Mr. Eccles Presents | Mindscape Podcast – Roger Penrose

Blog post with show notes and transcript:…


Sir Roger Penrose has had a remarkable life. He has contributed an enormous amount to our understanding of general relativity, perhaps more than anyone since Einstein himself — Penrose diagrams, singularity theorems, the Penrose process, cosmic censorship, and the list goes on. He has made important contributions to mathematics, including such fun ideas as the Penrose triangle and aperiodic tilings. He has also made bold conjectures in the notoriously contentious areas of quantum mechanics and the study of consciousness. In his spare time he’s managed to become an extremely successful author, writing such books as The Emperor’s New Mind and The Road to Reality. With far too much that we could have talked about, we decided to concentrate in this discussion on spacetime, black holes, and cosmology, but we made sure to reserve some time to dig into quantum mechanics and the brain by the end.

TED | 3 Worldview-Shaping Cognitive Biases

What shapes our perceptions (and misperceptions) about science? In an eye-opening talk, meteorologist J. Marshall Shepherd explains how confirmation bias, the Dunning-Kruger effect and cognitive dissonance impact what we think we know — and shares ideas for how we can replace them with something much more powerful: knowledge.

Mr. Eccles Presents | Symphony of Science: Children of Planet Earth


My tribute to one of the coolest objects mankind has ever produced – the Voyager Golden Record. Knowing that a billion years from now these two messengers will still be out there is mind-bendingly awesome. I can’t imagine a better representation of humanity.


For more info on the record and the messages in the song, head to wikipedia:…

Congrats to NASA on Voyager II reaching interstellar space!


In addition to custom graphics, this video leans on these sources for visual content:

The Farthest

Visions of Harmony




The Glenlivet

Alive – Canada 4K

M83 – Wait

Help us caption & translate this video!

Mr. Eccles Presents | Mindscape: David Chalmers on Consciousness, Etc.

Blog post with show notes, audio player, and transcript:…


The “Easy Problems” of consciousness have to do with how the brain takes in information, thinks about it, and turns it into action. The “Hard Problem,” on the other hand, is the task of explaining our individual, subjective, first-person experiences of the world. What is it like to be me, rather than someone else? Everyone agrees that the Easy Problems are hard; some people think the Hard Problem is almost impossible, while others think it’s pretty easy.

Today’s guest, David Chalmers, is arguably the leading philosopher of consciousness working today, and the one who coined the phrase “the Hard Problem,” as well as proposing the philosophical zombie thought experiment. Recently he has been taking seriously the notion of panpsychism.

We talk about these knotty issues (about which we deeply disagree), but also spend some time on the possibility that we live in a computer simulation. Would simulated lives be “real”? (There we agree — yes they would.)

David Chalmers got his Ph.D. from Indiana University working under Douglas Hoftstadter.

He is currently University Professor of Philosophy and Neural Science at New York University and co-director of the Center for Mind, Brain, and Consciousness.

He is a fellow of the Australian Academy of Humanities, the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Among his books are The Conscious Mind: In Search of a Fundamental Theory, The Character of Consciousness, and Constructing the World.

He and David Bourget founded the PhilPapers project.

Mr. Eccles Presents | Science Salon: Dr. Susan Blackmore

Dr. Susan Blackmore is no stranger to skeptics. Dr. Shermer has known Dr. Blackmore since the early 1990s. When the Skeptics Society and Skeptic magazine were founded in 1992 she was already a rock star in the skeptical movement, having moved from believing in the paranormal, ESP, telepathy, and all the rest, to being an arch skeptic of all such claims. After earning a Ph.D. in the paranormal she devoted a decade to testing various phenomena under rigorous laboratory conditions, and continually found null results. That is, the tighter the controls she implemented and the more rigorous the research protocols, the weaker the paranormal effects became until they disappeared entirely. She went on from there to develop a theory about the neural correlates of such altered states of consciousness as Out of Body Experiences and Near Death Experiences, and after that wrote her bestselling book The Meme Machine, in which she developed a theory of how memes can be replicated and selected in a manner first proposed by Richard Dawkins in The Selfish Gene, when he coined the term.

