Tag: evolution

  • Cialdini’s Principles of Persuasion and the Importance of Recognising “Enforced Compliance”

    Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion is Robert Cialdini’s 1984 book discussing what he calls the six fundamental psychological principles of compliance: consistency, reciprocation, social proof, authority, liking and scarcity. The conclusion to Cialdini’s book points out why, in this increasingly complex world, resisting attempts at “enforced compliance” (deception) through these key principles is as important…

  • Together, Unconscious: We All Sleep

    One constant that connects us all in some way is that–at the end of our day–we lie down and slowly slip into a state of reduced or absent consciousness and become at the mercy of our fellow man. Every day we fall asleep: we have done so for millions of years and will continue to…

  • Size and Complexity: Why Animals Are the Way They Are

    From bone strength and oxygen absorption in larger animals, to the perils of surface tension and poor eye design in smaller ones: just some ideas to consider when studying comparative anatomy¬†and¬†why animals are the way they are. A perfect take on the topic is¬†J. B. S. Haldane‘s 1928 On Being the Right Size. In this…

  • The Evolutionary History of the Brain

    The development of the human brain is intricately linked with almost every moment of our evolution from sea-dwelling animals to advanced, social primates. That is the the overwhelming theme from New Scientist‘s¬†brief history of the brain. The engaging article ends with a look at the continued evolution of the human brain (“the visual cortex has…

  • In Evolution, Adaptability Beats Fitness

    The longest continuous evolution experiment was started¬†in 1988 and is still ongoing. The study, examining the “evolvability” of Escherichia coli (E. coli), has recently surpassed 52,000 generations and has had a sample of the population frozen and saved¬†every 75 days (every 500 generations). The wealth of data obtained is fantastic and these frozen ancestors¬†have been¬†the…

  • An Evolutionary Hierarchy of Needs

    Parts of Abraham Maslow‘s famous 1940s hierarchy of needs are outdated and thought of as quaint by the scientific community, according to a team who have revised the hierarchy to take into consideration scientific findings from the last 60+ years. Maslow’s pyramid is used to represent the hierarchy of basic human motivations, from basic physical…

  • Female Orgasm as Mate Screening

    Whereas Robinson suggests the evolutionary underpinnings of orgasm lie in the ‘Yes!’ factor of gene continuation, in How Women Got Their Curves and Other Just-So Stories: Evolutionary Enigmas David Barash and Judith Lipton believe it could be, at least for the potentially multi-orgasmic female, an “anti-infanticide insurance policy” that spurred women to mate successively with…

  • What Makes Us Human: Tolerance and Cooperation

    In the 1950s, Russian scientist Dmitri Belyaev ran a¬†selective breeding project to, by artificial selection, breed (incredibly cute)¬†domesticated silver foxes. The results of this multi-decade experiment were impressive, especially given that the foxes were selected¬†solely for their amicability toward humans: After only forty generations, the selected foxes began to display¬†changes you (and Darwin, too) might…

  • Richard Dawkins and Hugh Hewitt Interview

    The former Simonyi Professor for the Public Understanding of Science and founder of the Foundation for Reason and Science, Richard Dawkins, was recently invited to appear on¬†The Hugh Hewitt Show where the two discussed religion, Rome, evolution and much more. One particular exchange (the Okay, do you believe Jesus turned water into wine? incident) has…

  • Mysteries of Evolution and an Evolving Dawkins

    It is time to move away from anti-religious sentiment/philosophy and instead appeal to the logic of those who refute the theory of evolution. This appears to be the premise of Richard Dawkins’ latest book, The Greatest Show on Earth, where he “traces the scientific investigation of biological change as if it were a crime-scene investigation…