tsuomela + evolution   193

The Scholar's Stage: Tradition is Smarter Than You Are
"One the clearest presentations of his ideas is in his 2016 book The Secret of Our Success. The book is less a heavy scholarly tome than a poppified version of Henrich's research, but Henrich's decision to trade theoretical detail for accessibility is understandable"
book  review  culture  evolution  tradition 
21 days ago by tsuomela
Book Review: The Secret Of Our Success | Slate Star Codex
"“Culture is the secret of humanity’s success” sounds like the most vapid possible thesis. The Secret Of Our Success by anthropologist Joseph Henrich manages to be an amazing book anyway."
book  review  culture  evolution  rationality  rationalism 
21 days ago by tsuomela
The Value of W, or, Interdisciplinary Engagements on Culture - Los Angeles Review of Books
"Darwin’s Unfinished Symphony: How Culture Made the Human Mind By Kevin Laland Published 03.07.2017 Princeton University Press 464 Pages"
book  review  culture  evolution  biology  humanism  interdisciplinary 
november 2018 by tsuomela
The evolution of lossy compression | Journal of The Royal Society Interface
"In complex environments, there are costs to both ignorance and perception. An organism needs to track fitness-relevant information about its world, but the more information it tracks, the more resources it must devote to perception. As a first step towards a general understanding of this trade-off, we use a tool from information theory, rate–distortion theory, to study large, unstructured environments with fixed, randomly drawn penalties for stimuli confusion (‘distortions’). We identify two distinct regimes for organisms in these environments: a high-fidelity regime where perceptual costs grow linearly with environmental complexity, and a low-fidelity regime where perceptual costs are, remarkably, independent of the number of environmental states. This suggests that in environments of rapidly increasing complexity, well-adapted organisms will find themselves able to make, just barely, the most subtle distinctions in their environment."
evolution  culture  fitness  perception  metaphor  computer-science 
january 2018 by tsuomela
The Blood Harvest - The Atlantic
"Each year, half a million horseshoe crabs are captured and bled alive to create an unparalleled biomedical technology."
biology  animals  products  medicine  health  evolution  technology 
october 2014 by tsuomela
www.rifters.com
The Scorched-Earth Society by Peter Watts.
privacy  future  internet  surveillance  evolution 
may 2014 by tsuomela
How Natural Selection Can Create Both Self- and Other-Regarding Preferences, and Networked Minds : Scientific Reports : Nature Publishing Group
"Biological competition is widely believed to result in the evolution of selfish preferences. The related concept of the ‘homo economicus’ is at the core of mainstream economics. However, there is also experimental and empirical evidence for other-regarding preferences. Here we present a theory that explains both, self-regarding and other-regarding preferences. Assuming conditions promoting non-cooperative behaviour, we demonstrate that intergenerational migration determines whether evolutionary competition results in a ‘homo economicus’ (showing self-regarding preferences) or a ‘homo socialis’ (having other-regarding preferences). Our model assumes spatially interacting agents playing prisoner's dilemmas, who inherit a trait determining ‘friendliness’, but mutations tend to undermine it. Reproduction is ruled by fitness-based selection without a cultural modification of reproduction rates. Our model calls for a complementary economic theory for ‘networked minds’ (the ‘homo socialis’) and lays the foundations for an evolutionarily grounded theory of other-regarding agents, explaining individually different utility functions as well as conditional cooperation."
evolution  cooperation  agent-based-model  selfishness  social  pro-social  altruism 
march 2013 by tsuomela
JSTOR: An Error Occurred Setting Your User Cookie
"From its inception, antievolution activism has been aimed not only at the natural sciences but also, and almost as often, at the social sciences. Although almost entirely overlooked by scholars, this activism played a significant part in the development of American social science in the early twentieth century. Analyzing public writings and private papers of antievolution activists, academic social scientists, and university officials from the 1920s, this essay recalls this forgotten history, showing how antievolution activism contributed to the abandonment of evolutionary theory and the adoption of a set of secular, scientific, and professional characteristics that have come to define much of modern social science."
science  history  evolution  america  creationism  social-science 
february 2013 by tsuomela
Engaging the Controversy in Science Education | NCSE
"The cultural controversy over the science curriculum is not really about evolution, but rather is a debate about what knowledge is and who decides."
