Download PDF by M. Hanlon: 10 Questions Science Can't Answer (Yet)

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By M. Hanlon

ISBN-10: 0230517587

ISBN-13: 9780230517585

From the writer of the bestselling The technological know-how of the Hitchhiker's consultant to the Galaxy comes one other remarkable journey to an excellent extra mysterious terrain. Michael Hanlon identifies ten medical questions that we easily can not seem to solution and explains why those compelling mysteries will stay unsolved for years to comeHow did existence commence? Why are there sexes? the place did language originate? In Hanlon's ordinarily witty sort, he ponders the methods those questions have persevered in challenging the easiest minds and asks what could be had to resolve all of it. From politics to loss of expertise, every one query has its personal set of conditions keeping it again. through exploring those unanswerable questions, Hanlon exposessome of science's maximum failings and missteps--andcharts a hopeful course for buying technology again at the highway to discovery.

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Sample text

Whales, Dr Hof told New Scientist in January 2007, ‘communicate through huge song repertoires, recognize their own songs and make up new ones. They also form hunting coalitions to plan hunting strategies... and have evolved social networks similar to those of apes and humans’. Perhaps the best way to determine sentience is the presence of abstract thinking. Humans can ‘think about thinking’, a skill called metacognition. It was this skill that was identified in Descartes’s famous aphorism ‘cogito ergo sum’.

Again, we are talking about the very young, the very old, the sick, senile and the mad. Lunatics cannot vote and neither can babies, but we are quite rightly not allowed to stick electrodes into their brains in the advancement of medical science. Young children are absolved from full responsibility when they commit criminal acts. We have no problem in granting humans rights without responsibilities, so why not animals? The best guess is that we will have to muddle through, perhaps tightening the cruelty laws a little, but essentially maintaining the same troubled relationship with the animal world that has held sway ever since we diverged from our closest relatives.

I think, therefore I am’ was Descartes’ famous summation of what it means to be selfaware, and until recently it has been our ability to ruminate, to live in a mental world apart from the world of the ‘immediate now’ that is assumed to constitute animal thinking, that has separated us from the beasts. That may be about to change. is fido a zombie? 23 Not everyone will be convinced. For, despite these advances, despite the papers in Science and other journals highlighting the case of genius crows and dolphins, despite the reports of extraordinary feats of sign language performed by some captive apes and even the apparently real linguistic abilities of some birds, there remains the whiff of pseudoscience about the whole field of animal cognition.

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10 Questions Science Can't Answer (Yet) by M. Hanlon

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