Can Science explain everything?

From David Wheeler at the Chronicle of Higher Education blog: There’s a new bully on the intellectual block, shoving scholars around. Lots of them are caving into the threats. The bully’s name is “scientism,” the belief that science has a monopoly on all real knowledge. All other knowledge, scientism asserts, is simply opinion, irrationality, or utter nonsense. That was the perspective Ian Hutchinson, professor of nuclear science and engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, offered at an event titled… Read more

“And with your spirit”

The Roman Catholic Church has changed the liturgical response to the greeting, “The Lord be with you” back to “And with your spirit.” This is a change from the more modern liturgies that had switched to the more colloquial “And also with you.” The more modern Lutheran liturgies of the 1980s made the same change, though users of the older services–as well as Divine Service 3 of the new Lutheran Service Book–continued to say “And with your spirit.” My question… Read more

Don’t cheat. Don’t even try it.

Here is a great, eloquent, and right-on discussion of academic dishonesty, in which a professor, who blogs as “Tenured Radical,” imagines what she would say to her college-aged child on the subject, if she had one.  I offer it as a celebration of Finals Week, which students and us professors are celebrating (if you can call it that) this week.  A sample, though you should read the whole post (if you can handle some vulgar language): Tenured Radical and the… Read more

It’s all true about Gingrich

Peggy Noonan has a good column about the promise and perils of Newt Gingrich: I had a friend once who amused herself thinking up bumper stickers for states. The one she made up for California was brilliant. “California: It’s All True.” It is so vast and sprawling a place, so rich and various, that whatever you’ve heard about its wildness, weirdness and wonders, it’s true. That’s the problem with Newt Gingrich: It’s all true. It’s part of the reason so… Read more

Christian groups aren’t allowed to require Christianity

Vanderbilt’s ruling that campus Christian groups may not require their leaders to be Christians would seem to violate every canon of reason, let alone the freedom of religion.   This happened awhile ago, but I noticed something about the story.  Consider this account: Is Vanderbilt University flirting with the suppression of religion? Yes, according to Carol Swain, a professor at Vanderbilt’s Law School. Specifically, Swain is referring to four Christian student groups being placed on “provisional status” after a university review… Read more

Just printing more money

Historian Richard Striner proposes a solution for our economic woes: Using the monetary methods of Lincoln, updated to employ the inflation-fighting tools of the Federal Reserve, we could pay for a faster recovery and a great many worthy projects without higher taxes, without more national debt, and believe it or not, without inflation. How? By letting Congress exercise a little-known power that is used (very quietly indeed) by the Federal Reserve: the power to create new money. If you’re skeptical… Read more

Obama’s Teddy Roosevelt strategy

President Obama gave a speech in Osawatomie, Kansas, in which he wrapped himself in the mantle of Roosevelt.  Teddy Roosevelt, that is.  And, according to liberal columnist E. J. Dionne, laid out the strategy that will bring him re-election. President Obama has decided that he is more likely to win if the election is about big things rather than small ones. He hopes to turn the 2012 campaign from a plebiscite about the current state of the economy into a… Read more

“Rudolph” accused of promoting bullying

Some experts are saying that the song and the cartoon “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” promotes bullying! See Does ‘Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer’ Promote Bullying? « CBS Pittsburgh. This is a classic example of confusing the content of a story with its meaning.  Yes, the other reindeers are mean to Rudolph because of his nose, making fun of him and not letting him play in any reindeer games.  But the story doesn’t teach its hearers to do likewise!  The sympathy of… Read more

Payroll tax cut conundrum

An issue is before Congress that has both Republicans and Democrats tied up in ideological knots.  Republicans oppose deficit spending.  They also are in favor of tax cuts.  Democrats are usually fine with government spending, which they are willing to finance with higher taxes.  So what do they do about extending the payroll tax cuts? Part of President Obama’s stimulus package was to cut the amount people have to pay into social security, thus adding some dollars to their paychecks…. Read more

Morning after pill update

The Food & Drug administration had decided to make the abortifacient “morning after” pill available over the counter without a prescription.  But now the Health & Human Services Department has over-ruled that decision, keeping the drug by-prescription only: The federal government Wednesday rejected a request to let young teenage girls buy the controversial morning-after pill Plan B directly off drugstore and supermarket shelves without a prescription. In a rare public split among federal health officials, the Health and Human Services… Read more

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