creationism  evolution  education  teaching  school  american-studies  controversy  science 
february 2013 by tsuomela
The wisdom of the fringes? - Random Communications from an Evolutionary Edge
"I am coming to suspect that it is the fringes that make the difference between collective intelligence and collective wisdom. Collective intelligence solves problems or resolves conflicts of, by and for a group, an organization, a community or a whole society. It solve those problems and conflicts for the here and now, for people who are interested, aware, and involved."
wisdom  communications  marginal  evolution  open-space  conversation  fringes 
february 2013 by tsuomela
Is Scientific Materialism “Almost Certainly False”? | Cross-Check, Scientific American Blog Network
"Some scholars, notably philosopher Thomas Nagel, are so unimpressed with science that they are challenging its fundamental assumptions. In his new book Mind and Cosmos: Why the Materialist Neo-Darwinian Conception of Nature Is Almost Certainly False, Nagel contends that current scientific theories and methods can’t account for the emergence of life in general and one bipedal, big-brained species in particular. To solve these problems, Nagel asserts, science needs “a major conceptual revolution,” as radical as those precipitated by heliocentrism, evolution and relativity."
science  philosophy  consensus  materialism  evolution  truth  metaphysics 
january 2013 by tsuomela
Mankind Rising: Why Evolutionary Developmentalism Will Inherit the Future – Ever Smarter World
"What is evolutionary developmentalism (“universal evo devo”)? It is a minority view of universal change in science and philosophy today, a simultaneous application of both evolutionary and developmental thinking to the universe and its replicating subsystems."
evolution  development  future  theory  optimism 
december 2012 by tsuomela
The Architecture Of MotivationEdge master Class 2011 | Conversation | Edge
"Recent research concerning the welfare of others, etc. affects not only how to think about certain emotions, but also overturns how most models of reciprocity and exchange, with implications about how people think about modern markets, political systems, and societies. What are these new approaches to human motivation? LEDA COSMIDES is a Professor of Psychology and Co-director (with John Tooby) of Center for Evolutionary Psychology at the University of California, Santa Barbara"
evolution  cooperation  behavior  psychology  motivation 
october 2012 by tsuomela
Destroying Nature Unleashes Infectious Diseases - NYTimes.com
If we fail to understand and take care of the natural world, it can cause a breakdown of these systems and come back to haunt us in ways we know little about. A critical example is a developing model of infectious disease that shows that most epidemics — AIDS, Ebola, West Nile, SARS, Lyme disease and hundreds more that have occurred over the last several decades — don’t just happen. They are a result of things people do to nature.
environment  ecology  biology  disease  epidemiology  epidemics  nature  evolution  geography  from delicious
july 2012 by tsuomela
[1207.2743] The evolutionary origins of modularity
"A central biological question is how natural organisms are so evolvable (capable of quickly adapting to new environments). A key driver of evolvability is the widespread modularity of biological networks--their organization as functional, sparsely connected subunits--but there is no consensus regarding why modularity itself evolved. While most hypotheses assume indirect selection for evolvability, here we demonstrate that the ubiquitous, direct selection pressure to reduce the cost of connections between network nodes causes the emergence of modular networks. Experiments with selection pressures to maximize network performance and minimize connection costs yield networks that are significantly more modular and more evolvable than control experiments that only select for performance. These results will catalyze research in numerous disciplines, including neuroscience, genetics and harnessing evolution for engineering purposes. "
evolution  modularity  networks  connection  biology  nature  from delicious
july 2012 by tsuomela
Denim and Tweed
Minneapolis-based evolutionary biologist, runner, writer, gay. Not necessarily in that order. I write about evolution and ecology and whatever else crosses my mind at Denim and Tweed
weblog-individual  evolution  biology  city(Minneapolis)  from delicious
june 2012 by tsuomela
Creationism requires a global conspiracy of lying scientists and/or a lying God
"To believe in creationism, either you must believe that there is a global conspiracy of scientists intent on lying to you, or you must believe that God is intent on lying to you.

