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Eric Michael Johnson
Works at Scientific American
Attends University of British Columbia
Lives in Vancouver, BC
12,230 followers|161,578 views
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Eric Michael Johnson

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God is an evolved organizational strategy that made people think they were being watched: http://j.mp/1MRil7U  
Punitive Big Brother; cosmic petty-thief-catcher; vigilant landlord. Why is God so interested in bad behaviour?
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Anthropologist Benjamin Grant Purzycki seems to search for a universal direct experience of God.  And he's got part of the phenomenon right.  That is, the God phenomenon connects to what we do, not what we say or how we personify:
excerpt:
"...not all gods care that you believe in them, and not all gods are thought of as human-like..."
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But he's thinking too small when he suggests that any one individual or group controls its God experience.  And he hints at but stops short of explicitly stating the negatives of "the flight of the Gods" in our modern culture.  He could take a lesson from Homer.

excerpt:
The gods appear to be the workings of an organism trying to influence other people also negotiating the costs and benefits of being alive at a specific place and time. They are important forces in human mobilisation and organisation.
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Eric Michael Johnson

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In my latest piece for Slate I look at the culture of misogyny online and off, as well as what we can do about it.
Light from the monitors cast lurid shadows upon their pallid, staring faces as their right hands pumped rhythmically up and down over the F5 key to reload their screens. “I can’t refresh fast enough,” one commenter typed ecstatically, while another announced, “This is the best night of my life!” Many...
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Eric Michael Johnson

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It's not an egg little chimp! It's a rock! You must stop this madness, you'll wear yourself out.
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Eric Michael Johnson

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Disgraced primatologist Marc Hauser's second chance? Views from +David Dobbs: http://j.mp/15wqERx and +Ivan Oransky: http://j.mp/15wqutu
Having written quite a bit about the ruckus raised when Harvard psychologist Marc Hauser was caught fabricating data and committing other acts of scientific misconduct, forcing his resignation, I w...
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Eric Michael Johnson

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In many hunter-gatherer societies, if you want privacy, you leave the group and head into the dark forest. We do the same by going offline. At least, some of us do (and others probably should).
Our instincts for privacy evolved in tribal societies where walls didn't exist. No wonder we are hopeless oversharers
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Eric Michael Johnson

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Robert Axelrod was awarded the 2014 National Medal of Science today. I interviewed him about the evolution of cooperation, his memories of biologist W.D. Hamilton, and how we can promote cooperation in world affairs.
Why do we choose to cooperate and how can we promote greater cooperation in world affairs? These are the questions that Robert Axelrod has pursued for more than 40 years. His career has been an interdisciplinary exploration that has encompassed mathematics, political science, and evolutionary ...
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Eric Michael Johnson

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In my latest post I look at the tragic legacy behind Yosemite National Park and the modern conservation crisis.
In July 1929 a frail, elderly woman quietly processed acorns on the floor of the Yosemite Valley. Her weather worn face appeared thin, yet firm like ...
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Are you a pshychologist ?
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Eric Michael Johnson

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A battle is being waged over kin and kind. What are relatives good for? My latest for Slate: http://j.mp/1hEPfwu
A battle is being waged over kin and kind: Did cooperation evolve in humans and other animals because it helped relatives? Or because it promoted group living?   A school of thought known as inclusive fitness theory—or kin selection—sits at the center of the conflict. Most biologists consider it to...
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Eric Michael Johnson

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An important piece by +David Dobbs. 
The selfish gene is one of the most successful science metaphors ever invented. Unfortunately, it’s wrong
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Eric Michael Johnson

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Parla italiano? My latest Scientific American piece has been translated: http://j.mp/1cPv4L3 Original here: http://j.mp/15mVRGL 
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Eric Michael Johnson

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In my latest for Scientific American I look at what anthropologists can offer towards building a moral economy.
Economics is inextricably tied to moral behavior, though few economists will say that. It's time someone did. In every financial transaction--whether you're selling a car, paying employees, ...
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Eric Michael Johnson

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An excellent critique of Malcolm Gladwell's overly broad conclusions on the role of culture in airline disasters.
A few weeks ago, I attended a PGA golf tournament. You might think watching golf is boring, but I beg to differ: professional golf tournaments offer a chance to witness firsthand one of the amazing athletic feats in the world...
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Have him in circles
12,230 people
Wilson James's profile photo
donshua robinson's profile photo
Daniel Fox's profile photo
Hasan Baran's profile photo
Kalle Last's profile photo
Danica Remy's profile photo
Tony Klein's profile photo
Emir Şevkioğlu's profile photo
Sasa Nikolic's profile photo
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PhD Student, Science Writer
Employment
  • Scientific American
    present
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Map of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has lived
Currently
Vancouver, BC
Previously
Seattle, WA - Durham, NC - Chico, CA - Los Angeles, CA - Paris, France - Amsterdam, The Netherlands - Crete, Greece
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Tagline
Science writer, academic, primate
Introduction
PhD student in History of Science with a graduate degree in Evolutionary Anthropology; creator of the blog The Primate Diaries; published in Scientific American, Discover, Times Higher Education, the Journal of Human Evolution, the American Journal of Physical Anthropology, and many more online.


Bragging rights
3 Quarks Daily Science Prize (2014); AAAS Research Poster Competition Winner (2011); Finalist for Research Blog of the Year (2010).
Education
  • University of British Columbia
    History of Science, present
  • Duke University
    Evolutionary Anthropology
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Gender
Male