“Evolution” refers to change occurring over time, typically in a positive direction. As Darwin envisioned it, species changed (gradually) over time to enhance their ability to survive. These days the word is commonly used for any change that seems to be for the better. Not everyone, of course, agrees on what’s “better.” When President Obama says that his views of gay marriage are evolving, he means that he is becoming more tolerant and accepting. Not everyone, including members of the Westboro Baptist Church, however, would agree that’s a change for the better.
One of my favorite writers, Steven Pinker, . . . → Read More: Evolution
An old story whose origins are unknown to Google is about a relatively newlywed couple who wanted to divide chores evenly having weekly arguments about whose turn it was to mow the lawn. Other household tasks weren’t a problem. The husband had his responsibilities, the wife had hers, and each was comfortable with the assigned tasks with the exception of lawn mowing. They had agreed to take turns but had trouble tracking whose turn it was from week to week. After months of arguing about whose turn it was to mow the lawn, the wife blurted out, “In my family, . . . → Read More: In My Family…
Those of you who have been regular readers of this blog know that we’ve recently been through a winter of discontent and spent some time south of the border. Now that spring has arrived in Michigan I thought it was time to give my blog a facelift with new header images, a new title, and new overarching theme: Embracing Reality. The theme is a result of my having been influenced by a saying from Byron Katie’s book, Loving What Is, in which she says that When you argue with reality, you lose—but only 100 percent of the time. If you’ve . . . → Read More: New Directions
My midwinter break this year consisted of a trip to see my son and his family in Aguascalientes, Mexico. My time in Mexico provided some welcome relief from what has become one of Michigan’s most brutal winters in a long time. (See The Winter of Our Discontent). My flights down and back were an adventure because of the weather. On the way down, the plane for my flight needed to be de-iced three times, so we were late leaving. As a result, Several of us missed connecting flights. Fortunately, later planes were available. On the way back, the problems were . . . → Read More: South of the Border
I owe the title of this blog entry to William Shakespeare, who put those words in the mouth of King Richard III. Richard’s words were a metaphor for difficult times under the previous king rather than commentary on a polar vortex of the sort we’ve been experiencing in much of the U.S. this winter. For many in the States, this has been the coldest winter with the most ice and snow that we’ve had for several years.
Meanwhile, Melbourne, Australia, has been so hot that those playing tennis in the Australian Open have been wilting in the heat, . . . → Read More: The Winter of Our Discontent
In my continuing quest for improved hearing, I scheduled an appointment with Dr. Jenny Rymer, an ND (Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine) in Jackson, Michigan, which is about an hour east of my home. My co-author, Debra Basham, and I had met Jenny previously at meetings of the International College of Integrative Medicine, and at a recent meeting in Columbus, Ohio, I asked her whether she might be able to do anything that would help improve my hearing. She said that she had a number of things she could do, so not long after I returned to Kalamazoo, I scheduled an . . . → Read More: Hearing and Health
According to a top Saudi cleric, driving damages women’s ovaries. Does the fact (reality) that some people believe that make it true, if only for them? What—exactly—is the relationship between reality and what we believe? You may know people who believe that their beliefs accurately reflect reality. If you’ve been reading this blog for very long, you know that one of my recurrent themes is the need for an evidence procedure that allows individuals to base their beliefs on reality to the degree that it’s possible.
It was, for example, perfectly logical for our ancient ancestors to believe that . . . → Read More: The Reality of Beliefs
In my spare time, I follow political discussions as best I can, primarily because politics influence all of us in ways both large and small, including the taxes we pay and the way our collective dollars are spent. The past several years have provided a wonderful opportunity for noticing how linguistic framing influences the way we think about the decisions politicians are making about how our money is to be spent. The best way to know what’s really going on in politics is by understanding the rhetorical concept of framing.
The word frame applies to discourse in basically the . . . → Read More: Language Matters