February 28, 2022

War has returned to Europe after a long, dreamy sabbatical. Russia’s troops and tanks are advancing toward Kiev, the capital city of Ukraine and the Ur-heimat of Slavic Christendom. Apartment buildings are burning; middle-class inhabitants are refugees, homeless, or — in too many cases — dead; and newspaper headlines last Thursday simply said “War in Europe” as if it were 1939. All of this supports that sinking feeling I got in early January that 2022 wasn’t going to herald any return... Read more

December 30, 2021

A while back, I left formal academia. In the post where I announced that decision, I promised that I’d start writing here more frequently again, since I’d be free from the crushing pressure to self-censor that I’d been feeling as a professional academic. Obviously, that hasn’t happened. For a variety of reasons, the pressure to self-censor is still on. More importantly, I’ve taken a step back from blogging and writing in order to get my head on straight in a... Read more

December 20, 2021

I’m teaching a course on the evolution of music through Scholarium in January and February. Or, more accurately, I’m teaching about the origins of human rhythm — our unique ability to “keep together in time.” Have you ever seen a group of dogs pounding their paws in rhythm on the pavement, jamming out together? No, because they lack the kind of brain you need to be able move your body in time to an audio rhythm. Why would humans have these... Read more

October 15, 2021

University of Chicago geophysicist Dorian Abbot was disinvited from giving a lecture on exoplanets at MIT because of his outspoken opinions about how universities should prioritize diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) and hiring — opinions that 74% of Americans and a majority of all races agree with. The future of civil society and higher education in the United States is in peril. Read more

August 31, 2021

The "scientific image" of humans offered by evolutionary biology is cold, impersonal, alienating…and objective. But reality is more than objectivity. Read more

July 31, 2021

Pope Francis recently restricted the Catholic Tridentine Latin mass. The resulting firestorm of controversy may help illuminate why so many people don’t believe what their churches teach. Read more

June 14, 2021

Humans everywhere play music and dance. But other animals don't — so where did these unique abilities come from? New research provides some suggestions. Read more

May 20, 2021

Are hunter-gatherer societies really the original egalitarian society? One anthropologist argues against the myth of the leaderless noble savage. Read more

April 30, 2021

Academia can be a fiercely jealous environment — jealous, that is, of the boundaries between disciplines. Rather than “scientists,” you’ll find physicists and oceanographers, biologists and chemists, neuroscientists and psychologists, all tucked away in their own, sometimes feuding departments. But even these categories are too broad. There are social cognitive neuroscientists and neuroimaging methodologists, theoretical evolutionary biologists and cell biologists, cognitive psychologists and developmental psychologists. Each speciality within a given field has its own journals, its own conferences. Interdisciplinary contact... Read more

March 31, 2021

Religion and science used to be at each other's throats, especially in the heady days of New Atheism. But now postmodernism might have swallowed them both. Read more


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