Three studies conducted by the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, suggest that the violence of a group is justified by a subtle shift in the way things are framed. In other words, if a group commits violence, it frames morality in terms of authority and loyalty. The violence of other groups is instead framed by appeals to concepts like harm and fairness.
October 24th, 2012No Comments, All Posts, by Carter Bowles.
August 26th, 2012No Comments, All Posts, Featured, by Carter Bowles.
While this isn’t a political blog, every once in a while politics start to get personal. The TPP (Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership) poses a threat to the Internet and the economy, and therefore, me. As a result, for completely selfish reasons, I have no choice but to step onto my soapbox once more.
March 20th, 20121 Comment, All Posts, by Carter Bowles.
Those of you who have been paying attention probably noticed that this site has been free of ads since it was first created. This will soon be changing. Before I get into why, I’d like to take some time to explain why I was opposed to ads in the first place, since that’s something I’ve never actually taken the time to elaborate on.
March 10th, 20126 Comments, All Posts, by Carter Bowles.
The word atheism is riddled with implications.
Perhaps the strongest implication is that an atheist has to believe something is fundamentally wrong with religion. I do have my criticisms, particularly when faith goes so far that it actually causes people to dismiss evidence.
That said, I think that belief in things without evidence is a fundamentally human trait, and one that likely won’t go anywhere any time soon. There’s a case to be made that faith of this kind is important, maybe even necessary.
About a month ago, I decided I wanted to know what the latest scientific literature had to say about the subject. Here is what I found.
December 10th, 20112 Comments, All Posts, by Carter Bowles.
November 7th, 2011No Comments, All Posts, Featured, by Carter Bowles.
Across the political spectrum, almost everybody agrees that the school system is broken. Unfortunately, most of the blame gets passed onto the people who have the least ability to fix the problem: teachers. There may be a few bad apples, but by and large teachers are very bright individuals who are extremely knowledgeable about the subjects they teach. Why, then, does the school system have so many problems?
Robert Caveney believes that the problem is systemic. In his book, SCHOOLING for Readiness and Drive, he argues that the problems can be solved using methods that have already been used by other systems. The problem is that the school system has failed to realize what education really is: a form of knowledge work.
Kids want to learn, but the system only succeeds in discouraging most of them.
November 5th, 2011No Comments, All Posts, Featured, by Carter Bowles.
Something’s been bothering me, and only a rant from the soapbox will scratch the itch.
“News” programs, no longer interested in paying for a fact-checking department, now prefer to pit pundits against one another as a form of entertainment. One of their favorite tactics is to pit an educated “expert” against an opinionated “activist.” The activist may be highly educated, highly opinionated, or simply a nutcase singled out to make all activists look bad.
What’s bothering me specifically is a moment that almost always occurs during this exchange. The expert, nose held high in the air, will inevitably say something that triggers a knee-jerk, “That’s what they want you to do/think/say,” from the activist.
This is when the expert moves in for the kill. Grinning sadistically, he or she jumps on the activist like a predator. “There is no Big Brother orchestrating world events,” they proclaim triumphantly, and reveal the activist to be nothing more than a single-minded, paranoid, delusional conspiracy theorist.
August 31st, 20111 Comment, All Posts, by Carter Bowles.
The mainstream media would have us believe that there are only two schools of thought: liberal and conservative. Conservatives are religious, they insist, and liberals are secular. Further analysis reveals that things aren’t so simple. There are hyper-liberal Christian anarchists, and even Christian atheists like Robert M. Price.
I had the honor of speaking with Robert Shedinger, a professor at Luther College, Iowa. With a doctorate of religious studies from Temple University, he has written a book with a seemingly controversial title: Was Jesus a Muslim?: Questioning Categories in the Study of Religion. He argues that Jesus was as much a political figure as a religious one.
In fact, despite identifying himself as a Christian, he believes that people can abandon religion without abandoning God.
July 26th, 2011No Comments, All Posts, by Carter Bowles.
If you live in the United States, and probably anywhere else in the world, you know that America has a healthcare problem. People may disagree about whether that problem is the result of government, big business, or those people who keep getting sick, but almost all of them agree a problem exists.
Most people also think there’s a quick and easy way to fix it, if the government would just get to work on it/get out of the way. K. John Morrow doesn’t share this belief. As a former geneticist turned writer, he thinks that the only way to solve the financial consequences of our broken healthcare system is if we see breakthroughs in biotechnology.
I word of warning: he’s less than optimistic.
July 18th, 2011No Comments, All Posts, by Carter Bowles.
The mainstream medical and psychological communities claim depression is a genetic disease, but Dr. Stuart Jeanne Bramhall disputes this. She argues that human beings are hard-wired for communal living. As financial necessity and cultural shifts isolate us from our community, she believes this is the true cause of clinical depression.
It’s a controversial claim, but Stuart is no stranger to controversy. She is a child and adolescent psychologist, but she is also a social activist. In The Most Revolutionary Act: Memoir of an American Refugee, she details how she was “bullied” (to say the least) by US intelligence agencies.
Stuart’s political leanings are obvious, but they do nothing to derail her desire to back up claims with empirical evidence. Her argument for the true origins of clinical depression is hard to disagree with.