A constructive conversation about population-environment problems

I have drafted a quick activity to get input that extends this multi-party conversation from 2000 about “How do we know there is a population-environment problem?” to bring in the following additional 3 discussants:
Novelo–Novelist concerned that climate change has been omitted from most literature
Futuro–Sci Fi writer concerned with gender and race as well as the usual fantasizing about scientific and technological developments
Litero–Interpreter of literature who is prepared to branch out from fictional literature to all discourses about knowledge.
I welcome comments on this blog post so as to a) glean ideas to weave into a Part 2 of this multi-party exchange and b) begin to address the issue Activo points to at the end: what are the “conditions make interactions among people from different fields as open as our were today”?  (This activity relates to Project 2 in a course on gender, race, science, and literature.) Continue reading

“Intersecting Processes: Spaces still available at May 2017 New England Workshop on Science and Social Change

Location: Old Fire Station, Woods Hole MA, USA
New Dates May 2017, 8am Sat May 27 – 2.30pm Weds May 31

In this five-day workshop participants will create spaces, interactions, and support in formulating plans to extend our own projects of inquiry and engagement around “intersecting processes.” More info

Hayekian accounts rest on a self-contradictory assumption about natural selection

This post emerges from my puzzling over the overlap between Hayek’s neoliberal critique of attempts to model complexity well enough to make predictions and economic policy and my view that “knowledge, plans, and action [have to] be continually reassessed in response to developments — predicted and surprising alike” (as described in a 2011 post).

Continue reading

Making sense of Genotype-Phenotype Distinction, another version (7)

Comments welcome by anyone interested to read the revised draft, which begins:

The predominant current-day meaning of genotype is some relevant part of the DNA passed to the organism by its parents. The phenotype is the physical and behavioral traits of the organism, for example, size and shape, metabolic activities, and patterns of movement. The distinction between them is especially important in evolutionary theory, where the survival and mating of organisms depends on their traits, but it is the DNA, held to be unaffected by the development of the traits over the life course, that is transmitted to the next generation. Continue reading

Epidemiological thinking applied to reducing domestic terrorism and gun violence, a podcast

There is a contrast in epidemiology and public health between shifting a population as a whole to reduce the risk of some disease and screening for high-risk individuals then treating them.  In a 9-minute podcast, this contrast is applied to vetting or banning immigrants in order to reduce risk of terrorism on US soil and to screening for mentally ill gun owners who might commit mass shootings.

The Haraway Hall of American Science Interpreters

A mock-up (with live-links) of the Haraway Hall was my draft product for “What does it cost to establish knowledge in a certain place at certain time for a certain people?” a project in a graduate course on gender, race, science, and literature intended to lead students into interpretation of the cultural dimensions of science. Specifically, the project asks students to “produce a mock-up of a museum display and text interpreting Haraway’s [Paper Tiger] video or texts in their 1980s context.”  Notice the confusion evident in the alternative scripts.  Comments welcome. Continue reading

Hacking almost helps us see what Hacking overlooks

The Social Construction of What? (Harvard UP, 2000) by philosopher of science, Ian Hacking, critically reviews the possible meanings of social construction in the context of scientific knowledge and technology.  However, there is one meaning of construction that he does not consider, perhaps the most obvious one to the common person, namely, the process of building a structure from diverse materials, as in the foundations, frames, walls, roof, plumbing and electrical circuits, and so on. (2011 post)

A 1975 book of Hacking’s, What does language matter to philosophy?, almost allows us to see what he overlooked at that time and still did in the 2000 book, namely, that knowing always involves engaging [*] or acting as if the world were like our explicit and implicit theories and representations of it. Continue reading