Wombs for men

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Some scientists are saying that it might be possible in a decade or so to transplant a functioning womb into a man.

In the UK there is an effort to have the National Health Service sponsor the necessary research and to have taxpayers fund the operations.

This would allow “transgender women who were born male” to have children.

The advocates see another market with gay men and even heterosexual men so that they too can experience the “joys” of being pregnant.

The joys of being pregnant!  More likely in that decade is the perfection of the artificial womb so that women can avoid those particular joys.  Perhaps in that day, men may have children, while women won’t.

Or will nature will reassert itself?   [Read more…]

Why ancient Roman concrete gets stronger while ours erodes

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Buildings from ancient Rome are still standing after two thousand years and more.  Whereas modern structures do well if they can last a century, with many not lasting that long.

Experts have found that ancient Roman concrete actually gets stronger with time.  Whereas our concrete erodes.

Chemists have finally discovered why.

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Omnipotence at the price of nihilism

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The bestselling book Homo Deus:  A Brief History of Tomorrow by Yuval Noah Harari argues that our species homo sapiens (“man the wise”) is evolving into homo deus (“man the god”).

Our technology is progressing at such a rate that human beings will merge with our machines.  The resulting cyborgs will be omnipotent.

So far, this is just more fantasizing towards the new cyber-religion.  But then Harari gets more original and more interesting:  He says that the alliance between science and humanism that has held ever since the Enlightenment will break down.

The era of Homo Deus will no longer have a basis for justice, freedom, human rights, or any kind of moral ideals.  So we will have to learn to live without them.

Harari takes for granted that religion has been disproven by science.  Not only that there is no God, but that there is no soul, just the physical brain.  And not only is there no soul, but there is no free will, no moral agency, and no meaning to existence.

That science has proven all of this is completely unfounded.  But, as Michael Gerson points out in his review of the book (after the jump), Harari is at least intellectually honest in facing up to the implications of his ideas, which lead to utter nihilism:   “Omnipotence is in front of us, almost within our reach,” Harari says, “but below us yawns the abyss of complete nothingness.” [Read more…]

The Democrats’ dilemma

6262125702_a086dd49f1_zThe Democrats should, theoretically, have a big opportunity running against an unpopular Republican president.  But they so far are not getting much traction.

One problem, according to experts both within and outside the party, is that the Democrats have placed their hopes in identity politics.  But catering to specific groups–blacks, Hispanics, women, gays, etc.–puts off the general public.  And just about everybody is put off by the antics of the liberal fundamentalists with their policing of political correctness and their sensitivity shaming.

Leading Democrats are calling for a return to Bill Clinton’s formula:  “It’s the economy, stupid!”

But some of Donald Trump’s highest ratings are for his handling of the economy!  Also, as Michael Barone’s trenchant analysis shows (after the jump), it isn’t clear what a winning Democratic economic policy would consist of.
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Why the second paragraph in the Declaration of Independence?

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The purpose of the Declaration of Independence was for the American colonies to formally break away from Great Britain and to form a separate country.

As Abraham Lincoln observed, this could have been done without all of that material in the second paragraph about God, equality, and unalienable rights:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

So why did the Founders include this?  Especially since many of them, including the author of these words, were slave holders who did not act on the principle that “all men are created equal” and hold God-given rights, including that of liberty.

Lincoln gives a remarkably good answer to this question, as discussed by columnist Michael Gerson. [Read more…]

Atheists are more closed-minded and intolerant than religious people

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A study has found that atheists are more closed-minded and less tolerant of different viewpoints than religious people are.

Those findings go against both conventional wisdom and atheists’ perception of themselves.

Why do you think religious people are relatively open-minded and why do you think atheists are relatively closed-minded?

 

Illustration:  Atheist Atom Symbol by www.atheistatom.com (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

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