Quantcast

Monthly Archive: June 2008

Jun 30 2008

2001: A Space Odyssey

The American Film Institute recently ranked the top ten films in each of ten genres. All such ‘best of’ rankings are, of course, just for fun and meant to provoke vigorous debate about films that did not make the cut as well as the unworthy ones that did. They are not meant to be taken …

Continue reading »

Jun 27 2008

The difference between human and other animal communication

In his book The Language Instinct (1994) Steven Pinker pointed out two fundamental facts about human language that were used by linguist Noam Chomsky to develop his theory about how we learn language. The first is that each one of us is capable of producing brand new sentences never before uttered in the history of …

Continue reading »

Jun 26 2008

Can animals talk?

One of the most interesting questions in language is whether animals can talk or at least be taught to talk. Clearly animals can communicate in some rudimentary ways, some more so than others. Some researchers are convinced that animals can talk and have spent considerable efforts to try and do so but with very limited …

Continue reading »

Jun 25 2008

When did language originate?

Trying to discover the origins of language is a fascinating scientific problem but the evidence is necessarily indirect. Clearly our bodies’ physical capacity to articulate sounds is a biological development. Language had to be preceded by the evolution of the physical organs responsible for vocalization. Those organs must have co-evolved with those parts of the …

Continue reading »

Jun 24 2008

The power of language

One of the things that makes some people uneasy about the theory of evolution is its implication that humans are just one branch in the tree of life, connected to every other living thing through common ancestors, and thus not special in any mysterious way. It is surely tempting to think that we must be …

Continue reading »

Jun 23 2008

Cloning and stem cell research

(This series of posts reviews in detail Francis Collins’s book The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief, originally published in 2006. The page numbers cited are from the large print edition published in 2007. The complete set of these posts will be archived here.) In the Appendix of his book The Language …

Continue reading »

Jun 20 2008

Bioethical dilemmas

(This series of posts reviews in detail Francis Collins’s book The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief, originally published in 2006. The page numbers cited are from the large print edition published in 2007. The complete set of these posts will be archived here.) In the Appendix of Francis Collins’s book The …

Continue reading »

Jun 19 2008

The Language of God-9: An appeal to the scientifically minded

(This series of posts reviews in detail Francis Collins’s book The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief, originally published in 2006. The page numbers cited are from the large print edition published in 2007. The complete set of these posts will be archived here.) At the very end of his book, Collins …

Continue reading »

Jun 18 2008

The Language of God-8: The problem of free will, omnipotence, and omniscience

(This series of posts reviews in detail Francis Collins’s book The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief, originally published in 2006. The page numbers cited are from the large print edition published in 2007. The complete set of these posts will be archived here.) The one new (to me at least) and …

Continue reading »

Jun 17 2008

The Language of God-7: The problem of theodicy

(This series of posts reviews in detail Francis Collins’s book The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief, originally published in 2006. The page numbers cited are from the large print edition published in 2007. The complete set of these posts will be archived here.) Any defense of god has to confront a …

Continue reading »

Older posts «