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Tuesday, December 30, 2014

What do you do in Los Angeles in February?

I've visited Los Angeles in February. There are lots of cool things you can do, like going to the beach with your granddaughter or spending a day at Disneyland. I won't be there this February and that's a shame because I'll be missing an important event [Things to do in LA in February].
Bad Biology: How Adaptationist Thinking Corrupts Science

11 a.m., Sun., Feb. 15 – Hollywood; 4:30 p.m. – Costa Mesa

In 1979, Gould and Lewontin published an important paper, “The Spandrels of San Marco and the Panglossian Paradigm: A Critique of the Adaptationist Programme”, in which they deplored the narrow focus on seeing evolution as only a process of adaptation. They further criticized the field of evolutionary biology for perpetuating this pattern of flawed thinking.

Biologist PZ Myers bemoans that their warnings have gone unheeded in some biological sub-disciplines. He’ll be discussing a few examples of bad evolutionary biology, including the “human biodiversity” movement that is little more than a collection of pseudoscientific rationalizations for racism; evolutionary psychology, which seeks to explain modern human biology with imaginary scenarios of adaptive constraints from 10,000 years ago; and the ENCODE project, which was an obvious and overt exercise in adaptive bias applied to genomic data. A common thread among these examples is an excessive reliance on adaptationist thinking and a lack of appreciation of the diversity of mechanisms underlying our evolutionary history.
Don't miss it if you are anywhere near Los Angeles this February.

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