Punctuated Equilibrium, Progress and Schools

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Punctuated Equilibrium is a theory in evolutionary biology that seems to fit well with progress in students’ learning. What is Punctuated Equilibrium Punctuated Equilibrium was first proposed in the 1970s by Nile’s Elderedge and Stephen Jay Gould. They argued that while most of us think that evolution happens gradually, the fossil record showed  evolution happens in spurts. Stasis (or equilibrium) … Read More

What is a tiger for?

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Still more from John Kay’s Obliquity: “For years I struggled with the idea that if a profit could not be the defining purpose of a corporation, there must be something else that must be its defining purpose. If business did not maximise profit, what did it maximise? I was making the same mistake as those victims of the teleological fallacy … Read More

The 21st Century Learning Initiative Blog » The Evolution of Despair

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It was 14 years since Time Magazine published The Evolution of Despair, by Robert Wright, the rapidly rising star of the new discipline of evolutionary psychology. [It] attracted great attention. As an evolutionary psychologist, he quoted the Unabomber – the man who, as his personal demonstration against the dehumanising aspects of modern life, conducted a seven-year bombing spree across America … Read More

The 21st Century Learning Initiative Blog » The Evolution of Despair

Piers YoungAsidesLeave a Comment

It was 14 years since Time Magazine published The Evolution of Despair, by Robert Wright, the rapidly rising star of the new discipline of evolutionary psychology. [It] attracted great attention. As an evolutionary psychologist, he quoted the Unabomber – the man who, as his personal demonstration against the dehumanising aspects of modern life, conducted a seven-year bombing spree across America … Read More

The Play’s the Thing » American Scientist

Piers YoungAsides1 Comment

Let me explain a thing or two about humanists like me. There are legions of us who reach for our guns when we hear the word genome. That’s because we’re all too familiar with the history of eugenics, and we flinch whenever someone attempts an “evolutionary” explanation of Why Society Is the Way It Is; we suspect them, with good … Read More

The Play’s the Thing » American Scientist

Piers YoungAsides1 Comment

Let me explain a thing or two about humanists like me. There are legions of us who reach for our guns when we hear the word genome. That’s because we’re all too familiar with the history of eugenics, and we flinch whenever someone attempts an “evolutionary” explanation of Why Society Is the Way It Is; we suspect them, with good … Read More

Evolution and history compulsory

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Evolution is already taught in secondary schools and many primary schools, but under the curriculum changes, it will become compulsory for primary pupils. Professor Sir Martin Taylor, vice-president of the Royal Society, said: "We are delighted to see evolution explicitly included in the primary curriculum. "One of the most remarkable achievements of science over the last two hundred years has … Read More

Humanity’s Other Basic Instinct: Maths

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Traditionally, scientists have thought that we learn to use numbers the same way we learn how to drive a car or to text with two thumbs … The oldest evidence of people using numbers dates back about 30,000 years: bones and antlers scored with notches that are considered by archaeologists to be tallying marks. More sophisticated uses of numbers arose … Read More

Letters of Note, Darwin & The Tendency to Generalize

Piers YoungNotes1 Comment

On the wonderful Letters of Note blog, this caught my fancy.  It is an excerpt from a letter from Charles Darwin.  It was not approach to collecting and generalisation especially.  How many smatterers and wandering collectors are there online who make the loose speculations Mr D abhors?  Well, one here … I must be allowed to put my own interpretation … Read More

Letters of Note, Darwin & The Tendency to Generalize

Piers YoungNotes1 Comment

On the wonderful Letters of Note blog, this caught my fancy.  It is an excerpt from a letter from Charles Darwin.  It was not approach to collecting and generalisation especially.  How many smatterers and wandering collectors are there online who make the loose speculations Mr D abhors?  Well, one here … I must be allowed to put my own interpretation … Read More