All entries by this author

Questioning the motives *

Oct 21st, 2002 | Filed by

Has inequality increased in the last two or three decades, and is it a problem if it has, and is it invidious even to mention the subject, and if so, why?… Read the rest

At the Bookfest

Oct 20th, 2002 4:25 pm | By

I went to the Northwest Bookfest yesterday to hear Steven Pinker and William Calvin talk about brains and evolution. Pinker is here on a book tour with his new book The Blank Slate, and I also went to hear him Friday evening. The Bookfest event was particularly interesting, because it was a dialogue and a little bit less planned than a lecture necessarily is. Calvin is a neuroscientist at the University of Washington who, as he pointed out, like Pinker tends to write books for the general public. His latest book, A Mind for all Seasons, is about the likely ways climate change and the evolutionary pressures that go with it shaped the human mind, and he and … Read the rest

Hermeneutics of New Jersey *

Oct 20th, 2002 | Filed by

Deconstructing, psychoanalysing, close reading or rather viewing, rewinding ‘The Sopranos’…are academics watching a little too much television?… Read the rest

How to discuss controversial subjects honestly *

Oct 18th, 2002 | Filed by

Jared Diamond reviews book on evolutionary explanation of religion in which contentious, often oversimplified ideas are treated fairly.… Read the rest

Nurture versus nurture *

Oct 18th, 2002 | Filed by

What seems like the reasonable compromise position, that human nature is half genes and half upbringing, can still get it wrong, Steven Pinker says. Sometimes it’s 100% one or the other.… Read the rest

Pinker, Wright and Seligman chat *

Oct 16th, 2002 | Filed by

Robert Wright invites Steven Pinker and Martin Seligman to talk about happiness, genes and psychology on Slate.Read the rest

Relies too heavily on rhetoric *

Oct 16th, 2002 | Filed by

David Barash reviews S. J. Gould’s The Structure of Evolutionary Theory.… Read the rest

Journalists adore, biologists not so much *

Oct 16th, 2002 | Filed by

Paul Gross considers the reputation of Stephen Jay Gould among colleagues as well as the general public, and finds some discrepancies.… Read the rest

Audible gasp *

Oct 15th, 2002 | Filed by

Even on the left, even the secular left, criticism of religion is not allowed.… Read the rest

Faked research and how it is caught *

Oct 15th, 2002 | Filed by

Though the process worked and the fraud was exposed, scientists wish the process had worked a bit faster.… Read the rest

Good idea but over-optimistic *

Oct 13th, 2002 | Filed by

Jeremy Rifkin’s ideas about hydrogen fuel cells may depend too much on starry-eyed hopes for ‘new consciousness’.… Read the rest

He was admired, his ideas were rejected *

Oct 12th, 2002 | Filed by

John Tooby examines the paradox of Darwin’s celebrity despite widespread skepticism about natural selection.… Read the rest

A Darwinian Left *

Oct 11th, 2002 | Filed by

Study of the psychological effects of inequality attracts thinkers to evolutionary theory, thus beginning to heal the breach between sociobiology and the Left.… Read the rest

Senator Clinton queries theology-based research *

Oct 10th, 2002 | Filed by

Anti-abortion doctor who writes books on “healing power of Jesus” appointed by Bush administration to drug-review panel.… Read the rest

Nobel economists go against the grain *

Oct 9th, 2002 | Filed by

Economists add cognitive psychology, laboratory experiment to the old ‘rational choice’ view.… Read the rest

Hobbes was right, Rousseau was wrong *

Oct 8th, 2002 | Filed by

Steven Pinker interview explores why sociobiology is so upsetting to both left and right.… Read the rest

Venus and Mars revisited *

Oct 8th, 2002 | Filed by

Studies on jealousy agree on evolutionary origin but differ on how it plays out.… Read the rest

It depends on how you frame the question *

Oct 7th, 2002 | Filed by

Another skirmish in the long-running debate over how evolution shapes sexual differences.… Read the rest

Just another theory, yet again *

Oct 6th, 2002 | Filed by

A Georgia school board, in Postmodern vein, says diversity of opinion is the way to go–at least when it comes to evolution.… Read the rest

Euphemistic evasion or sententious aphorism *

Oct 5th, 2002 | Filed by

Didactic impulses or nationalist piety can shape the work of even the most detached biographer.… Read the rest