The Selfish Gene is a static meme, and that ain’t science

Richard Dawkins’s “The Selfish Gene,” book and meme, is now 40 years old. Has it served its purpose? And how do we talk about whether it has? When I argued not long ago that his ‘selfish-gene’ model obscures richer emerging views of genetics and evolution, the responses ranged from enthusiastic agreement to objections both civil and savage. I naturally […]

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Brooke Borel’s strange story about Kevin Folta interviewing himself, among other (mis)adventures

  The Kevin Folta/GMO/Monsanto/Right-to-Know/conflict-of-interest variety show and bazaar — a saga about a food scientist who took $25,000 from Monsanto without disclosing he did so but seems to have thought that was probably more or less okay — just got more bizarre, as Brooke Borel describes in a strange and deftly told story in Buzzfeed. This is conflict-of-interest as tragicomedy. I […]

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A rowdy, harrowing, vital book: My Times review of ‘Galileo’s Middle Finger,’ by Alice Dreger.

I’ve a review of Alice Dreger’s latest book in this week’s New York Times Sunday Book Review; it just appeared online.   “Galileo’s Middle Finger” is many things: a rant, a manifesto, a treasury of evocative new terms (sissyphobia, autogynephilia, phall-o-meter) and an account of the author’s transformation “from an activist going after establishment scientists […]

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Putin has Asperger’s? Pete Etchells says Now wait just a goddamned minute here

  On Wednesday, USA Today ran a report about a US Naval College researcher’s conclusion that “movement pattern analysis” indicated that Vladimir Putin has Asperger’s. The fabulous Pete Etchells, over at the Guardian, shows why we should wonder not only about this idea, but, yet again, about how the Pentagon spends its money. I’ve not seen the original study, but the contents […]

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