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Saw

He Saw What Others Didn’t by Brian Allen.

The Whitney’s Grant Wood retrospective spotlights a uniquely Midwestern genius.

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Abolition

The Best Defense Is a Good Offense: C.S. Lewis’s Abolition of Man by Micah Watson.

A new critical edition of Lewis’s 1943 classic adds a treasure trove of supplementary material. Lewis’s warnings about the consequences of jettisoning natural law remain as trenchant today as they were when delivered during the Second World War.

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Little Pink House

“Little Pink House” Brings the Kelo Case to the Big Screen by Ilya Somin.

An impressive new movie dramatizes the story behind the famous Supreme Court case about whether it is permissible for the government to condemn homes in order to promote private “economic development.”

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Relationship

Doctors Tell All—and It’s Bad by Meghan O’Rourke.

A crop of books by disillusioned physicians reveals a corrosive doctor-patient relationship at the heart of our health-care crisis.

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Poverty

Rob Rieman, Joseph Pieper, and the Existential Poverty of the West by R.J. Snell.

Joseph Pieper knows what Rob Riemen has forgotten: the existential poverty of the West cannot be evaded or solved through humanism, for no ersatz god gives meaning to our poetry, song, dance, and drama. Absent God, it is all vapor, lacking the goodness to which we respond in wonder, delight, joy, and feasting.

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Honor Killing

Honor Killing Is Not Just a Muslim Problem by Phyllis Chesler.

It’s the most extreme form of institutionalized violence against women on the planet.

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Disparities

Discipline Disparities for Black Students, Boys, and Students with Disabilities by United States Government Accountability Office.

Black students, boys, and students with disabilities were disproportionately disciplined (e.g., suspensions and expulsions) in K-12 public schools, according to GAO’s analysis of Department of Education (Education) national civil rights data for school year 2013-14, the most recent available. These disparities were
widespread and persisted regardless of the type of disciplinary action, level of school poverty, or type of public school attended.

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Related: Who Misbehaves? by Heather Mac Donald.

Claims that school discipline is unfairly meted out ignore actual classroom behavior.

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Blind Spots

Silicon Valley’s Dangerous Political Blind Spots by Declan McCullagh.

Will the lack of ideological diversity doom big tech companies?

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All

ADD for All by Joseph E. Davis.

When I see these prevalence rates going up to fifteen — almost twenty percent in the adolescent male population — I can’t believe that represents real cases of ADHD. But how does that get there?” This is the million-dollar question, and raised by no less an establishment figure than the psychologist C. Keith Conners. One of the early pioneers and leading lights in the study of children’s hyperactivity and attention problems, Conners is best known as the author of the Conners Comprehensive Behavior Rating Scales, the most common symptom instruments used by doctors in evaluating children for ADHD. At the 2015 meeting of the American Professional Society of ADHD and Related Disorders, he attended a seminar on “Measuring ADHD Prevalence — Controversies About Overdiagnosis,” and when the panelists were finished, asked his question. For the umpteenth time, the specter of overdiagnosis was raising its head and Conners, arriving late to the controversy, wanted to know how the number of kids diagnosed could have risen sky high.

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Error

An Enduring Error by Barry Latzer.

A half-century later, the Kerner Report’s fame overshadows its mistaken analysis of urban riots and blindness to racial progress.

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Bigot

Yankee Bigot Scared Of Chick-Fil-A by Rod Dreher.

In terms of parochial, un-self-aware narrow-mindedness, it is hard to beat this piece from the New Yorker on how the a popular purveyor of delicious chicken and waffle fries is making Manhattan into an unsafe space.

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Puzzled

Trouble Detected in Infamous Dark Matter Signal by Natalie Wolchover.

New results from a decades-old experiment were initially touted as further evidence for dark matter. But independent scientists have cast serious doubt on that claim, leaving most everyone puzzled.

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Tertullian

‘I Believe Because It Is Absurd’: Christianity’s First Meme by Peter Harrison.

Religious belief is often thought to evince a precarious kind of commitment, in which the degree of conviction is inversely proportional to correspondence with the facts. Exhibit A for this common characterisation of religious belief is the maxim of the third-century Christian writer Tertullian, who is credited with the saying ‘I believe because it is absurd.’ This paradoxical expression makes a routine appearance in philosophical evaluations of the rationality of religious belief, in contemporary polemics addressed to an imagined opposition between science and religion, and in virtually every reputable dictionary of quotations.

Scholars of early Christianity have long known that Tertullian never wrote those words. What he originally said and meant poses intriguing questions, but equally interesting is the story of how the invented expression came to be attributed to him in the first place, what its invention tells us about changing conceptions of ‘faith’, and why, in spite of attempts to correct the record, it stubbornly persists as an irradicable meme about the irrationality of religious commitment.

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Masculinity

Training the Masculinity Out of Children by Elio Martino.

