Archives For Ryan Cochrane

Author Information: Ryan Cochrane,

Cochrane, Ryan. “A Conversation with Henry Stapp.” Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective 3, no. 4 (2014): 11-13.

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Ryan Cochrane (RC): How did you become interested in physics and how did you end up working with Wolfgang Pauli and Werner Heisenberg?

Henry Stapp (HS): Already in high school I was solving every mathematical puzzle I could find, and was proposing theories about how the world works for example how light is propagated. As a junior, I read a book Inside the Atom that described, in effect, the double-slit experiment, and I decided that this was a puzzle that I needed to solve. As a junior in college, at the University of Michigan, I carried out, during Easter vacation a double-slit experiment where the photons were, on average, 1 km apart, and verified that effect was not due different photons interfering with one another. As a young post-doc at UCB [University of California, Berkeley] in 1956, I was chosen to write up the lecture notes describing lectures that Pauli was giving. I talked often to Pauli, and expressed my objections to a theory that he was then working on with Heisenberg. Pauli invited me to come to Zurich. I arrived in September, we talked every weekday, and he treated me with great kindness and respect. In December he went to the hospital for a check-up, and sent a message that he wanted me to come to the hospital. But because I knew he was not at work, I worked at my apartment. When I returned to my office I found out that he had died. After his death I completed what we had been working on together, and then read von Neumann’s book. I wrote for myself as essay “Mind, Matter, and Quantum Mechanics”. I pursued the topic as a sideline to my main more practical work at the lab, and in 1993 published a book with the same title.  Continue Reading…

Author Information: Ryan Cochrane,

Cochrane, Ryan. “Beyond the Mind-Body Stalemate: An Interview with Stuart Kauffman.” Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective 3, no. 4 (2014): 7-10.

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Ryan Cochrane (RC): Since the 17th Century and Newton, we have been locked into Reductive Materialism. What are the implications for the Mind -Body problem?

Stu Kauffman (SK): It all starts with Descartes in 1640, who proposed his famous Dualism, Res Extensa, the mechanical worldview, and Res Cogitans or thinking stuff, a substance dualism. But with Newton, Res Extensa won and we have since then lost the subjective pole of, “cogitans”, conscious experience. Res extensa matured with Newton; Newton invented classical physics, differential and integral calculus, three laws of motion and universal gravitation. Imagine six billiard balls rolling on a billiard table. What will happen to the balls? Newton told us to write down the initial conditions of all the balls, that is their positions and momenta, and the boundary conditions of the edges of the table, and his laws in differential equation form giving the forces between the billiard balls. Then to find out how the balls will move, we are to integrate his differential equations to derive the trajectories of the balls moving on the table. But integration is deduction of the consequences of the differential equations for those deterministic trajectories. Continue Reading…

Author Information: Ryan Cochrane, SERRC,

Church, George. 2013. “Where Do We Come From? What Are We? Where Are We Going? An Interview with George Church, Ryan Cochrane” Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective 2 (7): 28-30, 15 June.

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George M. Church is an American geneticist and molecular engineer. He is a Professor of Genetics at Harvard Medical School and his is widely regarded as a pioneer in cutting-edge genetics and synthetic biology.  Dr. Church participated in the “Life: What a Concept!” seminar with thinkers such as Freeman Dyson and Craig Venter. [1]

David Klinghoffer is a member of the Discovery Institute, a think-tank that claims to provide a center for “scientists and scholars challenging Darwin’s theory of evolution on the basis of science.” Dr. Steve Meyer, the author of Darwin’s Doubt is the Director of the Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture. Is there anything in particular that draws you to his work? Are you familiar with his earlier book Signature in the Cell?

Yes, I had read Signature in the Cell before David and Steve sent Darwin’s Doubt. The latter restates large parts of the former and then extends it with more detail, especially in the direction of multicellular evolution. I’m drawn to efforts to define gaps in otherwise compelling theories and thereby provoke applications of new technologies to try to fill those gaps. Continue Reading…

Author Information: Ryan Cochrane,

Fuller, Steve. 2013. “The Origin and Prospect of a Principled Future: An Interview with Steve Fuller, Ryan Cochrane.” Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective 2 (6): 12-17, 12 May.

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The SERRC thanks Denyse O’Leary, Ryan Cochrane and Steve Fuller for permission to post this slightly expanded version of “TBS interviews sociologist who studies ID—and he isn’t what you might think” from TheBestSchools.Org Blog. [1]

Ryan Cochrane (RC): Why does Darwinism pose a much greater threat to the future of humanity than religion? Isn’t this the exact opposite of what people like Richard Dawkins and the late Christopher Hitchens are saying?

Steve Fuller (SF): Yes, it is the exact opposite. Dawkins and Hitchens betray a remarkable sociological ignorance. They treat ‘religion’ as if it were some sort of anti- or pre-scientific ideology, when in fact it is simply the generic name for any complex social organization that is held together over large expanses of space and time without depending on the existence of the nation-state. Not surprisingly, ‘religion’ in this properly broad sense has been responsible for enormous good and evil in the course of history. Once this is kept in mind, it should be clear that there is no specifically ‘religious’ gene or bit of the brain to be found (which then one might treat as a pathology in need of cure).

In particular, religions do not require belief in a deity, let alone one that is transcendent of the natural world. To be sure, belief in a transcendent deity is an interesting thing to explain, and may have an important basis in our genes and brains. However, this belief is not specifically ‘religious’ but is also common to modern science, especially in its quest to acquire what Thomas Nagel has called ‘the view from nowhere’, which is a fair characterisation of the Newtonian project and all its subsequent revisions in the history of physics. Continue Reading…