Richard Jackson sends us this week’s Long Reads, featuring the pursuit of a rapist, a private Biblical museum and the Tupac of evolutionary biologists.


Trivers’ Pursuit – Matthew Hutson (Psychology Today)

Let me throw out some of the adjectives used to describe the subject of this article, evolutionary biologist Robert Trivers: “renegade”, “acclaimed”, “infamous” and “badass”. You’re enticed now, aren’t you?

Trivers is all of these things. He’s eccentric in the best sense of the word; A Beautiful Mind meets Romancing the Stone. He’s a genius who rewrote how people think about evolution/biology/human behavior and psychology in a manner that made his thinking just appear so easy, he just did it. Trivers dropped a thought-provoking paper as easy as Tupac spat out rhymes and dropped a mic. Trivers partnered this genius with a life packed full of colourful stories, such as joining the Black Panthers in 1979 and admitting in the course of the interview to having done “an illegal thing or two.”

To catch a rapist – Kathy Dobie (New York Times)

A phenomenal read featuring hard working detectives at a sexual assault unit in New Haven, Connecticut.

While the story is set in America, the statistics that justify this unit’s necessity seem universal: “The National Crime Victimization Survey, conducted annually by the Bureau of Justice Statistics, states that only about 34 percent of rape or sexual-assault cases were reported in 2014.”

As you can imagine, the story is depressing if only for the jadedness and detachment of which some of the officers discuss their work and for the sort day-to-day facts that the article discusses, but it’s a great read nonetheless.

Can the Hobby Lobby buy the Bible? – Joel Baden and Candida Moss (The Atlantic)

The Hobby Lobby is a retail chain run by David Green, an Oklahoma City based businessman. According to estimates from Forbes, it generates yearly revenue to the tune of $3.7 billion.

In 2014, The Hobby Lobby won a case at the United States Supreme Court exempting them from having to provide birth control to their staff under Obama Care, citing their religious beliefs.

In 2017, Green is planning to open the Museum of the Bible in Washington D.C. and in recent years he has taken to buying biblical material such as ancient papyrus texts to display there. He now has one of the largest collections of such artifacts in the world and it will be used in an effort to justify the validity of the Christian Bible.

Not surprisingly there are massive ethical questions at stake here, such as the legality of each purchase and whether this material will receive the scientific and scholarly attention it rightly deserves.

To point out the obvious conundrum: faith is a belief in something, whether that is a religion, or supernatural entity; to require evidence for it means that you, in fact, lack faith.

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