Medical blogging; Ask a naturalist; Darwin was Rong research

Check out the Furious Purpose blog, written by a long time denizen of the Internet, yet newish blogger, written by …

…an overworked emergency room doctor, a father and citizen, and I blog infrequently about stuff that interests me.This might include things like Health, Politics, Religion, and whatever tickles my fancy !

I have a particular interest in issues related to public health including health politics, the role of religion in public life, and rationalism/skepticism.

I’ll leave it to you to go find the post that focuses on yours truly, but really, the rest of the blog is quite interesting and there is a lot of promise here. Medical blogs can be among the most interesting.

Have you got a question about nature? Ask a Naturalist . The blog claims:

Just post it at Ask a, and I’ll do my best to answer as quickly as possible. If I don’t know the answer, I’ll research it and find out if anyone does. And if no one knows why or what or how, I’ll explain why your question is such a difficult one. After all, there are so many questions about nature for which we don’t yet have answers.

And, if you want to know more about the paper that recently raised the furor over Darwin being Rong and stuff, you can read the blog post about it by one of the authors.

I think the work is important and interesting, but I’ve never seen an advanced study of “competition” that does not parse competition out into a number of types, some of which would include niche-related effects. So, I conclude that a) the Darwin was Rong thing was actually part of the original work, inappropriately, b) the work is still interesting and c) we must learn as scientists and science commentators that the press will always grab and run with certain themes no matter what we do. Anyway, go read the blog post and the comments.

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3 thoughts on “Medical blogging; Ask a naturalist; Darwin was Rong research

  1. It seems to me (and I hope someone will please correct me if I’m wrong – or Rong) that the notion of “competition” being the sole – or even dominant – driver of evolution is not only a gross oversimplification but also something of an outdated concept.
    Distilling evolution down to a single word is really more a function of the “popular” (lay?) view of evolution, such as it is. However, if we had to assign a single word as a descriptor, it seems like “adaptation” would be much better. I think that the whole notion of “competition” is so pervasive stems largely from the overlay of a cultural value system onto evolution (i.e. Social Darwinism).
    Obviously competition is integral to evolution, such as in mate selection, and I don’t mean to discount its importance, but – and I’m not quite sure how to phrase this – the primary (sole?) determinant of evolutionary success is reproductive success, which is subject to a host of factors.
    Maybe I’m way off base, but one of my undergraduate biology profs hammered home that every organism has “problems to solve,” and one of the consistent themes in what little ecology training I had in grad school was niche occupation, both of which, IMHO, put adaptation ahead of competition.

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