Category Archives: Social Progress

Links and Comments: Trump and His Supporters; Versions of Leviticus; Ancient Aliens, Skepticism, and What Science Fiction Is Not

I’ve been preoccupied with other matters in recent months, and need to resume regular posting of Links and Comments from things I see in the papers and magazines that I think are pertinent, in one way or another. If I … Continue reading

Posted in Bible, Social Progress | Leave a comment

David Brooks on Myths vs. Parables

New York Times columnist David Brooks runs hot and cold with me; ostensibly a conservative, he’s too inclined to dismiss new ideas in favor of sanctified values, for my taste, yet he does read widely and responds to many new … Continue reading

Posted in Narrative, Social Progress | Leave a comment

Link and Comments: Hollywood and Liberals

NYT: Neil Gross, Why Is Hollywood So Liberal? Best guess: There is, however, a third explanation worth pondering: that the emotional requirements of acting are conducive to progressive politics. “The overwhelmingly liberal orientation of actors,” Professor Ross has written, “can … Continue reading

Posted in Conservative Resistance, Social Progress | Leave a comment

Links and Comments: Sports and Trump; Pinker and Gates; Tribal Allegiance and Actual Progress

NYT, 3Feb18: Trump’s Blood Sport Politics. The writer recalls “”The Sporting Spirit,” an essay written by George Orwell in 1945 that sought to reckon with the rise of our modern athletic-industrial complex.” For Orwell, the rise of sports was bound … Continue reading

Posted in Conservative Resistance, Culture, Social Progress, Steven Pinker | Leave a comment

Passages from Pinker

As a palette cleanser from my last post, here are some thoughts from my ongoing reading of Steven Pinker’s THE BETTER ANGELS OF OUR NATURE, a history of the world with focus on violence, that summarizes that history through phases: … Continue reading

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Links and Comments: On believing; Waking up; Health care fantasies

Here’s a long, multi-panel cartoon from The Oatmeal called Believe, which illustrates how readily or not we take in new information that conflicts with our previous assumptions, or foundational beliefs. (Via We Should Celebrate New Information Even When It Means … Continue reading

Posted in Religion, Social Progress | Comments Off on Links and Comments: On believing; Waking up; Health care fantasies

Two Interviews about Current Books, about Reproductive Technologies and Social Cohesion

Two radio interviews this week worth noting, in part just for the pleasure of listening to smart people, in contrast to what we dutifully hear every day from our politicians. First, this KQED forum interview in which Bioethicist Hank Greely … Continue reading

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Links and Comments: Trump; Democrats v Republicans; American exceptionalism; government regulations

As Donald Trump seems to be on the path to claiming the Republican nomination for president, Republicans who are appalled by him are increasingly expressing misgivings. Salon has this fascinating article about how some Republican pundits admit that the crude … Continue reading

Posted in Conservative Resistance, Culture, Politics, Religion, Social Progress | Comments Off on Links and Comments: Trump; Democrats v Republicans; American exceptionalism; government regulations

Review of David Silverman

The book is FIGHTING GOD: An Atheist Manifesto for a Religious World, just published in December 2015, and I’m not linking it with a cover image as I often do with books I review, since I can’t especially approve of … Continue reading

Posted in Atheism, Book Notes, Culture, Politics, Religion, Social Progress | Comments Off on Review of David Silverman

Links and Comments from Sunday’s New York Times

I’m finishing up a book by Chris Mooney that explores motivated reasoning and how we are all subject to seeking out evidence that confirms our pre-existing views, and disputing evidence that challenges those views. And that nevertheless claims that conservatives/Republicans … Continue reading

Posted in Politics, Religion, Social Progress, Thinking | Comments Off on Links and Comments from Sunday’s New York Times