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Strengthen

Three Simple Steps to Heal Conflict and Strengthen Love by Ken Page.

This simple technique is designed to deepen all of your intimate relationships, including your relationship with yourself. Each of its three steps leads to greater authenticity; to a gentle, skillful “overthrow” of the inner and outer voices which hold us back from deeper love. It’s acronym, “AHA” can help us remember each step.

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Jerks

Why It Pays to Be a Jerk by Jerry Useem.

New research confirms what they say about nice guys.

More at Atlantic.

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Self

LARB reviews Self: Philosophy in Transit by Barry Dainton.

One of the notable features of human beings is our ability to sleepily glance at the bathroom mirror in the morning, and not only recognize ourselves, but also reflectively note, “Hmm, I don’t like myself very much these days. I wonder what I can do to change who and/or what I am.” This otherwise minor bit of self-reflection might inspire a variety of actions, from getting a membership at the local gym, to deciding not to snort that line of available cocaine sitting on the little shelf above the bathroom sink, to rethinking one’s bigoted views about ethnic group X, gender Y, or nation Z.

The mundane capacity to engage in such considerations is nonetheless a remarkably rare ability among living things, and the smaller subset of conscious beings that includes us. A very few other animals — mostly other primates, dolphins and whales, maybe elephants, possibly a bird or two — are able to pass what’s known in psychology as the “mirror test” for self-recognition. But even those other animals that recognize themselves in mirrors don’t appear to make judgments about those selves or make resolutions to alter themselves. And as one commenter at OMGfacts.com quipped about our uniqueness, “Sadly, humans are the only animals that use mirrors for taking deceiving self-portraits to put on social networks.” Ah, yes, those ubiquitous selfies.

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Scientists

The Trouble With Scientists by Philip Ball.

Sometimes it seems surprising that science functions at all. In 2005, medical science was shaken by a paper with the provocative title “Why most published research findings are false.”1 Written by John Ioannidis, a professor of medicine at Stanford University, it didn’t actually show that any particular result was wrong. Instead, it showed that the statistics of reported positive findings was not consistent with how often one should expect to find them. As Ioannidis concluded more recently, “many published research findings are false or exaggerated, and an estimated 85 percent of research resources are wasted.”2

It’s likely that some researchers are consciously cherry-picking data to get their work published. And some of the problems surely lie with journal publication policies. But the problems of false findings often begin with researchers unwittingly fooling themselves: they fall prey to cognitive biases, common modes of thinking that lure us toward wrong but convenient or attractive conclusions. “Seeing the reproducibility rates in psychology and other empirical science, we can safely say that something is not working out the way it should,” says Susann Fiedler, a behavioral economist at the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods in Bonn, Germany. “Cognitive biases might be one reason for that.”

Psychologist Brian Nosek of the University of Virginia says that the most common and problematic bias in science is “motivated reasoning”: We interpret observations to fit a particular idea. Psychologists have shown that “most of our reasoning is in fact rationalization,” he says. In other words, we have already made the decision about what to do or to think, and our “explanation” of our reasoning is really a justification for doing what we wanted to do—or to believe—anyway. Science is of course meant to be more objective and skeptical than everyday thought—but how much is it, really?

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Horrors

The Horrors of Self-Esteem by Theodore Dalrymple.

The shallowest and least attractive of modern psychological concepts is probably that of self-esteem.

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Defending

Defending Freedom of Speech by Geert Wilders.

  • We should never allow ourselves to be intimidated. And here, in America, you are allowed to make pictures and drawings, no matter what the Sharia says. … If we react to threats over cartoons by no longer making cartoons, the terrorists have won. … The jihadis want to kill me, but others want to silence me… by legal or political harassment. All this is happening not in third-world dictatorships, as you might expect, but in Western democracies.
  • And may I ask: Where are the demonstrations of Muslims who do not agree with the violence committed in the name of Islam and its prophet? I have not seen any of them, have you? The majority may not commit violence, but they do not oppose it either.
  • A free society should not grant freedom to those who want to destroy it. We should stand with every nation and every people who are threatened by jihad. This includes Israel… whose conflict with the Arabs is not about land; it is a conflict between freedom and tyranny.
  • If we allow ourselves to be self-censored about anything we say about Islam, then soon Islam will start telling us how to live, how to dress, how to breathe. … That is how civilizations decay.
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    Mattress Wars

    mattress
    (Via InstaPundit)

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    Genesis

    Genesis: History, Fiction, or Neither? Three Views on the Bible’s Earliest Chapters (Excerpts).

    This series features excerpts from the newly released book Genesis: History, Fiction, or Neither?: Three Views on the Bible’s Earliest Chapters, part of Zondervan’s Counterpoints series in which top scholars present their cases and respond to each other’s presentations.

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    Red Tape

    Red Tape Rising: Six Years of Escalating Regulation Under Obama by James L. Gattuso and Diane Katz.

