Bret Weinstein used to teach evolutionary biology

It was a big win for Evergreen College to get rid of him, because he had to have been teaching it badly. This is the kind of obsolete adaptationist garbage he was teaching, and the kind of twisty reasoning he uses.

Let us begin the vivisection.

Foreskin is an evolutionary adaptation.

No, he does not know that. There is no evidence to suggest that it has any significant effect at all, in an evolutionary sense. There is no history of people born without foreskins in any kind of competitive interaction with people with them; there is no evidence of a differential reproductive advantage in any human lineages.

He’s making shit up. This is indicative of a crude adaptationist mindset where everything must have an adaptive effect.

It had a value and may or may not be net -beneficial in the modern environments

What value? Be specific. What change in value in modern environments has occurred?

Circumcision is also an adaptation that may/may-not be net-beneficial in modern times

Loss of a foreskin is not an adaptation — it’s not heritable. It’s a cultural trait. It’s effects are complex: sure, it may be important in establishing a group identity (a cultural phenomenon again!), but it probably has also led to some small number of babies bleeding out. So what if it may or may not be beneficial? It’s a thing. People also get ear piercings, or tattoos, or funny haircuts. Are those adaptations now?

All this adds up to Weinstein’s kicker.

Surgical sex change is not an adaptation. Done in children it’s immoral.

Alex up there hits the nail on the head. Why is one kind of modification (circumcision) adaptive, but another kind (gender affirmation) “immoral”? This is all just bad rationalization by Weinstein. I wonder if he has a sense of shame left any more?

Nope.

Has nothing to do with preference. Circumcision has stood the test of evolutionary time. If it was simply negative, selection would have eliminated it.

There you have it: if it exists for some length of time, it is good and must have some advantage, or evolution would have eliminated it, because every bad thing is culled by the all-seeing perfect eye of natural selection. Migraines, bad knees, PCOS, religion, hernias, primogeniture, aging, the infield fly rule in baseball, wisdom teeth, vitamin C dependency, and war, all blessed by the flawless filter of evolution, or they wouldn’t exist anymore.

Good god, what a panadaptationist idiot. They really do exist. With bad logic and science like that, you know all he’s doing is signaling fallaciously to his bigoted anti-trans cronies.

But also, I have to wonder: why does he consider evolutionary consequences to be the only thing we consider when doing a thing? I blog because I enjoy it, not because it gives my offspring some advantage. You can like a rainbow or dancing or music or being in the company of friends because it makes you feel good — not everything is derived from some kind of biological calculus.

Much cuter than kittens

First thing this morning, I checked on my new first wave of Steatoda triangulosa spiderlings, took photos, measured dimensions, etc., and posted some stuff to my Patreon page. Usually those posts are private to patrons, but this one time I open it up to the public. If you like pictures of cute baby spiders, check it out. If you want more, subscribe! This is going to be a daily thing as I document the development of pigment patterns in Steatoda triangulosa. It’ll be fun! Your daily dose of spiderlings!

Fetterman made Voltaire’s prayer: “O Lord, make my enemies ridiculous”

My fellow Americans, you’ve probably already seen some of the mocking commentary on a Dr Oz campaign ad, in which he goes shopping for crudité in a Pennsylvania grocery store. He was a bit out of touch. How out of touch? Well, I haven’t lived in Pennsylvania for 22 years, and even I know there isn’t a “Wegner’s” there, it’s “Wegman’s”. And then the way he stands there and grabs at a few things in reach…Oz hasn’t been grocery shopping in ages, and it shows.

The real question, though, is John Fetterman’s reply to this rich man going shopping for the first time ever effective campaigning? You bet it is.

The amount of money it takes to run for office is unreal, but it helps when your opponent is so flamingly incompetent.

In other fun Oz smackdowns, the Republican party is cutting its losses and spending less money in Pennsylvania. That’s gotta sting, and it’s also going to have down-ballot effects. Watching Republicans screw up is wonderfully entertaining.

And then, Oz was asked how many houses he owns, which is the kind of question no one ever asks me (my answer would be one, sort of, since we still owe the bank on it). Oz stammered out an answer of two, but he was more concerned with qualifying it and hedging his numbers. The Daily Beast counted for him. It’s TEN. Ten houses.

• a 9,000-square-foot mansion in New Jersey

• a 7,000-square-foot country house in Pennsylvania

• a condo in New Jersey

• a piece of residential real estate in Sariyer, Turkey

• another piece of residential real estate in Sariyer, Turkey

• a Manhattan condo

• another Manhattan condo

• an oceanside mansion in Palm Beach, Florida

• a cattle farm in Okeechobee, Florida

• and a piece of residential property in Konya, Turkey, which appears to be used as a student dormitory

Each one is probably worth far more than my house. He could probably pay off my mortgage for me with a fraction of his monthly pay-out for houses.

This is a good question to ask any big wig politician of either party. You know, I’m going to be generous and suggest that three is not an unreasonable number, since they’re rich: a real home in their home state, plus a residence near the capitol, and what the heck, I’ll throw in a vacation home somewhere nice. Anything beyond that, you’re just pigging out at the trough.

While we’re at it, another sin of the revoltingly wealthy is investing in the stock market. You should be required to divest.

Quick notes

The copyright claim on our Ark video has been resolved, in my favor. This means the money comes streaming into my pocket again! That means I have now earned (checks video analytics) … $1.74! Party time!

More significantly, and of much greater interest, the Steatoda triangulosa egg sac I’ve been nursing along has hatched! Babies have been sorted into separate containers and are flourishing in my very crowded incubator.

Their mother laid another egg sac to celebrate. I’ll be collecting baby spiders well into October, and perhaps one of her daughters will grow large enough to start contributing, too.

More primary elections today

These could be interesting, unlike the rather predictable Minnesota primary. It’s Trumpkins vs anti-Trumpkins.

  • Liz Cheney is expected to lose.

    Support for her has imploded since she first voted to impeach Donald Trump over the Jan. 6 attack, and then took a leading role in the ensuing congressional investigation. Wyoming voted for Trump in 2020 by 70 percent in the presidential election, and Cheney’s passionate invocations of Trump’s threats to democracy haven’t changed many minds there. In fact, Trump’s election lies have completely remade the entire Republican Party, a recent Pew Survey finds, to the point where most voters who identify strongly as Republican want to hear their elected officials parrot it.

    Either way, I lose. The only think I like about Cheney is her stance against Trump, but otherwise…just another evil Republican.

  • Sarah Palin is trying to make a comeback? I hope Alaskans have learned that she’s a useless flibbertigibbet.
  • Another race where I cannot see much hope: Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski is being primaried by a Trump fanatic. It hurts to hope a conservative Republican wins.

Also, I learned that Alaska has ranked choice voting. Why can’t the rest of the country do that?