Masculinity is complex, and understanding it requires sophisticated discussions that shed light on those components of masculinity that are harmful and those that are benign or beneficial. Theories of ‘toxic masculinity’ operate on the assumption that, as the dominant sex, men have been socialized to take what is theirs by force. Social cues and cultural norms supposedly give men permission to commit violence and sexual assault, and ‘toxic masculinity’ is used to explain a variety of phenomena, from domestic abuse to aggressive imperialism and the pillaging of weak nations. Increasingly, the term is also used to describe a more symbolic kind of violence and aggression used to suppress or silence anyone who is not the ‘dominant voice’ in society.

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Mead

How the Science Wars Ruined the Mother of Anthropology by Matthew Blackwell.

The world fell in love with Mead’s romantic description of a paradise of free love gemmed away in the tropical South Pacific – a society with little jealousy, violence, or rape. The liberal journalist Freda Kichwey wrote in The Nation that, “Somewhere in each of us, hidden among our more obscure desires and our impulses of escape, is a palm fringed South Sea Island.” Samuel Schmalhausen spoke of the “naturalness and simplicity and sexual joy” of Samoa. Within the emerging field of anthropology, Mead became a revered figure. Hundreds of anthropology books relayed her research, promoting the overarching lesson that sexuality and violence are entirely malleable and changeable in cultures. The conclusions Mead drew about the uniqueness of Samoan adolescent life validated the early American anthropological project to explain human behavior in terms of cultural specificity. When Boas and Benedict passed away, Mead became the unchallenged icon of the discipline, the mother of anthropology, and as Time called her, “mother of the world.”

But in the 1960s, Mead began hearing of a then-obscure New Zealand anthropologist named Derek Freeman, who had begun working in Samoa 1940 when he was also 23, and now taught at the Australian National University in Canberra. She had heard rumors that Freeman contested several of her claims in Coming of Age in Samoa and so, during a trip to Australia in 1964, she visited Freeman in his office to ask about the nature of his objections. During that encounter, Freeman informed her that he was preparing a public refutation of her work. When Mead asked to see Freeman’s thesis on Samoan social structure, he was left momentarily speechless. “I’ve never stuttered in my life,” he later recalled in embarrassment. “You’re trembling like jelly,” Mead told him. But what he presented that day shook her, and by the time the two-hour meeting was over, it was Mead who was left “agitated” and “shaken.”

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Learning Styles

Another Nail in the Coffin for Learning Styles? Disparities among Undergraduate Anatomy Students’ Study Strategies, Class Performance, and Reported VARK Learning Styles by Polly R. Husmann and Valerie Dean O’Loughlin.

The concept and existence of learning styles has been fraught with controversy, and recent studies have thrown their existence into doubt. Yet, many students still hold to the conventional wisdom that learning styles are legitimate, and may adapt their outside of class study strategies to match these learning styles. Thus, this study aims to assess if undergraduate anatomy students are more likely to utilize study strategies that align with their hypothetical learning styles (using the VARK analysis from Flem and Mills, 1992, Improve Acad. 11:137–1 55), if so, does this alignment correlate with their outcome in an anatomy course. Relatedly, this study examines whether students’ VARK learning styles are correlated with course outcomes regardless of the students’ study strategies, and whether any study strategies are correlated with course outcomes, regardless of student-specific VARK results. A total of 426 anatomy students from the 2015 and 2016 Fall semesters completed a study strategies survey online VARK questionnaire. Results demonstrated that most students did not report study strategies that correlated with their VARK assessment, and that student performance in anatomy was not correlated with their score in any VARK categories. Rather, some specific study strategies (irrespective of VARK results), such as use of the virtual microscope, were found to be positively correlated with final class grade. However, the alignment of these study strategies with VARK results had no correlation with anatomy course outcomes. Thus, this research provides further evidence that the conventional wisdom about learning styles should be rejected by educators and students alike.

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First Steps

Philosophy’s First Steps by J L Schellenberg.

Science asks and answers its big questions, so why is philosophy taking its time? Because it’s only just getting started.

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A Man

Becoming a Man by William Buckner.

There are commonalities of human behavior that extend beyond any geographic or cultural boundary. Every known society has a sexual division of labor – many facets of which are ubiquitous the world over. Some activities are universally considered to be primarily, or exclusively, the responsibility of men, such as hunting large mammals, metalworking, and warfare. Other activities, such as caregiving, cooking, and preparing vegetable foods, are nearly always considered primarily the responsibility of women.

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Williamson II

A Dissent Concerning Kevin Williamson by Conor Friedersdorf.

When the “bonds of affection” are strained, the spirit of generosity and the virtue of tolerance demand extraordinary measures to avert a break.

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Obsolete

The Scientific Paper Is Obsolete by James Somers.

The scientific paper—the actual form of it—was one of the enabling inventions of modernity. Before it was developed in the 1600s, results were communicated privately in letters, ephemerally in lectures, or all at once in books. There was no public forum for incremental advances. By making room for reports of single experiments or minor technical advances, journals made the chaos of science accretive. Scientists from that point forward became like the social insects: They made their progress steadily, as a buzzing mass.

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