Category Archives: Culture

Links and Comments: Coronavirus, Climate Change, Risk Assessment

(updated 9jul20, 11jul20) Salon, Amanda Marcotte: Climate-change denial and the coronavirus “hoax” are the same conspiracy theory. The worldwide conspiracy is vast — so vast that most of the world’s scientists, journalists and political leaders are in on it. Somehow, … Continue reading

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Notes for the Book: Timelines

I love timelines, especially those scaled depictions of the progress of time from left (the past) to right (the present and the future). Back in the 8th grade, I think it was, I constructed such a timeline on a scroll … Continue reading

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Links and Comments: Jonathan Haidt; Religious presumption; Hanlon’s razor; H.L. Mencken; Mark Lilla on prophecy

The Atlantic: Jonathan Haidt Is Trying to Heal America’s Divisions: The psychologist shares his thoughts on the pandemic, polarization, and politics. Great profile, though long, of Jonathan Haidt, author of one of the best books I’ve ever read, The Righteous … Continue reading

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Rutger Bregman’s Ten Rules to Live By

I do love lists, especially of principles, and a new one comes with a book called HUMANKIND: A HOPEFUL HISTORY, by Rutger Bregman, whose previous book was the provocative UTOPIA FOR REALISTS (which discussed, among other things, the idea of … Continue reading

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Links and Comments: Loners, Law and Religion, Our Anti-Science Leaders, the Roots of Science Denial

Atlantic: How Loners Are an Evolutionary Insurance Policy This echoes my comments about how diversity is needed in the human race because different attitudes and skills may be needed in situations that require different ways to survive. Though the article … Continue reading

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Links and Comments: Socialism, Conspiracy Theories, Religion, Rationality, Liberalism, William Barr, Republicans

First, a David Brooks column from back in December: I Was Once a Socialist. Then I Saw How It Worked. I was a socialist in college. I read magazines like The Nation and old issues of The New Masses. I … Continue reading

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Sam Harris, THE END OF FAITH (2004)

Sam Harris, The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason. Norton, 2004. In the 2000s, in the aftermath of 9/11, several well-known intellectuals wrote books examining the bases and legitimacy of religion in general. Four of them—Sam … Continue reading

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Hans Rosling: FACTFULNESS (2018)

This is a book that explores why most people are wrong on key facts about the world, thinking it worse than it is, e.g. concerning poverty, life expectancy, etc. In a sense it’s a modern-day counterpart to Steven Pinker’s THE … Continue reading

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Links and Comments: Secrets of Success, the 2010s, Gibson’s future, History v. Narratives

Here are a few items from recent papers. 1) Nicholas Kristof: The Four Secrets of Success. Which are: 1. Take a class in economics and in statistics 2. Connect to a cause larger than yourself. 3. Make out. 4. Escape … Continue reading

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Link and Comments: Why Trust Science?

Naomi Oreskes, a professor at Harvard, just published a book, Why Trust Science?, which has gotten a fair amount of coverage in various review and interview venues. Her main point, I gather, is that science isn’t so much about the … Continue reading

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