Category Archives: Science

Link and Comments: Scientists Underestimating Climate Change

NYT, Eugene Linden: How Scientists Got Climate Change So Wrong, subtitled, “Few thought it would arrive so quickly. Now we’re facing consequences once viewed as fringe scenarios.” Because, despite the cynicism of the anti-science crowd, scientists as a group are … Continue reading

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Link and Comments: Why Trust Science?

Naomi Oreskes, a professor at Harvard, just published a book, Why Trust Science?, which has gotten a fair amount of coverage in various review and interview venues. Her main point, I gather, is that science isn’t so much about the … Continue reading

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Link and Comments: School Debates and Motivated Reasoning

From last month: NYT, Are School Debate Competitions Bad for Our Political Discourse? subtitled, They can be a good credential for aspiring leaders, but they favor a closed-minded and partisan style of argument. By Jonathan Ellis and Francesca Hovagimian, at … Continue reading

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Arthur C. Clarke, PROFILES OF THE FUTURE (1962..1999)

This is a book first published in 1962, a nonfiction book speculating on potential technological developments and human achievements. The subtitle is “An Inquiry in the Limits of the Possible.” Clarke revised it three times, the last in 1999 (he … Continue reading

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Richard Dawkins: OUTGROWING GOD: A Beginner’s Guide (2019)

This book, clearly aimed at younger readers, repeats many of themes from his earlier 2006 book THE GOD DELUSION, boiled down and made even more pointed. The first part of the book is structured as a series of “but what … Continue reading

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Martin Rees: ON THE FUTURE: Prospects for Humanity (2018)

Martin Rees is a British astronomer and astrophysicist who looks rather like Richard Gere (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martin_Rees); he holds or has held all sorts of high positions in British science and academia. He’s published several books, of which the half dozen … Continue reading

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Tyson, LETTERS FROM AN ASTROPHYSICIST

Here’s a new book by Neil deGrasse Tyson, just published a couple weeks ago. It’s blurbed as a ‘companion’ to his previous book, ASTROPHYSICS FOR PEOPLE IN A HURRY; post about that one here. This is a collection of 101 … Continue reading

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Dawkins v Wilson on Group Selection

A minor irritant in Dawkins’ book just discussed is that he several times describes claims by other scientists and then patiently explains why they are wrong. In one case it’s a recently published paper in a journal. In another he … Continue reading

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Dawkins, THE SELFISH GENE

Opening paragraph, of a chapter called “Why are people?” Intelligent life on a planet comes of age when it first works out the reason for its own existence. If superior creatures from space ever visit earth, the first question they … Continue reading

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Links and Comments: Fiction and Truth, Ignorance and Knowledge, Science Denial and the Scientific Attitude

Three interesting essays this week. In the New York Times Sunday Review section, an essay by Yuval Noah Harari: Why Fiction Trumps Truth, subtitled “We humans know more truths than any species on earth. Yet we also believe the most … Continue reading

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