This essay first appeared in Cliterati on May 25th; I have modified it slightly to fit the format of this blog.
Though human beings have developed a highly technological society based on scientific principles, the great majority of them are still immersed in magical thinking. I don’t merely mean a few irrational beliefs which we recognize as irrational; everyone, including the most die-hard skeptics, have such beliefs, and there’s nothing wrong with that as long as we recognize them as irrational and proceed accordingly. What is not harmless, however, is basing laws and policies on primitive superstitions such as the idea that inanimate objects can be evil, that talismans or inscriptions can grant power over others or turn evil actions into good ones, and that innocuous actions which violate cultural taboos can render a person ritually impure. Many of the systemic evils of modern societies (such as the…
View original post 892 more words
…. Please consider a few things.
Q: Know what happens when fewer women have access to birth control? A: The number of unwanted pregnancies goes up. And guess what happens when there are more unwanted pregnancies…. You guessed it–More abortions. So there’s something to think about….
You know what? The family who runs Hobby Lobby is probably really nice. I’ve never met them, but I’d be willing to bet that if my wife and I ate dinner at their house, at the end of the night we’d would walk out the giant front door, get our minivan from the valet, and while we were driving home we’d talk about what nice people they were (right after we’d gotten done talking about how ridiculously huge their house was). And you know what? The same is probably true for most of…
View original post 1,259 more words
A great deal has been written about the Facebook experiment – what did they actually do, how did they do it, what was the effect, was it ethical, was it legal, will it be challenged and so forth – but I think we need to step back a little and ask two further questions. Why did they do the experiment, and why did they publish it in this ‘academic’ form.
What Facebook tell us about their motivations for the experiment should be taken with a distinct pinch of salt: we need to look further. What Facebook does, it generally does for one simple reason: to benefit Facebook’s bottom line. They do things to build their business, and to make more money. That may involve getting more subscribers, or making those subscribers stay online for longer, or, most crucially and most directly, by getting more money from its advertisers. Subscribers are…
View original post 893 more words