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Placebo Buttons?

A recent article suggested that many of the buttons/toggles that we experience in our daily lives...

The Development Of Social Monogamy In Mammals

Two papers published this week have proposed explanations regarding the evolution of social monogamy...

Easy Answers To World Problems

After reading another article by Alex Berezow ["The Arrogance of a Well-Fed Society"] insisting...

The Precautionary Principle Review

There is an interesting series of articles published by the Guardian discussing various aspects...

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Gerhard AdamRSS Feed of this column.

I'm not big on writing things about myself so a friend on this site (Brian Taylor) opted to put a few sentences together: Hopefully I'll be able to live up to his claims. "I thought perhaps you... Read More »

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There have been several articles talking about opposition to GMO foods as being "anti-science" and raising the issue of the precautionary principle, but in fairness, we have to consider what the role of the precautionary principle is, before we just blow it off as an alarmist parlor trick.

Let's be clear.  ALL questions have scientific legitimacy and some may be well-thought out, while others may be totally off the mark.  This doesn't make them unscientific, it just makes them uninformed.  If a particular view persists after the proper information has been provided, then the individual could be accused of being unscientific, or at least obstinate.
After reading Sascha's excellent article [Robopocalypse Now] regarding the effect and direction of robotic/AI development and its coevolutionary influences, it occurred to me that perhaps a shift in how we view such developments could promote a more intuitive understanding of what is occurring.
A recent article suggests that our fear of snakes is largely genetic because of its apparently uniform nature across all strata of people and that it was likely caused due to predation of our ancestors.

As evidence of this, the author interviewed 120 of the Agta Negrito people, a hunter-gatherer group in the Phillipines, and noted that 16 of the individuals had been attacked by giant pythons, while two had been attacked twice.  In addition, individuals reported six cases of fatal snake attacks over a 39 year period (1934 - 1973).  While it's not clear from the article, the snakes may not necessarily have fared much better, since they were also predated upon by humans. 
Well over a year ago, someone asked for a response to the following quote from Ayn Rand.  I suspect this was largely due to the idea that such a view of individualism would be difficult to refute and consequently establish its legitimacy.  So, here's the quote:
A recent article titled "Our Brains Can't Evolve Any Further" drew my attention which ultimately lead me to the paper "Why Aren’t We Smarter Already: Evolutionary Trade-Offs and Cognitive Enhancements" (Thomas Hills and Ralph Hertwig; University of Basel).

Fortunately, this offered some interesting insights into the assumptions and conditions surrounding human intellect and its evolutionary implications.  
Infinity is a useful concept but it is often used inappropriately by being assigned as a trait to some object or another.  Briefly, nothing can be infinite, since in order for something to "be", it must be defined and measurable.  If it isn't, then the object would exist in a perpetual state of creation and couldn't be said to "be" anything at all ... yet.