Tagged Darwin

Charles Darwin’s Happy Birthday

As we mark Charles Darwin’s birthday on February 12th, our culture is riding a wave that should take us back to his theory. The #MeToo and #TimesUp movements are the crest of the wave, which may represent a turning point against men’s chronic exploitation of women. It’s one aspect of the decline of male supremacy predicted and fought for by Elizabeth Cady Stanton, the pioneering women’s rights activist born just a few years after Darwin.

Stanton, like Darwin, was a realist when it came to gender differences. She thought that some were intrinsic and fundamental, but that these were to women’s advantage. Indeed, in a powerful 1869 speech, she held that the strongest argument for women’s equality was “the difference between man and woman.”

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Human Nature in High Places

Statesmen understand human nature. Why not psychologists and social scientists?

apg_obama_nobel_091009_mn1Most psychologists don’t like human nature, or at least not the idea of it. Clinicians, life coaches, and corporate motivators dislike it because it implies unchangeability. Anyone who took college psychology knows how to modify behavior, from direct instruction to manipulative advertising.

And then, what fool surveying the huge variety of human personalities, needs, and tastes would dream of trying to characterize all that as one thing? Well, some fool might, but not the philosophers, evolutionists, historians and political leaders who have long used the phrase. They’ve always meant something complex, varied, and big-but not limitless.

 Barack Obama, for instance. Read more

Darwinian News, Hot Off the Press

In the Darwin bicentennial, new insights into fossils, genes, birdsong, and cancer.

google-logo-fossil1The latest issue of Nature to land in my mailbox-the May 28th one-was not a tribute to Darwin in honor of his 200th birthday and the 150th of The Origin of Species; Nature has been there, done that. But it might as well have been another celebration for him, Read more

Life Elsewhere

Other planets surely harbor life. It’s only a question of time before we find it.

Kepler launchLast week the Kepler Mission blasted off into space—or as NASA nicely put it, “vaulted into the heavens on a column of thunder”—and within a few days passed the orbit of the moon. On March 12 its photometer was powered on, and as soon as it can be calibrated it will begin fulfilling the mission’s purpose: the search for other worlds. Read more

Evolution Revolution

Georgia: a fundamentalist backwater or a hotbed of evolutionary rebellion? Both.

In the past three days I somehow managed to give a lecture to medical students on medicine and anthropology, moderate a panel on evolutionary medicine, and conduct a seminar at a retreat for Emory Scholars–some of our most outstanding undergraduates–called "Religion, Science, Literature and Life."
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Sarah Palin: Evolutionary Psychology and Cultural Anthropology

McCain’s VP Pick Makes Darwinian and Boasian Sense

Sarah Palin takes aimShock and awe. That had to be one thought in McCain’s mind when he picked a little-known governor of Alaska–the state one pundit called an overgrown igloo–to stand a heartbeat away from his seat in the Oval Office, his age and cancer history be damned.
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