27 JUL 2018 by ideonexus

 Our Modern Worldview and Morality is Shaped by Science

To begin with, the findings of science imply that the belief systems of all the world’s traditional religions and cultures—their theories of the genesis of the world, life, humans, and societies—are factually mistaken. We know, but our ancestors did not, that humans belong to a single species of African primate that developed agriculture, government, and writing late in its history. We know that our species is a tiny twig of a genealogical tree that embraces all living things and that e...
Folksonomies: science humanism morality
Folksonomies: science humanism morality
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03 MAR 2014 by ideonexus

 Correlation != Causation; However, It is Often All We Have

> correlation doesn't mean causation. As a statistician, I guess I should be happy that more people are aware of this. But I also think too many people are taking "correlation != causation" superficially. I mean, almost all of science is based on significant correlational findings, especially when the traditional way to prove causation (i.e. via randomized trial) is unethical (i.e. we can't randomly assign people to be insured vs. uninsured). Along these lines, I often find people who sa...
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Examples of when correlation should be taken seriously.

22 JAN 2014 by ideonexus

 Science is Human Power, Needing Guidance

It is against the background of conflict and confusion in the relations of science and society that we find ourselves confronted with a crisis in the history of mankind, and particularly in the history of human government. It is a crisis arising from the rapidly increasing power given to man by science. It is a crisis such as we are accustomed to leave to the arbitrement of sectional interests supported by shouts and cries. But it is one to which scientific inquiry can provide a solution. For...
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And science can provide the guidance through managing human beings through biological knowledge.

29 DEC 2013 by ideonexus

 Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis

The controversial Sapir-Whorf hypothesis^ states that there is a direct relationship between the categories that are available in a language and the way the speakers of that language think and act. While if it were true that Ianguage completely determined thought, people would never have any thoughts that they could not express (and we know that's not true), there have nevertheless been some suggestive experiments in this area. For exampie, it was recently shown that one Amazonian tribe witho...
Folksonomies: language hypothesis
Folksonomies: language hypothesis
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The idea that restrictions in language restrict our ability to think.

24 DEC 2013 by ideonexus

 Causality as a Conceptual Tool

Causality itself is an evolved conceptual tool that simplifies, schematizes, and focuses our representation of situations. This cognitive machinery guides us to think in terms of the cause—of an outcome’s having a single cause. Yet for enlarged understanding, it is more accurate to represent outcomes as caused by an intersection, or nexus, of factors (including the absence of precluding conditions). In War and Peace, Tolstoy asks, “When an apple ripens and falls, why does it fall? Becau...
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John Tooby on how causation is a way we simplify the world to more easily understand it, but it can also over-simplify.

17 MAY 2011 by ideonexus

 Commercial Culture is Full of Misdirections and Evasions

T.H. Huxley's formulation was The foundation of morality is to . . . give up pretending to believe that for which there is no evidence, and repeating unintelligible propositions about things beyond the possibilities of knowledge. Clement, Hume, Paine and Huxley were all talking about religion. But much of what they wrote has more general applications - for example to the pervasive background importunings of our commercial civilization: there is a class of aspirin commercials in which acto...
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Carl Sagan reviews the silly rhetoric in medicine commercials.