Category Archives: Science And Society

The Brain

Is it computable?

Nicolelis is in a camp that thinks that human consciousness (and if you believe in it, the soul) simply can’t be replicated in silicon. That’s because its most important features are the result of unpredictable, nonlinear interactions among billions of cells, Nicolelis says.

“You can’t predict whether the stock market will go up or down because you can’t compute it,” he says. “You could have all the computer chips ever in the world and you won’t create a consciousness.”

I’m personally an agnostic on the issue.

Bill Nye

…the climate huckster guy:

Admittedly, climate science is complex. There might be perfectly reasonable scientific justifications for what’s happening on the tornado front. Although, surely, there are just as likely interesting scientific arguments that challenge The Science Guy’s chilling and reckless assertions meant only to scare you into adopting leftist economic policy, not to teach you anything. Nye’s “science” is, at the very least, arguable.

But that’s not the reason Nye is dishonest. Or, at least, not the only reason. His biggest lie—and he makes these sorts of claims all the time—is that people are increasingly suffering because of global warming, and thus by extension they are suffering because of the use of fossil fuels.

This is simply untrue. Life, by nearly any quantifiable measurement, is better today for more people than it has ever been. One of the externalities in the spike of comfort and health is that more people are emitting carbon into the air. Fewer people are suffering. On top of the huge, if inadvertent, moral benefits of oil, gas, and coal, we should add that far fewer people are dying from drastic weather events—or any weather, actually.

These charlatans shouldn’t be surprised that people don’t take them seriously.

Aging

I’ve always believed that there is no law of physics that makes it inevitable, that it’s a matter of learning how to continue doing the cellular-level repair that occurs when we’re young. But here is an article that says it is caused by thermal chaos.

Not sure I buy it (it still doesn’t take into account artificial techniques for doing error checking in transcription), but it’s an interesting read.