OPEN DISCUSSION – SEPTEMBER 2017
Aug 31, 2017

This thread has been created for open discussion on themes connected to reason and science for which there are not currently any dedicated threads. Please note it is NOT for general chat, and that all Terms of Use apply as usual.

OPEN DISCUSSION
Jul 11, 2017

This thread has been created for open discussion on themes connected to reason and science for which there are not currently any dedicated threads. Please note it is NOT for general chat, and that all Terms of Use apply as usual.

7 smarter ways to talk about climate change
Feb 9, 2016

People are not very good at talking about climate change, not even climate activists — or so says Norwegian psychologist and economist Per Espen Stoknes. Understanding the science of climate change isn’t enough. We also need to understand the social science of how people react to certain messages. Stoknes’ book What We Think About (When …

Is Life Essentially Different from Inanimate Matter?
May 24, 2014

Discussion by: BillDixon Science is now so close to constructing cells capable of reproduction from a feedstock of simple molecules that we have to acknowledge that it will eventually be done. In principle, such cells are just as alive as we are, because evolution could lead from them to something like us, albeit with a very …

Is Life Essentially Different from Inanimate Matter?
May 24, 2014

Discussion by: BillDixon Science is now so close to constructing cells capable of reproduction from a feedstock of simple molecules that we have to acknowledge that it will eventually be done. In principle, such cells are just as alive as we are, because evolution could lead from them to something like us, albeit with a very …

Interesting nod to Richard in Ed Yong article
May 24, 2014

Discussion by: CliveHill http://phenomena.nationalgeographic.com/2014/05/22/the-surprising-closest-relative-of-the-huge-elephant-birds/ Ed reports on some work that updates the family tree of ratites and he notes: "Indeed, in his 2004 book The Ancestor’s Tale, Richard Dawkins writes, “I take delight in the power of natural selection, and it would have given me satisfaction to report that the ratites evolved their flightlessness separately …

Does the Quran make plants grow faster?
May 21, 2014

Discussion by: AlexEsters Dear members and friends of the RDF. Although I have visited this website daily for the past 3 years I have now decided to have my own identity here and therefore created this username: AlexEsters, which is very similar to my real name that I am not yet ready to make public. Yes, you have guessed …

Atheism – still a dirty word?
May 21, 2014

Discussion by: twiikeri There's something I've been wondering for a while. Here in Finland the polls show that only half of Finnish people believe in a deity, and half don't. Still, only 21% say they're atheist. I can understand why the religious find the word atheist negative, but why do the non-religious? Maybe some people …

Two Selves: Experiencing and Remembering
May 2, 2014

Discussion by: Zeuglodon If you haven't read Daniel Kahneman's Thinking, Fast and Slow, then I strongly recommend you find a copy, because it contains chapters on the oddities of human choices, an explanation of how those arise from at least two different thought modes (called System One and System Two in the book), and a …

Fundamental science vs applied science
May 2, 2014

Discussion by: Nexal As a pupil in primary I would find refuge in the school library. There was a huge corridor devoted to Sciences. 90% of it was dedicated to fundamental sciences and the rest to a few applications. Being a child, I remember the the huge tomes of astronomy, geology, biology, beautifully illustrated with …

Antidepressants and the Placebo Effect
Apr 24, 2014

Discussion by: Red Dog Antidepressants and the Placebo Effect In The Folly of Fools Robert Trivers writes: “Depression seems especially sensitive to the placebo effect. Numerous studies have shown that genuine antidepressants account for about 25 percent of the improvement, while the placebo effect accounts for the remaining 75 percent. Believing you are getting something …

Antidepressants and the Placebo Effect
Apr 24, 2014

Discussion by: Red Dog Antidepressants and the Placebo Effect In The Folly of Fools Robert Trivers writes: “Depression seems especially sensitive to the placebo effect. Numerous studies have shown that genuine antidepressants account for about 25 percent of the improvement, while the placebo effect accounts for the remaining 75 percent. Believing you are getting something …