UPDATE: The author of the Christianity Today article, Mark Regnerus, also had a similar essay in the Washington Post back in April. See here.
Here’s a Bloggingheads.tv diavlog between Ronald Numbers, historian of science at the University of Wisconsin, and Paul Nelson, professor at Biola and a member of the Discovery Institute. Nelson is a young earth creationist.
An interesting account of living at the Playboy mansion and being one of Hef’s girls.
After a wave of complaints, Des Moines Area Regional Transit buses will no longer display advertisements that acknowledge the existence of atheists in Iowa.
The ads, which said, “Don’t believe in God? You are not alone,” first went up on buses Saturday and were removed by Tuesday.
Spiked reviews Not a Chimp: The hunt to find the genes that make us human by Jeremy Taylor.
‘Though you may argue that all the differences between us and chimpanzees, from variation among neurotransmitter regulators to spindle cell populations and a host of genes to do with the nervous system, metabolism, and immunity, are a matter of degree – quantitative rather than qualitative differences – I think that these quantitative differences are of such magnitude that their combined effect is to produce a cognitive creature that is unique and whose mind is in a league of its own’, he writes.
Although the bulk of Not a Chimp focuses on the case for our genetic uniqueness, Taylor does recognize that biology alone cannot explain our exceptional abilities. Like a number of groundbreaking developmental and comparative psychologists, he recognizes the powerful role of social learning – such as true imitation – in human development. The difference between emulation (which other animals are clearly capable of) and true imitation ‘is crucial to an understanding of how we, as a species, have amassed such a variety and complexity of material culture’.
Read the whole review here.
One hundred years of Freud in America.
Freud’s ideas would grow into a kind of orthodoxy in America, becoming a staple of medical training in psychiatry and permeating the larger culture. By the 1950s Freudian therapy was almost commonplace for those who could afford it, and its basic doctrines were familiar even to those who had never reclined on an analyst’s couch. For literary critics, the encounter with Freud was practically “transference” at first sight; classics such as “Moby-Dick” were subjected to psychoanalytic review, and psychobiography became a trendy approach to writing lives. Popular culture was perhaps more ambivalent, offering layman’s explanations in paperback but mocking Freud and his ilk in films such as Billy Wilder’s “The Seven Year Itch” (1955) and in songs such as the Chad Mitchell Trio’s “Ballad of Sigmund Freud.”
Since that high-water mark, Freud’s ideas have gradually receded from American culture. In the humanities, rival theories—including feminism, structuralism, postcolonialism—have seized the attention of scholars and critics. More important, Freud’s methods and ideas, not to mention the mythology that surrounded him, have come under assault from such skeptics as Adolph Grünbaum, Frank Sulloway and Frederick Crews.
These attacks have been fueled by decades of clinical and scholarly research. There is scant evidence, for example, that repressed impulses produce tell-tale symptoms, as Freud insisted. There is considerable evidence, though, that Freud claimed success for treatments that failed. In the famous case of “Dora,” he accused a young girl of lusting for her own molester—and, incidentally, of wanting a kiss from her therapist. In the case of the admiring Horace Frink, in whom Freud instantly and erroneously diagnosed latent homosexual tendencies, Freud aggressively intervened to blow up two marriages. Freud’s clinical record is riddled with dangerous meddling, ludicrous interpretations tailored to fit his theories and skewed accounts fashioned to justify himself and his ideas. In the judgment of the psychiatrist Peter D. Kramer, writing in “Freud: Inventor of the Modern Mind” (2006), Freud “was more devious and less original than he made himself out to be, and where he pioneered, he was often wrong. Freud displayed bad character in the service of bad science.”
More at the WSJ.
This coming Tuesday (08/11) the Hugh Hewitt Show will feature a debate/discussion between Robert Wright, author of The Evolution of God, and John Mark Reynolds, author of When Athens Met Jerusalem.
It sounds like it should be interesting.
I don’t think there is a bigger idiot than Bill Maher. Here he is explaining his “stupid country” comment.
No surprises, really, from this Gallup poll on how the states differ in terms of their residents’ religions.
Least religious states are Oregon with 25% of its residents claiming no particular religious identity, followed closely by Vermont at 24%. Other states with at least 20% “no religion” are Washington, Alaska, New Hampshire, Hawaii, and Maine.
The most religious states, based on the lowest percentages of those saying they have no religion, are Mississippi, where only 6% do not have a religion, followed by Alabama, Arkansas, North Dakota, and Louisiana.
