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Money

CJ reviews Money Free and Unfree by George Selgin.

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AI-nxiety

Irrational AI-nxiety by Edward Clint.

Very smart people tell us to be very worried about AI. But very smart people can also be very wrong and their paranoia is a form of cognitive bias owed to our evolved psychology. Concerns over the potential harm of new technologies are often sensible, but they should be grounded in fact, not flights of fearful fancy. Fortunately, at the moment, there is little cause for alarm.

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Missed

Why the Populist Surge Has Missed Canada by Mario Polèse.

A decentralized federal government and a consensual culture have kept the lid on social tensions—so far.

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10

10 Schools of Philosophy and Why You Should Know Them by Scotty Hendricks.

For your reading pleasure, here are ten schools of philosophy you should know about. Some of them are commonly misunderstood, and we correct that problem here.

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Wrong

What’s Wrong with Rod Dreher’s Straussian Narrative of the American Constitution by Paul R. DeHart.

Because he accepts a Straussian framework that sees modernity rather than Christianity as the major turning point of Western history, Rod Dreher underestimates the influence of Christian and classical thought on the American founding.

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Net Neutrality

No, the FCC Isn’t ‘Overturning Net Neutrality’ by Andrea O’Sullivan.

The left is in a veritable state of hysteria as the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) moves to vote on Chairman Pai’s deregulatory “Restoring Internet Freedom” (RIF) order on Dec. 14. It’s gotten so bad that incensed supporters of so-called “net neutrality” have taken to harassing commissioners’ children and even threatening to kill a congressman.

It’s a nasty state of affairs, and it’s one unfortunately driven by a lot of false rhetoric and outright fearmongering over how policy is actually changing. Telling people that a policy change will “end the internet as we know it” or “kill the internet” can agitate troubled people into doing crazy things.

In truth, the Obama administration-era “Open Internet Order” (OIO) that the FCC is overturning has little to with “net neutrality” at all. In fact, the OIO would still allow internet service providers (ISPs) to block content—to say nothing of the many non-ISP tech companies that can and do openly suppress access to content.

Furthermore, repealing the OIO does not mean that the principles of “net neutrality” will not be upheld, nor that ISPs will be “unregulated.” Rather, the RIF will rightly transfer oversight of ISPs to other regulatory bodies in an ex post fashion.

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Books

Christianity Today releases their book award winners for 2018.

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Truth

The Truth about Men, Women, and Sex by Mark Regnerus.

Recent revelations about sexual harassment, assault, and abuse underscore certain blunt realities about men, women, and sex. How can we confront those realities in a way that leads to less sexual violence?

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Houston

Doing Houston Wrong by Joel Kotkin and Tory Gattis.

Contrary to the sneers of elitist planners, Houston has the right approach to urban development.

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Teamwork

Can Teamwork Solve One Of Psychology’s Biggest Problems? by Christie Aschwanden.

Psychologist Christopher Chartier admits to a case of “physics envy.” That field boasts numerous projects on which international research teams come together to tackle big questions. Just think of CERN’s Large Hadron Collider or LIGO, which recently detected gravitational waves for the first time. Both are huge collaborations that study problems too big for one group to solve alone. Chartier, a researcher at Ashland University, doesn’t think massively scaled group projects should only be the domain of physicists. So he’s starting the “Psychological Science Accelerator,” which has a simple idea behind it: Psychological studies will take place simultaneously at multiple labs around the globe. Through these collaborations, the research will produce much bigger data sets with a far more diverse pool of study subjects than if it were done in just one place.

The accelerator approach eliminates two problems that can contribute to psychology’s much-discussed reproducibility problem, the finding that some studies aren’t replicated in subsequent studies. It removes both small sample sizes and the so-called weird samples problem, which is what happens when studies rely on a very particular population — like relatively wealthy college students from Western countries — that may not represent the world at large. In the process, the program could make important contributions to what Simine Vazire, a psychologist at the University of California, Davis, is calling psychology’s credibility revolution1 — the push for openness, replicability and methodological rigor. “It’s good science to have larger and more diverse samples,” she said.