That 46 percent of Americans believe one or the other of those is, as I said, dismaying."
evolution  belief  religion  creationism  conspiracy  deception  from delicious
june 2012 by tsuomela
[1201.2069] No entailing laws, but enablement in the evolution of the biosphere
Biological evolution is a complex blend of ever changing structural stability, variability and emergence of new phenotypes, niches, ecosystems. We wish to argue that the evolution of life marks the end of a physics world view of law entailed dynamics.
science  law  philosophy  explanation  evolution  complexity  from delicious
april 2012 by tsuomela
Five Darwinian/Posthumanist Theses « Larval Subjects .
"It’s no exaggeration to suggest that Darwin’s account of speciation is the most revolutionary idea in the last two hundred years. In claiming this, I am not original, for this is also the thesis of Dennett in Darwin’s Dangerous Idea. I will never have words fine enough to capture the greatness of Darwin, but nonetheless it is important to at least attempt the articulation of what is so revolutionary in his thought." Annotated link http://www.diigo.com/bookmark/http://larvalsubjects.wordpress.com/2012/04/02/eight-darwinianposthumanist-theses
evolution  ideas  object-oriented-ontology  objects  intellectual  history  from delicious
april 2012 by tsuomela
Council for Secular Humanism
"Products of intelligent design typically have capabilities that exceed usefulness precisely because these can be “intelligently” engineered, not in order to make the product more useful but in order to make it more impressive. In biological evolution, by contrast, “barely good enough” is the highest level that can be reached, because expense that does not improve overall fitness cannot be tolerated. The “barely good enough” standard is also maintained in biological evolution because species characteristics cannot be redesigned from scratch. Human bipedalism is far less than perfect—consider all those endemic back problems! It is clearly the result of a quadruped design being turned into a biped design rather than having been intelligently designed from scratch. This is exactly the mark of the “blind watchmaker” of natural evolution. But the nonblind watchmakers who intelligently design watches can, and do, redesign from scratch."
evolution  intelligent-design  design  efficiency  humanism  from delicious
april 2012 by tsuomela
Cooperation and the evolution of intelligence
"The high levels of intelligence seen in humans, other primates, certain cetaceans and birds remain a major puzzle for evolutionary biologists, anthropologists and psychologists. It has long been held that social interactions provide the selection pressures necessary for the evolution of advanced cognitive abilities (the ‘social intelligence hypothesis’), and in recent years decision-making in the context of cooperative social interactions has been conjectured to be of particular importance. Here we use an artificial neural network model to show that selection for efficient decision-making in cooperative dilemmas can give rise to selection pressures for greater cognitive abilities, and that intelligent strategies can themselves select for greater intelligence, leading to a Machiavellian arms race. Our results provide mechanistic support for the social intelligence hypothesis, highlight the potential importance of cooperative behaviour in the evolution of intelligence and may help us to explain the distribution of cooperation with intelligence across taxa."
intelligence  evolution  simulation  cooperation  neuralnetworks  from delicious
april 2012 by tsuomela
How Your Cat Is Making You Crazy - Magazine - The Atlantic
"Jaroslav Flegr is no kook. And yet, for years, he suspected his mind had been taken over by parasites that had invaded his brain. So the prolific biologist took his science-fiction hunch into the lab. What he’s now discovering will startle you. Could tiny organisms carried by house cats be creeping into our brains, causing everything from car wrecks to schizophrenia? A biologist’s science- fiction hunch is gaining credence and shaping the emerging science of mind- controlling parasites."
biology  parasites  evolution  disease  psychology  psychopathology  brain  neuroscience  from delicious
february 2012 by tsuomela
Climate change becomes a flash point in science education - latimes.com
"Some states have introduced education standards requiring teachers to defend the denial of man-made global warming. A national watchdog group says it will start monitoring classrooms."
climate  climate-change  science  denial  education  teaching  evolution  controversy  from delicious
january 2012 by tsuomela
Infinite Stupidity | Conversation | Edge
A tiny number of ideas can go a long way, as we've seen. And the Internet makes that more and more likely. What's happening is that we might, in fact, be at a time in our history where we're being domesticated by these great big societal things, such as Facebook and the Internet. We're being domesticated by them, because fewer and fewer and fewer of us have to be innovators to get by. And so, in the cold calculus of evolution by natural selection, at no greater time in history than ever before, copiers are probably doing better than innovators. Because innovation is extraordinarily hard. My worry is that we could be moving in that direction, towards becoming more and more sort of docile copiers.
