Evolutionary imperialism

By Razib Khan | October 30, 2011 3:16 am

So there’s a slick new webzine coming out, Evolution: this view of life. It’s another one of David Sloan Wilson’s projects. I don’t agree a lot with the specifics of David’s theories, but I admire his ambition. James Winters pointed me to the fact that they’re trying to raise money for this webzine via KickStarter. Their goal is $5,000. Having run much more bare bones websites for years this seems like a really modest amount in relation to their aims. I admire David’s attempts in this area enough that I gave some money. He tries a lot of things, many of which don’t succeed, but that’s science….

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Evolution
MORE ABOUT: Evolution
  • http://slipr.com Christopher Mims

    Coming to this from the realm of dealing with another kind of science denial – climate denialism – I can’t help but wonder who, exactly, this is for. Climate change is a political topic on which public figures can and do regularly flip-flop (the latest being Mitt Romney).

    But evolution? It seems as if denial of evolution comes from a place so basic — religious fundamentalism — that I wonder whether something like this could ever have even the slightest impact.

    I guess my primary objection is to its approach. Speaking about evolution in terms as arid as “Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution” assumes a fairly reasonable level of knowledge about biology in the first place. If we were really trying to “move the needle” on denial of evolution, wouldn’t a more 101 style project — aimed at young people, say, be more appropriate?

  • Chrysoprace

    I agree, many times I have given a creationist who is otherwise a reasoned person all of the facts of evolution and it does not matter. They consider it an article of faith and this belief is therefore immune to logical arguments. Any doubt they feel is attributed to a test of faith. I feel some of the YouTube videos by people like AronRa and Thunderf00t are somewhat better, but it is difficult to get someone who denies evolution to actually watch them.

  • Paul

    CM: hasn’t there also been denial of evolution, at least as applied to humans, from the left?

  • Onur

    hasn’t there also been denial of evolution, at least as applied to humans, from the left?

    There is a denial of recent evolution in modern human groups from race-denying leftists.

  • Quinn O’Neill

    I would agree, Christopher, that religious fundamentalists are pretty much hopeless, but I think one of the website’s primary aims is to encourage people in all fields to look at things from an evolutionary perspective. Too often our debates about evolution revolve around whether it’s true or not and miss the fact that it’s incredibly useful – not just in scientific applications, but in giving us a new way of understanding the world and solving problems. There are probably a lot of people who accept evolution without really appreciating its utility and why it’s so important to teach it well in schools. For these folks, this website could be an important influence.

  • http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/gnxp Razib Khan

    i tend to agree with #5. more importantly, fundamentalist is the largest effect predictor, but not the only one. there are a substantial number of people who are skeptical of evolution because they don’t know any better, and the fundamentalist reservoir in american society influences them.

  • http://scienceblogs.com/evolution/ David Sloan Wilson

    Thanks to Razib for calling attention to EVOLUTION:THIS VIEW OF LIFE. In reply to some of the comments, the magazine is intended primarily for evolutionists at all skill levels. For those who think of evolution primarily as a biological topic, it shows otherwise. What I didn’t fully anticipate is how well it can function at the professional level–see the analysis of evolutionary policing theory, for example:

    http://thisviewoflife.com/blog-list-91537.php?cID=2&bID=176&pID=1&prvID=0

    dsw

  • http://slipr.com Christopher Mims

    David, Razib, Quinn, thanks for weighing in. As a confirmed evolutionist I look forward to reading more of the output of Evolution: this view of life. (And continuing to think about it in the context of the larger scientific and cultural dialogue, which I can’t help but feel we’re losing.)

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Gene Expression

This blog is about evolution, genetics, genomics and their interstices. Please beware that comments are aggressively moderated. Uncivil or churlish comments will likely get you banned immediately, so make any contribution count!

About Razib Khan

I have degrees in biology and biochemistry, a passion for genetics, history, and philosophy, and shrimp is my favorite food. In relation to nationality I'm a American Northwesterner, in politics I'm a reactionary, and as for religion I have none (I'm an atheist). If you want to know more, see the links at http://www.razib.com

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