans Have Free Will” a recent podcast at ID the Future, geoscientist Casey Luskin discussed science-based arguments against free will with neurosurgeon Michael Egnor (13:05 min). Are these arguments a serious challenge or are they just wishful thinking on the part of materialists? Here’s a partial transcript: Casey Luskin: Now I want to continue our conversation, Dr. Egnor, from the previous podcast, where we were talking about your debates on evolution news and views, responding to Dr. Jerry Coyne, the well known evolutionary biologist from the University of Chicago. Coyne is what you might call an honest atheist in that he’s willing to admit the implications that atheism and Darwinian materialism have for concepts like free…

The concept of the human brain. The right creative hemisphere versus the left logical hemisphere. Education, science and medical abstract background.

When a Neurosurgeon and a Biologist Keep On Arguing…

… we suspect some pretty basic science issues are involved

In a recent ID: The Future podcast (June 24, 2022) Casey Luskin interviews pediatric neurosurgeon Michael Egnor on his blogosphere debates with evolutionary biologist Jerry Coyne. Egnor, who has authored many research papers, espouses a non-materialist view of the mind — and of life in general — with which Dr. Coyne, a committed atheist, emphatically disagrees. Here’s a partial transcript from “A Brain Surgeon Debates Evolutionist Jerry Coyne and Other Atheists”: Casey Luskin: We’re going to talk about these debates you’ve had with Dr. Coyne and others. Some of the arguments you’ve made, I think, have been very compelling. But before we get into that, I’d like to ask, why do you focus your writing so much on Dr. Jerry…

literary-fiction-police-inspector-investigate-crime-and-mystery-story-conceptual-idea-with-sherlock-holmes-detective-hat-smoking-pipe-retro-magnifying-glass-and-book-isolated-on-wood-table-top-stockpack-adobe-stock
Literary fiction, police inspector, investigate crime and mystery story conceptual idea with sherlock holmes detective hat, smoking pipe, retro magnifying glass and book isolated on wood table top

Researchers: Learning by Inference Beats Learning by Association

They found that seeing the patterns underlying events (inference) allowed test volunteers to make predictions about future events

When we learn by association, we notice that some things occur together. For example, suppose three items are frequently seen together on a kitchen table — salt, ketchup, and vinegar. So we might learn to associate salt and vinegar with ketchup. But what, if any, is the relationship? When we infer information about the world around us, we don’t just associate items with each other. We see the pattern underlying them. By seeing the pattern in the group of condiments, we learn more: In this case, we infer that dinner will likely be fish and chips. If the group had been plum sauce, soya sauce, and Sriracha sauce, we would infer that fish and chips won’t be served this time;…

female-politician-talking-on-media-press-conference-public-relations-event-stockpack-adobe-stock
Female politician talking on media press conference, public relations, event

Why Science News Sucks — A Response to a Disgusted Physicist

There are reasons why science journalists can't usually be skeptical in the way that other journalists can. Here are some of them

In her usual forthright manner, theoretical physicist Sabine Hossenfelder asks, by blog post and Youtube video, “Why does science news suck so much? It’s hardly an original question but among her suggested answers are some thoughtful reflections, including 9. Don’t forget that science is fallible A lot of media coverage on science policy remembers that science is fallible only when it’s convenient for them. When they’ve proclaimed something as fact that later turns out to be wrong, then they’ll blame science. Because science is fallible. Facemasks? Yeah, well, we lacked the data. Alright. But that’d be more convincing if science news acknowledged that their information might be wrong in the first place. The population bomb? Peak oil? The new ice…

twisted-watch-face-representing-the-infinite-time-spiral-stockpack-adobe-stock
Twisted watch face representing the infinite time spiral

Can the Future Reach Back and Affect the Past?

Researchers say that only elementary particles can really time travel but there is another way…

If the future influenced the past, that would be retrocausality. As Victor Bhaura puts it, Retrocausality means that, when an experimenter chooses the measurement setting with which to measure a particle, that decision can influence the properties of that particle (or another one) in the past, even before the experimenter made their choice. In other words, a decision made in the present can influence something in the past. Victor Bhaura, “Retrocausality — Future Influences Past Information Before Occurrence Of An Event” at Medium (June 8, 2022) Bhaura reminds us of a limerick called “Relativity” from 1923: There was a young lady named BrightWhose speed was far faster than light;She set out one dayIn a relative wayAnd returned on the previous…

colorful-background-made-of-fallen-autumn-leaves-stockpack-adobe-stock
Colorful background made of fallen autumn leaves.

