Register for an account


Enter your name and email address below.

Your email address is used to log in and will not be shared or sold. Read our privacy policy.


Website access code

Enter your access code into the form field below.

If you are a Zinio, Nook, Kindle, Apple, or Google Play subscriber, you can enter your website access code to gain subscriber access. Your website access code is located in the upper right corner of the Table of Contents page of your digital edition.


You Pinheads

Cosmic VarianceBy Sean CarrollJanuary 31, 2011 10:39 PM


Sign up for our email newsletter for the latest science news

Update: darn it, Phil beat me by minutes. Always check your RSS reader before posting something from elsewhere on the internets. Found this video yesterday morning via Swans On Tea. It was so good I had to include it in the talk I gave yesterday afternoon at the Skeptics Society. Backstory: Bill O'Reilly is very fond of using the tides as evidence that science doesn't understand everything. Apparently some pinheads tried to point out that we actually do understand that. [embed][/embed] At a slightly deeper level: this is a good example of a worldview that can only imagine ultimate explanations taking the form of reference to some person -- a being, a kind of conscious agent, who does things for reasons. If you try to give explanations that simply refer to the laws of physics, they will never be satisfied. In the real world, things happen, not always for (those kind of) reasons. The laws of physics might not have any deeper explanation.

    3 Free Articles Left

    Want it all? Get unlimited access when you subscribe.


    Already a subscriber? Register or Log In

    Want unlimited access?

    Subscribe today and save 50%


    Already a subscriber? Register or Log In