All Posts Filed in ‘Philosophy

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How do we know what’s true?

Dear Professor People used to believe something was true because someone told them it was true, and that someone might have been a priest or a king or a parent or a book, but after a while people realised that wasn’t a very good way of telling what’s true from what’s not true. There were …

brain by Jon Phillips
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What if we could measure intelligence?

Well, some people say we can already whilst others say we can’t. To measure something we need to be able to define what it is we’re measuring and the term intelligence as it is commonly used may be too vague. According to Wikipedia: Intelligence has been defined in many ways: the capacity for logic, understanding, self-awareness, learning, emotional knowledge, reasoning, planning, creativity, critical thinking, and problem …

Steven Pinker during a lecture for Humanists UK
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Enlightenment Now

I went to see Stephen Pinker on Monday night, interviewed by Decca Aitkenhead of the Guardian, talking about his latest book, Enlightenment Now, an argument for science, rationalism and humanism. Bill Gates’ new favourite book apparently, knocking his previous favourite, Pinker’s  Better Angels of Our Nature, off the top spot.

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Indulgent purity

Some of us, maybe all of us to some extent, like our principles to be pure, unsullied by the messiness of reality.

WMAP by NASA
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Can there be a God of an infinite universe?

Not the kind of God that most people imagine. Not the kind of God listens to your prayers and maybe answers them, not the sort of God who might tell you to do certain things, like strap explosives to yourself and blow up a bus full of people. That kind of God couldn’t exist in …

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A conversation with The Professor

Why is Grandad old?

Because he was born along time ago.

But we’re not as old as Grandad. Why aren’t you as old as Grandad?

Because Grandad is my daddy. You can’t be older than your daddy, can you?

No! But Grandad will get older and older and older.

Yes.

And then he will die?

Yes.

And we will get older and older and older and then we will die. But that will be a very very long time.

Yes.

But we mustn’t talk about things like that.

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On sharing and toddler nature

The Professor’s mother mentioned how she thought some parents treated their children like little adults. She thought this was wrong. I asked her what she meant. Could she give me an example? All sorts of things could be described as trying to get children to behave like adults. Teaching them to walk, for instance, or …

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From Triund to Venus via the tenth dimension

There are dense toxic gases and bacteria the size of buses, but apart from that, unless you’re able to see in the tenth dimension, there’s not much on Venus. Some call it the ninth dimension, some the eleventh, some the first, some say it isn’t a dimension at all. It doesn’t really matter what you …