Dual first authors

Thunderdome

A forthcoming paper in Philosophy of Science has dual first authors, Kate E. Lynch and Pierrick Bourrat (I’ve written about Dr. Bourrat’s work previously, which is part of the reason this is on my radar):

Author order has been decided randomly, therefore both authors are first authors. KEL and PB contributed equally to the manuscript. KEL’s distinct contribution was the ideas developed in Section 3. PB’s distinct contribution was the ideas developed in sections 4 and 5 and the equations in Section 3. Other sections received equal contributions from both authors.

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Intelligent design’s double standard

Double Tourbillon 30° mechanism by Greubel Forsey. Creative Commons image from Wikimedia.

Double Tourbillon 30° mechanism by Greubel Forsey. Creative Commons image from Wikimedia.

Despite protests to the contrary, intelligent design is a god of the gaps argument. Take a look at Discovery Institute blogs, and a large portion of the posts are essentially arguing that some aspect of biology or biochemistry is really, really complicated (for example, Howard Glicksman’s posts at Evolution News & Views). As if there are bunches of evolutionary biologists running around saying life is simple. So most intelligent design arguments boil down to “there’s no plausible evolutionary explanation for this aspect of biology, therefore it must have been designed.” And cdesign proponentsists insist on a high standard of evidence to consider an evolutionary explanation plausible. For example, here’s Michael Behe’s standard for believing that “…complex biochemical systems could arise by a random mutation and natural selection…”:

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F paywalls

CritRevPaywall

Sure, I have $2000 a year to spend on this one journal.

I’ve written twice before about paywalls and how to get around them (On paywalls, Paywalls revisited). Paywalls pop up when you try to read a peer-reviewed article that you don’t have access to. If you work at a university, museum, or other research institution, you probably see these only every once in a while, because most such institutions have subscriptions to most of the big journals. Otherwise, you’re pretty much out of luck. [Warning: PG-13 below the fold]

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David Queller on individuality

Dictyostelium discoideum. Photographed by Usman Bashir (Queller/Strassmann Lab, Washington University in St. Louis). Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.

Dictyostelium discoideum. Photographed by Usman Bashir (Queller/Strassmann Lab, Washington University in St. Louis). CC-BY-SA-4.0 License. Image obtained from Wikimedia Commons.

In the Major Transitions class, the students keep pointing out that the transitions on Maynard Smith and Szathmáry’s list come in two flavors with very different properties. Sure, there are some important similarities between multicellular organisms and social insects, but they are quite different from cellular slime molds and the conspiracy of prokaryotes that make up eukaryotes.
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Following Fierce Roller

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There doesn’t seem to be an RSS button here at Freethought Blogs, but if you use Feedly or some other feed reader (Jema), you can subscribe to fierce roller at https://freethoughtblogs.com/fierceroller/?feed=rss2. I haven’t yet figured out how to subscribe by email, but if that’s your preference there is a slightly kludgy solution: you could convert the rss feed into emails using a service like feedmyinbox or rssfwd.

Tranquil Roller

Volvox by Aeravi. Oil on canvas.

“Tranquil Roller” by Aeravi. Acrylic on canvas.

I have featured Aeravi’s painting and photography previously, and here’s another example.

If you have Volvox– or volvocine-themed art you’d like to see on Fierce Roller, feel free to send it to me.

EDIT: Aeravi does commissions, so if there’s a painting you’d like her to create, get in touch via her website.