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Highlinker: There can be many

Last updated on 22 Jun 2018

highlander2dv.jpgMany interesting links lately, many to do with #SBFail. As I expected, those who remain have come to an understanding with the Seed mothership. Good luck to them. Personally I think that if you find things work wherever you are, use it. But my experience is that once management has shown itself to be toxic, such later changes are superficial and rarely pan out substantially. Links at the end.

Two interesting new Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy articles: Computation in Physical Systems and Adaptationism. The latter is a good survey of the philosophical perspectives that take adaptation to be primary in evolution. Note to Larry Moran; it is not going to cover stochastic evolution as a result.

Tom Rees at Epiphenom has an interesting article on the relation of IQ and religion; he reports that the correlation is not between IQ and faith but the ability to process information; the less one is able the more religious, according to a study.

NPR censored/edited a piece by Barry Eisler on the use of Orwellian language about torture by, among others, NPR. The irony is palpable.

Kelly Miller reviews my friends David Williams’ and Malte Ebach’s Foundations of Systematics and Biogeography in Cladistics. Amazingly for that venue it is favourable, although Miller disagrees with them on many points. Dave and Malte present a very unfashionable view of systematics as classification based on comparative biology rather than evolutionary history.

Tim Dean at Ockham’s Beard has a post about the values of morality and pragmatism about what works that is worth reading.

Amy Cheng at Small Things Considered (always worth a read) rejoices in the return of metabolism to biochem and microbiology curricula.

Thony Christie discusses the astronomy books that preceded Copernicus and influenced him. Finish that damned paper, Thony.

Nicola McEldowney, daughter of my favourite cartoonist and snark marvel, has some suggestions for reviving English that involve torturing the American public.

On #SBFail: AbelPharmboy has left the ship and has a new liferaft. Myrmecos also leaves for a new (i.e., old) nest. It made Nature News. But overall John Lynch thinks it was a good thing.

8 Comments

  1. re: article on adaptationism, you said,

    The latter is a good survey of the philosophical perspectives that take adaptation to be primary in evolution. Note to Larry Moran; it is not going to cover stochastic evolution as a result.

    If the question is whether adaptation is primary in evolution then surely the scientific evidence is relevant? Are you saying that it’s okay to discuss the “philosophical perspective” without considering the facts?

    Depending on how you define evolution, it’s an incontrovertible fact that most evolution is due to random genetic drift. Why wouldn’t philosophers mention this in an article on adaptationism? For that matter, why don’t they define evolution? I thought that defining terms was one of the hallmarks of good philosophy.

  2. Perplexed in Peoria Perplexed in Peoria

    JW:”NPR censored/edited a piece by Barry Eisler on the use of Orwellian language about torture by, among others, NPR. The irony is palpable.”

    I find it even more ironic that he can write a piece just dripping with innuendo about disproportionate media influence by certain ethnic groups, never once mention the group, and then talk about Orwell with a straight face.

  3. Oh, I don’t know, PiP; I think you’ve set the irony bar fairly high yourself with that comment, or at least the magnificently-unselfaware one. Let’s see:

    You’re criticizing me for writing “a piece just dripping with innuendo about disproportionate media influence by certain ethnic groups,” without providing any evidence whatsoever for the aspersion, without managing to mention the ethnic groups you imagine are the subject of my innuendo? All under the cowardly cover of an Internet pseudonym?

    You’re joking, right?

    No? Then by all means, do name the groups — and provide some direct quotes, or even your imagined evidence, in support of your charge. Otherwise, you’ll perhaps realize (I know, I’m being exceptionally optimistic) that you’re guilty of a sad species of the innuendo you claim to be so troubled by when you imagine it in others.

    • John S. Wilkins John S. Wilkins

      I too am somewhat nonplussed about PiP’s claim. Does he think that mentioning the pundits who happen to have Jewish names is a dog whistle against Jews? I read that piece about three times and didn’t get the slightest hint of anything else it could have been. And Kristol, et al did justify torture, irrespective of their ethnicity.

    • Perplexed in Peoria Perplexed in Peoria

      Mr. Eisler,

      I may owe you an apology. Read on.

      I admit to using innuendo – how could I deny it?
      I was (as JW guessed) suggesting that your posting had something to do with Israel or its supporters or the influence of its supporters.
      As for my pseudonym, it doesn’t cloak my identity. You can find my name easily by Googling my nym, or simply by looking at my other comments on this blog. You can also discover what my previous positions have been on Israel and Iraq. I’m not sure I have much on record regarding torture and justification of torture, but I’ll state here that I am against both.

      Ok, so how did I read your article and find what looked to me like a subtext? Well, the first thing was the mention of the Gaza flotilla – perhaps I don’t follow the news and commentary as much as I should, but I had never noticed any organized hate directed against Turkey. But I do follow the news enough to guess the source if such a hate campaign did happen. So that was the first shoe.

      The second shoe dropped in the next sentence where I was surprised to find pundits Bill Kristol and Tom Friedman grouped together. “What do those two have in common?”, I asked myself. “Oh, yeah”.

      But my third piece of evidence may have been a hallucination. Somehow, while looking at either your blog or a list of your HuffPo articles, I got the impression (from a list) that something like a third of your own punditry dealt with recent Israeli military adventures. Your POV – critical. Or so formed my impression.

      Of course, I cannot find that list now. It appears that you have been fairly silent on the topic of Zionism and anti-Zionism. I must have somehow been looking at a list of related links generated by a bot from a prior search regarding the Gaza flotilla, and somehow misinterpreted it as a list of your blog postings.

      So, the basis for my innuendo seems pretty shaky right now. I was likely projecting some of my own biases onto you. So, I apologize for jumping to an incorrect conclusion.

      But I will invite you to perform an experiment. First take a look at the reader commentary which your edited NPR piece generated on NPR’s website. Then compare to the flame wars that occur there whenever the subject of Israel comes up. May I suggest that if your real intention was to generate a thoughtful conversation on torture and on Orwellian language, then perhaps Ms Krule did you a favor by striking out your distracting choice of examples.

  4. Wes Wes

    It’s interesting that #SBFail made Nature News, but this…

    Pepsi’s ‘Food Frontiers’ blog was swiftly pulled from ScienceBlogs, but the incident prompted about 20 writers to up digital-sticks and decamp for blog-pastures new.

    ….Ugh. Just….ugh. If I were the editor, I would hold the author down, tattoo this sentence on his ass and say, “See? That’s how it feels to read this sentence.”

    • John S. Wilkins John S. Wilkins

      We have a Nature editor who visits this blog occasionally. Maybe that will filter back ๐Ÿ™‚

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