The Primate Diaries

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Yesterday Kiera Butler, associate editor at Mother Jones, posted an article claiming that soy-based veggie burgers and infant formula are “made with the chemical hexane, an EPA-registered air pollutant and neurotoxin.” She based her conclusions on a report put out by The Cornucopia Institute, an organization committed to “ecological principles and economic wisdom underlying sustainable…

In his recent TED Talk Sam Harris, author of The End of Faith and Letter To A Christian Nation argues that science can and should be used to address moral issues. His newest book, The Moral Landscape: How Science Can Determine Human Values, will be published in October, 2010. For more see Sam Harris, Franics…

With yesterday’s announcement of the historic nuclear arms treaty signed by Russia and the United States (that would reduce existing stockpiles by as much as 30%) I thought I would repost my piece on Edward Teller’s nuclear legacy from September, 2003 that was originally commissioned by The Nation magazine (though ultimately went unpublished). Also see…

Carnival of Evolution Is Live

The monthly Carnival of Evolution is now up at Beetles in the Bush. Ted has done a terrific job of putting together some of the best science writing on the web. Make sure to stop on by and thank him for another great edition. This month brings newcomer Chadrick Lane with his blog The Ancestral…

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…