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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…

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…

How Can Haiti Be Sustainable?

As I wrote yesterday in my piece for The Huffington Post, the history of Western financial involvement in Haiti has been one of growing the nation’s textile industry despite the fact that 70% of Haiti’s annual income comes from agriculture. By emphasizing programs such as HOPE and HOPE II, the United States has increased the…

Here at ScienceBlogs we regularly take The Huffington Post down a notch by pointing out such cutting edge lunacy as vaccine denialism or pseudoscientific spiritualism masquerading as health advice. Now the latest in a long list of unsubstantiated crazy is on full display. Some writer named Eric Michael Johnson, who clearly thinks he’s so self…

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…

Deconstructing Social Darwinism – Part I

Part 1 / Part 2 / Part 3 / Part 4 Social Darwinism is one of those concepts that everyone knows what it is but few can define. I myself have sometimes reflexively used the concept without fully knowing the history of the term or its use as a political theory. In this series it…

The Blind Leading the Blind

Image: Jesus! vs. Darwin! by The Searcher It’s a tired old routine, yet time and again the same argument is taken off the shelf, dusted, buffed and then presented with a sly smile as if it were something new. Evolution, it’s asserted, is only progressive and builds on earlier adaptations in its march forward through…

Reciprocity is an intrinsic feature of human beings as well as most species of ape. Chimpanzees and bonobos regularly engage in granting gifts of food and expect a return on their generosity (those who don’t reciprocate are less likely to receive such gifts in the future) (de Waal and Brosnan 2006). This “tit-for-tat” basis of…

Remember, Remember the Fifth of November

Remember, remember the fifth of November, The gunpowder treason and plot, I know of no reason Why the gunpowder treason Should ever be forgot. On this day, in 1604, Guy Fawkes was arrested in his attempt to overthrow the English monarchy by blowing up the House of Lords and assassinate King James I (who would…

Eye of the Beholder

As a species we are consumed by love. Ask yourself, how many cultural productions (films, stories, songs, dances, arts) do not have love, the loss of love or the absence of love as their central theme? Would you be satisfied with what was left over? That fact that love has so much power over us…