According to Deirdre Nansen McCloskey, it is ideas, not capital or institutions, that enriched the world. This article is about her new book, and it does present an interesting point of view, which however needs to be filtered by the fact that it appeared in Reason magazine, a notoriously libertarian-leaning magazine. Not that there is anything wrong with that. Or is there?
Long and thoughtful article by Philip Ball at Nautilus on the disciplinary boundaries (or lack thereof) between biology and physics. He argues for no boundaries, and takes as his adversary the late Ernst Mayr, an evolutionary biologist who drew them very sharply. I’m somewhere in the middle. Too bad we couldn’t connect at HowTheLightGetsIn festival recently.
Patrick West, over at Spiked, argues that mythical scifi writer Ray Bradbury was an optimist about technology in real life, and yet wrote very dark stories about the techno-future of humanity. “We may see his tales as cautionary, not clairvoyant. Bradbury was optimistic by instinct but not by conviction.”
Does science have anything to say about moral intuitions? This article by Michael Mitchell in Aeon strongly argues for the no position. I think he goes a bit too far, but his reasoning is interesting. For my own take on the same subject, see here.