Prof. Mari Fitzduff, who I’m honored to call a friend, set me thinking the other day when she commented on a proposed speech I wrote for President Obama to substitute for the one he gave in Cairo. But before I share our exchange, you need to know that Mari is the director of the Conflict and Coexistence Program at Brandeis University, where she moved after many years as director of INCORE, the International Conflict Research Institute in (as she always says it to avoid taking sides) “Derry/Londonderry,” Northern Ireland. In that role she played an important part in the years and years of mediation that finally brought a blessed end to that terrible conflict. Read more
A government in the nature of things, with intelligent (human) design
I could not make the inaugural, but I had to be in Washington on Friday, and I decided to make a pilgrimage. After walking halfway across the city (dragging a rolling bag all the way) I stood in a happy, multiracial crowd before the White House fence,
New evidence forces us to consider the role of genes in all behavior
Just over a quarter century ago, I wrote my first book, The Tangled Wing: Biological Constraints on the Human Spirit. In it I addressed the objections that many liberal scientists and others of that day had against behavioral genetics, some of which I shared.
Now I get it: This is their generation's March on Washington.
My son Adam Konner is a senior at the University of Michigan who, like so many other young people, has been working to elect Barack Obama.
Barack Obama, the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and the rebirth of the dream.
At this writing, Barack Obama seems set to win the most important position in the nation and the world. In June, when he won the nomination, I wrote “The Long View,” about how, in anthropological perspective, history had been made.
Why aren’t the Democrats winning hands down? A brilliant young psychologist thinks it's all in the brain–ours.
Some of my Democratic friends reading my blogs or listening to my occasional rants are starting to wonder which side I’m on. The fact is I have always voted Democratic and will do so in this election, but I am increasingly frustrated with my party.
"Conservatives" nationalize Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, mocking their own market mantra
Anthropologists and evolutionary psychologists are fascinated by two poles of human behavior: cooperation and competition. You've got to get your own in terms of reproductive success, but you're in a relentlessly social species, so you often have to do well by doing good.
McCain’s VP Pick Makes Darwinian and Boasian Sense
Shock 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.
Evil is real, and so are evil genes.
Today I stumbled on a C-SPAN presentation by Barbara Oakley about her book Evil Genes: Why Rome Fell, Hitler Rose, Enron Failed, and My Sister Stole My Mother’s Boyfriend. I haven’t read the book, but it evidently overlaps with many things I’ve long thought and written myself, in The Tangled Wing and elsewhere.
Prejudices change slowly, but they change.
Anthropologists take the long view. Fads come and go–hula hoops, Heavy Metal–but where it counts, culture change–cultural evolution, really–is slow.
Take racial equality for instance. I am always amazed by people who say that affirmative action has gone on long enough.