The Renewable Energy Revolution

Transforming the world’s energy supply will take decades. It is a very tall order. But it’s starting. The price of renewables – and energy storage – continues to plunge, putting them on a path to being cheaper than any other form of energy within the coming decade. And they continue to grow exponentially – albeit it from a low baseline – spreading out into the market.

from Ethical Technology


Blockchain Health – Remunerative Health Data Commons & HealthCoin RFPs

The bigger concept behind cryptocurrencies like bitcoin is blockchain technology. The blockchain (a chain of transaction blocks) is a public transaction ledger, automatically downloaded and stored digitally in electronic wallet applications; a digital record of all transactions in a certain asset class like bitcoin.

from Ethical Technology

We have the extraordinary evidence! TAM 2013

IEET Fellow, Russell Blackford talks about the accessibility of knowledge and it’s impact on history and society. Blackford spoke at “The Amazing Meeting: Fighting the Fakers” along with many other great thinkers in 2013.



TAM 2013 will be four full days of skeptical programing running from 8:00 a.m. until after midnight most nights. At the core of the programing will be talks by some of our leading lights, including:

Susan Jacoby is the author of The Age of American Unreason and many other books. She has been the recipient of many grants and awards, including those from the Guggenheim, Rockefeller, and Ford Foundations, as well as the National Endowment for the Humanities. In 2001-2002, she was named a fellow at the Center for Scholars and Writers at the New York Public Library. Her articles and essays have appeared in The New York Times Magazine, Washington Post Book World, Los Angeles Times Book Review, Newsday, Harper’s, The Nation, Vogue, The American Prospect, Mother Jones, and the AARP Magazine, among other publications. She also writes a weekly column at the On Faith website published by The Washington Post.


Dan Ariely is the James B Duke Professor of Psychology and Behavioral Economics at Duke University. He is the author of a number of books, including Predictably Irrational, and The Honest Truth About Dishonesty.

Susan Blackmore is a psychologist and writer researching consciousness, memes, and anomalous experiences, and a Visiting Professor at the University of Plymouth. She is the is author of a number of books, including The Meme Machine and Zen and the Art of Consciousness.

Russell Blackford is an Australian attorney, philosopher, science fiction writer, and critic. He is the author of a number of books, including Freedom of Religion and the Secular State and 50 Voices of Disbelief.

Dr. R. Elisabeth Cornwell is Executive Director of the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science (US). In addition to her work with the Foundation, she is an evolutionary psychologist whose research includes examining the underlying mechanisms of human mate selection.

Jerry Coyne, Ph.D is a Professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolution at the University of Chicago and a member of both the Committee on Genetics and the Committee on Evolutionary Biology. His work is focused on understanding the origin of species: the evolutionary process that produces discrete groups in nature.

Barbara Drescher taught cognitive psychology and quantitative research methods, primarily at California State University, Northridge, for a decade. She developed award-winning material and text for teaching science and critical thinking. As a National Science Foundation Fellow and Phi Kappa Phi Scholar, Barbara studied visual attention, perception, learning, and reasoning.

Reginald Finley Sr is considered one of the pioneers of skeptic-oriented talk media; going back as far as 1999. His program, The Infidel Guy Show, ran for 12 years in which he focused on skepticism, critical thinking, religious and philosophical discussions/debates, and science education. He now runs The Fun Scientists LLC, which aims to encourage children to question unashamedly and without hesitation while at the same time, revealing that science is fun!

David Gorski is an academic surgeon at Wayne State University School of Medicine, where he specializes in breast cancer surgery and serves as the Medical Director of the Alexander J. Walt Comprehensive Breast Center at the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute. When not actively engaged in breast cancer research or taking care of patients, he is also the managing editor of the Science-Based Medicine blog.

D. J. Grothe is President of the James Randi Educational Foundation. Formerly a “mind-reader” and magician, he studies the processes of deception and self-deception. He lectures and debates frequently on topics surrounding science and central beliefs at colleges and universities throughout the United States.

Susan Haack is professor of philosophy and law at the University of Miami. She is the author of Putting Philosophy to Work: Inquiry and Its Place in Culture, and Defending Science: Within Reason Between Scientism and Cynicism, among many other books.

Harriet Hall, aka “The SkepDoc,” is a retired family physician and former Air Force flight surgeon who writes prolifically about science, critical thinking, alternative medicine, and quackery. She is a CSI fellow, a contributing editor to both Skeptic and Skeptical Inquirer magazines, an editor of the Science-Based Medicine blog, an adviser to the Quackwatch website, a founding fellow of the Institute for Science in Medicine, and is on the editorial review board of the Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database.

Sharon Hill is a geologist and policy specialist. She has a Masters degree in education, specializing in Science and the Public, and runs the popular critical thinking newsblog, Doubtful News. She writes on topics relating to the paranormal, pseudoscience, cryptozoology, anomalous natural phenomena, and skepticism.

