Author Archives: Taimur Khan

About Taimur Khan

Philosophy, Poetry, Music, Medicine, Qualia, Rain.

Saint Petersburg Mosque

Saint Petersburg Mosque

In 1882, Selim-Girei Tevkelev who in 1865 was appointed the Mufti of Orenburg turned to and obtained agreement from minister Count Tolstoy with the requirement for a mosque in St. Petersburg. In 1906, the Minister formed a special committee headed by Ahun Ataulla Bayazitov to collect 750,000 rubles within 10 years for the construction of the mosque. They organised collections in towns and providences of Russia and received donations from many sponsors. In addition the committee input securities in total amount of 142,000 rubles and also stamps for mosque’s project. The biggest donor was Said Abdoul Ahad, Emir of Bochara who undertook all expenses for the building. –Wikipedia

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Grasshopper (Acrididae), Barbilla National Park, Costa Rica. Photo by Piotr Naskrecki/Minden Pictures/Corbis

Grasshopper (Acrididae), Barbilla National Park, Costa Rica. Photo by Piotr Naskrecki/Minden Pictures/Corbis

Die, selfish gene, die >>
For decades, the selfish gene metaphor let us view evolution with new clarity. Is it now blinding us?

Perhaps better then to speak not of genes but the genome — all your genes together. And not the genome as a unitary actor, but the genome in conversation with itself, with other genomes, and with the outside environment. If grasshoppers becoming locusts, sweet bees becoming killers, and genetic assimilation are to be believed it’s those conversations that define the organism and drive the evolution of new traits and species. It’s not a selfish gene or a solitary genome. It’s a social genome.

Locust and Chameleon | Photo by Nik Taylor/Getty

Locust and Chameleon | Photo by Nik Taylor/Getty

Dead or Alive? >>
Is it time to kill off the idea of the ‘Selfish Gene’? We asked four experts to respond to our most controversial essay

I can vividly remember reading The Selfish Gene in my local library as a teenager: it was both a page-turner and something of a conversion experience. Richard Dawkins’s explanation of the unsparing reality of evolution blew like a cold, refreshing wind through everything I thought I knew about human nature, and is one of the great pieces of scientific writing from the last century. I was hardly surprised then, that David Dobbs’s essay ‘Die Selfish Gene’ provoked a fierce and prolonged debate when we published it in Aeon last December. But now it’s time to take stock: is the ‘selfish gene’ idea still a useful way to explain evolution? We invited four experts, and the writer himself, to respond to this question. And we invite you to join the conversation by taking our quick survey at the bottom of the page. What do you think: is it time to get rid of the ‘selfish gene’ or is it here to stay?

Brigid Hains, Editor

Does evolutionary theory need a rethink? >>

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Greco Roman Sculpture | metmuseum.org

Greco Roman Sculpture | metmuseum.org

You are not who you think you are >>

You are not who you think you are. Philosophers, from the Buddha to David Hume to Derek Parfit, have been telling us that for centuries. There is no essential you, there is no unchanging nucleus at the centre of your being, and there is no homunculus looking through your eyes and pulling the levers that steer your actions. Whatever you think the hard core of you is, it’s an illusion.

Eid Mubarak.