he theory o f natural selection provides a mechanistic, causal account of how living things came to look as if they had been designed for a purpose. So overwhelming is the appearance of purposeful design that, even in this Darwinian era when we know "better," we still find it difficult, indeed boringly pedantic, to refrain from teleological language when discussing adaptation. Birds' wings are obviously "for" flying, spider webs are for catching insects, chlorophyll molecules are for photosynthesis, DNA molecules are (...) for. . . What are DNA molecules for? The question takes us aback. In my case it touches off an almost audible alarm siren in the mind. If we accept the view of life that I wish to espouse, it is the forbidden question. DNA is not "for" anything. If we wish to speak teleologically, all adaptations are for the preservation of DNA; DNA itself just is. Following Williams (1966), I have advocated this view at length (Dawkins 1976, 1978), and I do not want to repeat myself here. Instead I shall try to clear up an important misunderstanding of the view, a misunderstanding that has constituted an unnecessary barrier to its acceptance. (shrink)
n the pioneering days of radio, my grandfather's job was to lecture to young engineers who were joining Marconi's company. To illustrate that any complex wave form can be broken down into summed simple waves of different frequencies (important in both radio and acoustics), he took wheels of different diameters and attached them with pistons to a clothesline. When the wheels went round, the clothesline was jerked up and down, causing waves of movement to snake along it. The wriggling clothesline (...) was a model of a radio wave, giving the students a more vivid picture of wave summation than mathematical equations could ever have done. (shrink)
By the time Darwin finally got around to throwing that light with the publication of The Descent of Man in 1871, others had been there Links before him and the greater part of his book is not about humans but about Darwin's "other" theory, sexual selection. It might have..
about groups as vehicles, and we could easily agree to differ on the answer. But why, having talked so much sense, do they spoil it all at the bottom line by pretending that their kind of group as vehicle selection has any illuminating similarity with the kind of group selection..
''Do you realize,'' said Don, ''that nearly half the people in the United States don't believe in evolution?'' This sentence epitomizes both Features the provocation for and the odd provenance of the book under review. To take the latter first, ''Blueprints'' purports to be the joint work..
Every day I get letters, in capitals and obsessively underlined if not actually in green ink, from flat-earthers, young-earthers, Dawkins perpetual-motion merchants, astrologers and other harmless fruitcakes. The only difference here is that Richard Milton..
hydrogen bomb. As George Steiner noted in the previous lecture, more scientists are working today than in all other centuries combined. Though also – to put that figure into alarming perspective – more people are alive today than have died since the dawn of Homo sapiens.
There are modern scientists whose words sound religious but whose beliefs, on close examination, turn out to be identical to those of other scientists who call themselves atheists. Ursula Goodenough's lyrical book, The Sacred Depths of Nature, is sold as a religious book, is endorsed by theologians on the back cover, and its chapters are liberally laced with prayers and devotional meditations.
Imams and ayatollahs oppress women in his name. Celibate popes and priests mess up people's sex lives in his name. Jewish shohets cut live animals' throats in his name. The achievements of religion in past history - bloody crusades, torturing inquisitions, mass-murdering..
Whenever humans have a good idea, zoologists have grown accustomed to finding it anticipated in the animal kingdom.. Why not the wheel? Bats and dolphins perfected sophisticated echo-ranging systems millions of years before human engineers gave us sonar and..
hereditary principle for membership of Parliament, you seem hell-bent on promoting the hereditary principle for the transmission of beliefs and opinions. For that is precisely what religions are: hereditary beliefs and opinions. To quote the headline of a fine article in the.
Globalization has brought increased attention to the notion that labor rights such as freedom of association—the right of workers to organize a union—are fundamental human rights. However, the vigorous opposition to freedom of association by US firms is largely ignored in the business ethics literature and exacerbated by compensatory corporate citizenship rating mechanisms that tend to mask labor rights deficiencies. I argue that because freedom of association is a hypernorm, instrumental to fully realizing basic human rights, labor rights and human (...) rights are largely inseparable. Thus, respect for labor rights is a non-substitutable requisite of corporate citizenship. I conclude by providing examples of corporate labor relations strategies that respect freedom of association and business firms that are leading the way. (shrink)
Some researchers have argued that firms with favorable environmental performance are more likely to provide voluntary environmental disclosure, while others have argued that firms with poor environmental performance are most likely to disclose. The authors propose a curvilinear relation between environmental performance and environmental disclosure that is moderated by visibility. Data were obtained from S&P 500 firms queried by Ceres' Climate Disclosure Project. Results show a U-shaped environmental performance—environmental disclosure relation and a main effect for visibility but no moderating effect (...) for visibility on the U-shaped environmental performance-environmental disclosure relation. The authors discussed the implications of these results for future research and practice. (shrink)
Previous research provides mixed results on the relationship between corporate environmental performance and the level of voluntary environmental disclosure. We revisit this relation by testing competing predictions from defensive and accommodative approaches to voluntary disclosure with regard to climate change. In particular, we add to the prior literature by determining the extent to which environmental performance and company media visibility interact to prompt voluntary climate change disclosure. Using ordinal regression and Ceres, KLD, and Trucost ratings of S& P 500 companies, (...) we find a positive relationship between environmental performance and voluntary climate change disclosure. We extend the literature on environmental strategies and disclosure by establishing that company visibility and issue (climate change) visibility interact with environmental performance to influence the level of voluntary climate change disclosure. (shrink)
