Seven Quick Takes… Almost Friday

Yo. Let's see if this is actually seven or not!"Bullying Prevention Programs May Have Negative Impact." To me the key thing here is the recommendation to focus on "systemic change within the schools," rather than turning bullying into a Thing which you've set aside and spotlit. If you're instilling students with respect for one another and for the teachers, and if teachers and other authority figures aren't tacitly approving of bullying, you are a lot less likely to get to the point where … [Read more...]

Our Frank and Open/Deep Complications

They get me nowhere, they just bring me down so.... Alan Jacobs is right about the academic (and not only academic) fetish for "complicating" issues: ...I think there are a couple of major reasons for this particular habit, which Jacoby rightly identifies as an excessively common one. First, this is one of the few tendencies of academic writing and speaking that has its roots in teaching. Students are forever wanting to offer simple, straightforward answers to difficult questions, presumably so … [Read more...]

#lifehacks

View the self as a challenge to be met, not a problem to be solved. (Or, for that matter, a threat to be avoided!) … [Read more...]

“Beyond Critical Thinking”: me at AmCon

in my continuing quest to become entirely a self-parody: Critical thinking has so thoroughly colonized our idea of education that we tend to think it’s the only kind of thinking. Tests try to measure it, and ritzy private schools all claim to teach it. Critical thinking—analysis, not mere acceptance—is a skill we can all learn. And we’ve learned it too well. We’ve learned only critical thinking skills, and not the equally challenging skills of prudent acceptance: We don’t even realize that we ne … [Read more...]

“You think, ‘What do you want?’ You think, ‘Make a decision’…”

If you have confronted some serious inadequacies in your understanding of the world, and have one or a few candidates for possible alternative understandings, but feel stuck, constantly noodling with meta-questions and "But how can I know for sure?" and never actually getting to the point where you change your life... here are some things you might try.1. Ask a new question. The one I really like is, "Which of my possible beliefs and actions are kind of banal, and what would be the sublime … [Read more...]

“Three Kinds of Argument on Family Structure”

in which I say that sociology is not the queen of the sciences. … [Read more...]

Augustine’s Confessions of a Mask

Leah Libresco's "Turing Test" 2012 has begun! This is a thing, not quite a contest and not quite a kabuki debate, in which atheists and Christians submit two sets of answers to a single set of questions. One set is their honest answers. The other is an answer from the point of view of whichever thing they're not, religiously speaking--thus atheists impersonate Christians and vice versa. Then everyone gets to vote on how well they did! It's anonymous until the big reveal, and the questions this … [Read more...]


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