Feedback Friday: Science Illiteracy

A study was published this week by the National Science Foundation that made my blood cold, and judging from the three people who emailed it to me, you felt the same way.  The study, called Science & Engineering Indicators 2014, is available online for free at http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/seind14/index.cfm/digest, and is worth a read.  Though you might want to sit down first.

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First Steps: Part 2 – Why Us?

Blogger’s Note:  Last week I made a nomenclature mistake when explaining the many-worlds interpretation.  I referred to the alternate realities as universes while the correct scientific term is histories.  I regret the error and have changed the nomenclature for this blog post.

As I explained last week, every decision leads to the creation of infinite new histories and a move to one of these new histories.  This quantum physical theory leads to a very interesting philosophical question, namely what determines which history we move into.  In other words, what determines the future?  What determines our reality?  If every history is as valid as ours, why am I in this one?  In fact, why am I?  These are big questions, right at the intersection of science and philosophy.  The answer, I think, is one of the most beautiful and awe-inspiring things in all of reality.

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Feedback Friday: In Defense of Philosophy

Hey masses!  Sadly, no one sent me ANYTHING at all this week *single tear*.  Luckily, I did run across a slightly old but still interesting internet fiasco that I want to comment on.  One of my favorite science popularizers, Neil deGrasse Tyson, has decided he doesn’t like philosophy.

My concern here is that the philosophers believe they are actually asking deep questions about nature. And to the scientist it’s, “What are you doing? Why are you concerning yourself with the meaning of meaning?”

-Neil deGrasse Tyson on The Nerdist Podcast, 3/7/14

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First Steps: Part 1 – Infinite Worlds, Infinite Possibilities

Hello, Internet!  As I take my first steps into the wonderful biome of blogging, I am reminded of the opening lines of Carl Sagan’s 1992 book Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors.

Our story begins here in the dark, pullulating, dimly illuminated disk: the story as it actually turned out, and an enormous number of other stories that would have come to be had things gone just a little differently; the story of our world and our species, but also the story of many other worlds and lifeforms destined never to be.  The disk is rippling with possible futures.

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