Science Evolves

first_imgScience has a historical and cultural character that cannot be extricated from its current consensus.The history of science (meaning, the influence of history and culture on scientific conclusions) is a relatively recent branch of philosophy of science. In courses such as Science Wars: What Scientists Know and How They Know It from the Teaching Company, professor Steven Goldman emphasizes the historical character of science with many examples, showing that scientific “truths” evolve over time. As such, they can never be trusted as “true with a capital T”—as genuine cases of knowledge about reality (with a capital R). Let’s see how this works out in two recent articles from the science news.Evolving SETICalla Cofield, writing for Space.com, reported on a recent conference in Salt Lake City about SETI. Looking past the flashy infographics and usual arguments why aliens should exist, we find ways that SETI thinking itself has evolved. Speaking of the famous Drake Equation that launched whole books to calculate the probability of finding alien intelligence, she says:When Drake wrote his equation in the 1960s, the value for L was thought of as the time between when a civilization discovered atomic energy and when that society managed to destroy itself through nuclear annihilation, Stanley said.“That’s a totally reasonable way to think about the length of time of a civilization at the height of the Cold War,” he said. “But there’s been recent work … arguing that we shouldn’t think about ‘L’ in terms of nuclear war. We should think about it in terms of environmental destruction. … That is, it’s the time between the discovery of a steam engine and catastrophic climate change.“Another term in the equation has also evolved:The equation also includes the variable fc, which represents the fraction of alien civilizations that “develop a technology that releases detectable signs of their existence” (such as radio communications or television broadcast signals sprayed out into space), the SETI Institute said.Today, however, many of Earth’s communications no longer leak out into space, but are instead passed neatly between ground sources and satellites. There are still projects searching for leaky alien communications, and some scientists have proposed that humans should look for focused, laser-based systems used by alien civilizations to communicate between multiple planets or even multiple star systems. But Stanley’s larger point is that to some extent, humanity can only look for alien civilizations that bear some resemblance to our own.But since our civilization has changed in these fundamental ways, the concept of an alien civilization has also evolved. SETI enthusiasts in the 1960s knew about TV and radio broadcasts; they could not have foreseen internet radio and video streaming. What forthcoming changes to culture and technology will require potentially major changes to the Drake Equation – not only the estimates for each term, but wholesale removal of terms or addition of terms? There’s no way to know. Matthew Stanley, a historian of science from New York University, embraced these changes as good things:It may be impossible for humans to be purely objective in their speculation about life the universe, Stanley said. He added that he thinks personal bias and human experiences will always infuse science, but that those things can also help lead to successes in science. Having different perspectives helps people look at things in new ways, which can lead to breakthroughs, he said. That’s why, he said, it’s actually a good idea for scientists to “talk to people outside your field … listen to marginal people. Get a diversity of people, people from different backgrounds, different genders [and] different kinds of cultures.“I think it’s actually helpful to embrace the fact that this is always how science is done,” he said. “And to accept that everybody’s different, everybody has weird ideas, and that’s actually a source of strength rather than weakness.”Would Stanley welcome input from PhD scientists in the intelligent design camp? According to what he just said, he should. Taken to the extreme, he would have to embrace weird ideas of witch doctors or psychopaths, and incorporate their beliefs into science to make it stronger! Science already embraces weird ideas, like quantum mechanics. Some think SETI is weird. Could there be a weirder concept than the multiverse, which some cosmologists already embrace? The take-home point is in the first sentence: it is impossible to be objective, because personal bias and human experiences will always infuse science. Science evolves.Evolving ChemistryOn The Conversation, Vanessa Seifert introduces listeners to the “Philosophy of Chemistry.” The phrase seems odd to students raised on triumphal scientism (the march of progress); chemistry is hard science. How can you philosophize about reality?Philosophy asks some fundamental and probing questions of itself. What is it? Why do we do it? What can it achieve? As a starting point, the word “philosophy” comes from the Greek words meaning a love of wisdom. And anyone who does it is trying to make sense of the world around them. In that way, philosophers are a bit like scientists.But science is a big enough subject in itself, so warrants its very own branch of philosophy [i.e., the philosophy of science]. And if we can break scientific inquiry down into various subjects, why not do the same with its philosophy? This is what