The Primate Diaries

Archives for March, 2010

What I’m Reading Today on ScienceBlogs

I’ve got several imminent deadlines which means that my blog time is limited just now. However, there have been a few interesting posts that I thought I’d refer you to.

Blackwater’s Mercenary Humanism

Today Ed Brayton (fellow Scibling at Dispatches From the Culture Wars) is reporting in the Michigan Messenger that the mercenary company Blackwater may face federal weapons charges for “illegally stockpiling automatic weapons” at one of their US facilities. Given the slate of bad news piling on for Blackwater, I was amused to find this 2007…

Does God Have A Future?

Sam Harris, Michael Shermer, Deepak Chopra, and Jean Houston square off for a Nightline debate on the future of belief. Part 1 The entire program lasts about 1 hour 50 minutes. Watch all parts continuously by clicking here.

Animal Rights and Human Needs Considered

“But Dr. Zaius, the benefits to apedom far outweigh this animal’s suffering.” Image: Planet of the Apes Greg Laden has posted three parts (with more on the way) of a series that looks at how we should decide what animals have rights, what those rights should be, and how we weigh those considerations against the…

Cultural Transmission in Chimpanzees

Culture defines who we are but few can explain where it comes from or why we adopt one tradition over another. In the classic musical The Fiddler on the Roof the main character, Tevye, muses on this basic fact of human existence: Here in Anatevka we have traditions for everything… how to eat, how to…

Ann Coulter is a vicious and mean-spirited demagogue and I’m ashamed that I share more DNA with her than chimpanzees or bonobos. She represents the worst kind of reactionary partisanship and should be condemned by all quarters in the spirit of basic decency. That being said, however, I don’t believe a government should have any…

It has just been announced that my fellow Scibling Ed Yong of Not Exactly Rocket Science has been voted the winner of the 2010 Research Blogging Awards. In addition to being voted as Best Blog of the Year he has additionally been selected for having the Best Lay-Level Blog and for having written the Best…

Harvard Medical School physician and researcher J. Wes Ulm has a fascinating paper in the new edition of Democracy: A Journal of Ideas, the quarterly academic periodical put out by Johns Hopkins University. His paper “The Cachet of the Cutthroat” investigates the legacy of ideas that formed the basis of laissez-faire social Darwinism: Ultimately, Social…

Five years ago Lawrence Summers, then president of Harvard, made headlines when he suggested that women are not as well represented in science because of “issues of intrinsic aptitude.” By proposing that women are biologically less capable of succeeding in science he gained the anger of many of his colleagues and continued his reputation for…

If Atheists Ruled the World

Taken word for word from online fundamentalist forums(contains some graphic language).