History

The Primate Diaries

Category archives for History

Haiti and the Loan that Wasn’t

    Haitian girl wearing the Disney princess shirt made    in her country. Image: BBC NewsInter Press Service has just begun a new series focusing on the development loans to Haiti and the strings attached that have effectively removed the Haitian government from managing their own affairs. I spoke with IPS reporter William Fisher last week and this…

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…

Remembering Historian Howard Zinn (1922-2010)

As reported this evening in the Boston Globe, the internationally renowned historian and bestselling author of A People’s History of the United States died today while traveling in California. For Dr. Zinn, activism was a natural extension of the revisionist brand of history he taught. Dr. Zinn’s best-known book, A People’s History of the United…

This is the brief presentation I gave on Saturday, Jan. 16 as part of this year’s ScienceOnline conference. I was thrilled to have PZ Myers, Greg Laden and Janet Stemwedel present (the latter of whom posted her thoughts on the session). John McKay and I led a discussion on the intersection between open access and…

Deconstructing Social Darwinism, Part IV

Part 1 / Part 2 / Part 3 / Part 4 Richard Hofstadter wrote in Social Darwinism in American Thought that this political theory was “one of the leading strains in American conservative thought for more than a generation.” In this series I have shown many of the inconsistencies that exist in the literature on…

The Scientific Revolution is Open

Scientific innovation relies on open communication and always has. It has only been through the free exchange of information and ideas that scientific pioneers have expanded the boundaries of knowledge. Through books, pamphlets, letters, journals, and now blogs, scientists communicate their results and imagine new frontiers in the natural world. But even as we reach…

Deconstructing Social Darwinism, Part III

Part 1 / Part 2 / Part 3 / Part 4 In Quentin Skinner’s celebrated history The Foundations of Modern Political Thought he writes that: If the history of political theory were to be written essentially as a history of ideologies, one outcome might be a clearer understanding of the links between political theory and…

Darwiniana: Notes on Evolutionary History

Herbert Spencer coined the term “survival of the fittest” in 1852 and suggested that Darwin use it himself after he read On the Origin of Species in 1859. However, Darwin was resistant because he thought it could be misinterpreted. According to historian Thomas Leonard, Spencer then appealed to Alfred Russell Wallace to pressure Darwin to…

Deconstructing Social Darwinism, Part II

Part 1 / Part 2 / Part 3 / Part 4    English sociologist Herbert Spencer coined the term “survival of the fittest” in 1852.As I pointed out in Deconstructing Social Darwinism, Part I scholars have begun to seriously challenge the usefulness of the term as a political theory. For example, Gregory Claeys calls the political…