Popular articles and book reviews

Science is a public activity, so scientists have a special obligation to tell the public about what they do. Following are a few modest attempts to do my part.

Popular articles and book reviews
Title Description Author(s) Year Reference pdf?
Dirt lungs A backpiece article for the newly revived Natural History magazine, which describes how Rupert Soar and I finally figured out how the termite mound worked. J S Turner 2010 Natural History N/A
Signs of design This was the article printed the year before in The Christian Century, selected to be included in this compendium J S Turner 2008 The Best American Spiritual Writing of 2008. Jimmy Carter and Philip Zaleski (ed). Houghton-Mifflin, New York Signs of Design
Termites. Friend or Foe? Should termites be regarded as a pest? In southern African savannas, Macrotermes may actually play a beneficial role in suppressing a real range pest, the harvester termite Hodotermes. J S Turner 2008 Pamphlet for the series Spotlight on Agriculture. Ministry of Agriculture. Republic of Namibia N/A
Nature’s awful beauty. Book review of Built by Animals. The Natural History of Animal Architecture by Mike Hansell. A review of Mike Hansell's beautiful semi-popular book on animal-built structures. An amusing side-story: this article elicited some panicked letters to the editor of American Scientistthat they were publishing intelligent design propaganda. J S Turner 2008 American Scientist. 96(2): 158-159 N/A
Signs of design What should we think about intelligent design theory? There's more to it than we might think. This article explores the problem of design. J S Turner 2007 The Christian Century. June 12, 2007. Vol 124 No 12. 18-22. Signs of Design
Science by committee? The editors of the newsletter of the American Society for Microbiology solicited this comment following the resolution to condemn intelligent design theory. J S Turner 2007 Don't really have a reference here. Science by committee
Who won the intelligent design debate? Is the debate about intelligent design over, and did the evolutionists win? Just because a court case was one means there was a victory for evolutionism. Rather, it was likely a defeat . J S Turner 2007 Off the Page. Harvard University Press Author Forum. 4 April 2007. Science by committee
Science by committee

Why can't we talk

about intelligent design?

Chronicle of Higher Education asked for something short, punchy and provocative about the intelligent design debate. After which I am savaged by many, proving my point. J S Turner 2007 Chronicle of Higher Education Volume LIII: Number 20. 19 January 2007. The Chronicle Review, Section B: B20 Science by committee
Book review. Animal Architecture by Mike Hansell. I review Mike Hansell's beautiful book Animal Architecture. J S Turner 2006 Quarterly Review of Biology 81:183-184. N/A
What are the termite mounds pointing at? Macrotermes mounds have a prominent northward tilt. Why do they do it, and why? J S Turner 2006 Roan News. 2005(1): 25-27. Termite mounds
A superorganism’s fuzzy boundary. Natural History solicited this article shortly after the publication of The Extended Organism. I outline the basic message of that book, using the Macrotermesmound to illustrate it. J S Turner 2002 Natural History 111 (6). July-August 2002: 62-67. Fuzzy boundary
Saving Darwinism from itself. I argue here that the genetic form of Darwinism not only abandons the core concept of adaptation, it also is impossible to craft a coherent theory of evolution from it. J S Turner 2002 The World 17 (7) July 2002: 136-145. Saving Darwin
Book review. Wild Solutions. How Biodiversity is Money in the Bank. by A Beattie and P R Ehrlich. I review Beattie and Ehrich's book, which argues, sensibly, that there's a lot of wealth in the natural world. J S Turner 2002 Quarterly Review of Biology 77: 85-86. N/A
The termites’ dilemma. This short essay looks at the evolutionary dilemma facing all social insects: enter a compact with others, or go it alone. The answer leads to deep questions on the nature of the organism. J S Turner 2002 Earthwatch Journal October 2002: 3. Termites dilemma
My publishing adventure. A short publicity piece, telling how I got the news that my first book would be published--through a public phone in the tiny town of Outjo, in northern Namibia J S Turner 2001 ESF Today. Summer 2001: 3. Publishing adventure
Termites and other natural teachers. This essay was commissioned by CHE after my first book came out. It depicts the wild scene of a mass release of termite alates, and the feeding frenzy that ensues. J S Turner 2000 Chronicle of Higher Education 3 November 2000: B24 Natural teachers
Does the white ant have a soul? EarthWatch (who was the first organization to provide serious funding for my sideways shift into termite research) asked for an essay about the nature of the organism, and the role that purposeful behavior of the superorganism plays in evolution. J S Turner 1996 EarthWatch. March-April 1996: 34-41. White ant and the soul