Christopher X J. Jensen
Associate Professor, Pratt Institute

Review of William B. Provine’s “The ‘Random Genetic Drift’ Fallacy”

Posted 05 Nov 2015 / 5

Just about a year ago, I got an unusual email. It was from William Ball Provine, a well-known historian of science most famous for his work on the modern evolutionary synthesis. Provine was especially well-known to me as the Ph.D. advisor to Greg Graffin of the punk band Bad Religion; although this is a story Read More

A Major Post, Books, Evolution, Fluidity of Knowledge, Genetic Drift, Genetics, Obituary, Population Genetics

Great Michael Ruse piece on the politics of resisting religious encroachment on evolutionary biology

Posted 23 Jun 2012 / 0

The Chronicle of Higher Education “Evolution in the Classroom: Here We Go Again!” Classic and entire appropriate commentary on Richard Dawkins here!!

A Minor Post, Articles, Creationism, Evolution Education, Religion

Richard Dawkins on E.O. Wilson’s “The Social Conquest of Earth”

Posted 12 Jun 2012 / 0

Prospect Magazine “The descent of Edward Wilson” First comment on this: what’s up with the ad hominem attacks on Wilson implying (not-so-subtly) that he is somehow slipping (look here for another example) in his old age? Given the massive departure that Dawkins has made from science in his writings on religion, he is the last one Read More

A Minor Post, Articles, Books, Cooperation, Group Selection, Human Evolution, Human Uniqueness, Superorganisms

David Sloan Wilson on Richard Dawkins on E.O. Wilson

Posted 12 Jun 2012 / 0

The Huffington Post David Sloan Wilson blog “Richard Dawkins, Edward O. Wilson, and the Consensus of the Many” This is a very clear articulation of the history of multilevel selection. If only all biologists (in particular those who do not work in areas investigating altruistic behavior) could be compelled to read this; a lot of Read More

A Minor Post, Cooperation, Human Evolution, Human Uniqueness, Superorganisms, Web

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

Cultural Evolution in a Hybrid Society

Posted 03 Mar 2011 / 0

The process of cultural evolution fascinates me. It is still a topic that I need to research further, but I think about it often. My Human Evolution course is steeped pretty heavily in the idea that culture as well as biology has evolved in Homo sapiens, and we talk briefly about how culture might evolve. Read More

Cultural Evolution, Speciation

“The Evolution of Cooperation” by Robert Axelrod

Posted 10 Jan 2011 / 0

I just finished reading Robert Axelrod’s seminal book entitled The Evolution of Cooperation. Although I had read a lot about Axelrod’s work and am quite familiar with the body of literature that it inspired, I had never actually read his book cover to cover. Going in, my expectation was of finding a rather primitive treatment Read More

Altruism, Behavioral Ecology, Books, Coevolution, Cooperation, Cultural Evolution, Evolution, Evolutionary Modeling, Game Theory, Human Evolution, Individual-based Models, Interdisciplinarity, Multilevel Selection, Mutualism, Political Science, Public Policy, Reciprocity, Sociology, Spatially Explicit Modeling

Greg Graffin on The Takeaway

Posted 15 Nov 2010 / 0

Back in the early 1990’s, I could be found skateboarding around the campus of Pomona College. As I rolled my way from the dining hall to those eight o’clock classes in Chemistry that served to weed out potential Biology majors who were not inclined to early rising or algebra, chances are that there was a Read More

Evolution, Music, Radio & Podcasts, Religion, Reviews

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

Posted 13 Oct 2010 / 16

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