evolution  learning  innovation  creativity  social-media  technology-effects  evolutionary-psychology  biology  imitation  epistemology  facebook  internet  from delicious
january 2012 by tsuomela
Richard C. Francis' Epigenetics: How a new field has changed the way we think about genes. - By Christine Kenneally - Slate Magazine
Though the genetic catalog is now largely complete, we still await many of the anticipated insights, and in Epigenetics: The Ultimate Mystery of Inheritance, Richard Francis, a writer with a biology Ph.D., traces the emergence of a different genetic paradigm. Our DNA shapes who we are, Francis reports from the research forefront, but it is far from a static plan or an inflexible oracle
book  review  genetics  biology  evolution 
june 2011 by tsuomela
The Evidence for Evolution, Rogers
With The Evidence for Evolution, Alan R. Rogers provides an elegant, straightforward text that details the evidence for evolution. Rogers covers different levels of evolution, from within-species changes, which are much less challenging to see and believe, to much larger ones, say, from fish to amphibian, or from land mammal to whale. For each case, he supplies numerous lines of evidence to illustrate the changes, including fossils, DNA, and radioactive isotopes. His comprehensive treatment stresses recent advances in knowledge but also recounts the give and take between skeptical scientists who first asked “how can we be sure” and then marshaled scientific evidence to attain certainty. The Evidence for Evolution is a valuable addition to the literature on evolution and will be essential to introductory courses in the life sciences.
book  publisher  evolution  science  science-wars  intelligent-design 
june 2011 by tsuomela
Which technologies get better faster?
"Some forms of technology — think, for example, of computer chips — are on a fast track to constant improvements, while others evolve much more slowly. Now, a new study by researchers at MIT and other institutions shows that it may be possible to predict which technologies are likeliest to advance rapidly, and therefore may be worth more investment in research and resources."
technology  technology-cycles  evolution  complexity  growth  efficiency 
june 2011 by tsuomela
The Second Pass
Review of On Growth and Form by D'Arcy Thompson
book  review  evolution  mathematics  history  sts  science 
june 2011 by tsuomela
Human Brain Limits Twitter Friends To 150 - Technology Review
"It turns out that when people start tweeting, their number of friends increases until they become overwhelmed. Beyond that saturation point, the conversations with less important contacts start to become less frequent and the tweeters begin to concentrate on the people they have the strongest links with.

So what is the saturation point? Or, in other words, how many people can tweeters maintain contact with before they get overwhelmed? The answer is between 100 and 200, just as Dunbar predicts. "
communication  networks  dunbar-number  social  behavior  sociology  neurology  brain  evolution  twitter  social-media 
may 2011 by tsuomela
The Argumentative Theory | Conversation | Edge
""The article,” Haidt said, "is a review of a puzzle that has bedeviled researchers in cognitive psychology and social cognition for a long time. The puzzle is, why are humans so amazingly bad at reasoning in some contexts, and so amazingly good in others?"

"Reasoning was not designed to pursue the truth. Reasoning was designed by evolution to help us win arguments. That's why they call it The Argumentative Theory of Reasoning. So, as they put it, "The evidence reviewed here shows not only that reasoning falls quite short of reliably delivering rational beliefs and rational decisions. It may even be, in a variety of cases, detrimental to rationality. Reasoning can lead to poor outcomes, not because humans are bad at it, but because they systematically strive for arguments that justify their beliefs or their actions. This explains the confirmation bias, motivated reasoning, and reason-based choice, among other things.""
cognition  psychology  bias  decision-making  argument  evolution  rationality  reasoning  theory  confirmation-bias  belief  justification 
may 2011 by tsuomela
Harvard Holism - Brainstorm - The Chronicle of Higher Education
"The split between evolutionists who think that selection is for and only for the individual, and those who think that the group often comes first and foremost, goes back to the two men who discovered natural selection—Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace. Darwin always thought in terms of individuals, even when it comes to humans (I have discovered a letter making this point very clear), and Wallace always thought that often selection favors the group."
