CJ Blunt

The Machine Scientists: Iatrophysics and Selective Scientific Realism

The Machine Scientists – Giovanni Borelli, Jan Swammerdam and Niels Steensen – followed Rene Descartes in modelling the human body mechanically. The scientific success of this ‘iatrophysical’ programme, replete with rejected entities such as ‘Animal Spirits’, poses a problem for Scientific Realism. Using Psillos’ moderate realism, this paper attempts to reconcile a selective realist position with the historical record.

Lumping and splitting: brain tumours in white Britons

A much-publicised report suggests that white Britons’ brain tumour survival rates are lower than other ethnicities. But analysing the ethnicities categories used, and considering the diversity of the “brain tumour” label, complicates the picture, as the ‘Dismal Disease’ of Glioblastoma continues to confound.

The Jurassic Critique of Micozzi on Evidence Hierarchies

AI21 Labs have just released a public demo of their giant language model, Jurassic-1. At 178bn parameters, it rivals GPT-3. Feeding it my own work, it generated some interesting and potentially novel views on evidence hierarchies… and then attributed them to CAM researcher Marc Micozzi! Is Jurassic Micozzi’s critique of evidential pluralism in medicine sound?

On the Global Summit: do critiques of evidence hierarchies favour chiropractic?

The Global Summit systematic review claims that spinal manipulation therapy is not effective in preventing any non-musculoskeletal disorders. But a breakaway group has challenged their findings, in part based on my arguments regarding evidence hierarchies. Are they correct? Does my critique undermine the Global Summit review? If so, does the evidence base favour chiropractic?

Imitating Imitation: a response to Floridi & Chiriatti

In their 2020 paper, Floridi and Chiriatti subject giant language model GPT-3 to three tests: mathematical, semantic and ethical. I show that these tests are misconfigured to prove the points Floridi and Chiriatti are trying to make. We should attend to how such giant language models function to understand both their responses to questions and the ethical and societal impacts.