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Flawed

The Implicit Association Test: Flawed Science Tricks Americans into Believing They Are Unconscious Racists by Althea Nagai.

Before the Implicit Association Test becomes entrenched in public policy and the law, its proponents should address questions about the reliability and validity of the test. The test should be shown to predict other behaviors, and there should be a broader discussion of the social and political implications of this research.

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Enduring

Jerry Fodor’s Enduring Critique of Neo-Darwinism by Stephen Metcalf.

The philosopher Jerry Fodor was important for the same reason you’ve probably never heard of him: he was unimpressed, to put it politely, by the intellectual trends of the day. His focus was the philosophy of the mind, and he regarded much of what went on in brain labs as make-work. “If the mind happens in space at all, it happens somewhere north of the neck,” he wrote in The London Review of Books, in 1999. “What exactly turns on knowing how far north?” Fodor was indifferent to recent developments in European thought—everything since Kant, more or less. But he was that rare thing, a man who could lift your spirits while derogating your world view. When he died, last month, philosophy Twitter filled with variations of the same sentiment: I loved Jerry, even though he was wrong about everything.

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Bonfire

Bonfire of the Academies: Two Professors on How Leftist Intolerance Is Killing Higher Education by Heather Heying and Bret Weinstein.

At colleges and universities all over the country, students are protesting in increasingly virulent and sometimes violent ways. They demand safe spaces and trigger warnings, shouting down those with whom they disagree. It has become rote for outsiders to claim that the inmates are running the asylum; that this is analogous to Mao’s Red Guard, Germany’s brown shirts, the French Revolution’s Jacobins; and, when those being attacked are politically “left” themselves, that the Left is eating its own. These stories seem to validate every fantasy the Right ever had about the Left.

As two professors who recently resigned from positions at a college we loved, and who have always been on the progressive-left end of the political spectrum, we can say that, while none of those characterizations is exactly right, there is truth in each of them.

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Legend

The Luther Legend by Marilynne Robinson.

The idea that one man brought about the Protestant Reformation obscures a much longer history of dissent.

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Nice?

Rod Dreher conducts an email interview with Ulrich Lehner, author of the new book, God Is Not Nice: Rejecting Pop Culture Theology and Discovering the God Worth Living for.

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Reckoning

Academic Journal Publishing is Headed for a Day of Reckoning by Patrick Burns.

Imagine a researcher working under deadline on a funding proposal for a new project. This is the day she’s dedicated to literature review – pulling examples from existing research in published journals to provide evidence for her great idea. Creating an up-to-date picture of where things stand in this narrow corner of her field involves 30 references, but she has access to only 27 of those via her library’s journal subscriptions. Now what?

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Beliefs?

Less Than Half of ‘Evangelical’ and ‘Born Again’ Christians Actually Have Evangelical Beliefs by Tyler O’Neil.

Just how evangelical are evangelicals, really? According to a recent survey from LifeWay Research, not very. Less than half of those who self-identify as “evangelical” or as “born again” actually have evangelical beliefs. At a time when the evangelical community is wrestling amongst itself over Donald Trump and other hot-button issues, it is important to recognize that not all self-described evangelicals are true believers.

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Cryptocurrency

Is Bitcoin the Most Obvious Bubble Ever? by Derek Thompson.

The cryptocurrency is almost certainly due for a major correction. But its long-term value remains a mystery.

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Debacle

The U.S. Media Yesterday Suffered its Most Humiliating Debacle in Ages: Now Refuses All Transparency Over What Happened by Glenn Greenwald.

Friday was one of the most embarrassing days for the U.S. media in quite a long time. The humiliation orgy was kicked off by CNN, with MSNBC and CBS close behind, with countless pundits, commentators and operatives joining the party throughout the day. By the end of the day, it was clear that several of the nation’s largest and most influential news outlets had spread an explosive but completely false news story to millions of people, while refusing to provide any explanation of how it happened.

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Mind-Bending

A Mind-Bending Translation of the New Testament by James Parker.

David Bentley Hart’s text recaptures the awkward, multivoiced power of the original.

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