Daily Archives: November 27, 2012

New Evidence that the Bible is Wrong on Evolution

I find the following bit of video to be very interesting. The letter itself, which they read at the beginning, is instructive of why many people are creationists or otherwise anti-science. They are afraid to go to hell. The idea that a person will go to hell for believing in science is something you have to be taught. The people who teach this should … well, they can go to hell, as far as I’m concerned. Continue reading New Evidence that the Bible is Wrong on Evolution

Correlation and Causation: Single Mothers and Violent Crime

The phrase “Correlation does not imply causation” has developed in to a Falsehood, as I discuss here. This is in part because people often use the phrase to argue that a particular correlation has no meaning, which is a false argument. It is, of course, true that a correlation does not in and of itself prove a causal link between two things. And, as pointed out in a few places, but I’ll refer you to this Mother Jones piece for background, the relationship between single mothers and homicide and other crime is … well … interesting. Continue reading Correlation and Causation: Single Mothers and Violent Crime

Latest Bigfoot News

Robin Lynne of DNA Diagnostics has put out a press release indicating that

…A team of scientists can verify that their 5-year long DNA study, currently under peer-review, confirms the existence of a novel hominin hybrid species, commonly called “Bigfoot” or “Sasquatch,” living in North America. Researchers’ extensive DNA sequencing suggests that the legendary Sasquatch is a human relative that arose approximately 15,000 years ago as a hybrid cross of modern Homo sapiens with an unknown primate species.

The study, it is said, will report on 20 whole mitochondrial genomes and 3 whole nuclear genomes taken from “purported Sasquatch samples.” My efforts to ascertain from DNA Diagnostics exactly from where and in what manner these samples were obtained were not fruitful, but it is said that a colleague of Robin Lynne, Melba S. Ketchum, has property on which it is claimed

…that there are up to 10 Bigfoots living … she feeds them a variety of foods including Blueberry muffins, which they are particularly fond of.

So, that’s where the samples must be from.

According to the DNA study, the hybrid known as Bigfoot is the result of interbreeding between males of a non-human hominid and female humans. This is interesting because the only other anthropological information of which I’m aware regarding the mating patterns of Bigfoot suggest that the elusive hairy forest dweller is hypergynous in the other direction. Here, I refer to the case of the Almas known as Zana, a Central Asian bigfoot who lived in the village of T’khina in Abkhazia, Republic of Georgia, who joined a human family (first as a captive, then later as a domestic servant) who bred with a human male named Edgi Genaba, and who gave birth to human children who seemed, well, mainly human. (Important note: Many of Zana’s children are said to have died in infancy, suggesting a certain degree of incompatibility between the two species.)

As we await confirmation of the reported DNA results, let us keep an eye on Bigfoot’s blog for his opinion. He blogs under the pseudonym “Sasquatch” at Teen Skepchick.

Update: Palaeoanthropologist Lee Berger has offered, on twitter, a substantial award for convincing evidence of the DNA of Bigfoot:

UPDATE: There is now an interview with my old friend Todd Disotell on The Bigfoot Show about this find.

UPDATE: Skeptisquatch has issued THIS STATEMENT.

UPDATE: Film at 11!

We eagerly await the results!

Photo of Bigfoot by Flickr User gabegross

For more information on Bigfoot and his relationship to the Origin of the Skeptics Movement, you should read my novella, Sungudogo. Click here to learn more about Sungudogo.

Why Do Men Hunt and Women Shop?

The title of this post is, of course, a parody of the sociobiological, or in modern parlance, the “evolutionary psychology” argument linking behaviors that evolved in our species during the long slog known as The Pleistocene with today’s behavior in the modern predator-free food-rich world. And, it is a very sound argument. If, by “sound” you mean “sounds good unless you listen really hard.”

I list this argument among the falsehoods that I write about, but really, this is a category of argument with numerous little sub-arguments, and one about which I could write as many blog posts as I have fingers and toes, which means, at least twenty. (Apparently there was some pentaldactylsim in my ancestry, and I must admit that I’ll never really know what they cut off when I was born, if anything.)

Before going into this discussion I think it is wise, if against my nature, to tell you what the outcome will be: There is not a good argument to be found in the realm of behavioral biology for why American Women shop while their husbands sit on the bench in the mall outside the women’s fashion store fantasizing about a larger TV on which to watch the game. At the same time, there is a good argument to be made that men and women should have different hard wired behavioral proclivities, if there are any hard wired behavioral proclivities in our species. And, I’m afraid, the validity from an individual’s perspective of the various arguments that men and women are genetically programmed to be different (in ways that make biological sense) is normally determined by the background and politics of the observer and not the science. I am trained in behavioral biology, I was taught by the leading sociobiologists, I’ve carried out research in this area, and I was even present, somewhat admiringly, at the very birth of Evolutionary Psychology, in Room 14A in the Peabody Museum at Harvard, in the 1980s. So, if anyone is going to be a supporter of evolutionary psychology, it’s me.

But I’m not. Let me ‘splain….
Continue reading Why Do Men Hunt and Women Shop?