Category Archives: evolution

Dreams of Destiny

The trouble with religion is that it’s backwards. If you’re religiously inclined, you start with a pre-ordained set of answers and then try earnestly to distort whatever you’re seeing so that it will lead you to the answers you’ve already … Continue reading

Posted in evolution, random musings, religion | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Delusions Great & Small

Richard Dawkins is a magnet to whom polarized opinions are irresistibly drawn. For those who are spiritually inclined (whatever that means), Dawkins’s unstinting attacks on religion can be deeply disturbing. Such people seem, in many cases, to feel a need … Continue reading

Posted in evolution, random musings | Tagged , | 2 Comments

Bad Memes

There is an infectious agent (I forget whether it’s a virus or a bacterium) that causes ants to crawl out to the tips of grass leaves. This change in the ant’s behavior is of no value to the ant — … Continue reading

Posted in evolution, politics, society & culture | Tagged , | 4 Comments

Why Is There Sex?

Pardon me for boasting, but on the way home from the gym this morning I seem to have solved a long-standing problem in evolutionary theory. I don’t think I’ve read this idea anywhere — it just sort of popped up. … Continue reading

Posted in evolution, random musings, Uncategorized | Tagged | 1 Comment

The Big Picture

Physicists have pretty well established that the way the universe works depends on the values of a small bunch of numerical constants. The strength of gravity, for instance. If gravity were slightly stronger, stars would all collapse into neutron stars, … Continue reading

Posted in evolution, random musings | 4 Comments

Life Is a Brewery

I’m re-reading a couple of science books I read a few years ago — The Violinist’s Thumb by Sam Kean and Microcosm by Carl Zimmer. Both are about cell biology, and while they’re addressed to the intelligent layman, they’re not … Continue reading

Posted in evolution, random musings | Leave a comment

Fuzzy

Surprisingly often, scientific researchers make what (eventually, perhaps after decades) turn out to be bad assumptions. They simplify a vexing problem in order to investigate it with the available tools, and then assume that what they’ve learned describes what happens … Continue reading

Posted in evolution, random musings, technology | Leave a comment

Win or Lose

Back in the early ’80s, I used to play pool with a guy named Dave Williamson. We would drive down to a nearby pool hall and play 8-ball while eating lunch. Dave was Keyboard’s advertising director, and a very competitive … Continue reading

Posted in evolution, politics, random musings | 1 Comment

Lingua Franca

So you’re describing the human species to a xenosociologist named Erbq, who comes from a planet somewhere near Aldebaran. You tell him (actually, Erbq is a him/2, but let’s not get into that) that we humans use tools and communicate using spoken … Continue reading

Posted in evolution, music | Tagged , | 3 Comments

Morality Unraveled

If you ever wonder why we are the way we are, I recommend reading Robert Wright’s fascinating book The Moral Animal. Wright lucidly explains the insights of the emerging science of evolutionary psychology. It’s more than a little disheartening to see one’s grand … Continue reading

Posted in evolution, politics, society & culture | Tagged , | 3 Comments