1) An article on The New Republic‘s website embarrasses some conservatives by printing the unsurprising truth that many conservative pundits don’t believe in evolution, or are followers of intelligent design, or hedge on the matter.
2) Todd Zywicki, of the Volokh Conspiracy, suggests that lefties would be just as embarrassed by questions such as “Are differences between men’s and women’s aptitudes solely a result of society and culture, or is there an evolutionary basis for some of those distinctions?”
3) PZ at Pharyngula responds to Zywicki. Here’s a taste:
He’s making the old, tired nature/nurture distinction, and it drives me nuts. It’s a false dichotomy that is perpetuated by an antiquated misconception about how development and biology works. Genes don’t work alone, they always interact with their environment, and the outcome of developmental processes is always contingent upon both genetic and non-genetic factors. There is nothing for which this is more true than the development of the mind: the brain is a structure which is incredibly plastic and responsive to input, since that is its job, to respond in sophisticated ways to complex situations.
4) Not for the first time, anti-feminists invade Pharyngula, get their asses kicked, and – in a distinctive, almost dadaesque touch – declare victory.
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Regarding Todd’s point, like a lot of other folks who have commented, I think he’s comparing incomparables. The extent to which biology makes differences in behavior between the sexes inevitable and predictable is hotly debated within the scientific community. No one I know of argues that evolution has no effect on behavior, or has no effect on sex differences; however, some folks (myself included) argue that because biology always interacts with culture and nuture, there is no “female behavior” or “male behavior” that is biologically immutable among humans, apart from obvious reproductive behaviors like “giving birth.” While right-wing partisans may consider this view ridiculous, it’s not out of the bounds of reasonable scientific discourse.
On the other hand, not believing in evolution – or thinking that “intelligent design” ought be taught as science – is a genuinely ridiculous position, far outside the bounds of reasonable scientific discourse.
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Along the way, I was reminded of this excellent Brian Leiter post on why Larry Summers’ academic freedom was never under attack. And another excellent Leiter post against civility, which I’m linking because I might want to discuss it later.
- How many anti-feminists does it take?
- Why don't anti-feminists know anything about feminism?
- Clueless anti-feminists in review
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- Fact-Checking the Anti-Feminists; like following around an elephant with a bucket, no matter how much crap you clean up they keep producing more.