Mind Matters Natural and Artificial Intelligence News and Analysis


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What Do the “Laws of Nature” Actually Explain?

To what extent does the phrase simply stand in for an explanation?

The question of what the “laws of nature” actually explain is worth asking when we consider the way the term is sometimes used. Norwegian philosopher Daniel Joachim Kleiven points to an example in The Grand Design by Stephen Hawking (1942–2018) and Leonard Mlodinow: They argue that the history of science can be summarized as “the long process of replacing the notion of the reign of gods with the concept of a universe that is governed by laws of nature.” But, Kleiven (pictured) probes, what is the precise nature of the change we are asked to applaud? He quotes the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889–1951), who specialized in mathematics and logic: At the basis of the whole modern view of the world Read More ›

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Law of Universal Gravitation education funny concept. Isaac Newton under an apple tree

Blinded by a Defunct Theory

The "interaction problem" is everywhere we look in physics, but the dogma of materialism remains

Materialism. What a weird word. It sounds like a ghost, materializing in front of me. And it is sort of like a ghost, one that has mysteriously taken over the minds of many intelligent people. Because they believe in materialism, these smart people don’t believe in ghosts. Especially the ghost in the machine. The problem is there is no way for the ghost to interact with the machine. This is known as the “mind-body interaction problem”.  The great thing about materialism is at least that theory doesn’t have an interaction problem. Any material thing can interact with any other material thing. Yet there is a deep irony. Let’s explore the idea of materialism to see why. Materialism is the idea that reality only consists of matter. Read More ›

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It’s a Wonderful, Complex, and Finely-Tuned Universe

What does it mean for something to be finely-tuned? Does fine-tuning extend beyond our own man-made systems and into biology and the universe itself? If so, what or who has done the fine-tuning? Robert J. Marks, Ola Hössjer, and Daniel Diaz discuss the concept of fine-tuning. Show Notes 00:02:17 | Introducing Ola Hössjer and Daniel Diaz 00:04:39 | No Free Read More ›

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Why Did Stephen Hawking Give Up on a Theory of Everything?

Daniel Díaz and Ola Hössjer continue their discussion of the fine tuning of the universal constants of nature with Robert J. Marks

In a continuing conversation with Swedish mathematician Ola Hössjer and Colombian biostatistician Daniel Díaz on the fine-tuning of the universe — and Earth — for life, Walter Bradley Center director Robert J. Marks asks them about why a Theory of Everything eludes us and about the life-permitting interval — the narrow window for life that the constants of the universe permit. This is the second part of Episode 3, “The universe is so fine-tuned!” (September 16, 2021). Earlier portions, with transcripts and notes, are listed below. https://episodes.castos.com/mindmatters/Mind-Matters-Episode-152-Hossjer-Diaz.mp3 This portion begins at 12:36 min. A partial transcript, Show Notes, and Additional Resources follow. Robert J. Marks: In truth, there’s a lot of fundamental constants — the electric charge of an electron, Read More ›

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The Universe is So Fine-Tuned!

The universe holds a variety of constants which are finely tuned to allow for the miracle of life. Robert J. Marks discusses various universal constants and fine-tuning with Daniel Díaz and Ola Hössjer. Show Notes 01:09 | Introducing Dr. Daniel Díaz and Dr. Ola Hössjer 01:53 | Wiggle room 06:06 | More gravity, more weight? 07:37 | Other examples of Read More ›