The old story and the new story -- Have we changed the story? part 1 -- Have we changed the story? part 2 -- Why do we need the new story? -- Some questions in the new story -- Navigating the stories -- Boats and airplanes : a brief digression -- Three questions about God -- Is God angry? -- Is God angry? part 2 -- A small digression about judgment -- Is God distant? part 1 -- Is God distant? (...) part 2 -- Is God distant? part 3 -- Is God distant? part 4 -- Is God a bully? part 1 -- Is God a bully? part 2 -- Is God a bully? part 3 -- A short word on exclusivity -- The path of wisdom -- The eclipse of doctrine -- Ethos versus doctrine -- Where to begin? (shrink)
In a previous study, using experimental metapopulations of the flour beetle, Tribolium castaneum, we investigated phase III of Wright's shifting balance process (Wade and Griesemer 1998). We experimentally modeled migration of varying amounts from demes of high mean fitness into demes of lower mean fitness (as in Wright's characterization of phase III) as well as the reciprocal (the opposite of phase III). We estimated the meta-populational heritability for this level of selection by regression of offspring deme means on the (...) weighted parental deme means.Here we develop a Punnett Square representation of the inheritance of the group mean to place our empirical findings in a conceptual context similar to Mendelian inheritance of individual traits. The comparison of Punnett Squares for individual and group inheritance shows how the latter concept can be rigorously defined and extended despite the lack of explicitly formulated, simple Mendelian laws of inheritance at the group level. Whereas Wright's phase III combines both interdemic selection and meta-populational inheritance, our formulation separates the issue of meta-populational heritability from that of interdemic selection. We use this conceptual context to discuss the controversies over the levels of selection and the units of inheritance. (shrink)
Two controversies exist regarding the appropriate characterization of hierarchical and adaptive evolution in natural populations. In biology, there is the Wright–Fisher controversy over the relative roles of random genetic drift, natural selection, population structure, and interdemic selection in adaptive evolution begun by Sewall Wright and Ronald Aylmer Fisher. There is also the Units of Selection debate, spanning both the biological and the philosophical literature and including the impassioned group-selection debate. Why do these two discourses exist separately, and interact relatively little? (...) We postulate that the reason for this schism can be found in the differing focus of each controversy, a deep difference itself determined by distinct general styles of scientific research guiding each discourse. That is, the Wright–Fisher debate focuses on adaptive process, and tends to be instructed by the mathematical modeling style, while the focus of the Units of Selection controversy is adaptive product, and is typically guided by the function style. The differences between the two discourses can be usefully tracked by examining their interpretations of two contested strategies for theorizing hierarchical selection: horizontal and vertical averaging. (shrink)
Although epistasis is at the center of the Fisher-Wright debate, biologists not involved in the controversy are often unaware that there are actually two different formal definitions of epistasis. We compare concepts of genetic independence in the two theoretical traditions of evolutionary genetics, population genetics and quantitative genetics, and show how independence of gene action (represented by the multiplicative model of population genetics) can be different from the absence of gene interaction (represented by the linear additive model of quantitative genetics). (...) The two formulations converge with weak selection but not with strong selection or, for multiple loci, when the aggregated interaction terms are not negligible. As a result of the different formulations of gene interaction, the presence or absence of linkage disequilibrium,/D/, does not necessarily indicate the presence or absence of fitness epistasis. Indeed, linkage disequilibrium is generated in ‘additive’ models in quantitative genetics whenever two (or more) loci experience simultaneous selection. As a research strategy, it is often practical, for theoretical or experimental reasons, to minimize gene interaction by assuming independence of gene action in regard to fitness, or by assuming linear additive effects of multiple loci on a phenotype. However, minimizing the role of epistasis in theoretical investigations hinders our understanding of the origins of diversity and the evolution of complex phenotypes. (shrink)
This book traces the varying conceptions of the nature of God's existence from Aristotle, through the pagan Neoplatonists, to thinkers such as Augustine, Boethius, and Aquinas (in the West) and Dionysius the Areopagite, Maximus the Confessor, and Gregory Palamas (in the East). The result is a powerful comparative history of philosophical thought in Christendom that provides documentation for the schism between the Eastern and Western churches.
