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Innate: How the Wiring of Our Brains Shapes Who We Are

Published today — this should get some regressive knickers in a twist. In the past century, the tradition of Freudian psychology popularized the idea that our psychological dispositions could be traced to formative childhood experiences. In many areas of modern academic sociology and psychology this belief is still widespread, though it has been extended to…

Double helix

65 years ago today Watson and Crick discovered the structure of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA). Alec StokesBiologyDNAFrancis Crickgeneticsjames watsonRosalind Franklinscience

Are Political Orientations Genetically Transmitted?

Interesting — I hadn’t come across this paper before. (H/T Steve Stewart Williams). I need to assimilate the implications for a chapter I’ve been working on entitled “Pathologizing Ideology, Epistemic Modesty and Instrumental Rationality.” [T]he substantive findings we present here offer a direct challenge to common assumptions and interpretations that political attitudes and behavioral tendencies are shaped…

The cognitive differences between men and women

Bruce Goldman reports in the Spring issue of Stanford Medicine. Our differences don’t mean one sex or the other is better or smarter or more deserving. Some researchers have grappled with charges of “neuro­sexism”: falling prey to stereotypes or being too quick to interpret human sex differences as biological rather than cultural. They counter, however,…

Lost Tribes of Israel, Blood and History

I’ve been fascinated by Tudor Parfitt’s work for some thirty years. If ever there were someone whose life as an academic had any genuine appeal to me, it would be his. In his pursuit of knowledge for knowledge’s sake he has had a profound effect on the understanding of that paradigm puzzle case of social…

How Do Our Social Networks Affect Our Health?

Nicholas Christakis (yes, the very same that had been in the news recently, unfortunately caught in the midst of campus fuckwittery) explains how face-to-face social networks and their structures influence behaviors and phenomena in human society and the natural living world. (H/T to Guy Theraulaz). NPR/TED Video/Audio. collective behaviorcommunicationcontagiondistributed cognitionemergent orderExtended MindgeneticsNetwork ScienceNicholas ChristakisSocial networkSwarm behavior