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Recreate

Don’t Just Salvage Your Relationship—Recreate It! by Leon F. Seltzer.

Consider that when a relationship is failing, it’s primarily because you’ve both become polarized in your thinking—which can best be characterized as self-righteous and critical. As a result, much of your respect for each other has atrophied. So can you perceive your partner in a fundamentally different (and far more positive) light? However hurtful or inconsiderate you may feel they’ve been to you, can you see them as essentially well-meaning—that their reactions to you may represent something other than unacceptable flaws in their character? For regaining respect for your partner is pivotal if your relationship is going to have a fresh chance at success. Your self-justifying perceptions of them degraded your respect for them in the first place. So is there a way you could more benignly reperceive their motives, so you might feel less animosity toward—or alienation from—them?

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Roots

Christianity and American Political Thought by S. Adam Seagrave.

A new book examines the philosophical and religious roots of American government. Amid scholarly disagreement, one thing is clear: America is a nation founded upon the truth of human freedom and equality—whether one arrives at this truth by way of Calvin or Locke.

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Special?

Science 2.0: Today’s Global Warming Is Nothing Special

The rate at which carbon emissions might be warm Earth’s climate today are a lot like the past. 56 million years in the past.

The authors of a new paper believe the Paleocene-Eocene thermal maximum, or PETM, can provide clues to the future of modern climate change. The good news: Earth and most species survived warming that was a lot more pronounced – up to 15 degrees Fahrenheit – than even the most dour predictions being made now. The bad news: It took 200,000 years to get back to what we now consider normal.

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Faith

The Supreme Court’s Faith in Belief by Sarah Imhoff.

This summer, the Supreme Court was once again at the center of the American culture wars. The media and many Americans on both sides of the political spectrum saw the Burwell v Hobby Lobby decision as a case of religious freedom versus women’s rights. The headlines blared: “How the Catholic Church Masterminded the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby Debacle,” Can Corporations Go to Hell?”, “Hobby Lobby: Does God Hate Obamacare?” and “Hobby Lobby case: Religious freedom’s worth more than $35.”

The court, which ruled 5-4 in favor of Hobby Lobby, was no less divided than the press. The two outspoken former prosecutors on the bench, Justices Samuel Alito and Sonia Sotomayor, pulled no punches in their rival opinions.

And yet, not every aspect of the court opinions was polarized. Though they often disagree about legal issues, the liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and conservative Justice Antonin Scalia are good friends. (There’s even an opera about them.) Hobby Lobby showed us another surprising agreement, one that Scalia, Ginsburg, and the other Justices all share: what religion is. Despite their differences, all of the justices seem to concur about two things: first, that religion has an identifiable core and essence, and second, that the core and essence of religion is belief. If and only if we see “sincere religious belief,” they suggest, then we see religion.

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Leo

Leo Strauss and American Conservatism by Carson Holloway.

Contrary to popular belief, Leo Strauss was not a conservative, let alone a neoconservative. Yet Strauss and conservatism share an important aim: challenging the dogmatic dismissal of the past as irrelevant to our flourishing in the present.

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Awards

Christianity Today’s 2015 Book Awards. See here.

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Power

BR reviews The Power of Market Fundamentalism: Karl Polanyi’s Critique by Fred Block and Margaret Somers.

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Habits

Habits of Mind by Anthony Grafton and James Grossman.

Why college students who do serious historical research become independent, analytical thinkers.

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Leibniz

The Optimistic Science of Leibniz by Marc E. Bobro.

The philosopher Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz (1646 –1716) is chiefly remembered today, when he is remembered at all, for two reasons. First, he invented the calculus — independently, most scholars now agree, of its other inventor Newton. And second, he authored the provocative statement that this world is “the best of all possible worlds.” This claim was famously lampooned in Voltaire’s 1759 satire Candide, in which the title character, “stunned, stupefied, despairing, bleeding, trembling, said to himself: — If this is the best of all possible worlds, what are the others like?” Leibniz’s posthumous reputation, already marred by the accusation he had plagiarized Newton’s calculus, never recovered from Voltaire’s mockery. Even in his homeland of Germany, the name Leibniz is perhaps more widely known for a beloved butter cookie named after him than for the man himself.