    The number and cost of government regulations continued to climb in 2014, intensifying Washington’s control over the economy and Americans’ lives. The addition of 27 new major rules pushed the tally for the Obama Administration’s first six years to 184, with scores of other rules in the pipeline. The cost of just these 184 rules is estimated by regulators to be nearly $80 billion annually, although the actual cost of this massive expansion of the administrative state is obscured by the large number of rules for which costs have not been fully quantified. Absent substantial reform, economic growth and individual freedom will continue to suffer. This ninth installment in the ongoing series of “Red Tape Rising” reports measuring trends in rulemaking activity details the enormous regulatory costs under the Obama Administration.

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    Symposium

    End of Religion? Symposium at Baylor University.

    In recent years, religion’s decline and imminent fall has been a source of intense interest to media and academics alike. Repeated surveys have been cited as showing the decline of American faith, the growth of atheism, and of the number people admitting to no religion – the famous “Nones” – so that once famously religious America seems set to secularize on the lines of Godless Europe.

    The problem is that schema is so multiply flawed as to be close to worthless. To say this is not to reject the methodology or conclusions of any one particular survey or projection, but rather to challenge the working assumptions of all of them. We can cite problems of definition and language; inaccurate understandings of history and historical change; and a stubborn unwillingness to observe and understand the many signs pointing to the resilient growth of religion around the world, and specifically in North America. Whichever approach we use – statistical, historical, comparative, sociological – the secularization narrative falls apart.

    A gulf separates what can reliably and responsibly be said about future projections of religion, and the interpretations offered. Our goal in this event is to provide an essential corrective to the Secularization Myth, and to offer ways of understanding and debunking future claims as they arise.

    Video of the event here.

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    Heretic

    Let’s Burn The Global Warming Heretic! by David Harsanyi.

    Will Cain, ESPN’s new hire, has appeared on The Blaze, CNN, “The View,” etc., and is by any measure an affable moderate right-of-center squish—a fact that would be apparent to anyone who spent more than two minutes watching his stuff. He’s also a pretty good journalist*, although this is irrelevant to Deadspin. If a person has some iffy ideas about the world he must be drummed out of sports media—and, I imagine, any other public space.

    Here is how one of the site’s intellectually incurious writers put it:

    A quick trip down the Will Cain rabbit hole shows that before ESPN, he rarely spoke about sports. More often, though, Cain has carved out a role as a shill who works to further the interests and ambitions of oil corporations, Republican political candidates who attempt to hoodwink and/or energize their base, and those who vilify women and/or minorities while denying their agency.

    This is dumb in that unique way that dumb people who think they’re smart are often dumb. Each platitude in the paragraph sounds like it was mined from some long-lost Debbie Wasserman Schultz appearance on Current TV. Though, to be fair, the author makes the unintentionally persuasive case that some people shouldn’t wander too far from their chosen field of expertise.

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    Debate

    The Federalist debates Reason‘s roundtable discussion (linked below) on reform conservatism.

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    Free

    Edward Feser reviews Free: Why Science Hasn’t Disproved Free Will by Alfred R. Mele.

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    Silencing

    CT interviews Kirsten Powers, author of the new book, The Silencing: How the Left is Killing Free Speech.

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    Roundtable

    Reason Roundtable: Is Reform Conservatism a Friend or Foe of Limited Government? by Yuval Levin, Ben Domenech, Jason Kuznicki, Nick Gillespie & Shikha Dalmia.

    Advocates and critics debate the merits of a more populist approach to right-of-center politics.

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    Religious Liberty?

    Can We Have Religious Liberty In Modern America? by Luma Simms.

    If most Americans are no longer constrained by religion or morality, do we have any hope of securing lasting civil and religious liberties?

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    Lying

    The Truth About the Ways People Lie by Melissa Dahl. See here.

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    Awesome

    Everything Is Awesome, Mideast Edition by Bret Stephens.

    Ben Rhodes, President Obama’s deputy national security adviser, has been offering a reassuring view of the Iranian nuclear deal in the face of some Arab skepticism. “If you can diplomatically and peacefully resolve the nuclear issue in a way that prevents Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon,” he told reporters last week, “we believe that will lead to a much more stable region.” Mr. Rhodes also contends that with a deal “there will be no need to see [a] regional arms race.”

    So what’s more frightening: That Mr. Rhodes believes what he’s saying? Or that he does not?

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    Academic Mob

    Academic Mob Chases ‘Climate Change Contrarian’ Bjorn Lomborg Off Campus by Brendan O’Neill.

    Want an independent thinker out of your university? Instigate a “passionate emotional reaction” against him.

    More at Reason.

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    Stress

    Use Stress to Your Advantage by Kelly McGonigal.

    To perform under pressure, research finds that welcoming anxiety is more helpful than calming down.

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