On December 10th, 1884, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain was first published.

Mary

Mary

Mary Brock is a scientist who works on drugs you've hopefully never heard of. She enjoys cooking to Blue Grass music, messing with her cats, and hosting the Boston Skeptics' Book Club. She was born in the South but loves living in New England (despite the lack of chocolate chip pizza). Mary does not use Twitter and don't even try to follow her, because she is always looking over her shoulder.

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21 Comments

  1. Avatar of Colin Rosenthal
    December 10, 2012 at 9:32 am —

    I don’t know Scott Lynch’s work, but I like the cut of his jib.

  2. Avatar of dr. dr. professor
    December 10, 2012 at 9:33 am —

    Oh man that video makes me seriously miss research and academia. Those long nights of sitting in your mismatched clothing trying feverishly to fulfill a directive from your quirky professor, and then crashing on your office’s couch…

    Sigh..

  3. Avatar of Sheena Polaris
    December 10, 2012 at 9:42 am —

    I really wish I could read articles debunking the notion of inherent “pink and blue” brains without some “trans-critical” commenter piping in without any facts about the difference between the subject being discussed and the research on anterior BST nuclei as it relates to sexuality and probable links to gender identity.

    I really feel exasperated having to discuss the difference between gender roles and gender identities.

    I also really get fricking tired of cis people conflating all trans* people with surgery seeking trans* people.

    I am also really tired of those who argue against surgery for trans* people use bait and switch tactics to claim we are the ones “essentializing” bodies.

    • Avatar of ragdish
      December 10, 2012 at 12:11 pm —

      Does it really matter whether being transgendered is a social construct versus innate differences in the BST nuclei? If it is all socially determined would prejudice then cease?

      The Jews were victims of the eugenic policies of Nazi Germany with an extreme form of genetic determinism. In Stalinist Russia via Lysenko, genetics was banned and all behaviors were deemed to be socially determined. And in their quest to develop the New Soviet Man molded and shaped soley by social forces, did the Jews have a wonderful life in that totalitarian “utopia”. Prejudice and bigotry in all forms does not arise from the study of innate cognitive traits. It arises from negative social forces (eg. patriarchy) that would exploit any subject matter including bastardizing science to justify the oppression of a group. Let’s not forget that the Nazis used the germ theory of disease to justify their genocidal disease. Yet no sane individual today will abandon the field of microbiology. Similarly neuroscientific discoveries such as differences in the BST nuclei should be celebrated and social measures instituted so that such knowledge is not misused to promote pseudoscientific claims.

      • Avatar of Sheena Polaris
        December 10, 2012 at 3:17 pm —

        That was not my point.

        I was speaking to the use of the studies in the article being conflated by cissexist as being a point in their favor, ignoring the research coming from ant.BST nuclei. I never once suggested that as a test for being a true trans* person, just as much as I would not argue that it is diagnostically the sole criterion for true homosexuality or any other.

        However, we are our brains. Whatever we are and how we identify is a part of the brain. My being a trans* woman has nothing to do with being “feminine” or being more talkative, it is rather a more unconscious matter, and yes I do believe it comes from hypothalamus just as much as my fear comes from my amygdala.

        • Avatar of ragdish
          December 10, 2012 at 4:00 pm —

          Kudos!

          You took the words right out my brain. We are our brains shaped by genes, environment, warts and all. I champion all those who do this sort of scientific research which in the end celebrates why we are different or the same. And yes, there will be fascist eugenicist kooks who dream of sequencing and then “knocking out” those genes that shape the BST nuclei that predispose to trans traits. GATTACA scenerio comes to mind. Most sane people will rejoice the beauty of a red rose. And there are a twisted few who would maim others with the thorns.

  4. Avatar of criticaldragon1177
    December 10, 2012 at 11:30 am —

    Mary

    I have really read any of them, but so far, My favorite of the stupid World Net Daily stories Right Wing Watch Mentions is the one about Soy Turning Kids Gay. I don’t know why.

