This article is divided into two main sections. The first discusses “Female Inheritance and the Male Retention Hypothesis.” Permanent groups exist in several species because over generations members share important interests. Considering the association between cooperation and degree of relatedness, it seems to follow that a collective interest is more likely to be achieved when members show a higher degree of relatedness. I argue that if membership is inherited by only one sex, and this is the female sex, this results (...) in a higher degree of relatedness between group members than when membership is inherited by both sexes, or by males only. Indeed, this is found in the overwhelming majority of species of insects, fish, birds, and mammals living in permanent groups. The exceptions to the rule are briefly discussed. Humans are of special interest because human preindustrial societies tend to show either male or female inheritance. The second section asks, “Do Moralizing Gods Raise Paternity Confidence?” Since males inherit valuable membership in patrilocal/lineal societies, they are expected to be more concerned about the probability of paternity than males in matrilocal/lineal societies. Moral rules, and specifically belief in moralizing gods, are expected to reflect this difference. An analysis of cross-cultural data of preindustrial societies does not refute the hypothesis that moralizing gods are more often found in patrilocal/lineal societies, nor is this hypothesis unambiguously supported. (shrink)
Ideas formulated by Paul Ewald about the “evolution of virulence” are used to explain why bats, more often than other mammals, are a reservoir of virulent viruses, and why many of these viruses severely affect other mammals, including humans, but are apparently less pathogenic for bats. Potential factors contributing to bat viruses often being zoonotic are briefly discussed.
This commentator has no argument with the explanations given by Soltis. Yet a different approach to the phenomenon of crying might be fruitful. Neonates elicit care. It is hypothesized that non-neonates evolved to mimic, when in need, the appearance of the neonate by crying and by shedding tears, thus inducing helping behavior by the spectator.
It is often claimed that the exceptional severity of the Spanish flu, one of the most deadly events in recorded human history, is an unsolved mystery. However, even detailed aspects such as its W-shaped mortality curve are well explained by Paul Ewald’s theory of the evolution of virulence. Understanding the causes of the Spanish flu will help to prevent future epidemics.
BackgroundThe emphasis on impact factors and the quantity of publications intensifies competition between researchers. This competition was traditionally considered an incentive to produce high-quality work, but there are unwanted side-effects of this competition like publication pressure. To measure the effect of publication pressure on researchers, the Publication Pressure Questionnaire was developed. Upon using the PPQ, some issues came to light that motivated a revision.MethodWe constructed two new subscales based on work stress models using the facet method. We administered the revised (...) PPQ to a convenience sample together with the Maslach Burnout Inventory and the Work Design Questionnaire. To assess which items best measured publication pressure, we carried out a principal component analysis. Reliability was sufficient when Cronbach’s alpha > 0.7. Finally, we administered the PPQr in a larger, independent sample of researchers to check the reliability of the revised version.ResultsThree components were identified as ‘stress’, ‘attitude’, and ‘resources’. We selected 3 × 6 = 18 items with high loadings in the three-component solution. Based on the convenience sample, Cronbach’s alphas were 0.83 for stress, 0.80 for attitude, and 0.76 for resources. We checked the validity of the PPQr by inspecting the correlations with the MBI and the WDQ. Stress correlated 0.62 with MBI’s emotional exhaustion. Resources correlated 0.50 with relevant WDQ subscales. To assess the internal structure of the PPQr in the independent reliability sample, we conducted the principal component analysis. The three-component solution explains 50% of the variance. Cronbach’s alphas were 0.80, 0.78, and 0.75 for stress, attitude, and resources, respectively.ConclusionWe conclude that the PPQr is a valid and reliable instrument to measure publication pressure in academic researchers from all disciplinary fields. The PPQr strongly relates to burnout and could also be beneficial for policy makers and research institutions to assess the degree of publication pressure in their institute. (shrink)
Ethics and Sustainability: Guest or Guide? On Sustainability as a Moral Ideal Content Type Journal Article Pages 1-5 DOI 10.1007/s10806-011-9322-6 Authors Franck L. B. Meijboom, Ethics Institute, Utrecht University, Janskerkhof 13a, 3512 BL Utrecht, The Netherlands Frans W. A. Brom, Ethics Institute, Utrecht University, Janskerkhof 13a, 3512 BL Utrecht, The Netherlands Journal Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics Online ISSN 1573-322X Print ISSN 1187-7863.
