The Cognitive Dissonance Argument Against Modern Religious Thinking

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Daily Hilarity: Holding Biblical Truth Claims To Scientific Standards

Thanks to Pharyngula for the heads up to this one. Remember to visit The Far Left Side. Read more

“Wanted: Non-Philosophers To Do Philosophy”

The National Endowment for the Humanities is offering grants to academics outside of philosophy to develop courses on “enduring questions” that have long been the domain of philosophers and philosophy classes: They make the dubious and ambiguous claim that these questions are “pre-disciplinary” because they are, supposedly “questions to which no discipline or field can lay an exclusive claim. In many cases they predate the formation of the academic disciplines themselves.”  But: this remark, Bradley notes in his blog post,… Read more

Cursing Is Therapeutic

Scientific permission to do what comes naturally: we swear not merely as a reaction to pain, but because it can actually reduce our sense of pain.The new finding comes from research that tested the hypothesis with a bunch (67) of college students and some ice cold water. Students were given a choice when they plunged their warm hands into the freezing water — chant a neutral word, or repeat a swear word instead. Those students who chose to swear reported… Read more

London Puts 30 Pianos On The Street For People To Play

Luke Jerram is the artist behind this “interactive art project”: The pianos, which are secured to the ground with metal cables and have plastic covers in case of rain, have proved a huge hit. All of them are still there — outside the Natural History Museum, on Portobello Road, in Leicester Square and in the churchyard of St. Paul’s Cathedral, among other spots. None has been vandalized. People have tended to relinquish their places courteously after a while to allow… Read more

Stop Picking On Yourself

Whenever one of my friends starts to unfairly criticize him or herself, I like to demand of them that they “stop picking on my friend!  I think (s)he’s great!” Nonetheless I know the dangers of self-over-criticism too well first-hand and so I thought I’d pass on these tips from Melinda Beck for further help when the “stop picking on my friend” reasoning does not fully do the trick: Monitor your thoughts. Jotting down your self-critical judgments — I’m a loser,… Read more

The Pope Not Interested In “Perfect Ideological Conformity?”

Russ Douthat has a strange column in The New York Times today arguing that because the pope’s views cross the standard political lines of America’s left and right wings (denouncing both environmental destruction and embryonic) that he shows “that truth may not be served by perfect ideological conformity.” The church is not a think tank, and there’s room for wide disagreement about how to put its social teaching into practice. But Catholics are obliged to take seriously the underlying provocation… Read more

Broadway Inspired To Focus On African American Experiences

and the apparent reason cited is the election of President Obama: “Now is the time to strike,” said playwright Tracey Scott Wilson, whose play “The Good Negro” about the civil rights movement had a successful off-Broadway run this year.The election of the first black U.S. president is having an enormous influence on culture and theater, Wilson said. “Obama is everywhere,” she said. “This is a seismic event.” Some plays shown off-Broadway include “Ruined” by New York playwright Lynn Nottage, about… Read more

Anachronistic Narratives and Students’ Attempts To Understand Abolitionism

Via Open Left comes these remarks (worth reading in full) from Clio Bluestocking on the appallingly shallow and badly framed ways that her students are conceiving of the abolitionist movement: For example, in the past few years, I have read essays that refer to the conditions of slavery as a “lifestyle.” I have read essays framing the strengths and weaknesses of the different methods of anti-slavery societies as the successes or failures of the members’ determination, perseverance, and work ethic…. Read more

“Fed up with all this ‘I want to make out with my boyfriend Jesus’ music.'”

Rod Dreher stresses that he has nothing but good will towards Evangelicals and does not mean to bash them but nonetheless relays these interesting critiques of the movement from a couple of former Evangelicals who wound up becoming Orthodox after disaffection with contemporary Evangelical marketing and practices: I pointed to a particular megachurch, and told a story about how a young Evangelical friend decided he’d had enough of that place, and megachurch Christianity, on the day he was watching the… Read more

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