self-organisation is a high-level property that emerges from the underlying network, not a feature of any of the individual components. This has interesting consequences. Where any part of the mechanism is sensitive to the environment, the whole self-organising loop can be too. http://aeon.co/magazine/science/why-the-symbol-of-life-is-a-loop-not-a-helix/ Here's an example from the Resilience Alliance - the adaptive cycle - that … Continue reading The feedback loop as a symbol for life in the 21st Century
Climate, Cultural Theory and the Myths of Nature
A nice article by Howard Silverman of People & Place on the links between climate change, cultural theory and the myths of nature identified by the Resilience Alliance. http://bit.ly/959Dmp
Culture and the Science of Climate Change
George Monbiot at the Guardian has finally begun to take account of Cultural Theory as a possible explanation for why people either believe or ‘refuse’ to believe in climate change. He cites an article in Nature by Dan Kahan of the Yale Law School Cultural Cognition Project. Prof Kahan says: ‘we need a theory of … Continue reading Culture and the Science of Climate Change
“People tend to conform their factual beliefs to ones that are consistent with their cultural outlook”
...according to law professor Don Braman, that is. NPR has an interview with members of the Cultural Cognition Project, who have been demonstrating experimentally that people's climate change beliefs are strongly linked to their worldview. It's intuitively obvious that our views, opinions and beliefs are linked together a bit like constellations in the night sky, … Continue reading “People tend to conform their factual beliefs to ones that are consistent with their cultural outlook”
Cultural bias and the HPV vaccine
Response to Dan Kahan's study of cultural bias in risk perceptions of the HPV vaccine, with links to the Cultural Cognition Project and discussion of grid-group cultural theory.
Switching strategies: if baboons can do it, can’t we?
The work of Robert M. Sapolsky and others on the social life of baboons is interesting in many ways but here it's significant for two reasons in particular. First, I think it sheds light on what we mean when we talk about culture. Secondly, it seems to indicate something about the ability of some primates … Continue reading Switching strategies: if baboons can do it, can’t we?
Stewart Brand: Four sides to climate change – but which four?
Stewart Brand (whom, incidentally, we have to thank for the 'whole earth' photo at the Fourcultures masthead) wrote an op-ed recently in which he identified four types of climate change talk, based on two scales, scientists-politicians and agreement-disagreement. This produced four poles, not merely two. They are: denialists (ideological disagreement) skeptics (scientific disagreement) warners (scientific … Continue reading Stewart Brand: Four sides to climate change – but which four?
On the science and politics of climate change
Mike Hulme, author of the splendid Why We Disagree about Climate Change, has written a very measured op-ed about the theft of his emails from the University of East Anglia and the relationship between science and politics in the climate change debate. Fourcultures has previously written about: Mike Hulme's book, Why we Disagree about Climate … Continue reading On the science and politics of climate change
Why do we disagree about Climate Change?
In his foreword to a recent collection on the social construction of climate change, Nicholas Onuf writes: 'As a social constructon, climate change is no one thing. Instead it is an ensemble of constitutive processes, yielding an ever changing panoply of agents and insitutions, fixed in place only for the moment.' Mary E Pettenger (ed) … Continue reading Why do we disagree about Climate Change?
Colin Allen spoke about Robot morality at the Adelaide Festival of Ideas. This relates to The Ethics of Autonomous Robots.