The many well-publicized food scandals in recent years have resulted in a general state of vulnerable trust. As a result, building consumer trust has become an important goal in agri-food policy. In their efforts to protect trust in the agricultural and food sector, governments and industries have tended to consider the problem of trust as merely a matter of informing consumers on risks. In this article, we argue that the food sector better addresses the problem of trust from the perspective (...) of the trustworthiness of the food sector itself. This broad idea for changing the focus of trust is the assumption that if you want to be trusted, you should be trustworthy. To provide a clear understanding of what being trustworthy means within the food sector, we elaborate on both the concept of trust and of responsibility. In this way we show that policy focused on enhancing transparency and providing information to consumers is crucial, but not sufficient for dealing with the problem of consumer trust in the current agri-food context. (shrink)
European animal disease policy seems to find its justification in a “harm to other” principle. Limiting the freedom of animal keepers—e.g., by culling their animals—is justified by the aim to prevent harm, i.e., the spreading of the disease. The picture, however, is more complicated. Both during the control of outbreaks and in the prevention of notifiable, animal diseases the government is confronted with conflicting claims of stakeholders who anticipate running a risk to be harmed by each other, and who ask (...) for government intervention. In this paper, we first argue that in a policy that aims to prevent animal diseases, the focus shifts from limiting “harm” to weighing conflicting claims with respect to “risks of harm.” Therefore, we claim that the harm principle is no longer a sufficient justification for governmental intervention in animal disease prevention. A policy that has to deal with and distribute conflicting risks of harm needs additional value assumptions that guide this process of assessment and distribution. We show that currently, policies are based on assumptions that are mainly economic considerations. In order to show the limitations of these considerations, we use the interests and position of keepers of backyard animals as an example. Based on the problems they faced during and after the recent outbreaks, we defend the thesis that in order to develop a sustainable animal disease policy other than economic assumptions need to be taken into account. (shrink)
Thanks to developments in genomics,dietary recommendations adapted to genetic riskprofiles of individual persons are no longerscience fiction. But what are the consequencesof these diets? An examination of possibleimpacts of genetically tailor-made diets raisesmorally relevant concerns that are analogous to(medical-ethical) considerations aboutscreening and testing. These concerns oftengive rise to applying norms for informedconsent and for the weighing of burdens andbenefits. These diets also have a broaderimpact, especially because food patterns arefull of personal, social and cultural meanings.Diets will change one's food patterns (...) and one'sattitude towards food, and this may implychanges in one's identity. We argue that suchan impact does not necessarily raise moralproblems. Moral concerns are, however, relevantif collective values and shared meanings infood practices are at issue. Therefore, thedevelopment of genetically tailor-made dietsdoes not merely require emphasis on weighingpersonal benefits and burdens and on informedconsent. It also asks for attention to andmoral reflection on the collective valuesinvolved in food practices. (shrink)
Preparing the Next Generation of Oral Historians is an invaluable resource to educators seeking to bring history alive for students at all levels. Filled with insightful reflections on teaching oral history, it offers practical suggestions for educators seeking to create curricula, engage students, gather community support, and meet educational standards. By the close of the book, readers will be able to successfully incorporate oral history projects in their own classrooms.
Food production, water management, land use, and animal and public health are all topics of extensive public debate. These themes are linked to the core activities of the agricultural sector, and more specifically to the work of farmers. Nonetheless, the ethical discussions are mostly initiated by interest groups in society rather than by farmers. At least in Europe, consumer organizations and animal welfare and environmental organizations are more present in the public debate than farmers. This is not how it should (...) be. First, because consumers often cannot but rely on agriculture. Second, because recent research shows that farmers have moral beliefs and convictions that appear to be broader than economic considerations and that are—to a certain extent—specific to their profession. This raises the question how to make input from farmers operational in the public debates on the future of farming. We discuss one option: entrusting farmers with professional autonomy concerning moral matters related to farming. We sketch the historical background of the current situation in which farmers are relatively silent on moral matters and we present some clear indications that farmers have values and moral beliefs that are relevant for the public debate. Next the concepts of professionalism and professional autonomy are discussed and applied to the practice of farming. Finally, we discuss the relevance and limits of professional moral autonomy for the agricultural profession. We close with an overview of what this moral autonomy implies for and requires from farmers in practice. We conclude that if some preconditions are met by farmers, then this type of moral autonomy can be relevant for farmers and for society, and contributes to the quality of the public debate on the future of farming. (shrink)
Coastal ecosystems are increasingly dominated by humans. Consequently, the human dimensions of sustainability science have become an integral part of emerging coastal governance and management practices. But if we are to avoid the harsh lessons of land management, coastal decision makers must recognize that humans are one of the more coastally dependent species in the biosphere. Management responses must therefore confront both the temporal urgency and the very real compromises and sacrifices that will be necessary to achieve a sustainable coastal (...) ecosystem, one that is economically feasible, socially just, and ecologically sound. (shrink)