Did Carl Sagan Think the Universe Shows No Design?

Like Fred Hoyle, he seems to have thought it showed design — until that view became politically associated with religion

It’s a complicated story. At one time, a religious skeptic like astronomer Carl Sagan (1934–1996) could write: The universe was made on purpose, the circle said. In whatever galaxy you happen to find yourself, you take the circumference of a circle, divide it by its diameter, measure closely enough, and uncover a miracle — another circle, drawn kilometers downstream of the decimal point. There would be richer messages farther in. It doesn’t matter what you look like, or what you’re made of, or where you come from. As long as you live in this universe, and have a modest talent for mathematics, sooner or later you’ll find it. It’s already here. It’s inside everything. You don’t have to leave your…

time-concept-hi-res-digitally-generated-image-stockpack-adobe-stock
Time concept. Hi-res digitally generated image.

A Form of Time Travel That Might Be Possible…

In world of entropy, time runs in one direction and reversing it would create impossible contradictions. physicists say

Of the four dimensions, only time is mysterious. We can play games with the other three, the spatial dimensions — imagining, for example, 2- or even 1-dimensional universes, as in Flatland (1884). But in the end, they follow the rules. Time goes in one direction only and time travel — moving time in the other direction is easy to imagine in principle but full of nearly impossible conundrums in practice. Astrophysicists struggle to figure it out. Our brains are adapted to keeping track of the present (the experience of “now”) and the past (memory). But that only tells us how we come to be aware of time. It doesn’t tell us what time is. We get a bit closer, says…

hotel-stockpack-adobe-stock
hotel

Math Fun: Hilbert’s Hotel Manager Copes With Infinity With Poise!

What, exactly, happens when a would-be guest shows up at a fully booked hotel — with infinite rooms?

Hilbert’s Hotel is a thought experiment that the great mathematician David Hilbert (1862–1943) developed to help us see the “counterintuitiveness of infinity.” He asks us to imagine a hotel which is “full” — except that because it is infinite, it can always create one more room. Mathematician Marianne Freiberger explains: Suppose that your hotel has infinitely many rooms, numbered 1, 2, 3, etc. All rooms are occupied, when a new guest arrives and asks to be put up. What do you do? It’s easy. Ask the guest in room 1 to move to room 2, the guest in room 2 to move into room 3, the guest in room 3 to move into room 4, and so on. If there…

abstract-illustration-of-indian-celebrating-mathematics-day-jayanti-or-ramanujan-srinivasa-holiday-stockpack-adobe-stock
abstract illustration of Indian celebrating mathematics day Jayanti or Ramanujan Srinivasa holiday

A Brilliant Mathematician’s Last Letter Continues To Matter

Sadly, Ramanujan’s life was cut short by various health issues

One of the most remarkable mathematicians in history was Srinivasa Ramanujan (1887–1920) whose life was cut short by tuberculosis. In an interesting essay, psychiatrist Ashwin Sharma asks us to look at ways that his last letter helps us understand our universe better: A cryptic letter addressed to G.H. Hardy on January 12th, 1920, will be remembered as one of the most important letters in Scientific history. Written by Srinivasa Ramanujan, a self-taught mathematical genius who, laying on his deathbed, left hints of a new and incredible mathematical discovery. Unfortunately, the letter was to be his last, dying three months later at 32. Ramanujan’s discovery took over 80 years to solve, and with it came answers to some of the most…

woman-fist-with-woke-written-woke-concept-refers-to-awareness-of-social-and-racial-justice-concern-vigilance-activism-stockpack-adobe-stock
Woman fist with woke written. Woke concept refers to awareness of social and racial justice, concern, vigilance, activism.

A Catholic and a Hindu Tackle Woke culture

In a wide-ranging discussion, Michael Egnor and Arjuna Gallagher look at Woke culture, abortion, euthanasia, and microaggressions

In a recent series of Mind Matters News, podcasts, neurosurgeon Michael Egnor interviewed Arjuna Gallagher, a Hindu who lives in New Zealand. The first podcast looked at what the world’s 1.2 billion Hindus generally think about the mind and the second explored the Hindu view of free will and evil. The third podcast addressed the question, “What do Hindus think about the Big Bang?” Now, the fourth and final podcast asks, what do Hindus think of current science and culture issues, especially the flowering of Woke Cancel Culture, abortion, and euthanasia? Gallagher hosts a YouTube channel called Theology Unleashed, which has featured many guests discussing the spiritual dimension of our lives — for example, philosopher David Bentley Hart and neuroscientist…