Evolution

Mike the Mad Biologist

Category archives for Evolution

By way of Matthew Yglesias, we read that,over at National Review Online, Kevin Williamson claims progressives only care about science as a way to wage culture war (yes, coming from movement conservatives, that’s rich): There are lots of good reasons not to wonder what Rick Perry thinks about scientific questions, foremost amongst them that there…

Regarding the German outbreak strain of E. coli, the data are fairly clear: it is an enteroaggregative E. coli (‘EAEC’) which has acquired antibiotic resistance genes and a Shiga-like toxin from an Shiga-toxinogenic E. coli (‘STEC’). EAEC are interesting–according to the European Food Safety Authority: EAEC have been implicated as a cause of persistent diarrhea…

Or maybe wild-ass speculation. As the data continue to come in about the E. coli outbreak in Germany caused by E. coli O104:H4 HUSEC041 (well, everything but the public health and epidemiological data which are a contradictory, incoherent mess), it appears that one of the things that has made this strain so dangerous is its…

Because we are human after all. Jason Collins at Evolving Economics, in response to my post about one economist’s misunderstanding of biology, asks a very good question: On the flip side, did Dawkins or Gould (or their respective supporters) ever concede to the other side that they were wrong and substantially change their world view?…

When Economists Misunderstand Biology

It really does matter: if economists are going to use biology as a model for their discipline, we need them to understand ours, to help improve theirs. But I’m getting ahead of myself. By way of Brad DeLong, we stumble across this Russ Roberts piece discussing the question of what kind of science (if any)…

Jeremy Yoder has a good takedown of another article by Jesse Bering. This time, Bering argues that homophobia is adaptive. This is the key point: Bering’s post focuses on a series of studies by the evolutionary psychologist Gordon Gallup. Gallup was interested in the question of whether there might be an adaptive explanation for homophobia–which,…

Does failing to teach evolution qualify as bad teaching? Because, then, I might get behind the idea that teacher tenure should fall by the wayside: Now several Republican governors have concluded that removing ineffective teachers requires undoing the century-old protections of tenure. Governors in Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Nevada and New Jersey have called for the…

Keynesian Economics, Krugman, and Creationism

Last week, I mentioned how NY Times op-ed columnist and economist Paul Krugman has finally had his ‘creationist moment’: “the epiphany one realizes that, to creationists, words have no meaning, that they are not being honest.” Well, a reader points us to yesterday’s post on Krugman’s blog, “The War on Demand.” Krugman knocks down the…

To steal a phrase. By way of ScienceBlogling David Sloan Wilson, we come across an interesting white paper, “The Relevance of Evolutionary Science For Economic Theory and Policy” (pdf). Since I’m an evolutionary biologist, you would probably expect me to be partial to the white paper, but I’m not convinced. ZOMG!! TEH DARWINISMZ!! No, that’s…

And by hot, I mean employable. I’ll get to that in a bit, but I first want to relate some history. Back when I was a wee lil’ Mad Biologist, and molecular population genetics was in its infancy, there was a brief period where people had to be convinced that this stuff was useful (it…