Category Archives: Science

God and Evolutionary Psychology

Evolutionary psychology suggests God makes more sense than not. I’m not sure he sees the tension between EP giving “just so” stories and claims it proves something. Still it is interesting that EP tends to note that at least aspects of religion are genetic. The debate is over how much of that is false positives from basic agency senses versus noticing something in the world. (The ways eyes help us deal with real objects in the world)

PEL on Scientism

“…[scientism] is contributing to a growing trend on the left, quite as ferocious as anything on the right, toward anti-intellectualism and bigotry, and that it is at bottom incompatible with the principles of a humane, open, and free society.” Partially Examined Life on Scientism.

I used to discuss this a lot back at the old blog. (Sadly I was unable to export the posts in a fashion so they could be imported here). I’ve not talked about it in a long time simply because at a certain point it becomes uninteresting. Most people engaging in scientism simply don’t have much of a mind to even bother attempting to understand why philosophers ask the things they do. Often their view of philosophy is pretty distorted.

Continue reading PEL on Scientism

Pew Mormon Retention

I wanted to touch on one more thing in the recent Pew data. Retention. Now the 2007 Pew survey  found that Mormons had a retention rate for those raised Mormon of 70% with 15% converting to an other religion and 14% going to the Nones. The recent Pew survey found that the rate was 64%. How much of this is due to sampling (Mormons made up only 1.6% of the sample and thus were around 500 people) and how much is an actual retention drop isn’t clear. The rate joining the Nones is higher too rising from 14% to 21%.

The Mormon retention rate roughly matches Evangelicalism (where they mean still self-identifying as Evangelical and not a switch to an other Christian group). Black protestants are higher at 70%. Non-Christian groups had the highest retention with Jews at 75%, Muslims at 77% and Hindus at 80%. All those groups primarily lose member to the Nones.

Continue reading Pew Mormon Retention

Why Physics Needs Philosophy

Nice post by Tim Maudlin at the PBS Nova blog about why physics needs philosophy. (HT: Maverick Philosopher)

The reigning attitude in physics has been “shut up and calculate”: solve the equations, and do not ask questions about what they mean.  But putting computation ahead of conceptual clarity can lead to confusion.

This idea of clarifying concepts has long been seen by many as what philosophy can offer science. Even those who might be skeptical of some of the philosophical approaches to this do recognize the problem of “just calculate.” The idea of instrumentalism, perhaps popularized in physics due to Richard Feynman’s embrace of the idea, is a bit problematic. For one I don’t think all or even most physicists see their goals as merely instrumentalist. Too many physicists are interested in Truth in my experience. Maybe physicists can’t get absolutely at truth but they certainly are aiming at it.

Continue reading Why Physics Needs Philosophy