Science Isn't Just Common Sense

It is widely assumed—by people sympathetic to science—that science necessarily corresponds to our experience and assumptions. Surprise! It's at its best when it doesn't.

Tax Bill Blowback

Pundits have been busy opining about the impact of the newly passed tax bill. They've ignored the impact of the psychology of envy and of relative good fortune.

On Accepting the Truth About Our Own Species

We are indeed special — at least in our own minds. The greater specialness — confirmed by science — is that we're organic and... ordinary!

Paradigms Lost

It is a common myth that the human species is somehow uniquely endowed, the center of the universe and the apple of god's eye. Reality is quite different, and much better.

How are the Trump Troubles Like the Army-McCarthy Hearings?

I'm sure that I'm not alone is finding myself glued to the latest Trump Troubles, including Russia Revelations. It brings back memories of sunshine in some bad old days.

A Wolfe in False Clothing

Tom Wolfe reveals himself as a passable if annoying writer, but someone who is profoundly ignorant of basic science.

Double Mother Suckers

You might have noticed that people aren’t elephant seals. But a close look at these creatures reveals a lot about male-female differences in our own species.

Polyandry (One Woman, Many Men)

Draupadi and her five husbands: The only thing unusual here is the overt acknowledgment of this woman's polyandry.

People Are Polygynous

We are a peculiar species, neither "naturally" promiscuous, nor monogamous. Rather, we're both polygynous and polyandrous; here's some of the evidence for polygyny.

How Monogamy Helps Men

It's widely assumed that monogamy is good for women, and polygyny for men. In fact, the exact opposite seems to be true.

Monogamous Myths Abound

There is probably nothing that people lie about more than their sex lives. Not surprisingly, this misrepresentation extends to one of our most widespread myths: monogamy.

Nuclear Gun Safety

The Cold War may be officially over, but a kind of nuclear arms race continues. Here are some especially dangerous and current manifestations.

Brahe's Blunder, or We Aren't as Important as We'd Like

One of the most shocking but important realizations is that we aren't central to the world, neither as individuals nor as a species. But people have had a hard time acknowledging this.

How the Iran Deal Differs from the Earlier North Korean One

People desperate to reject the nuclear agreement with Iran claim that since the one with North Korea failed, this one will, too. Here are a dozen reasons why they're very wrong.

What Would the Buddha Do?

It's a kind of dog-car problem: a dog who chases cars eventually catches one. What does he do with it? Similarly, when we catch a violent perpetrator, what should we do with him?

Women Rising

My own daughters' accomplishments reflect what's going on in American society generally

The Delusion of a Savior Nuclear and Otherwise

It's a common delusion: there exists a potential savior that/who will swoop in and rescue us. This error is depicted in a fascinating new sci fi novel, even as it is acted out in today's nuclear policies.

The Doomsday Clock and Me

The hands of the Doomsday Clock are now at 3 minutes to midnight. This means that famous scientists think that the threat of global extinction is as close as it was during the Cold War. Nuclear weapons modernization, global warming, and international tensions have created this threat. The only sane response is to work to abolish nuclear weapons, and reduce global warming.

Rats and Responsibility (And a Bit of Camus)

People can get motivated to deal with serious immediate problems, but then, soon enough (often, too soon), they decide the problem is solved and move on. But problems, like rats, have a nasty habit of coming back. Cases in point: Ebola and nuclear weapons. In such cases, we can all learn a lesson from Albert Camus.

Does Evolution Preclude Religious Faith?

Does evolutionary science preclude traditional religious belief? In my opinion, it doesn't, although it does make such belief substantially more difficult than it had been in pre-Darwinian days. In this post, I reprint an op-ed article I wrote for The New York Times, which generated a response avalanche - much of it misunderstanding what I was saying. Do you understand?

Nuclear Awareness Days

Nuclear awareness: we desperately need it. And what better days to begin than the anniversaries of when we bombed Hiroshima and Nagasaki? Moreover, there is much that the US can do to make all of us safer.

What Would it Take for Geostrategic Jerks to Be Discredited?

Our national life is infested with prominent zombies, soulless examples of the ethical undead, who are responsible for some of the most intolerable malfeasance in U.S. history, and yet who are persistently treated with respect.

Bloomsday: A Celebration of Everyday Heroism

Great novels don't necessarily deal with "great events." Quite the opposite: Unlike in older "romances," greatness in literature is nearly always demonstrated via day-to-day, quotidian events, where most heroism actually resides. And the iconic example is James Joyce's "Ulysses" and his/our hero, Leopold Bloom. Happy Bloomsday, everyone!

Helping Each Other, Using This Forum

People may find answers and help beyond my blog. Please send these ideas and experiences in! We can help one another find improved cures and treatments for Crohn's Disease!

Making a New Life in Costa Rica

Making a new life in Costa Rica can be the best of times, or the worst of times.


Either/Or seems like a firm, strong, defensible assertion, consistent with existential thought and appealing to those of us who long for simple (simplistic?) answers. But some of the most interesting and important matters aren't so readily disposed of.

Kindness in an Unkind World

There is much in nature that is positive and wonderful, but at the same time, there is much that is awful and painful. Evolutionary biologists understand this...and so do Buddhists.

Darwin, Dillard, and Dukkha

Biologists and Buddhists alike know that the living world is gorgeous and wonderful - but that it is also filled with pain and suffering. And natural selection, sometimes brutal and always amoral, is behind both life's glory and its misery.

Darwin and Dukkha, What's That?

Let's agree: life is terrific! But let's also acknowledge that it is full of bad stuff as well: predation, parasitism, infanticide, senility, disease, and a whole lot of other things that Buddhists call "dukkha." On this (and other things, too), Buddhism and biology converge, so that each helps illuminate the other.

Buddhism 2.0

Although in its early stages, Buddhism emphasized personal enlightenment and, if anything, withdrawal from the world, modern "engaged Buddhism" (aka "Buddhism 2.0") does anything but. And both Buddhists and the world are better off as a result.