Top 10 Google searches of 2016

cyborg-438398_640The internet contains unfathomable amounts of information.  Search engines allow us to find anything we want to know, giving us access to knowledge on an unprecedented scale, thus advancing the capabilities of the human mind.

When we can fully connect our minds to the internet, we can attain the next level of human evolution.

So see what the year’s top searches on Google were. [Read more…]

Our attention span drops to below that of a goldfish

goldfish-bowl-clipart-clipart-panda-free-clipart-images-7ooBw5-clipartAmericans have a very high literacy rate.  The problem is, though people can read, many of them don’t read.  At least not anything longer than a tweet or a blog post.  One-quarter of Americans haven’t read a single book all year.  That can be said of  one-third of American men.

One problem, reports Eric Metaxas, is that our attention span keeps dropping.  In the year 2000, our average attention span was an already unimpressive 12 seconds.  Now it’s 8 seconds.  One journalist observed that this is less than that of a goldfish. [Read more…]

Don’t know much about history

A study has found that quite a few young Americans are open to Communism.  And one out of three believe that George W. Bush killed more people that Josef Stalin.  See the specifics here.

Read a report on the findings after the jump, whereupon I will try to explain why this is. [Read more…]

Teaching predestination at Berkeley

The New York Times has a fascinating article by Berkeley history professor Jonathan Sheehan about how he teaches John Calvin in his secular classroom.  Specifically, he uses the scary stuff in Calvin–particularly, double predestination–to blow the minds of his students and to teach them their limits.  Read the article and a response to what he says from someone else who teaches Calvin to secular students (linked and excerpted after the jump).

We Lutherans believe in predestination, though not Calvin’s double predestination.  But we certainly believe in the limits of human beings, a message considered salutary today.  Maybe teaching Luther’s Bondage of the Will would have a similar effect.

What do you think of this use of Calvin?  Is it really accurate to his thought?  Do we take away from this that it’s okay to teach Law to secular students, just not the Gospel?  (The emphasis here is on those who are not chosen to salvation, I guess a group the secularists identify with.  But what about those who are?) [Read more…]

Court blocks Obama’s bathroom mandate

Just in time for the new school year, a federal court has granted an injunction blocking the Obama administration’s decree that public schools must allow children to use whichever bathroom corresponds to their self-chosen gender identity, rather than their biological sex.  The injunction will hold until the issue is decided in the courts. [Read more…]

Who’ll win the Irish vote?

We keep getting told that demographics favor the Democrats and look bad for the Republicans, as America becomes more ethnically diverse, a phenomenon particularly evident in the growing Hispanic vote.  But Josh Gelertner gives us a history lesson putting all of this into context.

He points out that ever since the machine politics of Boss Tweed in the 1850s, Democrats have pandered to immigrants fresh off the boat in exchange for their votes.  Thus the Irish became an important part of the Democratic base.  The same thing happened with the next wave of immigrants, the Italians.  But after awhile, each of these groups assimilated into American culture, whereupon they stopped voting exclusively for the Democrats.

He then argues that the same thing will happen to Hispanics–indeed, that it has already started to happen.  Today, no one talks about the Irish or the Italian vote, though they used to.  The same thing, Gelertner says, will happen with all immigrant groups. The American melting pot keeps working.

Read his argument after the jump, including how anti-Hispanic sentiment today is similar to the anti-Irish and anti-Italian sentiment of the past.  Does he have a point, or is he too sanguine about immigration?

He seems to assume that cultural assimilation happens naturally.  In the past, America worked hard to “Americanize” its immigrants.  This was a major task for schools.  As late as my day, we had lots of American history (in which Americans were portrayed as good guys), required Civics classes (teaching the Constitution and the workings of Democracy), and even lessons in “Americanism” (Cold War anti-communism, including the superiority of individualism over collectivism, free market economics over socialism, and freedom over regimentation).  Instead, schools today teach multiculturalism. Cultural assimilation is impossible if there is no particular culture to assimilate to.

[Read more…]