Tag Archives: science

More Intuition-Building On Non-Empirical Science: Three Stories

[Followup to: Building Intuitions On Non-Empirical Arguments In Science] I. In your travels, you arrive at a distant land. The chemists there believe that when you mix an acid and a base, you get salt and water, and a star … Continue reading

Building Intuitions On Non-Empirical Arguments In Science

I. Aeon: Post-Empirical Science Is An Oxymoron And It is Dangerous: There is no agreed criterion to distinguish science from pseudoscience, or just plain ordinary bullshit, opening the door to all manner of metaphysics masquerading as science. This is ‘post-empirical’ … Continue reading

More Confounders

[Epistemic status: Somewhat confident in the medical analysis, a little out of my depth discussing the statistics] For years, we’ve been warning patients that their sleeping pills could kill them. How? In every way possible. People taking sleeping pills not … Continue reading

5-HTTLPR: A Pointed Review

In 1996, some researchers discovered that depressed people often had an unusual version of the serotonin transporter gene 5-HTTLPR. The study became a psychiatric sensation, getting thousands of citations and sparking dozens of replication attempts (page 3 here lists 46). … Continue reading

[PARTIALLY RETRACTED] Cortical Neuron Number Matches Intuitive Perceptions Of Moral Value Across Animals

[EDIT: No longer confident in this post, see here.] Yesterday’s post reviewed research showing that animals’ intelligence seemed correlated with their number of cortical neurons. If this is true, we could use it to create an absolute scale that puts … Continue reading

Neurons And Intelligence: A Birdbrained Perspective

Elephants have bigger brains than humans, so why aren’t they smarter than we are? The classic answer has been to play down absolute brain size in favor of brain size relative to body. Sometimes people justify this as “it takes … Continue reading

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Highlights From The Comments On Kuhn

Thanks to everyone who commented on the review of The Structure Of Scientific Revolutions. From David Chapman: It’s important to remember that Kuhn wrote this seven decades ago. It was one of the most influential books of pop philosophy in … Continue reading

Book Review: The Structure Of Scientific Revolutions

When I hear scientists talk about Thomas Kuhn, he sounds very reasonable. Scientists have theories that guide their work. Sometimes they run into things their theories can’t explain. Then some genius develops a new theory, and scientists are guided by … Continue reading

Is Science Slowing Down?

[This post was up a few weeks ago before getting taken down for complicated reasons. They have been sorted out and I’m trying again.] Is scientific progress slowing down? I recently got a chance to attend a conference on this … Continue reading

Is Science Slowing Down?

[I wrote this after attending a conference six months ago. At the time I was confused about whether and when I was allowed to publish it. I am still confused, but less optimistic about that confusion getting resolved, so I … Continue reading