Thursday, 13 October 2016

Altemeyer's The Authoritarians

For those people who have somehow managed to avoid it despite the fact that it's been linked all around the Internet for the past 10 years, this is a reminder that Bob Altemeyer's book The Authoritarians is available free in PDF form at the link.

If you want to take the RWA-scale questionnaire from the book, I have put up a convenient online version; this is completely private, all scoring is client-side and no results are stored or sent anywhere (not even to me).

Sunday, 9 October 2016

Ozy Frantz contra John C. Wright on sexual morality

Wright's conversion story (warning, have barf bag ready before reading, it's pretty bad even by SN standards) went up on SN in the relatively early days. One of Wright's claims in it is that as an atheist he had argued himself, by means of nothing but ‘pure’ ‘rational’ philosophy into positions otherwise held by Christians; his conversion story doesn't go into details about what those were, but from his other writings it seems clear that sexual matters were at least a significant part of this.

So I was interested (and amused) to see that Ozy Frantz has done a long takedown:

John C Wright is an absolutely delightful person whose blog posts have given me endless hours of enjoyment and who has recommended many excellent short stories (admittedly, by talking about how they are the Morlockian death of science fiction, but a good recommender is a good recommender, even if it’s wired backwards). I have recently discovered an old blog post of his which purported to lay out natural and worldly reasons why a rational atheist should follow Christian sexual morality. As an atheist libertine, I find this a tremendously interesting proposal and wish to argue with it.

Against John C Wright’s On The Sexual Nature of Man, Part The First

Against John C Wright’s On The Sexual Nature of Man, Part The Second

Against John C Wright’s On The Sexual Nature of Man, Part The Third

Against John C Wright’s On The Sexual Nature of Man, Part The Fourth

Against John C Wright’s On The Sexual Nature of Man, Part the Last

Friday, 7 October 2016

Sunday, 18 September 2016

Human Population Bottleneck Sizes

Various apologetic arguments claim that the scientific estimate of the minimum human population is some value such as 2,000, which is not supported by the actual scientific literature; in this post we'll look at where some of those numbers seem to be coming from.

Tuesday, 13 September 2016

Misunderstanding and Misrepresenting Mitochondrial Eve

Every time there's a discussion of Adam and Eve, someone who doesn't understand the biology will inevitably bring up ‘Mitochondrial Eve’ (or sometimes ‘Y-chromosomal Adam’) as though this is somehow relevant to the Biblical fictional characters.

The latest example over at SN is LHRMSCBrown, who links to this piece by William Lane Craig:

It has been shown by geneticists that all living human beings on the face of the earth today, based on their mitochondria in our cells, are descended from the same woman. There is literally a mother somewhere in the distant past of the entire human race. Scientists have called her the Mitochondrial Eve. They don’t think that this is the Eve of the Old Testament because they would say this woman was just one of probably thousands of women who existed at that time but remarkably if there were all these other thousands of women their descendants have all died off somehow in the course of history and everybody that exists today is a descendant of this woman who actually lived at some time in the prehistoric past.

Craig can rarely be accused of getting the science correct, and this is no exception.