Yet Leibniz is one of the most impressive figures in the history of modern science, mathematics, and philosophy. It seems impossible that one individual could accomplish all that he did. Leibniz worked unflaggingly at whatever task he set himself to, writing copiously on such diverse subjects as politics, theology, mathematics, and physics, and contributing with singular erudition to many other topics, such as chemistry, medicine, astronomy, geology, paleontology, optics, and philology. He was a historian, a poet, a legal theorist, a diplomat, a cryptographer, and a philosopher who thought it possible to reconcile theology with metaphysics and science. A preeminent man of letters, he was also a cosmopolitan writer of letters, exchanging about fifteen thousand of them with more than a thousand correspondents in French, German, and Latin. Physically, Leibniz may have been nothing special — in fact, he was hunched, bowlegged, and nearsighted — but his far-reaching intellect brought him into contact with scholars of the first rank, as well as statesmen, courtiers, and dignitaries around Europe.

The diversity of Leibniz’s interests and undertakings is dizzying. How are we to make sense of a man who contributed prominently to so many fields, including both religion and science? In our day, it is common to think especially of religion and science as either pulling in opposing directions in their respective understandings of the world, or as parallel but different domains. How did they hang together for Leibniz?

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Prothero

Do Liberals Always Win? An Interview with Stephen Prothero by Jack West. See here.

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Beer

The Secret World of. . .Beer by Chris Baraniuk.

Venture through a dank railway tunnel, then turn on to a small industrial estate in south east London and you’ll find yourself at a fine example of a British brewery. But there are no rambling roses or tumble-down ancient buildings crying of English tradition here. The Kernel brewery is little more than five years old and the beer produced in this urban hideaway combines old traditions with new thinking – and a little experimentation.

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Imitation

The Imitation of Marriage by Ross Douthat.

In the last two weeks, my colleagues at The Times’s data-driven project, The Upshot, have offered two ways of looking at the most important cleavage in America — the divide, cultural and economic, between the college educated and the struggling working class.

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Fatigue

What Is Fatigue? by Alex Hutchinson.

When, on a blustery day in Oxford in 1954, Roger Bannister ran the first sub-four-minute mile, measuring out the full capacity of his lungs and legs and collapsing across the finish line, he felt, as he later wrote, “like an exploded flashlight.” That was the feeling researchers were trying to evoke, recently, when they paid thirteen volunteers at Bangor University, in Wales, to pedal a stationary bike at a predetermined pace for as long as they could. Such “time to exhaustion” trials are a well-established method of measuring the limits of physical endurance, but in this case the experiment also had a hidden psychological component. As the cyclists pedalled, a screen in front of them periodically flashed images of happy or sad faces in imperceptible sixteen-millisecond bursts, ten to twenty times shorter than a typical blink. The cyclists who were shown sad faces rode, on average, twenty-two minutes and twenty-two seconds. Those who were shown happy faces rode for three minutes longer and reported less of a sense of exertion. In a second experiment, the researchers demonstrated that subliminal action words (GO, LIVELY) could boost a subject’s cycling performance by seventeen per cent over inaction words (TOIL, SLEEP).

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Conservatism

Conservatism after Obama by Samuel Gregg.

Instead of simply reacting to modern liberalism’s advances, it’s time for conservatives to consider what their own fundamental transformation of America would look like.

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Picky?

Too Picky? by Duana C. Welch.

If you don’t insist on these two traits in a partner, you aren’t picky enough.

More at PT.

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Lumbersexuality

Lumbersexuality and Its Discontents by Willa Brown.

One hundred years ago, a crisis in urban masculinity created the lumberjack aesthetic. Now it’s making a comeback.

More at Atlantic.

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Violence

James Fallows reviews Fields of Blood: Religion and the History of Violence by Karen Armstrong.

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Sphere

Cato Unbound: Religion in the Public Sphere by Kevin Vallier, Patrick Deneen, Maggie Garrett, and Michael Shermer. See here.

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Aquinas

Thomas Aquinas in China by William Carroll.

Thomas Aquinas’s commitment to the importance of reason and its universal role in defining what it means to be human makes him an attractive thinker for contemporary Chinese scholars.

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Fair Share?

U.S. Climate Fair Share: 82 Percent Emissions Cut by 2030? by Ronald Bailey.

Plus $810 billion in climate debt payments annually to poor countries?

More at Reason.