Link blog: science, relationships, epistemology, biology

Hegemonic Heterosexuality
“hegemonic heterosexuality is the vast cultural conspiracy to describe all heterosexual relationships as the unending war between stupid people and crazy people.” Good observation of the view of the world promoted by TV and film. Via auntysarah.
(tags: psychology relationships sex)
The Apologist’s Turnstile
“the idea that no particular level of knowledge is needed to assent to a religion, but an impossibly, unattainably high level of knowledge and expertise is needed to deny it. In the minds of many believers, the entrance to their religion is like a subway turnstile: a barrier that only allows people to pass through in one direction.”
(tags: apologist epistemology religion atheism)
Cancer is just as deadly as it was 50 years ago. Here’s why that’s about to change.
“We spoke to cancer experts to find out why the death rate from cancer hasn’t changed in the past 50 years — and we learned how genetic therapies could transform cancer treatments tomorrow.”
(tags: medicine biology science genetics cancer)
How not to attack Intelligent Design Creationism: Philosophical misconceptions about Methodological Naturalism – Maarten Boudry
“In recent controversies about Intelligent Design Creationism (IDC), the principle of methodological naturalism (MN) has played an important role. In this paper, an often neglected distinction is made between two different conceptions of MN, each with its respective rationale and with a different view on the proper role of MN in science. According to one popular conception, MN is a self-imposed or intrinsic limitation of science, which means that science is simply not equipped to deal with claims of the supernatural (Intrinsic MN or IMN). Alternatively, we will defend MN as a provisory and empirically grounded attitude of scientists, which is justified in virtue of the consistent success of naturalistic explanations and the lack of success of supernatural explanations in the history of science. (Provisory MN or PMN). Science does have a bearing on supernatural hypotheses, and its verdict is uniformly negative.”
(tags: creationism intelligent-design religion science naturalism philosophy)

8 thoughts on “Link blog: science, relationships, epistemology, biology”

    1. The original source contains no closing tags at all (see get_html in the source). Looks like LJ is inserting them and getting it wrong. Possibly if I do insert them it’ll stop them mucking with my source.

        1. Yes, LJ does have a godawful “HTML cleaner” pass which it runs over posts and which seems to hurt as much as it helps. This is particularly bad in the case of tables: if you write a post containing tables and leave all the </td> and </tr> tags implicit, then LJ will count up all the ones it’s missed, and squirt them all out in a big stream at the very end of the post, after the </table> – with disastrous effects if the post is viewed in conjunction with a page style that embeds it in a larger system of tables!

          I didn’t know it could cause damage for any tags other than tables, but it’s not at all surprising…

  1. What do they even mean by ‘the death rate from cancer hasn’t changed’? The age standardised death rate in England has been falling for years. The crude death rate may not have changed, but I think that’s more ‘we have lots more old people because a) baby boomers, and b) they haven’t all had heart attacks at 50’, not ‘OMG, how clever is teh cancerz’

    http://info.cancerresearchuk.org/cancerstats/mortality/all-cancers-combined/#Trends

    1. Yeah, I was gonna say! I think iO9 is 15-20 years out of date here. The death rate from cancer didn’t change very much between 1940 and 1990, which is surprising given how much research effort (and money!) went into it. But lots of the stuff that the article is getting excited about is already happening, coupled with less whizz-bang but still medically important things like better screening and fewer social taboos about The Big C.

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