Unpublished Research

Research is work like any other. As such, it should not be wasted. Unfortunately, academic research is a form of work that relies heavily on publication in order to be utilized. This makes academia one of the most wasteful industries on the planet with regard to work. I believe that there should be a place for all original research, whether of publishable quality or not. I therefore present the written output of every research project I have undertaken and put behind me. I believe they could be very useful to anyone investigating the same topics and even provide insights for the most casual reader. Otherwise, these little gems and the time and effort that went into them would remain lost in my hard-drives and filing cabinets, as some have for almost a decade. Acknowledgements are given below wherever they were not incorporated into the manuscripts themselves.

The History of Self-Esteem

This was the last draft of my Masters thesis before I decided to discontinue, leaving it blatantly unfinished. Special thanks to Timothy Verhoeven and Michael Hau for the feedback that helped shape it. The unique thing about this particular project is that I used it as the guinea pig for an experimental way of displaying documents. This is available for viewing here, alongside the PDF. Proper display is not guaranteed, as it depends on the web browser. See the project page for details.

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View my Experiment

Female Orgasm and the Phallic Constraint Hypothesis: The Consequence of the Byproduct Account

This is the main argument of my Honours thesis. After two rejections and years of gathering dust, I finally decided to shed the load.

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The Evolutionary Significance of Learning: What the ‘Baldwin Effect’ Dialogue Failed to Appreciate

This paper grew out of an essay I wrote for one of my Honours coursework units, Paul Griffiths’ Philosophy of Genetics. It owes a great debt to my old psychology lecturer Robert Paddle, who always stressed the importance of learning in evolution. Although I trace the argument to several thinkers, I actually pieced it together myself as I struggled to understand and remember what Paddle was on about. Of course, it was gratifying running it through Bob himself. I also had the pleasure of presenting this argument to the philosophy of biology workshop SANU (That is, Sydney University and Australian National University. Despite its greater prestige the title does not give ANU first place, possibly because the acronym is ANUS.) The paper was submitted and rejected in 2015. Although resubmission was encouraged, it held too little weight in my priorities.

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Report on Budget Diet Design

My naive but meticulous scientific diet for living at university on a tiny budget. Turns out it was iron deficient because I hadn’t accounted for incomplete absorption. My stomach also persuaded me to halve the bread, and 300g wasn’t necessary anyway as I had the luxury of an iodized water supply. It also didn’t cover vitamin B12 and completely ignored the less understood nutritional category of phytochemicals. In retrospect it was not the best diet, but it’s still a good start if you’re budget has reduced you to Asian noodles and pizza.

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Richard Dawkins, Theology and the Enlightenment Project

This paper grew out of an essay for a special independent research unit in history at Monash. It was supervised by Clare Monagle, who deserves the warmest acknowledgement because she voluntarily sacrificed some of her maternity leave to do this project. She also put up a grand fight to secure document delivery access, continued to nurture the paper after I completed study, and was wonderful to work with. Lawrence Cross also helped me with a late draft. The paper was submitted for publication in 2011 just before New Year to the theology journal Pacifica. It was consequently condemned to an eternity in peer-review limbo. The current editor, in no way implicated himself, has informally apologized. As I now dig it up, it must be considered dated at best as Dawkins has since published a memoir of his life as a scientist, which I never got around to reading.

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The Concept of Sexual Coyness in Evolutionary Theory

This is the result of a research topic I was immersed in over the summer of 2010-2011. I later delivered it in a talk to a peer-student audience in 2012. Once Again, this essay reflects the influence of Robert Paddle, a pro-feminist intellectual and the one who taught me not to accept simplistic biological arguments about gendered behavior uncritically. He also gave helpful feedback on the earlier draft. The strikingly feminist flavor of this writing also reflects the rhetoric of Patricia Gowarty, a scholar I deeply admired at the time.

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Good Evidence and Bad Science: Evaluating the Grounds of the Rhythm Method in Nineteenth-Century Western Europe and America

My essay for the ‘history of sexuality’ subject at Monash. I count this as one of my original contributions because my argument was based on a source that my secondary readings had not used.

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Vatican 2 and Patristic Exegesis

This essay is a special one for several reasons. It was written for Peter Howard’s unit on fact and fiction in the Da Vinci Code at Monash. It was my first piece of historical work based almost entirely on primary sources, relegating the secondary literature mainly to footnotes. It also earned a score of 96, which was a ridiculously high mark for an undergraduate history essay. Perhaps most satisfying is that the answer I gave to the essay’s question is the opposite to the one I initially intended. I had started with an intuitive preconception which caused me some confusion until I realized that the evidence was simply pointing in the opposite direction. My final conclusion therefore represents a triumph of historical objectivity.

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