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A link to a kill

Last updated on 4 Oct 2017

007 - A View To A Kill.jpg I have finished my lecture for tomorrow early! So linkies!
Let’s see if we can’t impose some order on this bunch.

Atheists and accommodationists and humanists, oh my

PZ Somebody got up a few noses. Again. This L. A. Times article described a recent set-to between PZ and Friends (huh, great name for a children’s TV show, not) and Chris Mooney. If you’ve been following the Interwootz for a while this is not news. Jerry Coyne commented, of course. Josh Rosenau responded: how can the “accommodationists” make the claim that moderation works? Science, of course. Chris Schoen also: You Can’t Spell Incompatible Without Combat (well you can, but that’s nitpicking). Jason Rosenhouse, however, thinks Josh is Missing the Point in the Accommodationism Debate. Josh (quite well) replies – Jason hasn’t answered the question. Then, just to pile on, he plays with the civil rights analogy: Role models: Martin Luther King, Jr. or Malcolm X? Oh, and divisions in the ranks: Can there be evidence for God? Jerry Coyne vs. PZ Myers. And all I have to do is watch from the sidelines…

Meanwhile, Massimo Pigliucci has been reading Russell’s Mysticism and Logic. Brandon at Siris doesn’t like his interpretation.

Religion in general

Brandon also discusses some reforms sought by eastern Catholics. They want parity with the western Catholics. Hang about. Didn’t they already do this? Back in the 6th century or something?

Konrad Talmont-Kaminski has another outline of his book on religion up. It’s developing nicely: In a Mirror, Darkly – another outline. He also discusses a recent paper by Atran and Henrich on dual inheritance theories of religion.

Mr Smart and Heroman: what God and children can know, and the relation between this and belief in God. From Epiphenom of course. “Realism, in short, is natural. The idea of the supernatural has to be learned.”

Why Sunday morning remains America’s most segregated hour, from CNN.


This Week in Intelligent Design – 12/10/10 by Jack at Homologous Legs.

Science as a threat to far-right fringe [Nature, behind paywall]. Facts rule, tea-partiers!

Schadenfreude is… when the antivaxxers lose non-profit tax status in Australia.

Truthiness is five years old!

Magic by Numbers – how numbers are used as if they meant something. Constantine didn’t understand antibiotics! [H/T Susan Silberstein]

Don’t Make a Monkey out of Me – Matt Young at The Panda’s Thumb traces the use of popular music during and after the Scopes Trial.

Reactions to Fodor and Piatelli-Palmerini; accusations of hypocrisy. Warning: talks about “the Darwinians”.


Genes Are Political Agnostics by Bob O’Hara [oops] from Grrlscientist’s shiny new digs.

Most medical research is misinformation: Lies, Damned Lies, and Medical Science at The Atlantic.

Of Terms in Biology: Monophyletic, Paraphyletic… [a standard process cladistic interpretation]

Earth’s Oldest Animal? Heh. I’ve seen these in the field, thanks to Chris Nedin.

Seems like if you live in an aqueous medium you can share genes pretty easily.

Like a virginalis, named for the very first time: best. title. ever. for systematics.

Spatial dispersal, parallel adaptation, and the “Stooge effect” at John Hawk’s blog. Any theory that includes the Three Stooges has my vote.

Shape at the cross-roads: homoplasy and history in the evolution of the carnivoran skull towards herbivory.

Science communication

Can people honestly not know much science? Sure, says Jennifer Rohn, disagreeing (politely) with Carl Zimmer.

Thirty years in, Bad Religion still going against the grain. How can you not like a punk band where the singer has a PhD in evolutionary biology?

The University of Tennessee has an evolution themed uni magazine. [PDF]

Scienceblogging is being upgraded, and seeks help. They link to blogging on peer-reviewed science.

Why we hate PowerPoints — and how to fix them – at CNN.

Avoid the Daily Mail: Kittens vs the Daily Mail. A useful plug-in. Can we have a more general one?

History and sociology of science

Darwin’s rat: a first geological view on mammalian evolution

Exhibit displays Nazis’ ‘Deadly Medicine’ at LA Times.

Where the pictures came from: images used in science history books. Thony Christie at Renaissance Mathematicus of course. More pictures: Darwin and Evolution in Cartoons and Caricatures at Dispersal of Darwin.

Jennifer Ouellette reports on attempts to bring back Babbage by reconstructing his Analytical Engine. Want!

Apparently if you want to be cited, cite the most cited papers.

