An Evolving Understanding of Evolution, Part 1

There’s much hullabaloo recently in studies concerning epigenetics, the idea that genetic unfolding changes over time and is not predetermined. Where does this put the ol’ Darwinian theory of evolution?

Continue reading “An Evolving Understanding of Evolution, Part 1”


Winter Solstice Reflections

On this first of yuletide, and the first of Nivôse, I give you a plagiarized thought on happiness, from Orwell, to carry you from the end of this year into the next:

“[Charles] Dickens can describe a poverty-stricken family tucking into a roast goose, and can make them appear happy; on the other hand, the inhabitants of perfect universes seem to have no spontaneous gaiety and are usually somewhat repulsive into the bargain. But clearly we are not aiming at the kind of world Dickens described, nor, probably, at any world he was capable of imagining…What are we aiming at, if not a society in which ‘charity’ would be unnecessary? We want a world where Scrooge, with his dividends, and Tiny Tim, with his tuberculous leg, would both be unthinkable. But does that mean we are aiming at some painless, effortless Utopia?… Men use up their lives in heart-breaking political struggles, or get themselves killed in civil wars, or tortured in the secret prisons of the Gestapo, not in order to establish some central-heated, air-conditioned, strip-lighted Paradise, but because they want a world in which human beings love one another instead of swindling and murdering one another. And they want that world as a first step…where they go from there is not so certain, and the attempt to foresee it in detail merely confuses the issue.”

“[Sport] has nothing to do with fair play. It is bound up with the disregard of all rules and sadistic pleasure in witnessing violence. In other words, it is war minus the shooting.”

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Remember that, and Carl Schmitt, if you feel as though sports should or could be “apolitical”. Whether you support or boycott Nike, or willfully ignore the whole issue, you are taking a political stance. Sports don’t become political, they’ve always been political. Any change felt to the contrary is you being upset because the shell that encloses your understanding is breaking.

North is North, and South is South, and never the twain shall meet


Kipling would be surprised by good signs emerging from the Korean peninsula. Seeing such a backtrack from ideas of confrontation and braggadocio may mean that, perhaps, policies of sunshine can win out after all. That has precedence, and things look favorably towards that approach as big players get on board.

Unfortunately, there’s also a history of such agreements breaking down.

Worst case scenario, let’s make sure no tertius gaudens occurs:

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A Different Take on Testing

I like the work of Freddie deBoer. I really do. However, he recently wrote about the value of standardized testing (and I disagree). However still, at other times, I agree when he says things like:

“What happens after we close the racial achievement gap? Would it imply that a bigotry against those not blessed with strong academic potential would be justified? That’s what “meritocracy” argues, and I believe it’s a moral error. I believe that this tendency, called the hereditarian left by some, will only grow in a world where the logic of meritocracy has brought us spiraling inequality, the division of our country into essentially two different societies with profoundly different qualities of life.”

So agree and disagree at the same time. Hegel would be pleased.