has happened with the development of the Philosophy of Chemistry, a relatively young and niche field of philosophical investigation. It poses unique and interesting questions concerning both the kind of knowledge acquired in science, and the understanding of nature itself.This raises an interesting question; did the Philosophy of Chemistry exist before its “development”? The answer is yes; but it was just assumed, not explored with “fundamental and probing questions.” It’s like the assertion that everyone does philosophy, but not all do it well. Everyone has assumptions about the nature of reality. That applies to even a hard science like chemistry.The philosophy of science is a broad, controversial field of erudite scholarship, investigating questions about “explanation, laws of nature, and realism” among other things (for a superb introduction, take Dr. Jeffrey Kasser’s Philosophy of Science course at the Teaching Company). Seifert indicates that students cannot take for granted they know what is meant by a chemical bond or a molecule. Consider also that quantum mechanics changed our understanding of chemistry in fundamental ways less than a century ago. How is chemistry distinct from physics? How did its nomenclature develop over time? What is the meaning of the Periodic Table? Do the methods of chemists produce a different “kind” of knowledge than those of other sciences? Can chemistry be “reduced” to physics? These are big questions. The field is in a state of ferment:Just as individuals that are composed of millions of cells exhibit unique features and properties as a whole, molecules and chemical bonds are real entities that deserve a separate investigation from the electrons and nuclei of which they are composed. These are issues that create heated debates among philosophers of chemistry and which have important implications for our view of the significance of the sciences, and on our view of nature.Seifert then brings in the historical development of chemistry to support our theme that science evolves:The historical investigation of how such classifications changed over time and what kind of discoveries contributed to these changes, plays an important part in these discussions.In fact, it would be wrong to ignore the importance of the history of chemistry to the current philosophical investigations within the field. The perception of chemical concepts, such as the atom, has significantly changed since antiquity with the progress both in chemical experimentation and in physics.“Progress” is a philosophical word deserving its own “fundamental and probing questions.” At the level of discovery, scientists have clearly made monumental progress because of technological advances: we have seen the landforms on Pluto and Mercury, we know that atoms are not hard balls but composed of numerous subatomic particles, and we know the spectra of quasars. Scientific explanation and understanding, though, evolve over time – as can be seen by historical examples even in the hard sciences. Scarcely any scientific concept trusted as fact in Victorian Europe has survived unscathed to the present day, whether in geology, chemistry, astronomy, physics, biology, or genetics. It’s a different world, a different universe now.Given the record of history, we cannot boast that “now we know” or have confidence that scientific revolutions to come will leave our dearly-held concepts unmodified, perhaps drastically. Seifert, Stanley and the profs at the Teaching Company remind us that historical and cultural movements can make our most cherished beliefs “subject to change without notice.”We pointed out yesterday (5/13/16) that the theory of evolution is evolving. New ideas are nearly 180 degrees out of phase with neo-Darwinism (which evolved from old Darwinism). Logically, this means that the theory of evolution itself could go on the chopping block at any time (indeed, many believe that it already has). Despite the screaming from its devotees, evolution is not a fact (unless one defines it as “change over time,” the Stuff Happens Law, which is meaningless). Science can only offer tentative ideas. One may call them the best theories we have, but according to the Best-in-Field Fallacy, they could be the best of the worst. Like the only lame horse able to waddle forward at the gate, it’s not the best in any objective sense. We can never know any of our contenders will reach the finish line.The only things that must not evolve are our concepts of truth and morality. If those evolve, science becomes impossible. If truth today evolves into tomorrow’s lie, it was never true to begin with. If honesty today is tomorrow’s evil, it was never honest. Yet Darwinism would predict those things evolve, too. Unchanging pole stars are needed for truth and morality. This puts them outside the realm of the physical. Those who love science, therefore, are supernaturalists (trusting in realities “beyond natural”) in spite of any claims otherwise. Think about it.By thinking about it, you just assumed the existence of a conceptual realm outside of nature that cannot evolve, whether or not your finite mind can apprehend it. Since the constancy of truth and morality must be assumed to have science, embrace them. Then seek a worldview that can justify those two assumptions. You’ll be happier if they are not a leap in the dark, but come from a Cause necessary and sufficient to account for them. (Visited 54 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more


