Category Archives: Evolution

Peter Watts essay: “Understanding Sarah Palin, or, God Is In the Wattles”: Summary and Comments

From the book Peter Watts Is An Angry Sentient Tumor: Revenge Fantasies and Essays (Tachyon, November 2019), a selection of posts from the blog of Peter Watts, which has been running since 2007. Watts is the noted author of high … Continue reading

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Carel Van Schaik & Kai Michel, THE GOOD BOOK OF HUMAN NATURE: An Evolutionary Reading of the Bible (2016): Introduction

This is a fascinating book because it describes how there really is some rationale (if not reason or logic) to the stories in the Bible. It’s a set of answers to the general question, a sort of meta-question that one … Continue reading

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Links and Comments: Trump vs California; Rural America vs the big cities

Here’s another. Paul Krugman, Sept. 20th: Trump Declares War on California. Subtitled: “It’s a liberal state, so it must be punished.” I’m on a number of right-wing mailing lists, and I try to at least skim what they’re going on … Continue reading

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Dawkins v Wilson on Group Selection

A minor irritant in Dawkins’ book just discussed is that he several times describes claims by other scientists and then patiently explains why they are wrong. In one case it’s a recently published paper in a journal. In another he … Continue reading

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Dawkins, THE SELFISH GENE

Opening paragraph, of a chapter called “Why are people?” Intelligent life on a planet comes of age when it first works out the reason for its own existence. If superior creatures from space ever visit earth, the first question they … Continue reading

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E.O. Wilson: ON HUMAN NATURE

I first read this book shortly after its 1978 hardcover publication, and it was revelatory; elegantly written and insightful, it challenged conventional ideas about human nature, especially the one about the mind being a ‘blank slate’ completely molded by environment, … Continue reading

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Link and Comment: Adam Frank on the Earth’s Biosphere

Today’s NYT has an op-ed by Adam Frank, Earth Will Survive. We May Not., which keys off the theme of his new book, LIGHT OF THE STARS: ALIEN WORLDS AND THE FATE OF THE EARTH, just released this past Tuesday. … Continue reading

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Links from NYT recently, with Comments

Op-ed by Amy Sullivan in the New York Times, April 1 (posted March 31): Trump’s Christian Soldiers The recurring, amazing fact that the self-righteous evangelicals support someone like Trump. You could open a publishing press devoted to the theological and … Continue reading

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Links and Comments: Evolution of Evolution Denial, and American Gullibility

A ‘Retro Report’ article in the NY Times, Questioning Evolution: The Push to Change Science Class, summarizes the by-now familiar litany of how objections to Darwin’s theory of the evolution — along with the many lines of supporting evidence and … Continue reading

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Kahneman, Thinking, Fast and Slow: Intro and Chapter 1

This is perhaps the most influential book of the past couple decades on the whole subject of human mental biases, how the ways in which we think entail errors of perception, and employ heuristics that are often but not always … Continue reading

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