Marty Klein has been a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist and Certified Sex Therapist for 31 years. He has aimed his entire career toward a single set of goals, among them, telling the truth about sexuality and debunking widely held sex myths. He has written a number of books on human sexuality, and speaks frequently on the psychology, science and pseudoscience of human sexuality.

Max Maven was described as “the most creative mind in magic” by the great movie director Orson Welles. He has published more than 2,000 articles and has been a consultant to the California ScienCenter, numerous universities, and to the magicians David Copperfield, Doug Henning, and Penn & Teller. In addition, he is the author of The Book of Fortunetelling.

Sara E. Mayhew, is a writer and illustrator that the prestigious Applied Arts magazine called “young blood commanding our attention”. The world renowned TED conference accepted Sara into their TED Fellowship program, a class of young world-changers on the cutting edge of their fields, for her work to promote science education through manga.

Steve Novella is a JREF senior fellow and academic clinical neurologist at the Yale University School of Medicine. He is also the president and co-founder of the New England Skeptical Society, the host and producer of the popular weekly science podcast, The Skeptics’ Guide to the Universe, and the author of the NeuroLogicaBlog. He is the author of two courses by The Teaching Company, including Your Deceptive Mind: A Scientific Guide to Critical Thinking Skills.

Edwina Rogers is Executive Director of the Secular Coalition for America. She has spent two decades on Capitol Hill as a lobbyist and attorney, including roles as General Counsel for several high profile politicians. Rogers has extensive experience as a public policy expert and has worked for two Presidents and four Senators, and speaks about the role of nonbelievers and skeptics in our society.

Massimo Pigliucci is the chair of the Department of Philosophy at the City University of New York. He is also the editor in chief for the journal Philosophy & Theory in Biology. An outspoken skeptic and critic of creationism and advocate of science education, his most recent books are Answers for Aristotle: How Science and Philosophy Can Lead Us to A More Meaningful Life and Nonsense on Stilts: How to Tell Science from Bunk.

Massimo Polidoro is an Italian psychologist, writer, journalist, television personality, and the co-founder and executive director of the Italian Committee for the Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal (CICAP). He is the editor of Scienza & Paranormale, and has investigated and tested numerous alleged psychics, astrologers, clairvoyants, dowsers, mediums, prophets, psychic detectives, psychic healers, psychic photographers, telepaths and many others, and has been the host of a number of Italian television shows. He is the author of numerous books, including Final Séance, and Secrets of the Psychics.

Cara Santa Maria is not your typical science journalist. From cheerleader to jazz vocalist, model to tattoo enthusiast, she traveled many paths before pursuing her interest in all things related to the brain. Currently, Cara works as the Senior Science Correspondent for The Huffington Post, where she produces and hosts a science web series called “Talk Nerdy To Me.”

Joe Schwarcz is the Director of McGill University’s Office for Science and Society and teaches a variety of courses in McGill’s Chemistry Department and in the Faculty of Medicine with emphasis on health issues, including aspects of “Alternative Medicine”. Using stage magic to make scientific points is one of his specialties. Professor Schwarcz has received numerous awards for teaching chemistry and for interpreting science for the public, including Royal Society of Canada’s McNeil Award and the American Chemical Society’s prestigious Grady-Stack Award. He is the author of numerous books and articles, including Science, Sense and Nonsense.

Michael Shermer is the Publisher of Skeptic magazine, Executive Director of the Skeptics Society, a monthly columnist for Scientific American, host of the Skeptics Distinguished Science Lecture Series at Caltech, and an Adjunct Professor at Claremont Graduate University and Chapman University. Shermer is the author of The Believing Brain, The Mind of the Market, Why Darwin Matters, and Why People Believe Weird Things among others.

Karen Stollznow is a linguist, Bad Language columnist for Skeptic magazine, and author of the forthcoming books Language Myths, Mysteries and Magic, and Red, White and (True) Blue. She is a long-term investigator of paranormal and pseudoscientific beliefs and practices, a co-host of Monster Talk, and is a Research Fellow for the James Randi Educational Foundation.

Jamy Ian Swiss is a senior JREF Fellow. He has appeared internationally for presenters ranging from Fortune 500 companies to the Smithsonian Institution. He is the author of books including The Art of Magic, and two collections of essays, the most recent is Devious Standards. His U.S. television appearances include CBS’ 48 Hours, PBS’ Nova, The Today Show, and repeat appearances on The Late, Late Show with Craig Ferguson.

Other presentations and appearances by: Banachek, Joshie Berger, Evan Bernstein, Bob Blaskiewicz, Bryan & Baxter, Chip Denman, Tim Farley, Shane Greenup, Miranda Celeste Hale, Kyle Hill, Penn Jillette, Daniel Loxton, Maria Myrback, Bob Novella, Jay Novella, Don Prothero, Stuart J. Robbins, Paul Provenza, Todd Robbins, Richard Saunders, Eve Siebert, Nakul Shenoy, Brian Thompson, and Brent Weedman. More presenters will be announced in the weeks ahead.

from Ethical Technology

Suffering & Progress in Ethics (Past & Future)

Suffering is bad – Peter Singer (who is a Hedonistic Utilitarian), and most Effective Altruists would agree with this. Though in addressing the need for suffering today Peter acknowledges that, as we are presently constituted, suffering is useful as a warning sign (e.g. against further injury). But what about the future?