South Africa, South Sudan establish ties

first_imgMonyela said South Africa will continue with its post-conflict reconstruction and development (PCRD) projects as it is evident that South Sudan requires more skilled civil servants who are able to provide basic services to the people of the emerging State. Monyela said South Africa would do everything in its power to ensure that South Sudan sees peace, security and stability. Since the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement in 2005, South Africa has been a helping hand in the Sudan region. South Africa and Africa’s newest state, South Sudan, have signed an agreement establishing formal diplomatic relations between the two countries. On the economic front, South Africa has been vigorously pursuing economic and investment opportunities in the new Republic of South Sudan. Post-conflict reconstruction and development “In line with the objectives of the African Agenda, South Africa will continue to support efforts aimed at ensuring a peaceful and stable environment in South Sudan and its neighbourhood.” 27 September 2011 Recently, South Africa trained more than 1 600 officials from the Government of South Sudan as part of a capacity-building programme taking place within the context of the African Union PCRD.center_img The agreement was signed by International Relations Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane and her South Sudanese counterpart, Nhial Deng Nhial, on the sidelines of the 66th Session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York last week. Economic and investment opportunities The Department of Trade and Industry is also planning a visit to South Sudan in early October 2011, which will include in its delegation a multi-sector South African business component. According to the Department of International Relations and Cooperation, the agreement is expected to lay the basis for the conclusion of other agreements, particularly economic and trade-related frameworks aimed at promoting bilateral trade and investment between South Africa and South Sudan. At the moment, a group of diplomats from South Sudan, together with colleagues from other countries in East Africa, are undergoing diplomatic training in South Africa. “The signing of the agreement establishing diplomatic relations … is a major milestone in the relations between the two countries,” said department spokesperson Clayson Monyela in Pretoria last week. Source: BuaNewslast_img read more


MMA star McGregor wants to fight a boxer on his turf

first_imgDon’t miss out on the latest news and information. McGregor, speaking ahead of the Dublin premiere of “Conor McGregor: Notorious” — a documentary about the fighter — said his next fight would be to defend his Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) lightweight title.“Right now I am focused on my world, the world of true fighting,” he told the BBC.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSSEA Games: Philippines picks up 1st win in men’s water poloSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutout“Ideally I would like to take one of the boxers into an MMA bout — someone come into my world now.“I went into their platform and faced the so-called best-of-the-best and I handled him pretty easily in the early rounds, before I got fatigued and got stopped.” CPP denies ‘Ka Diego’ arrest caused ‘mass panic’ among S. Tagalog NPA “My sparring in the lead-up to the camp was always against fast-twitch, light-on-their-toes opponents. I was never against forward pressure because he (Mayweather) had never fought like that. That took us by surprise and I got beat.“But if we had a rematch I would correct that and beat him.”Referring to a possible Mayweather rematch, he added: “He’s retired. I will not call him out. I respect what he has done.”Asked if he would get back in a boxing ring, McGregor replied: “Of course. Boxing is certainly an interest of mine. But the next fight will be to defend my UFC lightweight belt.” Stronger peso trims PH debt value to P7.9 trillion QC cops nab robbery gang leader, cohort Kammuri turning to super typhoon less likely but possible — Pagasa MOST READ Japan ex-PM Nakasone who boosted ties with US dies at 101 Read Next Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH Kyrie Irving to ’flat Earth’ theory doubters: ‘Do your own research’ Pacquiao to Mayweather: Want fans to stop asking for rematch? Then fight me again PLAY LIST 01:49Pacquiao to Mayweather: Want fans to stop asking for rematch? Then fight me again00:44Manny Pacquiao on Floyd Mayweather: Let him enjoy retirement01:52UFC: McGregor set for Nurmagomedov showdown01:37Protesters burn down Iran consulate in Najaf01:47Panelo casts doubts on Robredo’s drug war ‘discoveries’01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC LATEST STORIES Conor McGregor stands on stage during a weigh-in Friday, Aug. 25, 2017, in Las Vegas. McGregor is scheduled to fight Floyd Mayweather Jr. in a boxing bout Saturday. (AP Photo/John Locher)Mixed martial arts star Conor McGregor says he wants a boxer to “come into his world”, insisting he would beat Floyd Mayweather in a rematch, the BBC reported Wednesday.The 29-year-old Irishman lost to ex-welterweight champion Mayweather in Las Vegas in August in one of the richest boxing bouts of all time.ADVERTISEMENT John Lloyd Cruz a dashing guest at Vhong Navarro’s wedding Mayweather, who returned after two years of retirement to take on the Irish mixed martial arts star, bided his time before exerting his superiority from the middle rounds onwards at the T-Mobile Arena.The match ended with a 10th-round stoppage as Mayweather ended his career with a perfect 50-0 record.But McGregor, nicknamed “The Notorious”, said he would beat the 40-year-old American in a rematch by changing his training regime.“He (Mayweather) was a tactical genius in there. He changed his gameplan three times and that is the sign of a true champion,” said McGregor.“If it happened in a rematch, it’s a simple adjustment of me having a heavier sparring partner coming in the later rounds, leaning on me and walking me down.ADVERTISEMENT View commentslast_img read more