Magic takes many forms. Supernatural magic is what our ancestors used in order to explain the world before they developed the scientific method. The ancient Egyptians explained the night by suggesting the goddess Nut swallowed the sun. The Vikings believed a rainbow was the gods’ bridge to earth. The Japanese used to explain earthquakes by conjuring a gigantic catfish that carried the world on its back—earthquakes occurred each time it flipped its tail. These are magical, extraordinary tales. But there is (...) another kind of magic, and it lies in the exhilaration of discovering the real answers to these questions. It is the magic of reality—science. Packed with clever thought experiments, dazzling illustrations and jaw-dropping facts, The Magic of Reality explains a stunningly wide range of natural phenomena. What is stuff made of? How old is the universe? Why do the continents look like disconnected pieces of a puzzle? What causes tsunamis? Why are there so many kinds of plants and animals? Who was the first man, or woman? This is a page-turning, graphic detective story that not only mines all the sciences for its clues but primes the reader to think like a scientist as well. Richard Dawkins, the world’s most famous evolutionary biologist and one of science education’s most passionate advocates, has spent his career elucidating the wonders of science for adult readers. But now, in a dramatic departure, he has teamed up with acclaimed artist Dave McKean and used his unrivaled explanatory powers to share the magic of science with readers of all ages. This is a treasure trove for anyone who has ever wondered how the world works. Dawkins and McKean have created an illustrated guide to the secrets of our world—and the universe beyond—that will entertain and inform for years to come. (shrink)
This article integrates theory and concepts from the business and society, business ethics, and labor relations literatures to offer a conceptualization of labor union social responsibility that includes activities geared toward three primary objectives: economic equity, workplace democracy, and social justice. Economic, workplace, and social labor union stakeholders are identified, likely issues are highlighted, and the implications of labor union social responsibility for labor union strategy are discussed. It is noted that, given the breadth of labor unions in a global (...) work environment, labor union social responsibility also has implications for NGOs, corporations, and how corporate social responsibility is viewed going forward. This article concludes by noting that the nexus of labor relations and corporate social responsibility warrants more attention in management and labor relations literatures. (shrink)
Some researchers have argued that firms with favorable environmental performance are more likely to provide voluntary environmental disclosure, while others have argued that firms with poor environmental performance are most likely to disclose. The authors propose a curvilinear relation between environmental performance and environmental disclosure that is moderated by visibility. Data were obtained from S&P 500 firms queried by the Ceres’ Climate Disclosure Project. Results show a U-shaped environmental performance–environmental disclosure relation and a main effect for visibility, but no moderating (...) effect for visibility on the U-shaped environmental performance–environmental disclosure rela- tion. The authors discussed the implications of these results for future research and practice. (shrink)
The renowned biologist and thinker Richard Dawkins presents his most expansive work yet: a comprehensive look at evolution, ranging from the latest developments in the field to his own provocative views. Loosely based on the form of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, Dawkins's Tale takes us modern humans back through four billion years of life on our planet. As the pilgrimage progresses, we join with other organisms at the forty "rendezvous points" where we find a common ancestor. The band of pilgrims swells (...) into a vast crowd as we join first with other primates, then with other mammals, and so on back to the first primordial organism. Dawkins's brilliant, inventive approach allows us to view the connections between ourselves and all other life in a bracingly novel way. It also lets him shed bright new light on the most compelling aspects of evolutionary history and theory: sexual selection, speciation, convergent evolution, extinction, genetics, plate tectonics, geographical dispersal, and more. The Ancestor's Tale is at once a far-reaching survey of the latest, best thinking on biology and a fascinating history of life on Earth. Here Dawkins shows us how remarkable we are, how astonishing our history, and how intimate our relationship with the rest of the living world. (shrink)
Recent years have seen dramatic changes in the attitudes and expectations brought to bear on companies. Over ten years of research at MORI has shown the increasing prominence of corporate responsibility for a wide range of stakeholders, from consumers and employees to legislators and investors.
I often imagine how good it would be to have a pair of those infrared binoculars -- the ones always used by the hero in movies to see what's ordinarily hidden by darkness. Similar is the alien's vision of warmth in _Predator_. In this film the commandos, led by Arnold Schwarzenegger, cannot escape the prying eyes that see the warmth of their bodies (no matter how much guerrilla is in their warfare).
Did Newton "unweave the rainbow" by reducing it to its prismatic colors, as Keats contended? Did he, in other words, diminish beauty? Far from it, says Dawkins--Newton's unweaving is the key too much of modern astronomy and to the breathtaking poetry of modern cosmology. Mysteries don't lose their poetry because they are solved: the solution often is more beautiful than the puzzle, uncovering deeper mystery. (The Keats who spoke of "unweaving the rainbow" was a very young man, Dawkins reminds us.) (...) With the wit, insight, and spellbinding prose that have made his books worldwide bestsellers, Dawkins addresses the most important and compelling topics in modern science, from astronomy and genetics to language and virtual reality, and combines them in a landmark statement of the human appetite for wonder. This is the book that Richard Dawkins was meant to write: a brilliant assessment of what science is (and what it isn't), a tribute to science "not because it is useful (though it is), but but because it is uplifting, in the same way as the best poetry is uplifting.". (shrink)
This pleasantly written book has two related themes. The first is a statistical argument which Gould believes has great generality, uniting baseball, a moving personal response to the serious illness from which, thankfully, the author has now recovered, and his second theme: that of whether evolution is progressive.