Nature-Nurture

Category archives for Nature-Nurture

Behaviors are not caused by genes. There is not a gene that causes you to be good, or to be bad, or to be smart, or good at accounting, or to like bananas. There are, however, drives. “Drives” is a nicely vague term that we can all understand the meaning of. Thirst and hunger are…

Falsehoods: Human Universals

There are human universals. There, I said it. Now give me about a half hour to explain why this is both correct and a Falsehood. But first, some background and definition.

Why do women shop and men hunt?

Or, when the hunting season is closed, watch teh game (the guys), or when there are no sales, admire each other’s shoes (the gals)? This is, of course, a parody of the sociobiological, or in modern parlance, the “evolutionary psychology” argument linking behaviors that evolved in our species during the long slog known as The…

A good day for birds.

This was not an intensive bird watching day. This was a day driving to the cabin, sitting in the cabin writing, looking out the window, driving to run an errand, going to town for dinner, sitting in the cabin looking out the window some more, etc. But the birds insisted on performing. So I thought…

Race, Gender, IQ and Nature

Nature, the publishing group, not the Mother, has taken Darwin’s 200th as an opportunity to play the race card (which always sells copy) and went ahead and published two opposing views on this question: “Should scientists study race and IQ? The answers are Yes, argued by Stephen Cici and Wendy Williams of the Dept of…

The lake is icy-green and in the distance almost blends into the sky through a fast moving fog bank. The bald eagles (a pair and one offspring) are up to something in the back, one of them making swings over the bay and then back into the yard where they are vocalizing quite a bit.…

There is a new paper, just coming out in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, that explores the idea that humans have undergone an increased rate of evolution over the last several tens of thousands of years. By an increased rate of evolution, the authors mean an increased rate of adaptive change in the…

They say Lake Itasca is the source of the Mississippi. This is why there is a big state park surrounding the lake, a park that preserves some beautiful old forest despite the best efforts of 19th century lumberjacks to cut it down. Amanda next to the tallest white pine tree in Minnesota I’ve been to…

What is a disease?

“Disease” is a big word. I’d like to address this question by focusing on the difference, or lack of difference, between a poison, a disease, and a yummy thing to eat. It turns out that they may all be the same. Yet different.

Last night, the Campus Atheists, Skeptics and Humanists club (C.A.S.H.) presented a debate between PZ Myers and Loyal Rue on the question: Can religion and science co-exist? I witnessed this event and would like to tell you what happened.