She loves a Monkey’s Uncle


Such a delightful find yesterday.  Came up on a Spotify playlist that my wife Simone was listening to.

Well, I don’t care what the whole world thinks
Call us a couple of Missing Links
Love all these monkeyshines
Every day is Valentine’s
I love the monkey’s uncle
And the monkey’s uncle’s ape for me.

I should have recognized those harmonies for the Beach Boys.  And written by the brothers who wrote “It’s A Small World”!

UPDATE:  The Sherman Brothers also wrote all of the music for Mary Poppins AND the 1974 musical adaptation of Huckleberry Finn.   Apparently, everything in life leads — eventually — back to Mark Twain and Huckleberry Finn.  Here’s their song “Cairo, Illinois” performed by Paul Winfield (as Jim) and Jeff East (as Huck):


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“The selfish-gene is blinding us.”

David Dobbs claims that “the selfish-gene model increasingly impoverishes both scientific and popular views of genetics and evolution.”

He’s totally right that gene expression has been (relatively) ignored in popular accounts of development/evolution. But there is nothing about our current understanding of gene expression that invalidates the “selfish gene” idea. In fact, gene expression is controlled by other genes, interacting with the environment. (e.g., water temperature can trigger sex changes in some species of amphibians) 

In addition, he completely ignores one of the founding principles of evolutionary bio as applied to humans and other social animals — Robert Trivers’ concept of reciprocal altruism. What Trivers says is: Selfish genes can create unselfish people. So, even if the gene is the basic unit of evolution, then we can still have morality, self-sacrifice, and all sorts of forms of noble human behavior.

It’s a false dichotomy to say that it’s one or the other.

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Bill Nye: Without evolution, “your worldview is crazy, untenable.”

Angry old man Bill Nye argues that we have to eradicate creationism, because “we need scientists and engineers.”

Evolution is fascinating to me… and an integral part of how I see the world.  But it is preposterous to propose that one can’t be a scientist or engineer without believing in evolution.  Partial list of people who did not believe in evolution: Galileo, Newton, Benjamin Franklin, Mendel, Gutenberg, Faraday, etc.

Science is a process, not a body of facts to be memorized.


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