Placebo Buttons?

A recent article suggested that many of the buttons/toggles that we experience in our daily lives...

The Development Of Social Monogamy In Mammals

Two papers published this week have proposed explanations regarding the evolution of social monogamy...

Easy Answers To World Problems

After reading another article by Alex Berezow ["The Arrogance of a Well-Fed Society"] insisting...

The Precautionary Principle Review

There is an interesting series of articles published by the Guardian discussing various aspects...

User picture.
picture for Robert H Olleypicture for Camilo  Tabinas y Apitapicture for Heidi Hendersonpicture for Camillo Di Ciccopicture for Brian Taylorpicture for Bente Lilja Bye
Gerhard AdamRSS Feed of this column.

I'm not big on writing things about myself so a friend on this site (Brian Taylor) opted to put a few sentences together: Hopefully I'll be able to live up to his claims. "I thought perhaps you... Read More »

At some point everyone has heard the question: "Which came first, the chicken or the egg.".  What is surprising about this question is that it can still produce any debate.

It is surprisingly obvious yet one wonders what has contributed to its longevity and its countinued appearance in various arguments.

Why obvious?  Well, let's consider the premises.  Unless one is predisposed to believing that animals simply appear, then we must reject the premise that a chicken can exist as a fully formed adult without any previous existence.  As a result, the only element left to examine is the egg.  Yet, an egg doesn't spring into existence fully formed either.
On Killing

On Killing

Apr 01 2013 | comment(s)

I recently watched a program on the Science Channel entitled "Human Nature: Born to Kill".  In this episode, part of the objective was to explore humans killing other humans.  Of course, the usual array of topics were raised, from evolutionary psychology to genes [i.e. the "warrior gene"] and even the "nature vs nurture debate".

However, there were a few points that I felt were muddled and confused.
OK, here's the premise.  The Audubon Nature Institute has something they call a "frozen zoo" (1) which contains genetic material from endangered species.  In this way recently extinct animals may be "recovered" and endangered animals may be "rescued" from extinction.  Certainly there are a lot of difficulties with cloning, presently, but this would ensure that as the technology improves then these extinct animals could be brought back.

At first blush I thought this was one of the stupidest ideas I'd ever heard.
A recent article entitled "Monsanto v Monarch Butterflies" begins by examining the argument that GMO foods are impacting the population of Monarch butterflies.  There are enough references and quotes that indicate that this assertion isn't particularly viable and that it isn't likely that Bt toxin plays any role in the issues facing Monarchs.

So far so good.
I recently came across some articles, again, that were focusing on human adaptive behaviors regarding our concept of beauty and attractiveness.  All manner of considerations are mentioned from facial symmetry to female hip-to-waist ratios, etc.

However, I would argue that these are precisely the wrong questions to be asking.  
I've determined that I won't write blogs about dumb science unless I encounter at least three in a row.  I probably won't actually adhere to that, but it seemed like a convenient excuse to write this piece.

For the record, the first two were about gambling as serving an evolutionary function and that elite athletes are cognitively elite also.  

As usual, these either resembled more "just-so" stories, or they represented totally obvious irrelevancies under the guise that something substantive was being stated.