Timothy McGettigan : The Socjournal

As Darwin pointed out in the The Origin of Species (1859), species often exhibit enormous variation. Darwin was a pigeon breeder and described at length the astounding variation that, with the help of artificial selection, pigeon breeders had succeeded in cultivating in an otherwise humdrum bird species. Similar forces operate on Canis familiaris and, if anything, have […]

Timothy McGettigan | Mar 07, 2013 | Comments 0

Albert Einstein believed that the universe was created by a rational god; a god who would never presume to play dice with his precious creation. Einstein’s belief in a rational, knowable universe was rooted in a “clockwork” scientific philosophy that comprised the very bedrock of Enlightenment science. This perspective was most famously summed up by […]

Timothy McGettigan | Feb 04, 2013 | Comments 1

If the messages that are embedded in folklore mean anything, then until very recently humans were terrified of the natural environment (Grimm, et. al., 1915). In many cases, the scariest part of folk tales involves foolish individuals–often kids, in order to emphasize the cautionary nature of the tales–who fall prey to one of the many […]

Timothy McGettigan | Jan 24, 2013 | Comments 1

One can hardly broach the subject of free will or human agency without acknowledging the long-standing and unresolved philosophical debate regarding agency vs. determinism (Campbell, et. al., 2004). To provide an illustration of the extent of disagreement over this dualism, determinists, such as Hawking and Mlodinow (2010), have argued that agency and free will are […]

Timothy McGettigan | Jan 03, 2013 | Comments 4

Scholars have referred to Homo sapiens’ game-changing capacity to transform the biological evolutionary process into an intellectual exercise–or what I refer to as super-adaptability–in a variety of ways. Karl Popper distinguishes between biological and cognitive problem solving. In so doing, Popper emphasizes that for most organisms the one and only means of resolving survival problems […]

Timothy McGettigan | Dec 30, 2012 | Comments 0

Thomas Kuhn (1996) argued that scientific revolutions take place when dominant paradigms are dislodged by emergent paradigms. Science undergoes such transitions when established paradigms fail to account for an increasing number of empirical anomalies. Anomalies may be understood as enigmas for which existing knowledge systems lack convincing explanations, e.g., dark energy (Panek, 2011). Kuhn’s perspective […]

Timothy McGettigan | Dec 11, 2012 | Comments 0

Ah, Black Friday. It’s typically the biggest shopping day of the year and, for that reason, the happiest date on the calendar for retailers. On Black Friday, retailers who have been languishing in the red can count on raking in a whole lot of black. Profits galore! As usual, Walmart, the world’s largest and most […]

Timothy McGettigan | Nov 21, 2012 | Comments 3

There is a crucial distinction between explanatory systems that are based upon fate vs. prediction. Both perspectives purport to shed light upon the course of future events, however, fate is based upon a faith in metaphysics whereas prediction is scientific. Determinism represents a branch of metaphysics primarily because determinists claim to know more about the […]

Timothy McGettigan | Nov 20, 2012 | Comments 1

Fate is the most potent weapon in a the arsenal of determinists like Stephen Hawking. To contend, as determinists plainly do, that the outcomes of events are pre-determined is essentially the same as saying that the ebbs and flows of history are all dictated by fate. Actors, whether animate or inanimate, have no control over […]

Timothy McGettigan | Nov 16, 2012 | Comments 0

If real is what you can feel, smell, taste and see, then ‘real’ is simply electrical signals interpreted by your brain. Morpheus in The Matrix. Ray Kurzweil is obsessed with artificial intelligence (AI). Kurzweil has written a series of bestselling books–most recently How to Create a Mind–in which he advances the argument that machine intelligence […]

Timothy McGettigan | Nov 14, 2012 | Comments 1