Radical Islamists are finding new allies among a number of extreme leftist groups. Story here.
John Stossel highlights the seven-year-old girl in Tulare (CA) who had her roadside lemonade stand closed down by city officials because she didn’t have the proper permits.
Sam Harris is not done talking about Francis Collins.
People like Sam Harris, Jerry Coyne, and P.Z. Myers are bigots. Polished and educated for sure, but bigots nonetheless. In other times and in other places we have heard their vile arguments in different forms. Yes he is a qualified scientist but he is a evangelical Christian . . . was Yes he is a qualified scientist but he is a Jew . . . Or I have no objections to interracial marriage, but think of how hard it will be for the children . . . etc.
The Investigating Atheism project could turn out to be an interesting new site.
Since the publication of Sam Harris’ The End of Faith in 2005, the English speaking world has seen a spate of books on atheism, most notoriously perhaps Richard Dawkins’ The God Delusion (2006). The publication of Christopher Hitchens’ God is not Great (2007), and Michel Onfray’s Atheist Manfesto (2007), among others, have added to and expanded on the debate. However, despite the popular success of these publications, the ‘new atheists’ have had a mixed reception, not only among the religious (as is to be expected) but also among fellow atheists and agnostics, who have often accused them of oversimplifying the issues.
The purpose of this site is to set these contemporary ‘God Wars’ in their historical context, and to offer a range of perspectives (from all sides) on the chief issues raised by the ‘new atheists’. We hope this will encourage more informed opinion about the issues, discourage oversimplification of the debate, and deepen the interest in the subject.
More at Investigating Atheism.
Oh good, the “war on terrorism” is over.
This is the second good column by Oakland Tribune sports writer Monte Poole on the sad state of affairs with the Oakland A’s. As far as I have seen, Poole is the only person in Bay Area media that shows the slightest concern about the situation.
Nobody in a leadership position stands and says the quality of baseball in Oakland this season, or the two previous seasons, is not acceptable. No one agonizes in defeat, or shows disgust at being associated with a third consecutive season on the wrong side of .500. The manager, who is good friends with the GM, is not in jeopardy. The GM, who happens to be part owner, is as secure as anyone in baseball.
It’s best described as “apathy,” which is why I no longer go the to A’s games. I much prefer the minor leagues, and have been to over 20 games in AAA and A ball.
Christianity Today has an editorial on megachurches.
I’ve been waiting to hear Robert Koons speak about his firing as director of the Program in Western Civilization and American Institutions at the University of Texas at Austin last November. Finally, Rob writes about the events surrounding his dismissal and the subsequent changes to the program.
It’s time that conservatives explode the Myth of the Expert and the disinterested scientist, because scientists are part of the problem. They are a vital part of the modern mega-state. It is their expertise and technique that makes the vast interlocking system of government patronage and social control possible.
This is exactly right. As the author points out
for some reason government scientists that get millions in government research grants are considered to be disinterested experts. Yet anyone who has ever taken a dime from an oil company is bought and paid for.
Of course that is nonsense. To politicians, scientists are just another interest group competing for favors. It’s pay to play. To get their grant money scientists need to deliver science that helps argue for bigger government. And they do, especially in the climate sciences.
Read the rest here.
Also, note the following:
More than 60 prominent German scientists have publicly declared their dissent from man-made global warming fears in an Open Letter to German Chancellor Angela Merkel. The more than 60 signers of the letter include several United Nations IPCC scientists.
The scientists declared that global warming has become a “pseudo religion” and they noted that rising CO2 has “had no measurable effect” on temperatures. The German scientists, also wrote that the “UN IPCC has lost its scientific credibility.”
The positives and negatives of “positive psychology.”
The world of positive psychology is vast and varied. The term is not trademarked, after all. Google it and you can find links not only to Seligman’s Positive Psychology Center at the University of Pennsylvania but also to self-styled gurus describing their own “path of self-discovery” and to sites like Enlightenment Central, advertising neurofeedback and “consciousness exploration.” A segment about positive psychology on National Public Radio in 2007 still makes researchers cringe: Its prime example of the field was the best seller The Secret, in which the television producer Rhonda Byrne argues that everything in the universe vibrates on a particular frequency; if people attune their thoughts to the same frequency as, say, money, they will attract wealth; ditto love, health, and unlimited happiness.
Researchers in positive psychology are constantly fighting its image as a New Agey, self-help movement, a reputation that has plagued it from its inception and that persists not only in the news media but also among many in the broader discipline.