Why Your Conscious Experience is Nothing More Than a Controlled Hallucination

One way to think about perception, probably the most natural way, is to compare it to a window, where your mind simply reads out reality exactly as it is. That chair over in the corner, for instance, is the exact shape, color, and texture that you perceive it to be, and your mind is simply capturing this object exactly as it exists in the world. 

Continue reading “Why Your Conscious Experience is Nothing More Than a Controlled Hallucination”

The Thousand Brains Theory of Intelligence and the Future of AI

When Charles Darwin worked out the theory of evolution in the nineteenth century, he didn’t have all the details in which the theory would ultimately depend. After all, On the Origin of Species was published in 1859—a full 49 years before the term genetics was introduced and 94 years before the discovery of the double-helix structure of DNA.

Continue reading “The Thousand Brains Theory of Intelligence and the Future of AI”

Why We Never Evolved to Exercise, and What We Can Do About It

Exercise is one of those topics, along with diet, that generates a lot of confusion. And while there is no shortage of advice to be found online, it is rarely based on our best science or on our understanding of the intricacies of human physiology, evolution, and anthropology. 

In Exercised, Harvard professor of evolutionary biology Daniel Lieberman explains that to truly understand exercise science, you must first understand something about human evolution and anthropology and how the body evolved to handle exercise. As Lieberman wrote, “nothing about the biology of exercise makes sense except in the light of evolution, and nothing about exercise as a behavior makes sense except in the light of anthropology.” 

Continue reading “Why We Never Evolved to Exercise, and What We Can Do About It”

The Role of Irrationality in the Creation of Modern Science

Unlike the humanities, including philosophy—where the idea of progress is a controversial topic—it is an essentially indisputable fact that science makes considerable progress over time. Why this is the case—and how science actually works—is what Michael Strevens seeks to explain in The Knowledge Machine

The basic argument is that scientific knowledge grows through the application of the “iron rule of explanation,” as Strevens calls it, that demands that all scientific argument be settled by empirical testing alone, and that the results of empirical testing are to be recorded in formal scientific journals for future reference and use. 

Continue reading “The Role of Irrationality in the Creation of Modern Science”