The US Supreme Court is fascinating. It has an almost mythological quality, with nine wise people passing their judgment wearing special robes. Knowledge about its functioning is not bland and faceless, it is highly personal, with the histories and personalities of each of The Nine being highly important. …


In a widely acclaimed essay from 2012, Steven Pinker describes what he calls The False Allure of Group Selection”.

I think the essay is very sensible, and puts up a well-defined challenge for group selection, which I will address.

In his first paragraph he asks:

Does this mean that the human brain has been shaped by natural selection to promote the welfare of the group in competition with other groups, even when it damages the welfare of the person and his or her kin?

I think this a decent definition of group selection; although “damage” should be understood as including low levels of disadvantage. …


Scott Alexander of the blog SlateStarCodex is one of my favorite current writers. Recently, a NYT writer wanted to write a piece about him, which would include his full name. This led to Scott Alexander taking down his blog in an attempt to avoid this outcome. You can read about all this from Scott himself.

In summary, Scott Alexander thinks it can have drastic consequences for his life if his full name is revealed in the NYT. …

About

Jonatan Pallesen

Scientist. Also see www.jsmp.dk