We develop an account of laboratory models, which have been central to the group selection controversy. We compare arguments for group selection in nature with Darwin's arguments for natural selection to argue that laboratory models provide important grounds for causal claims about selection. Biologists get information about causes and cause-effect relationships in the laboratory because of the special role their own causal agency plays there. They can also get information about patterns of effects and antecedent conditions in nature. But to (...) argue that some cause is actually responsible in nature, they require an inference from knowledge of causes in the laboratory context and of effects in the natural context. This process, cause detection, forms the core of an analogical argument for group selection. We discuss the differing roles of mathematical and laboratory models in constructing selective explanations at the group level and apply our discussion to the units of selection controversy to distinguish between the related problems of cause determination and evaluation of evidence. Because laboratory models are at the intersection of the two problems, their study is crucial for framing a coherent theory of explanation for evolutionary biology. (shrink)
The transhumanist literature encompasses diverse nonnovel positions on questions of disability and obligation reflecting long-running political philosophical debates on freedom and value choice, complicated by the difficulty of projecting values to enhanced beings. These older questions take on a more concrete form given transhumanist uses of biotechnologies. This paper will contrast the views of Hughes and Sandberg on the obligations persons with "disabilities" have to enhance and suggest a new model. The paper will finish by introducing a distinction between the (...) responsibility society has in respect of the presence of impairments and the responsibility society has not to abandon disadvantaged members, concluding that questions of freedom and responsibility have renewed political importance in the context of enhancement technologies. (shrink)
One of the most intriguing features of Eastern Orthodoxy is its understanding of the mind and the heart. Orthodox authors such as St. Gregory Palamas speak of “drawing the mind into the heart” through prayer. What does this mean, and what does it indicate about the eastern Christian understanding of the human person? This essay attempts to answer such questions through a comparative study of the eastern and western views of the mind and the heart, beginning with their common origin (...) in the Bible and continuing through their later divergence. (shrink)
This paper examines the identity of Asian swamp buffalo (Bubalus bubalis) from different value orientations. Buffalo were introduced into Northern (Top End) Australia in the early nineteenth century. A team of transdisciplinary researchers, including an ethicist, has been engaged in field research on feral buffalo in Arnhem Land over the past three years. Using historical documents, literature review, field observations, interviews with key informants, and interaction with the Indigenous land owners, an understanding of the diverse views on the scientific, cultural, (...) and economic significance of buffalo was obtained. While the diverse stakeholders in buffalo exploitation and management have historically delivered divergent value orientations on the nature of the human–buffalo relationship, we argue that over time there is the possibility of values and ethical convergence. Such convergence is possible via transdisciplinary and transcultural agreement on the value stances that constitute the construction of the being or identity of buffalo in the face of the overwhelming need to manage population density and gross numbers. (shrink)
An intervening gestural stage in language evolution, though seductive, is ultimately redundant, and is not necessarily supported by modern human or chimp behaviour. The findings and arguments offered from mirror neurones, anatomy, and lateralization are capable of other interpretations, and the manipulative dextrality of chimps is under-recognized. While language certainly possesses certain unique properties, its roots are ancient.
In June 2008 the UK government, supported by the Royal College of Nursing, stated that nursing care would be measured for compassion. This paper considers the implications of this statement by critically examining the relationship of compassion to care from a variety of perspectives. It is argued that the current market-driven approaches to healthcare involve redefining care as a pale imitation, even parody, of the traditional approach of the nurse as “my brother’s keeper”. Attempts to measure such parody can only (...) measure artificial techniques and give rise to a McDonald’s-type nursing care rather than heartfelt care. The arguments of this paper, although applied to nursing, also apply to medicine and healthcare generally. (shrink)
The distinction between the divine essence and energies has long been recognized as a characteristic feature of Eastern Orthodox theology, one sharply at odds with traditional Western understandings of divine simplicity. Yet attempts by Orthodox theologians to explain the distinction have sometimes exaggerated its distinctively Orthodox character by a failure to attend to its historical sources. This paper argues that the distinction was a natural and reasonable consequence of the synthesis between Greek philosophy and Biblical thought executed by the Church (...) Fathers, particularly the Cappadocians of the fourth century. (shrink)
Keller & Miller (K&M) briefly mention and promptly dismiss the idea that genes for harmful mental disorders may confer certain advantages to affected individuals. However, the authors fail to consider that the same genes (in low doses or reduced penetrance) may be adaptive for relatives, and that this may in part explain why they are retained in the gene pool. (Published Online November 9 2006).
This paper is a response to Peter Allmark's thesis that 'there can be no "caring" ethics'. It argues that the current preoccupation in nursing to define an ethics of care is a direct result of breaking nursing tradition. Subsequent attempts to find a moral basis for care, whether from subjective experimental perspectives such as described by Noddings, or from rational and detached approaches derived from Kant, are inevitably flawed. Writers may still implicitly presuppose a concept of care drawn from the (...) Judaeo-Christian tradition but without explicit recourse to its moral basis nursing is left rudderless and potentially without purpose. The very concept of 'care' cut off from its roots becomes a meaningless term without either normative or descriptive content. (shrink)
This paper examines the identity of Asian swamp buffalo ( Bubalus bubalis ) from different value orientations. Buffalo were introduced into Northern (Top End) Australia in the early nineteenth century. A team of transdisciplinary researchers, including an ethicist, has been engaged in field research on feral buffalo in Arnhem Land over the past three years. Using historical documents, literature review, field observations, interviews with key informants, and interaction with the Indigenous land owners, an understanding of the diverse views on the (...) scientific, cultural, and economic significance of buffalo was obtained. While the diverse stakeholders in buffalo exploitation and management have historically delivered divergent value orientations on the nature of the human–buffalo relationship, we argue that over time there is the possibility of values and ethical convergence. Such convergence is possible via transdisciplinary and transcultural agreement on the value stances that constitute the construction of the being or identity of buffalo in the face of the overwhelming need to manage population density and gross numbers. (shrink)
Abstract In 1968 Simmons studied the personal and moral values of 101 fourth?year pupils of a comprehensive school by means of 10 unfinished sentences. This survey was published in 1980. The first sentence was based on an Ideal Person Test used by the Eppels in the early 1960s. In 1981 the 1968 survey was replicated and extended to include 820 fourth?year pupils (492 boys, 328 girls, average age 15 years) in six schools with different social and geographical backgrounds. The responses (...) to the first sentence confirmed many of the Eppels? findings of nearly 20 years ago particularly with respect to (a) the rejection of ideal models in favour of ?myself choices, (b) the clear preference by nearly half the subjects for ideal models chararcterised by attractive physical appearance and popularity, (c) the over?subscription of boys to material values and the oversubscription of girls to social values. (shrink)