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Christopher X J. Jensen
Associate Professor, Pratt Institute

Was Teilhard de Chardin the real inventor of an evolutionary approach to culture?

Posted 26 Jan 2014 / 0

On Being “Teilhard de Chardin on The “Planetary Mind” and Our Spiritual Evolution” We often give credit to Richard Dawkins — who is undeniably the inventor of the term “memetics” — for introducing an evolutionary approach to cultural change. But as this piece makes clear, de Chardin was already thinking on far more large scales about Read More

A Minor Post, Biography, Cooperation, Cultural Evolution, Ecosystem Ecology, Evolution, Geology, Homo species, Human Evolution, Human Uniqueness, Memetic Fitness, Radio & Podcasts, Religion, Wallace Darwin Project

Martin Nowak and Roger Highfield’s “SuperCooperators”

Posted 03 Nov 2011 / 0

Martin Nowak has accomplished a lot for a mid-career scientist. His theoretical work exploring how cooperation evolves has illuminated the importance of a great number of evolutionary mechanisms. He has also been unafraid to tackle real-life problems of cooperation, including questions like “why do we get cancer?” and “how did language evolve?”. Nowak likes to Read More

Altruism, Books, Cooperation, Cultural Evolution, Ethics, Evolutionary Modeling, Game Theory, Group Selection, History, Human Evolution, Human Nature, Kin Selection, Language Evolution, Multilevel Selection, Mutualism, Punishment, Reciprocity, Religion, Superorganisms, Sustainability

Naturalistic Fallacy: 1, Sam Harris: 0

Posted 15 Sep 2011 / 2

For those who don’t know Sam Harris, he is a rather famous critic of theism who often invokes science and broad rationalism in his arguments for the abandonment of organized religion. Along with Christopher Hitchens, Daniel Dennett, and Richard Dawkins he is sometimes known as one of the “four horsemen of the neo-atheiest movement” (Wilson Read More

Cultural Evolution, Evolutionary Psychology, Human Evolution, Human Nature, Memetic Fitness, Multilevel Selection, Philosophy, Radio & Podcasts, Religion, Talks & Seminars, Web

Barash and Lipton on Bin Laden (and Us)

Posted 10 May 2011 / 0

David P. Barash and Judith Eve Lipton are unafraid of explaining modern social behavior from an evolutionary perspective. As famous communicators of evolutionary psychology, they see in an understanding of biology the promise of explaining humanity. In their latest column for The Chronicle of Higher Education, “Why We Needed Bin Laden Dead“, Barash and Lipton Read More

Articles, Cooperation, Ethics, Evolutionary Psychology, Human Nature, Multilevel Selection, Psychological Adaptation, Psychology, Punishment, Sociology

Robert Trivers and colleagues on Nowak, Tarnita, and Wilson’s “The evolution of eusociality”

Posted 13 Oct 2010 / 14

One of the most difficult things about being the only full-time biologist on the Pratt Institute campus is that I do not have the opportunity to discuss serious science in my field with colleagues or guest speakers. To help alleviate this problem, I have my friends who are at serious research institutions on the lookout Read More

Adaptation, Altruism, Articles, Behavioral Ecology, Cooperation, Data Limitation, Evolution, Game Theory, Group Selection, Human Evolution, Multilevel Selection, Sociology, Superorganisms, Talks & Seminars

Do you still think God is good?

Posted 15 Sep 2010 / 0

George C. Williams, eminent scholar of evolutionary biology, died on September 8th at the age of 84. During the second half of the twentieth century, Williams emerged as one of the most influential thinkers in evolutionary biology, and helped to clarify a number of key issues in the field. His defining style was to tackle Read More

Adaptation, Biography, Evolution, Group Selection, Obituary, Senescence

NPR is all up in evolution

Posted 30 Aug 2010 / 0

It is kind of amazing how much evolution has found its way into the news of late. National Public Radio usually has pretty good science coverage via Talk of the Nation Science Friday, but lately they have been providing some excellent coverage of important evolutionary concepts that do not always get good press. First, there Read More

Cultural Evolution, Evolution, Human Evolution, Psychological Adaptation, Radio & Podcasts, Religion, Reviews

Darwin’s Cathedral versus The God Delusion

Posted 10 Jun 2010 / 0

  Awhile back I read Richard Dawkins’ The God Delusion and more recently I finished David Sloan Wilson’s Darwin’s Cathedral. Both books provide a view on religion from the perspective of a prominent evolutionary biologist, and the contrast between these views tells us a lot about the culture of evolutionary biology as well as the Read More

Evolution, Group Selection, Human Evolution, Multilevel Selection, Religion, Reviews