A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Coronation

Although all presidential elections in the US are “historic,” our most recent election will probably go down in history as the most historic of all. As most of you already know, the election featured the first woman candidate to be nominated by a major political party, and the first major oligarch who pretended to be the candidate of the people. It also featured more—a lot more—of the usual yelling and screaming—and sometimes punching and shoving—than most US presidential contests.

One of the influencing factors was, of course, accomplishments of President Obama, many resented him because he was the first . . . → Read More: A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Coronation

What A Week, Part 2

My last post with the title, “What a Week,” was about racial violence. Although it would be easy to write a new post on all the racial violence that has happened since, I will focus instead on the political mess we (those of us in the States) have created for ourselves. I’ve seen a lot of elections over the years, and I can’t recall any previous election when so many people disliked both candidates. Hold Your Nose and Choose provides a strategy for deciding between the lesser of two evils. One of the jokes making the rounds about the upcoming . . . → Read More: What A Week, Part 2

The Spin I’m In

In “That Ol’ Black Magic,” in reference to the Ol’ Black Magic of love, Robbie Williams says he’s loving the spin he’s in. Love isn’t of course, the only “Black Magic,” that puts people in a spin. In the U.S., we’ve grown increasingly aware of the “spin” used by major corporations and politicians to influence politics and consumer behavior. “Spin” is basically a biased interpretation. While some form of “spin” has undoubtedly been with us throughout human history, the “father” of modern political spin is usually thought to be canaries in cages down in coal mines so that, when the . . . → Read More: The Spin I’m In

Evolution

“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

The Reality of Beliefs

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

Sticking to Our Guns

Some of you have noticed that it has been a long time since my last post. It isn’t so much that I had nothing to say as it is that I was overwhelmed by how much needed saying. A lot has been going on, and even areas where not much has been happening (the U.S. Congress), the inaction is fraught with meaning.

Where a lot has been going on—forest fires in the U.S., flooding in the U.S., wars and rumors of wars in the Middle East, and changes related to global climate change—it is hard for me to know . . . → Read More: Sticking to Our Guns

Evidence Procedures, Part 2

It has been almost two months since my last blog entry. I have been busy, and a lot has been happening, some of which I thought would make good posts, and some of which interfered with my writing. In that category, if you have been following Debra’s and my SCS posts, you know that Debra needed to have a complete hysterectomy. She is now recovering and still hoping to spend the coming winter in Florida, which she has been thinking of as a “healing garden.”

Some of the discussion following the shooting of the children at the Sandy Hook, . . . → Read More: Evidence Procedures, Part 2