I recently had a brief back-and-forth with Bobby Azarian about his new article on Raw Story. Azarian, a neuroscientist at George Mason University, argued that artificial intelligence (AI) could never be conscious. I highly recommend reading Azarian’s article: it’s a great distillation of some key concepts in the philosophy of mind, and he makes an […]Read more "Why Machines Could Be – But Aren’t – Conscious"
Below is the text of my newest article for the Berkeley Science Review: In October, 2004, the Dover Area School District in York County, Pennsylvania decided that intelligent design would be taught in their classrooms as an alternative to evolutionary theory. In response, a group of Dover parents sued the school district, claiming that […]Read more "The Demarcation Problem"
The threads that weave the cloth of our mentality are soulless. Our experience of the most beautiful sunset, our most fervent desires, our loftiest thoughts, and our most expansive feelings of love are storms of neural activity, nothing more. Science – and neuroscience in particular – has stripped our mental lives of a soul. But […]Read more "Love In A World Of Atoms"
“‘But what will become of men, then?’ I asked him, ‘without God and immortal life? All things are lawful, then, they can do what they like?’” – Dmitri in The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky There is a fear amongst the religious that the denial of divine authority makes senseless the notion of morality. But the belief that morality […]Read more "Being Moral Without God"
What will spirituality look like in 100 years? What will it look like when technology is fully woven into the fabric of our world and our biology, when our scientific understanding of the world and of ourselves will have progressed far beyond what we can imagine? What will the temples of such a world look like? Or its […]Read more "The Future of Spirituality"
Scientists don’t yet know how life emerged on Earth. Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection explains how life evolved once it emerged, but it does not explain how life emerged in the first place. But science presses on. One of the main challenges in figuring out how life emerged from chemistry is defining what life is. […]Read more "Information and the Emergence of Life"
It seems to be fashionable for scientists to claim that philosophy is dead or useless. If that’s the case then I must be a deeply confused person. If philosophy is “dead” because science has or eventually will answer all of philosophy’s questions, then you shouldn’t believe anything I’ve said on this blog: I haven’t run […]Read more "Why I Do Science and Philosophy"