Lots of links today.
First, let’s deal with the NYT post by Virginia Heffernan attacking science blogging. There are some fair comments there – I have objected to the religion bashing in many science blogs for a long time, and I do find the moral outrage about Pepsi a little incongruous when Seed has taken advertising from corporate sponsors for a while, although I think Heffernan’s dismissal of this as a professional hazard for journalists is a bit disingenuous too. Her own profession makes quite a stink when corporate advertising is passed off as journalism, and if it doesn’t, if it’s become blasé about it, then something is deeply wrong with journalism. But that is not, if you’ll permit me, news. However, is the attitude of science bloggers to fattening foods a class issue? I think it isn’t. Moreover, is scienceblogging not about the science? Only if you cherrypick:
For instance, Deep Sea News discusses a new species concept for asexuals. The paper is open access and DSN’s Kevin Zelnio asks whether it is different from the phylogenetic species concept (which one?). I wonder if it is different from the phenetic species concept/OTU. It uses an arbitrary metric for inclusion.
Rich Meisel at Panda’s Thumb links to an open access article on teaching tree thinking. Nick Matzke also at Panda’s Thumb shows how a few hundred years of dog breeding has led to a massive amount of morphological variation, such that we’d identify it in the fossil record as macroevolution.
Carl Zimmer discusses whether sexual selection is arbitrary signalling rather than indicating genetic “quality” (a term that almost always is meaningless).
So, what has Heffernan done for us lately? Granted, Jonah and Carl are journalists, but they do blog on science. However, scientists leave other blogging networks too, for other reasons. Alyssa Gilbert of Way Oort West has left Nature Networks due to frustration at technical problems – MT4 strikes again. She is the third recent departure there.
On to philosophy, for I am a philosophy of science blogger and not a science blogger per se.
More from u n d e r v e r s e regarding the free will debate. Is that an argument from consequences I see before me?
Some PhilPapers riches: Ken Waters has a critique of Samir Okasha’s Pricean evolutionary account. Charles Wolfe, friend and star historian, discusses the idea of “organism” in history. Daniel Dennett responds to Alistair McGrath’s comment that atheism is a meme too. And you have to read this one: Richard Joyce has an excellent and insightful discussion of evolutionary ethics and moral naturalism.
By the way, if you use Papers and Safari on the Mac, I recommend the new plugin that opens pages and PDFs in Papers directly. Very useful. Access it directly at the Safari Extensions Gallery.
Some miscellany: Darwin wrote the Origin according to the rules of rhetoric.
That brings us full circle, I think.