Scientia

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Select Quotes from Daniel Dennett’s “Freedom Evolves”

Select Quotes from Daniel Dennett’s “Freedom Evolves”

Many are afraid that learning too much about what we are–trading in mystery for mechanisms-will impoverish our vision of human possibility. This fear is understandable, but if we really were in danger of learning too much, wouldn’t those on the cutting edge be showing signs of discomfort? Look around at those who are participating in this quest for further scientific knowledge and eagerly…

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— 4 days ago
Bart Ehrman on the moral teachings of Jesus, from “Did Jesus Exist? The Historical Argument for Jesus of Nazareth”

Bart Ehrman on the moral teachings of Jesus, from “Did Jesus Exist? The Historical Argument for Jesus of Nazareth”

Jesus is often thought of as a great moral teacher, and I think that is right. But it is also important to understand why he insisted on a moral lifestyle guided by the dictates of love. It is not for the reasons that people offer today for being moral. Today many people think that we should behave ethically for the good of society so that we can all get along in the long haul. For Jesus,…

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— 5 days ago
Select Quotes from Friedrich Nietzsche’s “Human, All Too Human”

Select Quotes from Friedrich Nietzsche’s “Human, All Too Human”

Perhaps for a long time he hardly dared ask himself, ‘Why so apart, so alone?  Renouncing everything I admired, even admiration?  Why this severity, this suspicion, this hatred of one’s own virtues?’ But now he dares to ask it loudly, and already hears something like an answer.  ‘You had to become your own master, and also the master of your own virtues.  Previously, your virtues were your…

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— 5 days ago
The Moral Landscape Challenge

The Moral Landscape Challenge

The winning essay of Sam Harris’ Moral Landscape Challenge was recently announced and published online. The winning author, Ryan Born, produced a valuable essay that certainly strikes at the core of Harris’ position. Most of his critiques are not new, and were at least partially addressed in The Moral Landscape (as Born notes). Nonetheless, his analysis of the differences between a science of…

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— 2 months ago
Neil deGrasse Tyson and the value of philosophy

Neil deGrasse Tyson and the value of philosophy

The Philosophy of 9:

Another great analysis of the relationship between philosophy and science by Massimo Pigliucci. I too have grown weary of the flippant critiques of philosophy put forth by many of today’s well-known scientists. Their comments expose a strange sort of naive arrogance that appears to be fashionable among many science popularizers. All scientific endeavors are founded upon…

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— 3 months ago with 1 note
Allen Orr’s informative review of “A Troublesome Inheritance: Genes, Race and Human History”

Review Link

As a student of evolutionary and behavioral sciences, I am always troubled by popular books that hastily misuse biology in order to explain complex social phenomena. The difference between statistical and explanatory significance appears to be poorly understand by Nicholas Wade. The generally small effect sizes found in most human behavioral genetic studies suggest that sociocultural…

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— 3 months ago
Gerald Edelman on understanding consciousness, from “Naturalizing consciousness: A theoretical framework”

Gerald Edelman on understanding consciousness, from “Naturalizing consciousness: A theoretical framework”

To expect that a theoretical explanation of consciousness can itself provide an observer with the experience of “the redness of red” is to ignore just those phenotypic properties and life history that enable an individual animal to know what it is like to be such an animal. A scientific theory cannot presume to replicate the experience that it describes or explains; a theory to account for a…

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— 3 months ago
Photos from the Rebecca Jeanne Andrew Memorial Award Ceremony

Photos from the Rebecca Jeanne Andrew Memorial Award Ceremony

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It was an honor to receive this award, and a pleasure to meet the Andrew family. Their generosity and care is profoundly humbling. I am extremely excited to begin my research in the fall. I hope that my work will help to better uncover the phylogeny of hominid personality traits, and shed light upon potentially similar evolutionary pathways in bonobo and human evolution.

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— 4 months ago with 2 notes
Undergraduate Research Forum

It was great to be able to finally present our research after all of our hard work this year.

Undergraduate Research Forum

It was great to be able to finally present our research after all of our hard work this year.

— 4 months ago with 2 notes
Philosophy, my first five years

Philosophy, my first five years

The Philosophy of 9:

Massimo Pigliucci provides an insightful analysis of the current state of philosophy and science, their limited interdisciplinary dialogue, and the relationship of these two “cultures” to broader public discourse and education. His personal journey reflects much of my own experience, and I admire his attempts to transcend the unfruitful divides existing between the humanities…

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— 4 months ago with 1 note