10 months agoGuardiola admits Man City must take ‘big opportunity’ against Liverpool

first_imgAbout the authorFreddie TaylorShare the loveHave your say Guardiola admits Man City must take ‘big opportunity’ against Liverpoolby Freddie Taylor10 months agoSend to a friendShare the lovePep Guardiola has admitted Manchester City have a big opportunity to chase down Liverpool with a victory on Thursday night.A victory will see City reduce the gap to the league leaders to four points.And Guardiola knows all three points will go a long way to keeping their title hopes alive.”I have the feeling it is a big opportunity for us to reduce the gap but our focus is the same,” Guardiola added. “Everybody asks what we are going to do if we lose, but we are going to try to make our game and to win it.”At the moment Liverpool are the best team in Europe for the way they play and control the details in their game. It’s a good challenge for us.” last_img read more


16 days agoInter Milan superkid Sebastiano Esposito excited being part of Italy U18 squad

first_imgInter Milan superkid Sebastiano Esposito excited being part of Italy U18 squadby Carlos Volcano16 days agoSend to a friendShare the loveInter Milan superkid Sebastiano Esposito is delighted to be part of Italy’s U18 squad.Carmine Nunziata’s young Azzurri are preparing for the U-17 World Cup, which will start on 20 October in Brazil.Esposito told Sky Sport: “I’m really happy to be here, I’m enjoying being part of the National Team and I get on well with all the other guys here. It’s a great honour, a great source of pride to wear the Azzurri shirt. We want to make ourselves known at the World Cup for how we play and for the values of this team.“I have to remain calm and humble and I need to continue to work. Obviously, I have objectives and dreams, such as making my debut in Serie A and winning with both Inter and in the shirt of Italy.” About the authorCarlos VolcanoShare the loveHave your saylast_img read more


12 hours agoCarlos Vela keen on Barcelona loan move

first_imgCarlos Vela keen on Barcelona loan moveby Carlos Volcano12 hours agoSend to a friendShare the loveLos Angeles FC striker Carlos Vela is hopeful of joining Lionel Messi in a loan spell at Barcelona once the MLS season is over.LaLiga giants Barça reportedly considered a left-field move for the former Arsenal and Real Sociedad forward in January as they sought cover for Luis Suárez. Vela told the New York Times: “Who could say no to playing with Messi for four months and then coming back to LA? Enjoy, learn and then come back home.” For now, Vela is focused on LAFC’s playoff campaign and an El Tráfico meeting with LA Galaxy in the Western Conference semi-finals on Thursday.”I have not had the pleasure [of meeting Galaxy striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic],” Vela said, adding: “Maybe the people don’t really love my decision [to play in MLS]. But for me, it was the best option, and I’m really happy that I made it because I am enjoying it.” TagsTransfersAbout the authorCarlos VolcanoShare the loveHave your saylast_img read more