  5. Avatar of criticaldragon1177
    December 10, 2012 at 11:42 am —

    Mary,

    I already saw a presentation Rebecca Watson gave on women and Shopping. She got a lot of flack for it. Many people have been criticizing her over it. Here’s just one example. (Note for anyone who wants to watch the videos, that there is some strong language)

    Rebecca Watson @ Skepticon: Dismissal of Science

  6. Avatar of criticaldragon1177
    December 10, 2012 at 11:44 am —

    By the way, you guys ( Including Rebecca Watson ) should consider watching that Noelplum99 video I linked to in my last comment. I think he makes some valid points.

    • Avatar of punchdrunk
      December 11, 2012 at 4:02 am —
    • Avatar of Jack99
      December 11, 2012 at 4:28 pm —

      I listened to Rebecca’s excellent interview on NZ radio, followed by the noelplum99 clip.

      I see what criticaldragon means.

      First up, I am still vague as to exactly what degree Rebecca is attacking evo psych as a whole, rather than just the more extreme examples. I guess that Rebecca herself is probably reserving judgement to a degree.

      Second, if there are some bits of EP that are not a crock, then yes, we do need to recognise those, and yes, we would still not use those as justification for things like rape.

      My way of thinking is that cultural evolution is a bazillion times more important to humans today than biological evolution and I agree with the social scientists on that.

      I will take a lot of convincing that EP is much more than shit made up.

      Fuck, 50 years of intensive research on the point mutations of AAT, and we still don’t know why the deficiency is more serious in some families. We still don’t know more than 1% of the genetic causes of diabetes and heart disease or cancer.

      So “rape because the Pleistocene” doesn’t do it for me so far.

  7. Avatar of ragdish
    December 10, 2012 at 11:45 am —

    Here’s an interesting article I dug up on the issue of nature/nurture and gender:

    http://www.icherney.com/Research/Publications/JPI.pdf

    What is often overlooked on both sides of the issue is the following. Whether differences between the genders is innate or the result of environment, such differences should never be used to justify superiority of one group over the other nor any form of discrimination. There are no star-bellied sneetches. Indeed, homosexuals are what they are and likely not blank slates at birth who then chose to be attracted to the same gender. Even if genes do contribute to group differences(eg. Aspergers, Bipolar disease, ADHD, etc..) we are all equal and deserve to be treated as such. Thus, even if pink brains and blue brains are innately determined, that does not mean blue is superior to pink.

  8. Avatar of criticaldragon1177
    December 10, 2012 at 1:18 pm —

    That ‘Sexy’ science grads video is hilarious!

  9. Avatar of lofgren
    December 10, 2012 at 3:24 pm —

    Lynch’s response is far too long. A good editor would have cut it down to the essential and only relevant words, “fuck” and “you.”

    Anybody who can make the following two arguments back-to-back:

    Is it really necessary for the sake of popular sensibilities to have in a fantasy what we have in the real world?

    It is unrealistic wish fulfilment for you and your readers to have so many female pirates…

    Your fantasy is bad because it is unrealistic and also because it is realistic.

    By the way there were many female pirates, including female pirate captains.

    • Avatar of Mary
      December 10, 2012 at 5:21 pm —

      It was long, but it was worth it. :)

      • Avatar of lofgren
        December 10, 2012 at 6:13 pm —

        Well obviously most of it is directed at people who already agree with him. I just worry that the critic missed the most important point directed at him, seeing as his intellect is clearly suspect. Here’s hoping he shared his opinion that she doesn’t deserve wish fulfillment characters with his mother, and she explained it to him more succinctly.

    • Avatar of LeftSidePositive
      December 10, 2012 at 11:52 pm —

      Yeah, overall I loved his reply, but I would have liked it even more if he said, “Oh, and also, your ‘this is how the pirate world was…’ is bullshit and is just as much a fantasy constructed for flattering your self image as my characters–let me introduce you to Anne Boney and Mary Reade, et al.”

  10. Avatar of Louis Doench
    December 10, 2012 at 4:53 pm —

    Well I’m putting Mr. lynch into my kindle app right away. I love that response!

  11. Avatar of f0xhole
    December 10, 2012 at 7:28 pm —

    Well, I have some new books to go find now.

  12. Avatar of weatherwax
    December 10, 2012 at 10:13 pm —

    I got caught up listening to the interview even though I’ve been working in poison oak all day and really needed to jump in the shower.

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