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Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Science News!

Alan Alda rocks my socks. While I really wish they'd bring back Scientific American Frontiers on tv, his Center for Communicating Science is doing heroic work. They announced the winner of The Flame Challenge this week - explain what's happening in a flame in a way that an 11 year old could understand. The winning video is kind of awesome and even has a song.

Today I'm missing the caffeine in my coffee. 32 and a half weeks from now, I'm not going to feel bad about adding it back to my diet as it is very likely good for me. The latest research links it to avoiding Alzheimer's, even if you're showing early symptoms.

I've been reading a bunch of things loosely related to thinking about thinking. First, thinking analytically can cause you to lose your faith in religion. (I'd make some quip about this being the Religious Right's big plan to defund education, push creationism in school, and destroy the separation of church and state, but I'm pretty sure they haven't actually analyzed it that closely.)  Also, Dan Ariely points out that when we buy fake products, it makes us more likely to cheat at other things, and to perceive others as more likely lying and cheating. So are smart, well-educated people who know this stuff less susceptible to these things? Nope. Even if we know all about confirmation bias or anchoring bias, we're just as likely to fall for it as anyone else. Oh well.


  • Interesting study about analytic thinking and religion, but I've got to disagree with the findings...sort of. Analytic thinking certainly causes one to have a problem with blind faith, and that's as it should be. Religious faith--or any other kind--should never be blind, without any evidence, or threatened by intelligent thought and inspection.

    The scientists & philosophers here would agree:

    By Blogger Unknown, at 9:23 PM  

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