Daily Archives: June 26, 2008

The Perfect Bird Family Tree…

… is certainly still in the future. But we have seen a step in that direction in a new paper, coming out this week in Science. This research applies intensive and extensive genomic analysis to the avian phylogenetic tree. The results are interesting.ResearchBlogging.orgThis paper is summarized in a number of locations, most notably here on Living the Scientific Life. Here, I will summarize it only very briefly. However, there are two observations I would like to make about this paper and its apparent meaning. One has to do with the nature of science, and the other has to do with the nature of evolution in particular. I’ll argue that we can quantify (almost non-trivially) the number of times science is wrong. I’ll also argue that Stephen Jay Gould was wrong (not totally, but not trivially) about one of his most important assertions (other than his musings about the myth of vaginal orgasms … we’ll talk about that another time). Continue reading The Perfect Bird Family Tree…

Pile On

Join Zuska and her commenters in a pile on regarding the Smithsonian Magazine’s recent article on the archaeology of southern Africa.It’s racist, it’s sexist, and it’s even anti-Neanderthal. (The article, not Zuska’s post)Regarding the writing about the use of stone tool technology in the article:

It says, “could be women – but no one really knows, do they? The safe bet is on men.” It’s the equivalent of saying “the PC police are always watching, so we’d better pretend like there is an actual possibility that we are including women in this discussion, even though we know we’re talking about Man, i.e. men, not women.”