Evolution Institute

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Greetings from Lisbon, where I am helping to inaugurate the first EvoS program in Europe. EvoS (for Evolutionary Studies, pronounced as one word) teaches evolution across the curriculum. I started the first program at Binghamton, others are sprouting across the United States, and the first program in Europe has started thanks to a petite woman…

As readers of this blog know, I am increasingly using evolution to make a difference in a practical sense, in the formulation of public policy through the Evolution Institute and in my own community through the Binghamton Neighborhood Project. I chronicle my odyssey in my newest book, The Neighborhood Project: Using Evolution to Improve My…

This is the final installment of my “Economics and Evolution as Different Paradigms” series. The series reflects what I have learned as president of the Evolution Institute, working with literally scores of people who know a lot more. A partnership with the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center (NESCent) has funded the effort, starting with a conference…

Evolutionary science won’t fully prove itself until it makes the world a better place. That simple statement has changed the way that I do science, including a “Design Your Own Park (DYOP)” project that I have organized with the help of my city of Binghamton and the United Way of Broome County. DYOP is a…

So far I have shown that Homo economicus, the conception of human nature imagined by rational choice theory, is a far cry from the real thing. Moreover, it stubbornly refuses to gravitate toward the real thing, even when its shortcomings are made glaringly apparent. This might seem pathological, but only when we adopt a na├»ve…

The term “market fundamentalism” was popularized by George Soros in his 1998 book The Crisis of Global Capitalism and has led a lively existence ever since. It’s a great epithet, but what does it really mean to call a set of beliefs fundamentalist? Can the claim be proven? And what’s wrong with subscribing to fundamentalist…

Everything that evolves requires two explanations. First, why does a given trait exist compared to many other traits that could exist (ultimate causation)? Second, what are the physical mechanisms that cause the trait to be expressed (proximate causation)? The question “Why do apple flowers bloom in spring?” nicely illustrates the distinction between ultimate and proximate…

Consilience, or the unity of knowledge, is the Nirvana of science, where everything interlocks consistently with everything else. Neoclassical economics is not consilient with other branches of knowledge and the strongest argument on its behalf is that it doesn’t need to be (e.g., Milton Friedman’s classic paper discussed in E&E III). In contrast, when I…

One of the most stimulating workshops that I attended during 2009, the year of Darwin, was titled “Evolution–the Extended Synthesis” and held at the Konrad Lorenz Institute in Altenberg, Austria. Sixteen evolutionists met to discuss how our field has changed since Julian Huxley’s Evolution: The Modern Synthesis, which was published in 1942 and represented a…

Lin’s recipe for success (see E&E VII) might seem obvious in retrospect, but it is hard to categorize as liberal, conservative, or libertarian as these terms are used in current American political life. On one hand, the need for local autonomy (ingredient 6) gives Lin’s recipe a conservative and libertarian feel. Big government shouldn’t meddle…