Tag: PLoS Biology

Study: Stephen Jay Gould, Crusader Against Scientific Bias, Was Guilty of It

By Veronique Greenwood | June 15, 2011 12:59 pm

skull
Early anthropologist Samuel George Morton, accused by
Gould of bias in his measurements of skulls, may finally
be exonerated.

What’s the News: Harvard biologist and popular author Stephen Jay Gould was a well-known advocate for evolution and denouncer of scientific bias. But a new study shows that one of his most famous claims—that an early researcher unconsciously manipulated his measurements of skulls to make Caucasians seem smarter—is baseless.

The researcher actually made few errors, and it looks like Gould never bothered to measure the skulls himself, as the study’s authors did, before crying bias. “Ironically,” the authors write, “Gould’s own analysis…is likely the stronger example of a bias influencing results.”

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CATEGORIZED UNDER: Human Origins

Nice Robots Finish First: Simulation Shows How Altruism Can Evolve

By Veronique Greenwood | May 5, 2011 4:19 pm

aliceAlice robots at work.

What’s the News: The diminutive, unassuming Alice robot has helped a Swiss research team test a core tenet about the evolution of altruism, called Hamilton’s rule. The researchers’ new study shows that even simple robots operating with simple evolutionary rules can recreate evolution’s complex interplay of selfishness and selflessness.

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CATEGORIZED UNDER: Living World, Technology
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