John Ferling and the days of the American War of Independence

Books & Boots

What are days for?
Days are where we live.
They come, they wake us
Time and time over.
They are to be happy in:
Where can we live but days?

Ah, solving that question
Brings the priest and the doctor
In their long coats
Running over the fields.

Days by Philip Larkin

Historians deal with periods of time. Since these are generally longer than a few hours, they can or have to be measured in days, days which make up weeks, months, years and sometimes centuries. But historians, like the rest of us, tend to record key events (births, marriages, deaths) as happening on specific days. D Day. Independence Day. Days are what we attach meaning to. Days are where we live.

How can you distinguish and separate out all the days which make up all of human history? How can you convey the passage of time, the passage of days…

View original post 1,594 more words

Leave a comment

Filed under Reblogs

My short intro to the genetics of speciation

Why Evolution Is True

UPDATE: If you want a pdf of my article, which seems to be behind a paywall, just inquire judiciously.

_________________

The journal Molecular Ecology is producing a special issue on “Sex chromosomes and speciation”, which will contain about 17 papers. Some of these have already been published online, and though there’s not yet a central link, some of the papers are here.

Since my lab more or less kickstarted the area by reviving interest in Haldane’s Rule and its probable cause by sex-chromosome evolution (see the paper for an explanation), I was asked to write a personal and historical introduction to the field to open the issue. My short paper can be seen by clicking on the screenshot below, which will lead you to a pdf of the manuscript—very close to the version that will be published.

I tried to write this paper so it would be accessible…

View original post 124 more words

Leave a comment

Filed under Reblogs

Why incompetent people think they’re amazing – David Dunning

Leave a comment

Filed under Reblogs

Book Club: Early Socratic Dialogues, 5, the Charmides and the nature of self-knowledge

Footnotes to Plato

Temple of Apollo at Delphi

The Charmides, the next entry in our exploration of the early Socratic dialogues from the homonymous Penguin collection, is a big one. Its primary objective is an exploration of the concept of the cardinal virtue known as sōphrosunē. It is one of the four Socratic virtues found also in the Stoics, the other three being practical wisdom (phronesis, or prudence, from the Latin prudentia), courage and justice. But the dialogue is also about the “paradoxical” Socratic doctrine of the unity of the virtues, the idea that all individual virtues are really different aspects of one fundamental thing, wisdom.

The word sōphrosunē, etymologically, meant something like soundness of mind, but the popular usage in Plato’s time was akin to self-control, the same way in which the Stoics use it. In the Charmides, however, Socrates / Plato is giving it a far wider sense…

View original post 2,091 more words

Leave a comment

Filed under Reblogs

The Corbyn Project; why winning is secondary

Public Investigations

Over the past couple of weeks I have had several conversations with people (journalists and academics) who cannot understand why Labour under Jeremy Corbyn may not be focused on, or even that bothered about, winning or losing the General Election. It seems so counter-intuitive.

What it is necessary to understand about the motely crew of Bennite socialists, Trotskyists, Communists and ‘fellow-travellers’ now running Labour is their attitude to Parliamentary Democracy is very different from most.

What they share are three assumptions about how genuine socialist change can happen:

View original post 578 more words

Leave a comment

Filed under Reblogs

Great chart from Pinker’s book

Leave a comment

Filed under Reblogs

The Rulers of Europe: Every Year

Leave a comment

Filed under Reblogs

WordPress disables many posts that hurt Muslim sentiments

Why Evolution Is True

I thought this website had already been completely blocked in Pakistan, but I received the following notice from WordPress along with a complaint from the Pakistani government. Apparently my posting of the latest Jesus and Mo cartoon ruffled some feathers:

First, from WordPress, who does the Islamic countries’ dirty work for them. The “Pakistani authority” isn’t specified:

Hello,

A Pakistan authority has demanded that we disable the following content on your WordPress.com site:

https://whyevolutionistrue.files.wordpress.com/2016/04/2016-04-06.png?w=575&h=575

Unfortunately, we must comply to keep WordPress.com accessible for everyone in the region. As a result, we have disabled this content only for Internet visitors originating from Pakistan. They will instead see a message explaining why the content was blocked.

Visitors from outside of Pakistan are not affected.

You and your readers may be interested in these suggestions for bypassing Internet restrictions.

For your reference, we have included a copy of the complaint. No reply…

View original post 322 more words

Leave a comment

Filed under Reblogs

Conquerors: How Portugal Forged the First Global Empire by Roger Crowley (2015)

Books & Boots

Our Lord has done great things for us, because he wanted us to accomplish a deed so magnificent that it surpasses even what we have prayed for… I have burned the town and killed everyone. For four days without any pause our men have slaughtered… wherever we have been able to get into we haven’t spared the life of a single Muslim. We have herded them into the mosques and set them on fire… We have estimated the number of dead Muslim men and women at six thousand. It was, Sire, a very fine deed. (Afonso de Albuquerque describing the Portuguese capture of Goa on 25 November 1510, p.286)

In 1500 the Indian Ocean was the scene of sophisticated trading networks which had been centuries in the making. Muslim traders from the ‘Swahili Coast’ of Africa traded up the coast to the Red Sea and across land to Cairo, heart…

View original post 3,452 more words

Leave a comment

Filed under Reblogs

The evolution of ancient Stoicism, and why it matters today

How to Be a Stoic

the ancient theater at Pergamon (photo by the Author)

Modern Stoics are interested in picking up the ancient tradition while at the same time updating it and molding it to modern times. For some reason, this is often considered a controversial thing, with flying accusations of cherry picking and dire warnings about the result not “really” being Stoic enough. But this is rather baffling, as philosophies, like (and more readily than) religions, do evolve over time, and indeed some of them have this attitude of constant revision built in. Just consider one of my favorite quotes from Seneca:

“Will I not walk in the footsteps of my predecessors? I will indeed use the ancient road — but if I find another route that is more direct and has fewer ups and downs, I will stake out that one. Those who advanced these doctrines before us are not our masters but…

View original post 2,882 more words

Leave a comment

Filed under Reblogs