Are you sure you have hands?

by Massimo Pigliucci Skepticism is a venerable word with a panoply of meanings. When I refer to myself as “a skeptic,” I mean someone inspired by David Hume’s famous dictum: “In our reasonings concerning matter of fact, there are all imaginable degrees of assurance, from the highest certainty to the lowest species of moral evidence. … Continue reading Are you sure you have hands?

The Turing test doesn’t matter

by Massimo Pigliucci You probably heard the news: a supercomputer has become sentient and has passed the Turing test (i.e., has managed to fool a human being into thinking he was talking to another human being [1,2])! Surely the Singularity is around the corner and humanity is either doomed or will soon become god-like. Except, … Continue reading The Turing test doesn’t matter

The evidence crisis

by Jim Baggott Thanks to a kind invitation from the Simons and John Templeton Foundations and the World Science Festival, last Friday (30 May) I participated in a public discussion on ‘Evidence in the Natural Sciences’ with Professors Brian Greene and Peter Galison. This discussion was the final act in a one-day symposium of the … Continue reading The evidence crisis

The multiverse as a scientific concept — part II

by Coel Hellier [The first part of this essay can be found here.] Inflation The comparison of cosmological models with high-quality and detailed observations of the early universe has led to the "inflationary'' version of the Big Bang. This hypothesizes that, very early in the first second after the initial quantum fluctuation, only about 10-35 … Continue reading The multiverse as a scientific concept — part II

The multiverse as a scientific concept — part I

by Coel Hellier The multiverse concept is often derided as "unscientific'' and an example of physicists indulging in metaphysical speculation of the sort they would usually deplore. For example, commenters here at Scientia Salon have said that the multiverse is "by definition not verifiable and thus outside the bounds of empirical science,’' and that "advocates … Continue reading The multiverse as a scientific concept — part I