The Abstract and the Concrete, or, the Road to Fascism

I was thinking about the way in which the anti-abortionists justify their views. I have always said that “Pro-Life” is a misnomer. Instead of being pro-life, they are pro-potential life. In order to protect potential lives, they ignore the needs and rights of those who have actual life – the women who cannot for whatever reason carry that Read More…

Morality and Evolution 7: Conclusion

[Morality and Evolution 1 2 3 4 5 6 7] So far I have made out the following arguments: Evolution does in fact debunk moral realism, as the fitness bearer for a moral claim is the agent in relation to others in their group, not the truth of the claim There is no Milvian Bridge, therefore, from success due to actions Read More…

Morality and Evolution 6: Moral dispositions

[Morality and Evolution 1 2 3 4 5 6 7] In any field that has statistical variation, it is necessary to isolate the variables. Biology is all about statistical variation of populations, and so we must expect that any account of morality that is based upon biology will have variation along a number of axes. Here I wish to sketch out Read More…

Morality and Evolution 5: biology and culture

[Morality and Evolution 1 2 3 4 5 6 7] I should note that there is no set historical sequence implied in the levels 0 to 4, apart from the fact that we were primates before we were humans, so some sort of historical transition from 0 to 1 must occur before any of the others. Each layer contains the contexts Read More…

Evopsychopathy 2: The phylogenetic bracket

As noted, SB and EP have a very unfortunate tendency to reflect the status quo in their results and research questions. This is not unique to them. History, sociology, other fields of psychology (psychotherapy for gods’ sake!), and in my own profession, ethics, all have this “Pull of Privilege”. Somehow the results of this research Read More…

Evopsychopathy 1. Conditions for sociobiology

Well I better put up or shut up, I guess. Here are my ruminations, excretions, and expressions regarding evolutionary psychology, or, as we might call it, evopsychopathy. I am, as I have said, a born again sociobiologist, so I guess that makes me an evopychopath. Let’s get a few things out of the way first. Read More…

How not to give a keynote

So we finally managed to get things going for the Poland keynote. It took over half an hour to get the sound working, after a fashion, and the connection was blocky at best. The hardest part was that I kept trying to hear what people were saying at the other end, but got only feedback Read More…

Rise of the Planet of the Moralists 5: Social Dominance and Power

Rise of the Planet of the Moralists Series1: Introduction2: Chains and Trees 3: Clades and grades4: Predicting traits5: Social dominance and power Thus far we have focused on the differences between human beings and apes, and the ways we should expect to find each species behave. What do all apes have that is common in Read More…

Rise of the Planet of the Moralists 1: Introduction

Rise of the Planet of the Moralists Series1: Introduction2: Chains and Trees 3: Clades and grades4: Predicting traits5: Social dominance and power This is an extended meditation upon the recent film Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011). There may be spoilers (first and final warning) so read at your own risk. The film is an extended attempt to Read More…

Passing thoughts on Rise of the Planet of the Apes

Spoilers. Look away. As usual Hollywood cannot present how scientists actually do their work. But Rise is a much better film than I expected. For a start, the social dominance behaviours of primates was well presented, along with submission behaviours, threat stares, reciprocal altruism and a host of documented behaviours. And that was just the Read More…