Illustration: Bryan Christie Design

**What if we could eliminate suffering?

Perhaps in the future we will have advanced technological interventions to warn us of danger that will be functionally similar to suffering, but without the nasty raw feels.

Peter Singer, like David Pearce, suggests that if we could eliminate suffering of non-human animals that are capable of suffering, perhaps in some way that is difficult to imagine now – that this would be a good thing.

"I would see no reason to regret the absence of suffering" – Peter Singer

Peter can’t see any regret to lament the disappearance of suffering, though perhaps people may say it would be useful to help understand literature of the past. Perhaps there are some indirect uses for suffering – but on balance Peter thinks that the elimination of suffering would be an amazingly good thing to do.

Singer thinks it is interesting to speculate what might be possible for the future of human beings, if we do survive over the longer term? To what extent are we going to be able to enhance ourselves? In particular to what extent are we going to be more ethical human beings – which brings to question ‘Moral Enhancement’.

Have we made Progress in Ethics? Peter argues for the case that our species has expanded the circle of our ethical concern we have in his book ‘The Expanding Circle’, and more recently Steven Pinker took up this idea in ‘Better Angels Of Our Nature’ – and this has happened over the millennia, beyond initially the tribal group, then to a national level, beyond ethnic groups to all human beings, and now we are starting to expand moral concern to non-human sentient beings as well.

Steven Pinker thinks that increases in our ethical consideration is bound up with increases in our intelligence (as proposed by James Flynn – the Flynn Effect – though this research is controversial (it could be actual increases in intelligence or just the ability to do more abstract reasoning)) and increases in our ability to reason abstractly.

As mentioned earlier there are other ways in which we may increase our ability and tendancy to be more moral (see Moral Enhancement), and in the future we may discover genes that may influence us to think more about others, to dwell less on negative emotions like anger or rage. It is hard to say whether people will use these kinds of moral enhancers voluntarily, or whether we need state policies to encourage people to use moral enhances in order to produce better communities – and there are a lot of concerns here that people may legitimately have about how the moral enhancement project takes place. Peter sees this as a facinating prospect and that it would be great to be around to see how things develop over the next couple of centuries.
Note Steven Pinker said of Peter’s book "Singer’s theory of the expanding circle remains an enormously insightful concept, which reconciles the existence of human nature with political and moral progress. It was also way ahead of its time. . . . It’s wonderful to see this insightful book made available to a new generation of readers and scholars."

On Moral Enhancement see Julian Savulescu’s writings on the subject.

The Expanding Circle – – What is ethics? Where do moral standards come from? Are they based on emotions, reason, or some innate sense of right and wrong? For many scientists, the key lies entirely in biology—especially in Darwinian theories of evolution and self-preservation. But if evolution is a struggle for survival, why are we still capable of altruism?

In his classic study The Expanding Circle, Peter Singer argues that altruism began as a genetically based drive to protect one’s kin and community members but has developed into a consciously chosen ethic with an expanding circle of moral concern. Drawing on philosophy and evolutionary psychology, he demonstrates that human ethics cannot be explained by biology alone. Rather, it is our capacity for reasoning that makes moral progress possible. In a new afterword, Singer takes stock of his argument in light of recent research on the evolution of morality.

The Flynn Effect:

Peter Singer – Ethics, Evolution & Moral Progress –

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from Ethical Technology

Indefinite Life Extension: The Pay is $Infinity

World awareness of indefinite-life-extension research increases the percentage of people who will then want to contribute to its success. When we inform the mainstream of most of the industrialized world and beyond, about the people, projects, and organizations working directly and indirectly toward indefinite life extension, then a percentage of that world – which is a lot of people at even a fraction of 1% – will be helping to execute the projects that need to be completed to see if we can make this happen.

from Ethical Technology

The Immortalists The BFI London Film festival this year includes the UK premiere of the film “The Immortalists”. The showing on Saturday 18th October in the Ritzy Cinema, Brixton, provides a good opportunity for members of London Futurists to view the film and then discuss it afterwards. During the discussion we’ll be joined by David Alvarado, co-director of the film. To book […]

from KurzweilAI

Exponential Medicine Exponential Medicine is a four-day conference by Singularity University that brings together top experts to inform medical services leaders how technology is impacting healthcare and medicine. Part of the Exponential Conference Series, this event will take place in Coronado, San Diego at the Hotel Del Coronado November 9-12, 2014. What is Exponential Medicine? Exponential Medicine […]

from KurzweilAI