I’m an avid reader of science articles, abstracts, studies, and reviews. I tried a free subscription to Singularity Hub for a few weeks last month because it seemed to be a suitable source of articles on both science and technology.
I unsubscribed after being disappointed by aspects of science and technology hijacked almost on a daily basis into the realm of woo. Discovering scientific truths and realizing technologies is inspiring enough to stand on its own. It’s sufficiently interesting to publish well-written articles on the process and results.
I was dismayed that the website didn’t host a feedback mechanism for the authors’ articles. We shield ourselves from information incongruent with our beliefs. It’s a problem when a publisher of science and technology articles similarly disallows non-confirming evidence as a matter of policy.
An article may or may not advance knowledge of the subject, and Singularity Hub enables author hubris in presenting their views as the final word on the subject. Directing readers elsewhere for discussion is self-defeating in that every publisher’s goals include keeping visitors on their website as long as possible.
Here’s my feedback on two articles that inappropriately bent reality.
Regarding What Is It That Makes Humans Unique?:
“This trait [symbolic abstract thinking] not only gives us the ability to communicate symbolically, it also allows us to think symbolically, by allowing us to represent all kinds of symbols (including physical and social relationships) in our minds, independent of their presence in the physical world. As a result, internal associations of novel kinds become possible.”
Why limit discussion of our capability for symbolic representations? Other features to explore are:
- Aren’t beliefs also products of symbolic abstract thinking?
- What attributes of human behavior provide evidence for hopes and beliefs as symbolic representations?
- What’s the evolved functional significance that benefits humans of using symbolic abstract thinking to develop hopes and beliefs?
“Our revolutionary traits stand out even more when we take a cosmic perspective. We are not only in the universe, but the universe is also within us. Our brains, as an extension of the universe, are now being used to understand themselves.”
This article should be written well enough to inspire without resorting to unevidenced assertions about revolutions, the cosmos, and the timing of brain functionality.
“Some of us possess higher consciousness than others. The question that we now have to ask ourselves is, how do we cultivate higher consciousness, structural building, and symbolic abstract thinking among the masses?”
What’s the purpose of steering an evolution topic into elitism?
How a Machine That Can Make Anything Would Change Everything received >53,000 views compared with <5,000 views of the above article. This was an indicator that readers of Singularity Hub are relatively more interested in the possible implications of future technology than those of our past biological evolution. Why?
“If nanofabricators are ever built, the systems and structure of the world as we know them were built to solve a problem that will no longer exist.”
We are to believe that we’ll soon have the worldwide solution to problems in food supply, energy supply, medicine availability, income, knowledge – all that’s needed for survival? Should we develop hopes that technology will be our all-providing savior? Hope sells, without a doubt, but why would Singularity Hub mix that in with science?
This article reminded me of the chip-in-the-brain article referenced in Differing approaches to a life wasted on beliefs. Both articles seemingly appealed to future prospects, but the hope aspect showed that the appeals were actually reactions to the past.
If we individually address the impacts of past threats to survival – that include beliefs about future survival – each of us can break out of these self-reinforcing, life-wasting loops. Otherwise, an individual’s thoughts, feelings, and behavior are stuck in reacting to their history, with hopes and beliefs being among the many symptoms.
“Human history will be forever divided in two. We may well be living in the Dark Age before this great dawn. Or it may never happen. But James Burke, just as he did over forty years ago, has faith.”
Is it inspiring that the person mentioned has had a forty-year career of selling beliefs in technology?
Yes, future technologies have promise. Authors can write articles that provide developments without soiling the promise with woo.
This post has somehow become a target for spammers, and I’ve disabled comments. Readers can comment on other posts and indicate that they want their comment to apply here, and I’ll re-enable comments.
One thought on “Science and technology hijacked by woo”
Arthur Janov discovered the cause and cure for neurosis nearly 50 years ago, and after undergoing Primal Therapy myself, I often wonder why it has not become mainstream. Your comments above go some way to explaining that, in the sense we are still looking to future technology for the cure of neurosis, rather than understanding our evolutionary development. I also read a book recently in which a wise man spoke on giving advice. ” No son,only if a man means it when he asks. Most people ask a question when they got the answer in mind that they want to hear. That’s not really a question. They just want you to help them prove what they already be thinking”
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