Nurture effect on caring relationships

by Anthony Biglan [This essay is an excerpt from the author’s The Nurture Effect: How the Science of Human Behavior Can Improve Our Lives & Our World, New Harbinger Publications, 2015] I am convinced that caring relationships are the fundamental building blocks for creating the nurturing environments that are vital to everyone’s well-being, thus achieving … Continue reading Nurture effect on caring relationships


Removing the Rubbish: Consensus, Causation, and Denial

By Lawrence Torcello In the 17th century the philosopher John Locke, writing in admiration of the great scientific thinkers of his time, remarked that he found it “ambition enough to be employed as an under-laborer in clearing ground a little, and removing some of the rubbish, that lies in the way to knowledge.” Locke was … Continue reading Removing the Rubbish: Consensus, Causation, and Denial

Smolin on mathematics

by Massimo Pigliucci I have continued on with my critical reading of Roberto Unger and Lee Smolin’s thought provoking The Singular Universe and the Reality of Time: A Proposal in Natural Philosophy [1], about which I have already published one essay here at Scientia Salon [2], focused on the general premise of the book and on … Continue reading Smolin on mathematics

For a Narrow Expansion of Liberty — A Summary of Recent Cases Filed on Behalf of Four Chimpanzees

by Kirill Ershov [updated - see postscript below] This essay summarizes the recent series of New York State cases that were filed by the Non Human Rights Project (NhRP) petitioning to have four chimpanzees released from their owners. NhRP’s primary intent was to have the chimpanzees recognized as human-like beings with a common law right … Continue reading For a Narrow Expansion of Liberty — A Summary of Recent Cases Filed on Behalf of Four Chimpanzees

The Tao of Walking

by Gregory Bassham “Afoot and light-hearted I take to the open road.” – Walt Whitman Walkers are a motley tribe. People walk for all sorts of reasons. Sociable walkers walk for the pleasures of good talk. Fitness walkers walk to stay in shape. Nature walkers walk to enjoy nature. Dog walkers walk to enjoy the … Continue reading The Tao of Walking

How Darwinian is cultural evolution?

by Scientia Salon This is a paper published by Nicolas Claidière, Thomas C. Scott-Phillips and Dan Sperber in the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society (Series B, Biological Sciences), in 2014 (here is the open access link to the full article). The abstract states: Darwin-inspired population thinking suggests approaching culture as a population of items of … Continue reading How Darwinian is cultural evolution?

The anatomy of discovery: a case study

by David Field [The invitation for this piece was prompted by the appearance of an article entitled “Huge electric field found in ice-cold laughing gas” in Science Alert] Is laughing gas laughing at us? How do scientists discover new phenomena, and, just as important, how do they persuade other scientists that they have discovered something … Continue reading The anatomy of discovery: a case study

The Ivory Tower and Main Street

by Massimo Pigliucci Here comes another in our occasional series of videos featuring myself in conversation with Missouri State University philosopher Daniel Kaufman. In this episode Dan and I take up the very mission of Scientia Salon and discuss its implications. We talk about the love/hate relationship that the public seems to have with the … Continue reading The Ivory Tower and Main Street