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Dan Dennett

The Complicated Search For The Origins Of Humor

Matthew Hurley | Posted 12.31.2014 | Healthy Living
Matthew Hurley

2013-01-18-TEDplayvideo.jpgWhen there is a well-defined, unambiguous hypothesis to test, an experiment can be very simple: find a clear counterexample. In the case of a theory of humor, find something that is funny but is not predicted to be funny by the hypothesis, or something the hypothesis says should be funny that isn't.

How Humor Has Not Evolved

Christian Hempelmann | Posted 10.04.2013 | TED Weekends
Christian Hempelmann

If our programs can identify jokes reliably, our algorithms might be doing it in the same way that humans do. Luckily, though, we're still far from computers that appreciate humor, rather than just detecting it.

Wired to Prefer 'Cute, Sexy and Sweet'

Madoka Noriuchi | Posted 08.04.2013 | TED Weekends
Madoka Noriuchi

We recently found that only four brain regions play specifically important roles in the mother's brain which is wired for loving her own baby.

Become a Darwinian Traveler

Kevin Richberg | Posted 10.03.2013 | TED Weekends
Kevin Richberg

2013-01-18-TEDplayvideo.jpgOn a recent trip to Botswana, a country Darwin was never fortunate enough to have seen, I was struck by how readily the questions of biology, which popped up during Darwin's travels, are ripe for the asking on a modern safari.

The Future-Directed Nature Of Mirth

Matthew Hurley | Posted 08.03.2013 | Healthy Living
Matthew Hurley

How does innately liking sweetness translate into thinking about and seeking out the dessert menu, when there is no ongoing experience of sweetness right there on our tongues to inform us of our enjoyment?

Why Do We Feel Compelled To Pinch The Cheeks Of Babies?

Oriana Aragón | Posted 10.02.2013 | TED Weekends
Oriana Aragón

2013-01-18-TEDplayvideo.jpgIn my research, I have spent some time recording how some of us, nearly two-thirds of us humans will pinch, squeeze, and sometimes even bite cute little creatures. For the most part these reactions are playful. They appear to be specific to cuteness. They appear to span the globe.

Time to Put Humor Under the Microscope

Peter McGraw and Joel Warner | Posted 08.02.2013 | TED Weekends
Peter McGraw and Joel Warner

2013-01-18-TEDplayvideo.jpgWhy else would we find things funny and laugh about them -- pretty unusual activities, when you think about it -- unless doing so helped us survive as a species?

Why Do High Heels Make Women More Attractive?

Dr Raj Persaud | Posted 08.02.2013 | TED Weekends
Dr Raj Persaud

2013-01-18-TEDplayvideo.jpgWhat's chic, what's in and what's out, should be predicted by evolutionary theory. Otherwise it will be judged by history as just a passing phase. Eventually as outmoded as shoulder pads from the 1980s.

Darwin And Atheism

Michael Ruse | Posted 05.25.2011 | Religion
Michael Ruse

Charles Darwin himself would be embarrassed greatly by atheist flags associated with him, especially atheist flags flown in celebration of his birthday.

The Trouble with the New Atheists: Part II

Robert Wright | Posted 11.17.2011 | Healthy Living
Robert Wright

Last week in this space I posted an attack on the "new atheists," I've weighed the counter-arguments that have been arrayed against me and--surprise!--found them wanting.