Archive for December, 2013

Kin vs Group Selection in S4A

Thursday, December 19th, 2013

This article, like most of Le Nguyen Hoang's work, brings together a wonderful mix of ideas and resources and is mostly great. But I am a bit worried that it might leave some readers with the idea that kin selection and group selection are mutually exclusive alternatives when in fact I doubt that anyone in […]

The Sunsets Are Already Getting Later!

Monday, December 16th, 2013

To a late riser like me it seems that the days are already getting longer even though is is still almost a week before the actual winter solstice. But this is not an illusion as the sunsets really are starting to happen later here, even as the length of time from sunrise to sunset continues […]

Women in Computing

Monday, December 16th, 2013

Last week we got several reminders of the significant roles played by women in what is often perceived these days as a rather male-dominated and even somewhat macho field. On Dec 6 Maria Popover's Brain Pickings site pointed to a tribute video  about holocaust survivor and 1960's software entrepreneur 'Steve' Shirley (produced by Google about 3 months ago […]

God in Proof

Tuesday, December 10th, 2013

I hadn't really been planning to read 'God in Proof' but this excerpt has me sufficiently engaged that I might actually do so.

An Undergraduate Refutation of Atheist Evangelists

Tuesday, December 10th, 2013

In a post called A Refutation of the Undergraduate Atheists, David V. Johnson's use of the silly undergraduate-level technique of mockingly mislabeling the contrary position has distracted many of his commenters from what could have been the start of a fruitful discussion (about the appropriateness of vigorously promoting atheism). The interesting question that Johnson reminds us […]

Where Credit Is Due

Monday, December 9th, 2013

Newt Gingrich deserves  applause for standing up to some of his co-ideologues in defense of the strategy and tactics of Nelson Mandela and the ANC, both now and in the past. He, along with Brian Mulroney and others, is among the minority of right wingers who resisted the pressure from those like Reagan and Thatcher who […]

Is Philosophy Stupid? No, but its advocates often are.

Saturday, December 7th, 2013

The main problem with Philosophy as a distinct academic discipline is not that it is stupid, but that its advocates *are* often "stupid" in that they badly misidentify its value with claims like the following: Philosophy answers questions like... "Who am I?" "What should I do with my life? How can I be happy?" "Do […]

Nelson Mandela

Friday, December 6th, 2013

Sad to have him gone but glad for the end of his final illness.  The man's infectious smile radiated a sincerity that I don't think anyone has ever denied, and I am thankful that that sincerity included an unwavering commitment to principles that I am proud to share (but ashamed not to have done much to advance).