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Author: Edward Berge

Atlas Hugged

Atlas Hugged

The renowned evolutionary biologist DS Wilson discusses his novel Atlas Hugged refuting Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged. I have an e-copy if anyone wants a copy. An excerpt: “My sequel to Atlas Shrugged is titled Atlas Hugged and its protagonist is John Galt’s grandson. Ayn Rand was not a character in her novel, but since anything goes in fiction, I could transport her into mine as Ayn Rant, John I’s lover and John III’s grandmother. Rant’s son, John II, parlays her Objectivist philosophy into a world-destroying libertarian media empire….

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Human large-scale cooperation as a product of competition between cultural groups

Human large-scale cooperation as a product of competition between cultural groups

Article in Nature Communications, February 2020. Since this topic repeatedly comes up in our discussions. The abstract: “A fundamental puzzle of human evolution is how we evolved to cooperate with genetically unrelated strangers in transient interactions. Group-level selection on culturally differentiated populations is one proposed explanation. We evaluate a central untested prediction of Cultural Group Selection theory, by assessing whether readiness to cooperate between individuals from different groups corresponds to the degree of cultural similarity between those groups. We documented…

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Clinical studies of vitamin D and Covid-19

Clinical studies of vitamin D and Covid-19

See these studies that indicate vitamin D deficiency makes for worse results and recommend taking a supplement as a preventative and treatment. “Analysis of vitamin D level among asymptomatic and critically ill COVID-19 patients and its correlation with inflammatory markers.” Scientific Reports 10, November 2020. “Effect of calcifediol treatment and best available therapy versus best available therapy on intensive care unit admission and mortality among patients hospitalized for COVID-19: A pilot randomized clinical study.” The Journal of Steroid Biochemistry and…

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Evolutionary processes work at multiple levels

Evolutionary processes work at multiple levels

To shape whole communities. Article at Phys.org. The introduction: “Evolutionary theory has long held that natural selection largely operates at the level of individuals. Findings from Northern Arizona University researchers, recently published in the Annual Review of Ecology, Evolution, and Systematics, suggest that selection can also occur at multiple levels to shape whole communities. This multi-level selection arises from the interactions of key species that cascade to alter communities and ecosystems.”

Grandmothers were critical for human evolution

Grandmothers were critical for human evolution

From the Into to this article from 2012: “According to a study published today in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B, the answer is grandmothers. ‘Grandmothering was the initial step toward making us who we are,’ says senior author Kristen Hawkes, an anthropologist at the University of Utah. In 1997 Hawkes proposed the ‘grandmother hypothesis,’ a theory that explains menopause by citing the under-appreciated evolutionary value of grandmothering. Hawkes says that grandmothering helped us to develop ‘a whole…

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Developing through relations

Developing through relations

Subtitle: “An Embodied, co-active systems approach” at this link. The abstract follows. “In recent decades, the developmental sciences have undergone a relational turn. Epigenetic (Gottlieb & Lickliter, 2007), embodied (Thompson, 2007), relational (Lerner &Overton, 2008) and systems (Kelso, 2003) approaches are transforming the ways in which we think about the nature and origins of psychological structures. At their most basic level, relational and systems approaches analyze the developmental origins of order and variability not in terms of sets of separable…

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Sapience by Walden Hanes

Sapience by Walden Hanes

Here is his Facebook post discussing some of the AI research used in his book. “The opening scenes of my novel 𝗦𝗔𝗣𝗜𝗘𝗡𝗖𝗘 take place at the 𝗦𝗶𝗺𝘂𝗹𝗮𝗯, a research facility in 2036 that seeks to create 𝗦𝘆𝗻𝘁𝗵𝗲𝘁𝗶𝗰 𝗖𝗼𝗻𝘀𝗰𝗶𝗼𝘂𝘀𝗻𝗲𝘀𝘀, a theoretical form of Artificial Intelligence possessing human-like intuition and self-awareness.   “Early in the novel, the 𝗦𝗶𝗺𝘂𝗹𝗮𝗯 pursues its goal using methods I imagined based on current 𝗣𝗿𝗼𝗯𝗮𝗯𝗶𝗹𝗶𝘀𝘁𝗶𝗰 𝗖𝗼𝗺𝗽𝘂𝘁𝗶𝗻𝗴 theory. I merged this probabilistic approach with aspects of the 𝗙𝗿𝗶𝘀𝘁𝗼𝗻 𝗙𝗿𝗲𝗲…

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On balance

On balance

False equivalence. The cartoon below highlights the difference. Add to that democracy and fascism, love and hate, truth and lies, humanity and selfishness, right and wrong, health and sickness and so on. There is no middle ground between them where some mythical compromise or balance lies.   I’ve long studied kung fu, where the philosophy and practice emphasize the shifting and dynamic balance of yin and yang, empty and full, left and right, body and mind and so on. Those…

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The Social Dilemma

The Social Dilemma

The title of a new documentary showing how the big social media companies use psychology for surveillance to manipulate users to unconsciously accept programming and buy products. It’s an important topic but fails in that the makers did not use any of the persuasive techniques the social media companies use to get their own points across. It’s just dry, boring fact after fact that lost my interest a third of the way through. At one point they did try a…

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Beyond free will: The embodied emergence of conscious agency

Beyond free will: The embodied emergence of conscious agency

Article by Michael Mascolo and Eeva Kallio in Philosophical Psychology (2019). The abstract: “Is it possible to reconcile the concept of conscious agency with the view that humans are biological creatures subject to material causality? The problem of conscious agency is complicated by the tendency to attribute autonomous powers of control to conscious processes. In this paper, we offer an embodied process model of conscious agency. We begin with the concept of embodied emergence – the idea that psychological processes…

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