Browsing All Posts filed under »evolutionary biology«

Review of Plotkin’s Evolutionary Worlds without End

July 29, 2011


Not long ago, Philosophy in Review put online a review I did of Henry Plotkin’s Evolutionary Worlds without End. A most worthwhile read (the book that is, the assessment of the review I leave to others). Here is the first paragraph: Plotkin’s synthesis is a gem of a book, but a flawed gem. His vision […]

A story of sexual selection

March 22, 2011


A puzzle for those interested. Identify the alpha female: When her status is questioned, the alpha female reasserts it by subduing her opponent physically. The alpha male objects to this, however, since this undermines his status as group leader. He, therefore, orders the beta male to punish the alpha female for her behaviour. Seeing a […]

Sociology, secularisation and selection

February 6, 2011


I’m currently reading Secularization by Steve Bruce. The book is a most fascinating data-driven look at the phenomenon of secularisation in modern societies, especially Europe. Bruce is a long-time collaborator of David Voas, whose work on secularisation I mentioned earlier and who directed me to Bruce’s previous book with the unbeatable title – God is […]

ESF funding application

May 10, 2010


It’s another of those cases where I wish I were more superstitious. I have submitted an application to the European Science Foundation for funding to organise a workshop on dual inheritance models of religion and now have to wait till November to find out if my application was successful. The attraction to cross my fingers […]

Article on DS Wilson in The Skeptic

July 16, 2009


My article on David Sloan Wilson’s position regarding the New Atheists has been published and is in the current issue of The Skeptic. As I think I mentioned previously, the title of it has been changed with my original title now being given as the sub-title. I well understand why that was done  (which is […]

St Andrews is nicer anyway

February 3, 2009


Received a reply from the Venice Summer School for Science and Religion. Their conclusion was that my “proposal does not fit well the direction the school plans to venture”. Given that I was going to argue that religious beliefs are basically exapted superstitions, I can’t say that I disagree. I would have been fairly surprised […]

Groups, religions and evolution

December 1, 2008


As part of my course on superstitions, I’ve been looking at DS Wilson’s 2005 Human Nature article testing evolutionary hypotheses and find that the more I think about it, the more worried I am about its soundness. In particular, I am concerned about the methodology Wilson uses in that study. He’s looking at a sample […]

Wilson article in the next Skeptic

November 29, 2008


I have been in touch with Michael Shermer and, apparently, my article on David Sloan Wilson is to appear in The Skeptic Vol. 14 Nr. 4. Had a read through the version he sent me and it seems that they have not edited the text anywhere near as ‘energetically’ as the Skeptical Inquirer people did. […]

Pigliucci on Haidt

September 15, 2008


In my last post, written a few days ago, I mentioned an interesting article on the reasons why people vote Republican – something that certainly astounds me despite my knowledge of the psychological research on human irrationality. In the meanwhile, Massimo Pigliucci has written at length on this article, arguing that the author fails to […]

KLI on Flickr

September 11, 2008


The Konrad Lorenz Institute is now up on Flickr. The first set of photos up is from the Extended Synthesis workshop and includes a few that were taken by me as well as a couple that include me. It is good to see them as they remind me just how much fun the workshop was.