Evolution

The Primate Diaries

Category archives for Evolution

Why I Am Not A Humanist*

           Looking nonhumans in the eye.      Image: Elephant Man by Chris Gallucci In 1927 Bertrand Russell wrote his now famous essay “Why I Am Not A Christian” and outlined the general reasons for why he rejected such an ideology. This approach has been followed by other writers such as Ibn Warraq in Why I Am Not A…

Atheism and Science at The Huffington Post

My essay The Unseen and Unknowable Has No Place in Science has just gone up this morning in the Religion section of The Huffington Post:     Yes, religion is incompatible with science. This doesn’t mean, of course, that religious people are incapable of doing science. Far from it. There are certain questions that don’t probe…

Helpful Cichlids in the Gladiator’s Show

Image: The Daffodil Cichlid of Lake Tanganyika / Koen Eeckhoudt In 1888 “Darwin’s Bulldog”, Thomas Henry Huxley, declared that nature was little more than a “gladiator’s show” whereby only “the strongest, the swiftest, and the cunningest live to fight another day.” Brutal competition was the only important factor in the natural world, in which a…

Darwin and Spencer in the Middle East

It is a common argument by those who are opposed to evolution’s implication for religious belief to label Darwin as a social Darwinist and a racist. Adrian Desmond and James Moore’s book Darwin’s Sacred Cause has gone a long way towards dispelling any claims that Darwin sought to justify black inferiority (in fact, as they…

Darwinius Is Not a Human Ancestor

      Artist rendering of Darwinius.        Image: Julius T. Csotonyi Last year’s publication of the fossil primate Darwinius masillae claimed it to be the oldest haplorhine primate ever discovered and a multimedia blitz campaign touted the find as the ultimate “missing link” (an erroneous term that should forthwith be forbidden to all science journalists). Brian Switek at Laelaps…

Bonobos and the Child-Like Joy of Sharing

   Bonobos retain juvenile traits related   to tolerance and cooperation.            Image: Vanessa WoodsHow many times as a kid would your parents tell you to grow up and act your age? It turns out that not acting our age may be the very reason why we’re so successful as a species. Brian Hare and colleagues have just released a…

Teaching Evolutionary History

As people who have been following the issue are well aware, there is a crisis of scientific literacy in the United States. Unscientific America may have had a poor explanation for why the problem exists, but it effectively announced the severity of the problem to a wide audience. To combat this problem it will take…

     Goldberg shown here (right) “gangbanging”    with a guy who enjoys making fun of the dead.I must have done something very, very wrong. Jonah Goldberg, that noxious, infected man-tit of a human being, has just praised my work at the National Review. Referring to my series on Deconstructing Social Darwinism Goldberg writes: This is a very comprehensive…

Robert Sapolsky on the Uniqueness of Humans

Sapolsky’s talk begins at 5:00 after an introduction by the Stanford Provost. The neuroendocrinologist and primatologist Robert Sapolsky has been one of my primary scientific influences and the reason I pursued my masters and PhD in primate behavior and evolution. Not only is he a brilliant researcher and writer, he’s also a genuinely kind and…