Cain drops out

Herman Cain has dropped out of the race for the Republican presidential nomination: In a long awaited announcement Herman Cain stood with his wife Gloria before a crowd of supporters at his campaign office in north DeKalb County, Georgia to say that he will suspend his campaign due to the continued hurt suffered by his family from “false allegations.” “So as of today, with a lot of prayer and soul searching, I am suspending my presidential campaign,” he said. Following… Read more

Bedlam in Oklahoma and in the BCS

The rivalry in my native Oklahoma between the Sooners of the University of Oklahoma and the Cowboys of Oklahoma State divides parent and child, brother and brother.  It certainly does in my family!  The Sooners have almost always been better, but the intensity of the games is such that the Cowboys occasionally stage an upset.  I have proposed, to torment my brother and parents (OSU alums) that the state legislature pass a bill requiring the lower-ranked of the two teams… Read more

How John Stuart Mill changed the culture

Roger Kimball on the legacy of John Stuart Mill: In 1859, two revolutionary books were published. One was Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species. The other was John Stuart Mill’s pamphlet On Liberty. Darwin’s book revolutionized biology and fundamentally altered the debate between science and religion. Mill’s book revolutionized the way we think about innovation in social and moral life. What is your opinion of innovation? Do you think it is a good thing? Of course you do. You… Read more

Psychologists admit to bogus research

Social science aspires to the status of natural science, never mind that human beings are not as consistent or predictable as inert matter.  But a new study has found that an alarmingly large percentage of experimental psychologists admit to using questionable, if not bogus, research methods: Questionable research practices, including testing increasing numbers of participants until a result is found, are the “steroids of scientific competition, artificially enhancing performance”. That’s according to Leslie John and her colleagues who’ve found evidence… Read more

An artist without greed or ego

You’ve got to love Elvis Costello, who is telling his fans NOT to buy his latest box set because it’s too expensive, but to instead buy that of Louis Armstrong, whose music is “vastly superior.” Just in time for the holidays, Elvis Costello has a new $225 box set for sale — and he’s telling fans NOT to buy it. The singer says $225 is just too much to pay for “Return of the Spectacular Spinning Songbook,” even if it… Read more

The diner as American icon

Foreigners are fascinated by American diners, seeing them as icons of American culture.  So says the BBCg: Sitting in a diner, on the inside looking outside. This is a quintessential American experience. Add a booth, a Formica counter and a cup of joe – as diner patrons call their coffee. Themed restaurants and burger chains from Mumbai to Manchester aim to replicate this chrome-flashed experience, and diner fare such as home fries and fluffy pancakes are now global fast food… Read more

An alternative presidential option?

What do you think of this possibility–not a third party, but a coalition ticket elected by the public via the internet? The restless political middle — emboldened by the recent inability of a special congressional committee to agree on a debt-reduction deal — is staking out a controversial plan to insert itself into the 2012 election. A bipartisan group of political strategists and donors known as Americans Elect has raised $22 million and is likely to place a third presidential… Read more

Non-creationist critiques of Darwinism

Marquette philosophy professor Howard Kainz reviews two new books in which atheist scholars critique Darwinism: Surprisingly, two recent books by atheist philosophers of science have joined with ID theorists in the criticism of neo-Darwinism. Jerry Fodor and Massimo Piattelli-Palmarini, in What Darwin Got Wrong come at neo-Darwinism from a number of directions. Initially, they draw a comparison with B.F. Skinner’s psychological theory of “operant conditioning,” which attempted to explain changes in human behavior by patterns of stimulus and response. Limitations… Read more

iPhones are pro-life

Indignant complaints about Siri, the virtual personal assistant on the new iPhones, which will give you information about just about everything, but not where you can get an abortion: If you ask Siri for an abortion clinic in New York City, it will tell you “Sorry, I couldn’t find any abortion clinics.” A simple Google web search—which Siri itself uses to find results—gives you seven to start with, some within walking distance of where I’m located. • If you ask… Read more

The Elf who stole Christmas

Far more subversive to the true meaning of Christmas than the secularizers is the “naughty or nice” legalism of “Elf on the Shelf”: Who can resist the holiday fun of scaring the children into good behavior? Ask any of history’s most efficient dictators — they’ll tell you. Christmas just isn’t Christmas without the naughty-nice punishment paradigm. Where would this holiday be without its good old-fashioned behavioral paranoia? Charles Dickens may get all the credit for this, but do also consider… Read more

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