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Thursday, June 18, 2009

Field Notes

Darwin Was an Abolitionist
It seems that the secular humanist crowd also has an old and some would say noble tradition of anti-slavery agitation which it can draw on—and it was an issue that united it with evangelicals. (Ed Stoddard, Reuters Blogs)

Same-Sex Behavior in the Animal Kingdom
Male-male and female-female interactions have been “extensively documented in non-human animals”, write University of California, Riverside researchers Nathan Bailey and Marlene Zuk. However they want to see scientists looking more towards the evolutionary consequences of same-sex behavior, not just on why it occurs. (

Honey, Are You Happy for Me?
A lukewarm or deflating reaction to a partner's positive news tells more about the health of the relationship, and is even more predictive of its breakup, than whether a partner is supportive after bad news, says Shelly Gable, a psychologist at the University of California-Santa Barbara. (Marilyn Elias, USA Today)

Scientists Smack Down Study That Says Orangutan Is Our Closest Relative
The idea flies in the face of mainstream scientific opinion, not least a wealth of DNA evidence pointing to our close relationship to chimps. Jeffrey Schwartz and John Grehan do not deny the similarity between human and chimp genomes, but argue that the DNA evidence is problematic and that traditional taxonomy unequivocally tells us that our closest living relatives are orangutans. Human evolution and phylogenomics researchers have so far given the paper a rough reception. (Graham Lawton, New Scientist)

Freud's Last Session

Mark St. Germain has constructed an entire one-act play out of one simple “what if’’: What if Sigmund Freud and C.S. Lewis had met? (Louise Kennedy, The Boston Globe)