Archives for October, 2010

Noted without comment

I’m in DC doing meetings and stuff, so regular blogging will return later in the week. Meanwhile, via Ed Yong, a paper On Angry Leaders and Agreeable Followers, which finds: [T]he two studies we conducted showed that agreeableness moderates the effects of a leader’s emotional displays. In a scenario study, participants with lower levels of…

Michael Sharp for State Senate

At least he’ll admit where he’s coming from:

Hemant Mehta, the Friendly Atheist, considers the confrontationalist/accommodationalist disagreement: Here’s the difference between the two sides: You know that courtroom phrase, “tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth”? Both Mooney and PZ want to tell the truth about science and evolution. Only PZ is willing to tell the whole truth —…

Leigh Van Valen, R.I.P.

Wilkins reports Leigh Van Valen, paleontologist and evolution polymath (theorist, philosopher, mathematician, proponent of the Ecological Species Concept, and coiner of the Red Queen Hypothesis) has died. He was 75, and will live on through his many students and his astonishingly broad body of research, which touched on everything from the evolution of whales to…

Benoit Mandelbrot, RIP

Laughing Squid reports, via John Brockman’s twitter feed and Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s website, that the father of fractal geometry has moved to a different fractional dimension.

Attention conservation notice: 3200 words attempting to correct what may be a fatally flawed analogy between New Atheism and Martin Luther King, Jr.’s approach to the civil rights movement. In replying to Jason’s post the other day, I skipped over some important issues that were peripheral to my main point. But I want to double…

The party that lost its head

Shorter former Census Bureau director and current Discovery Institute president Bruce Chapman (author of a book with this blog post’s title) – The Futility of Polling: Numbers are stupid. Slightly longer: It’s better to predict the outcome of elections based on conversations with some guy on the street, rather than through statistically validated models parameterized…

Missing the Point

Jason Rosenhouse has a long post up claiming I missed the point in my post a few days ago about the lessons communication science can teach us about the accommodationism spat. The two things I came away from his post thinking were: 1) wow, did he miss my point! and 2) we’re talking about very…

Heartwarming

Disco. Inst head honcho Bruce Chapman is confused. “What is more powerful,” he wonders, “altruism or the survival instinct?” The question, he explains, is raised because of Watergate felon Chuck Colson’s ramblings about the trapped Chilean miners. Colson, in turn is confused and amazed by Chilean health minister Jaime Manalich’s report that miners “were fighting…

Scientific answers to silly questions

Last weekend, Chris Mooney and Genie Scott squared off against PZ Myers and Vic Stenger at the Council for Secular Humanism’s 30th anniversary bash. The question was something to do with whether accommodationism is teh awsum or teh lamez0rs. You know my opinion, and from what I saw of the discussion, I don’t think anyone…