Dr. Blackmore went on to publish one of the leading textbooks on consciousness and is now working on a theory of tremes, or technological memes and how they can be replicated and selected in machines without human input.

This interview was recorded on November 7, 2018 as part of the Science Salon series of dialogues hosted by Michael Shermer and presented by The Skeptics Society, in California.

Listen to Science Salon via iTunes, Spotify, Google Play Music, Stitcher, iHeartRadio, TuneIn, and Soundcloud…

Ubi dubium | That’s Absurd [1]

If it’s claimed that those who are not members of a given religion, ethnicity, status, ideology, belief-status, sexual orientation, species, national or planetary origin, parallel (or askew) dimension of residence, or gender identity will be consigned to unpleasantness in an imagined hereafter, whether in a kind of Hell, stuck in an infinite loop on a karmic wheel, inside Morgarn the Lizard God’s stomach, or the like, that’s absurd.

If it’s claimed that the Piri Re’is Map of 1513 really shows Pleistocene Antarctica, and it is an uncannily accurate depiction of the earth as seen from space, it’s evident on the basis of the claim alone, given a look at the actual map in a museum in Istanbul, that that’s absurd.

If it’s claimed that life, the universe, and everything were magically commanded, spoken, dreamed, or otherwise brought into being in their current form by a supernatural being literally in six or seven days less than 10,000 years ago, that’s absurd.

If it’s claimed that science is just a myth or subjective narrative no more valid than any other in factual accuracy or worth, that’s absurd. Science works, hence the science and engineering behind the computer servers hosting this blog.

If it’s claimed that the evidence for the paranormal is scientifically overwhelming, yet at the same time rejected by a hidebound Scientific Establishment™, that’s absurd.

If it’s claimed that having an open mind means accepting any claim regardless of the bad reasoning and lack of good evidence for it, that’s absurd, and  it confuses what it means to have an open mind.

Having an open mind means applying consistent standards to all claims, and proportioning belief to the evidence for the claim.

If it’s claimed that cratering on planetary bodies is really caused by scarring from giant electrical arcs in space and not the impact of asteroids, meteorites, or comets and other interplanetary objects, that’s absurd.

If it’s claimed that the sun is really powered by giant, invisible, and otherwise undetectable electrical currents on its surface, lit literally like a lightbulb, and not by thermonuclear reactions in its core, that’s absurd.

If it’s claimed that nothing can really be known through science because it doesn’t and maybe can’t explain absolutely everything in excruciating detail, that’s absurd.

Everything we can really say we know about the world, regardless of nationality, culture, and period of time, we know through science in some form, from early science to modern.

If it’s claimed that Occam’s razor justifies the any claim desired as the simplest explanation for allegedly unsolvable mysteries, that’s confusing the unexplained for the unexplainable, committing an argument from ignorance. And that’s absurd.

If it’s claimed that being an expert in one field instantly carries unimpeachable authority in another field, that commits an argument from authority, and that’s absurd.

If it’s claimed that one can argue against reason, evidence, or science, using reason, evidence, or science without contradicting oneself and merely affirming these things in the process, that’s absurd.

If it’s claimed that the Clever Hans effect isn’t real because it is used to invalidate much animal and some human paranormal research, that’s absurd.

If it’s claimed that subjective personal accounts are an accurate guide to what’s objectively true or works, because something merely seems to work, given what is known about errors in human thinking and perception, that’s absurd.

If I claim that science solves all problems, answers all questions, and that it’s fully immune to human error or institutional context, then that’s absurd, it’s dogmatic, and dogmatism is for fools.

So I don’t know about you, but I’d rather be as little of a fool as I can manage, and minimise my absurdities as much as possible.

For my part, it’s really the method used, the process of thinking, and not the conclusion reached, that really matters.

Tf. Tk. Tts.