history  evolution  kin-selection  objects  groups  species  holism  reductionism  school(Harvard)  intellectual 
april 2011 by tsuomela
Species : John S. Wilkins - University of California Press
"The complex idea of “species” has evolved over time, yet its meaning is far from resolved. This comprehensive work takes a fresh look at an idea central to the field of biology by tracing its history from antiquity to today. John S. Wilkins explores the essentialist view, a staple of logic from Plato and Aristotle through the Middle Ages to fairly recent times, and considers the idea of species in natural history—a concept often connected to reproduction. Tracing “generative conceptions” of species back through Darwin to Epicurus, Wilkins provides a new perspective on the relationship between philosophical and biological approaches to this concept. He also reviews the array of current definitions. Species is a benchmark exploration and clarification of a concept fundamental to the past, present, and future of the natural sciences."
book  publisher  evolution  biology  species  concepts  history  philosophy 
april 2011 by tsuomela
Phil Transactions of the Royal Society B - Table of Contents — April 12, 2011, 366 (1567)
"Discussion Meeting issue 'Culture evolves' organized and edited by Andrew Whiten, Robert A. Hinde, Christopher B. Stringer and Kevin N. Laland "
culture  evolution  science 
april 2011 by tsuomela
Daniel Nettle's personal page
Author of Personality:what makes you the way you are... "I am a behavioural scientist interested in applying ideas from ecology and evolution to human behaviour. I have worked on such topics as cooperation, reproductive decisions, parenting and families, personality, and health. My research uses theoretical modelling, as well as behavioural data from several countries, especially the UK. I"
people  evolution  biology  behavior  human  modeling  psychology 
april 2011 by tsuomela
Open the Future: Evolution
"There’s one concept from biology that I’ve been mulling for awhile, and I think it has quite a bit to say about our current global situation.

It’s an element of the concept of “ecological succession,” the term for how ecosystems respond to disruptive change. A fundamental part of that process is the “r/K selection model,” with a little r and a big K, which is a way of thinking about the reproductive strategy that living species employ within a changing environment."
evolution  ecology  selection  culture  resilience 
april 2011 by tsuomela
Human Ecology: A Theoretical Essay, Hawley
"Human Ecology: A Theoretical Essay, by Amos Hawley, presents for the first time a unified theory of human ecology by a scholar whose name is virtually synonymous with the discipline."
book  publisher  evolution  ecology  human 
april 2011 by tsuomela
UnderstandingSociety: Social brains
"It seems to me that there is a sturdy intermediate position that incorporates some of both extremes and does a superior job of capturing the truth about human behavior and mind than either. Certainly human cognitive and behavioral capacities have an evolutionary history. But equally, it is plausible that there is a great deal of plasticity and multiple-realizability that has been built into these systems -- with the result that there is no one-to-one relationship between biological origins and current behavioral patterns. Culture is a powerful intervening structure. "
biology  evolution  evolutionary-psychology  social  structure  nature-v-nurture 
march 2011 by tsuomela
Humans, Version 3.0 § SEEDMAGAZINE.COM
Neuronal recycling exploits this wellspring of potent powers. If one wants to get a human brain to do task Y despite it not having evolved to efficiently carry out task Y, then a key point is not to forcefully twist the brain to do Y. Like all animal brains, human brains are not general-purpose universal learning machines, but, instead, are intricately structured suites of instincts optimized for the environments in which they evolved. To harness our brains, we want to let the brain’s brilliant mechanisms run as intended—i.e., not to be twisted. Rather, the strategy is to twist Y into a shape that the brain does know how to process.
future  evolution  adaptation  neurology  biology  culture  music  language  human-enhancement 
march 2011 by tsuomela
The Early Days of a Better Nation - Lysenko's Tomb
"the topic of 'Darwin, Dawkins, and the Left' because, a couple of years earlier, I'd put together a stash of notes and links for a blog post that I'd never quite got around to writing."
evolution  genetics  politics  sociobiology  altruism  leftism 
march 2011 by tsuomela
Penn State Live - High school biology teachers reluctant to endorse evolution in class
"The majority of public high school biology teachers are not strong classroom advocates of evolutionary biology, despite 40 years of court cases that have ruled teaching creationism or intelligent design violates the Constitution, according to Penn State political scientists."
education  evolution  creationism  intelligent-design  high-school  biology 
february 2011 by tsuomela
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