Does Facebook change the social game? Facebook & Dunbar’s number at Razib Khan’s blog.


Leiter asked Most significant philosophers of science of the 20th-century? Eric Schleisser noted some serious omissions (including David Hull!). So Most Significant Philosophers of Science of the 20th-Century–One More Time! I wonder who the most significant living philosopher of science is? Kitcher? Van Fraassen? Sober? Suggestions in the comments, please.

Michael Dummett on Frege at Philosophy Bites. An amusing anecdote about Wittgenstein there, too.

Wolff continues his series on the study of society: Nine, Ten and Eleven. Also, John D at Philosophical Disquisitions continues his series: Morals by Agreement (Part 2): Minimax Relative Concession.

Philosophers’ Carnival CXV.

A Philosophical Bendideia – philosophy at the waterfront. The Athenian port, that is. With Plato.

Humanities funding cuts near you? Humanities programs subsidize science and engineering says Bill Benzon.

Bohr’s Correspondence Principle at Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

Some replies to the recent paper on genetic information: What’s transmitted? Inherited information by Nicholas Shea, in favour. Commentary on “The transmission sense of information” by Carl T. Bergstrom and Martin Rosvall by Jim McLaurin, against.

Stuff (you knew there had to be a trashcan taxon, didn’t you?)

Useless Australia. Kind of relevant given the dispute over water rights right now. Our PM reaffirms the Internet Filter. Excuse my French: fuck! Here’s why that sucks.The EFA also keep us up to date.


  1. Bob O'H Bob O'H

    Ah, you kindly link, but omit to mention I wrote the piece on GrrlScientist’s blog. Pah, I bet you don’t forget to do that the next time she has a guest post up.

  2. Let’s put it another way. Incompatible without Combat is Nil Pie.

  3. Susan Silberstein Susan Silberstein

    There was that band whose awesomely awesome guitar player was a physicist, now PhD, University Chancellor thingy.

    • John S. Wilkins John S. Wilkins

      I have seen said guitarist live, twice. Once in the band for which he is known, and once in the backing band for a stage show based on the band’s songs. Very cool.

      • Susan Silberstein Susan Silberstein

        I also saw him twice, supporting first and second albums, IIRC. That singer guy could hit the high notes w/o electronic boost. Way cool.

        • John S. Wilkins John S. Wilkins

          And without autotune. There were giants in those days.

  4. Susan Silberstein Susan Silberstein

    And I think Phil Alvin has a PhD in math from UCLA; I know he was teaching up the road at Cal State Long Beach for a while.

  5. John Harshman John Harshman

    a standard process cladistic interpretation

    …by which you mean an interpretation that supposes organisms really exist and have real phylogenetic relationships, rather than being convenient collections and summaries of arbitrary, coded characters, done (apparently) just for fun?

    • John S. Wilkins John S. Wilkins

      Strawman much?

      • John Harshman John Harshman

        Well, what did you mean?

  6. You would do an awesome Philosophers’ Carnival! Please consider it.

  7. In the whole accomodation thing, do they ever define ‘spiritual’? I mean, I’m spiritual in the sense that I experience and empathise with many of the emotional human thingies that underly and motivate religion, but that might not be what someone else means by ‘spiritual’.

    I wonder what result you’d get if you surveyed people on what they expected the “most segregated hour” article to be about before clicking on it. It turned out to be talking about segregation by race (as opposed to segregation by something else), but I certainly didn’t anticipate that.

    That’s as far as I’m up to at the moment.

    • John S. Wilkins John S. Wilkins

      I think “spiritual” is a holdover of a bad metaphysics (dualism) and basically meaningless. It means, in this context, “fuzzy connected feelings” and no more, and you do not need to have any deeper context. But it is not necessary to accommodation.

      • Gregory Gregory

        “Darwin forgot the spirit.” – Nietzsche

        There’s a difference between forgetting and not knowing that something exists in the first place.

        To suggest evolutionary theory is disspiriting or empty of spirit would be a boon for opponents of evolution.

  8. The line “millions of times more frequent than thought” is the lead-up to an old joke, but you’ve heard it before, right? (I’ll tell it anyway: so how frequent is thought between marine bacteria?)

    Will start on the Science Communication section, etc, tomorrow.

  9. sbej sbej

    Chris Schoen ‘s piece was nice. Ive made a vow not to follow that subject anymore as the debate never seems to move, but I could not resist and as usual I wanted to start waving flags and set of the fireworks when it got to the last couple of lines.

    Closing lines summed up very well.

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