27 Trained Under Public Sector Transformation Project

first_imgStory Highlights Twenty-seven personnel have already been trained under a programme of upskilling, which forms part of the Public Sector Transformation Project (PSTP). Twenty-seven personnel have already been trained under a programme of upskilling, which forms part of the Public Sector Transformation Project (PSTP).The training, organised by the Transformation Implementation Unit (TIU), targeted officers in the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service, Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ), and Statistical Institute of Jamaica (STATIN).Portfolio Minister, Dr. the Hon. Nigel Clarke, said the training focused on the use of economic and statistical data analytics software to improve planning and forecasting.“The next training initiative is workforce planning with the human resources [group] in the public sector,” he informed, while providing an update on the transformation and modernisation exercise, at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston, recently.The five strategic pillars under the transformation programme are Public Sector Efficiency and Information and Communications Technology (ICT); Shared Corporate Services; Public Bodies; Human Resource Management Transformation; and Wage Bill Management.Dr. Clarke noted that upskilling of public officers is pivotal to the programme, as changes, particularly in ICT “will require new skills and new jobs”.“We will need… skills in data analytics and data security, reporting and forecasting, and other areas… to allow for navigation of this new era… because it’s going to be a different public sector,” he pointed out.He said that the TIU will be working with ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) to identify and provide the necessary training that enables all officers to navigate the impending changes.“To ensure successful implementation of these five pillars and the policies and steps that they comprise, it is our intention to [train and] certify 84 change managers across the public sector in the initial phase,” Dr. Clarke indicated.He said the training will equip them with the requisite knowledge to help public officers through the process “and ensure that they are ready for the new environment”.Additionally, the Minister said the programme will be supported by “robust and aggressive” communication, to ensure that stakeholders are “engaged and updated accordingly”.Citing the upcoming public-sector debate competition, which will be open to all officers across MDAs, Dr. Clarke said “it will provide an opportunity for public officers to tackle the issues around public-sector transformation and propose solutions for a better public service”.The competition will take place between March and April 2019. Portfolio Minister, Dr. the Hon. Nigel Clarke, said the training focused on the use of economic and statistical data analytics software to improve planning and forecasting. The training, organised by the Transformation Implementation Unit (TIU), targeted officers in the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service, Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ), and Statistical Institute of Jamaica (STATIN).last_img read more


Jaishankar holds bilateral talks with Indonesian counterpart

first_imgJakarta: In his first bilateral visit to an ASEAN country, Minister of External Affairs S Jaishankar on Thursday met his Indonesian counterpart Retno Marsudi and they agreed to step up cooperation in connecting Aceh and Andaman and Nicobar islands to promote trade, tourism and people-to-people contacts. Jaishankar is on a September 4-6 visit to Indonesia. “FM Jaishankar and I agreed to step up cooperation in Aceh – Andaman/Nicobar connectivity. Indonesia stands ready to participate in its infrastructure and connectivity development,” Marsudi said in a tweet. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM’India and Indonesia last year agreed to set up a special task force to enhance connectivity between the strategic Andaman and Nicobar Islands and provinces in Sumatra Island. Aceh province is located on the northern end of Sumatra. During the parleys that included global and regional issues of mutual interest, the two sides also agreed to strengthen Indo-Pacific cooperation. The two countries also committed to reach a target of USD 50 billion bilateral trade by 2025, including through broader market access. Also Read – Farooq demands unconditional release of all detainees in J&KDuring the talks, Indonesia also requested India for reduction of tariff for its palm oil. “FM Jaishankar and I agreed that the long and strong bond between the two countries should be reflected in the current bilateral relations,” Marsudi said in her tweet. Highlighting the historical linkages between the two countries, Jaishankar expressed hope of a modern partnership between India and Indonesia through fashion. “Pleasure to meet my Indonesian counterpart @Menlu_RI. My 1st bilat’l visit as EAM to ASEAN. Drawing on historical linkages to fashion a modern partnership. Agreed to address common challenges & explore shared opportunities. Our talks highlighted mutual support for territorial integrity,” Jaishankar tweeted. Jaishankar also met Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs Gen(Retd) Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan and discussed closer cooperation between Andaman and Nicobar and Aceh. “Glad to meet with Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs Gen(Retd) Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan. Discussed closer cooperation between Andaman & Nicobar and Aceh. Look forward to early meeting of the Joint Task Force,” Jaishankar said in his tweet. During his meeting with Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs, Jaishankar discussed cooperation in counter terrorism and defence.last_img read more