Christopher X J. Jensen
Associate Professor, Pratt Institute

Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson liberated after month-long kidnapping ordeal

Posted 01 Apr 2016 / 0

Early this morning in a remote rural area just outside of Powder Springs, Georgia, astrophysicist and international science celebrity Neil deGrasse Tyson was safely liberated from captivity by agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The FBI raid rescued Tyson following four grueling weeks as a hostage of the radical Creationist terrorist organization CRISIS (Christians Reveling In Superheroes Instead Read More

A Major Post, Creationism, Evolution, Physics, Public Outreach

What do we know about Cultural Transmission?

Posted 29 Jan 2016 / 0

As I have been working on my book-in-progress (Breeders, Propagators, & Creators), I have encountered a difficult-to-answer question of road-block proportions: how do we quantify cultural transmission? The focus of my book is the tradeoff humans face between making babies, spreading existing culture, and inventing new ideas. If such a tradeoff exists, we need to be able Read More

A Major Post, Behavior, Belief, Books, Breeders, Propagators, & Creators, Communication, Cultural Anthropology, Cultural Evolution, Emotion, Gene-Culture Coevolution, Memetic Fitness, Parenting, Psychology, Religion, Sexual Conflict, Sociology

My personal experience that creationists gravitate to anything with even the faintest scent of scientific uncertainty (and what to do about it)

Posted 22 Dec 2015 / 0

Last month, I published a rather long review of William Provine’s last book, The “Random Genetic Drift” Fallacy. The book is pretty obscure and I knew that a lot of other evolutionary biologists had dismissed the book as being a bit on the crazy side, so in the back of my mind I was wondering whether Read More

A Major Post, Belief, Creationism, Data Limitation, Evolution, Fluidity of Knowledge, Hypothesis Testing, Natural Selection, Population Genetics, Web, WordPress

Religious children are less altruistic… or maybe not…

Posted 16 Nov 2015 / 0

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons A recent study published in Current Biology claims to have demonstrated that children raised in religious households are less altruistic and more vindictive than their peers raised in non-religious households. Using two different tests — a Dictator Game conducted with stickers and a task that measured reactions to watching interpersonal Read More

A Minor Post, Altruism, Articles, Behavior, Behavioral Ecology, Cultural Evolution, Emotion, Empathy, Ethics, Group Selection, Human Nature, Multilevel Selection, Psychological Adaptation, Punishment, Religion, Reputation, Social Norms

Jonathan Haidt on the business advantage of being ethical

Posted 10 Nov 2015 / 0

This is a fascinating talk by Jonathan Haidt, a psychologist situated within one of the most prestigious business schools in the world whose research focuses on morality and emotion. I can’t help but be impressed when someone addressing business concerns leads with biology, and Haidt does a good job of summarizing the “disruptive cooperation” (read: competitively-superior Read More

A Minor Post, Behavior, Competition, Cooperation, Cultural Evolution, Economics, Film, Television, & Video, Human Nature, Human Uniqueness, Multilevel Selection, Parasitism, Religion, Social Norms

Formation of the Society for the Study of Cultural Evolution has the potential to catalyze research into how culture evolves

Posted 29 Sep 2015 / 0

I was excited to recently discover that The Evolution Institute, a “think-tank that doesn’t just think” about how to apply evolutionary understanding to human problems, is working to foster a new professional society dedicated to the study of cultural evolution. Dubbed the Society for the Study of Cultural Evolution (SSCE), this emerging society endeavors to Read More

A Minor Post, Anthropogenic Change, Archaeology, Behavior, Cooperation, Cultural Anthropology, Cultural Evolution, Environmental Justice, Evolutionary Modeling, Political Science, Professional Societies, Psychology, Public Outreach, Public Policy, Religion, Social Science, Society for the Study of Cultural Evolution, Sociology

Have we outgrown the scale of cooperation supported by the Big Gods of Big Religion?

Posted 08 Sep 2015 / 0

Cliodynamica “From Big Gods to the Big Brother” There are a bunch of really interesting ideas in this post, particularly related to the challenges associated with scaling up cooperation. As Turchin nicely points out, once you get past the tribal scale reputation alone — even fueled by the power of gossip — is not going Read More

A Minor Post, Altruism, Behavior, Belief, Cooperation, Cultural Evolution, Group Selection, History, Human Uniqueness, Multilevel Selection, Punishment, Religion, Reputation, Social Norms, Web

WmD Episode #00002 has been released

Posted 07 Aug 2015 / 0

It took me a lot longer than I would have wished, but I have released the second episode of WmD’s video blog: You can see this episode in its ‘native habitat’ here. The first season of WmD is dedicated to the “big questions in ecology and evolution“. This episode, “Keep on keeping on… until you Read More

A Major Post, Belief, Competition, My publications, Population Growth, Predation, Religion, Senescence, Survival, The WmD Project, Urban Ecology

The forces of cultural evolution push hard on political humor

Posted 07 Jan 2015 / 0 A Major Post, Belief, Cultural Evolution, Ethics, Memetic Fitness, Philosophy, Political Science, Religion, Reputation, Social Norms

Evolution 2014: Want to teach both sides? Have your students deconstruct creationist propaganda!

Posted 22 Jun 2014 / 0

Patricia Hawley points out a great way that you can “teach both sides of the controversy” between evolution and intelligent design. In her Evolutionary Psychology course she has students deconstruct intelligent design propaganda, explaining where it makes erroneous arguments or misrepresents facts.

A Minor Post, Conferences, Creationism, Evolution Education, Higher Education, Lesson Ideas, Society for the Study of Evolution