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August 1, 2014 / compassioninpolitics

What kinds of accomodations should students with dyslexia seek out?

How should dyslexic students get help? What kinds of help should they ask for or seek out?

July 31, 2014 / compassioninpolitics

Critique of materialist reductivism–Sensing God and the Limits of Neuroscience

Whether we are talking about the music of Beethoven and Mozart, the paintings of Rembrandt and Van Gogh, or the poetry of John Donne and William Butler Yeats, we are encountering the works of geniuses who thought they were answering a call to express the transcendent. Interestingly, even some of the greatest scientists, including Newton and Einstein, seem to have thought much the same. In each case, it would be apt to say that these men understood their works as affording them, and to some extent us as well, a glimpse of the mind of God. They believed that it was not only possible but necessary for human beings to meditate on certain transcendent themes, such as death and love, in order to understand our true position in the larger scheme of creation.

Of course, not every composer is a Mahler, nor every painter a Van Gogh, every poet a Yeats, or every scientist an Einstein. Great music is real, but so is bad music, and the same can be said regarding art, poetry, and science. Sometimes people simply get it wrong. But getting it wrong, no less than getting it right, is associated with certain neurochemical changes in the brain. In other words, the mere fact that neurochemical changes are taking place does nothing to help us distinguish between good and bad, the great and the merely insipid. The truth or falsehood of such expressions is not simply a matter of correspondence with some verifiable material state. It is also a matter of elegance, rhythm, balance, and above all, beauty, qualities that are to some degree transcendent.

Ultimately, we cannot define the beautiful in strictly material terms. We cannot prove on solely material grounds that Dostoyevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov is one of the greatest works of world literature, no matter how many copies it sells or how long it remains in print. When our child or grandchild asks us why anyone should read a Dostoyevsky novel, or visit a Van Gogh exhibit, or attend a performance of Mahler, we can offer no material proof. We can only try to describe the difference such works have made in our own lives, and offer up the hope that they will discover something similar.

(link)

RICHARD GUNDERMAN, MD, PhD, is a contributing writer for The Atlantic. He is a professor of radiology, pediatrics, medical education, philosophy, liberal arts, and philanthropy, and vice-chair of the Radiology Department, at Indiana University.

* I’m pretty sure Gunderman is a humanist vs. a Christian

** Also, the article seems to make an argument for ther experience and evidence of the transcendant

July 30, 2014 / compassioninpolitics

Critique of the Folly of the Folly of Scientism

The following is a critique of an essay which critiqued the article “The Folly of Scientism” by evolutionary biologist Austin Hughes from the University of South Carolina. The following article takes a critical view of the worldview of scientism, which seeks to extend the purview of science beyond its bounds in physics, chemistry, and biology….in a way that re-makes the world in the model of the reductionist, physicalist, and ultimately determinist view of reality which destroys choice, rationality, responsibility, ethics, along with the subjective, identity, and emotion :

Tools that help as cultural, institutional, and personal decisions. They also help with inspiration, self reflection, and emotional support–reminding humans that they aren’t alone.

The call for objective knowledge outside the realm of science is fundamentally question-begging. These areas aren’t meant to find “the one perfect answer”–if they were we’d be a society of near borgs. Life outside of science isn’t like math.

Hughes actually answers the question that misses. Moreover, a simple look at history and looking at the big picture can yield answers to such questions.
1) ethics in science
2) motives and purposes in science
3) institutional funding of science (philosophy, history, political science, etc..)
4) prioritization of science (and prioritization of important goals within science).
5) accountability of science
6) everything in society thats helps science that isn’t pure science
7) cultural leadership, innovation, and values to catalyze more helpful forms of science.
8) marketing and sales

More specifically theology and Christianity as ideas and movements and belief systems have played a primary role in facilitating this. Particularly in relation to:
1) Ethics and accountability
2) Free societies
3) Inspiring the original scientists and a number of others (many who have been Nobel prize winning and saved millions of lives)
4) Education and the university system
5) Funding for science & support of science education.
6) Arguments to the contrary are using a reductionist soundbite and snippet vision of history of these values–that selectively pick out worst case scenarios (in a way that perverts the search for truth). While the church hasn’t been perfect–its perhaps precisely when its been an over-bloated bureaucratic force of idllic proportion–that its been at its worst–and thats precisely what Austin Hughes is warning science is the fate that awaits it–if it fails to come to terms with scientism. While this historical analysis one focuses on the best, its certainly more representative than those I’ve seen by skeptics and atheists–and it stands as a decent answer to their misrepresentation of history (particularly when you omit Catholic examples).

But ultimately, part of this is the accountability that the “Folly of Science” accomplishes. Austin Hughes is pushing for greater accountability in science….so that it doesn’t become a shibboleth….so that it doesn’t end up thinking too much of itself…..while simultaneously discrediting it.

Fundamentally, he’s missed something about the history of ideas. He’s missed that the Renaissance, the Romantics, and the Enlightenment all have something to offer us as a society. When the enlightenment took hold, it didn’t totally overthrow all other values–it was ultimately integrated. And for good cause–the enlightenment philosophy would turn us into rational automatons. That is to say humans are BOTH rational and emotional. Both forms are absolutely vital to who we are and to neglect that is to miss the role of identity, passion, subjective knowledge, emotional problem solving, and a host of other deeply human issues. If this wasn’t true–psychology as a discipline wouldn’t exist.

If reason/science/skepticism represent an acid….in this case…..the acid has gone awry in the lab……corroding too much……and not noticing the nuance and distinctions of history.

• The Folly of Scientism by evolutionary biologist Austin Hughes from the University of South Carolina (link)
• The Folly of the Folly of Scientism Jerry A. Coyne at the University of Chicago (link)
• Critique of Scientism by philosophy Alysdair McIntrye(link)

July 30, 2014 / compassioninpolitics

OECD Better Life Study–My critique of the assumption that it says atheists are happier

Free rider problem:
1) Military
2) Health care innovation
US more individualistic culture, economy, and government created a government subsidy to those country which they don’t pay. We let them free ride on our innovation and military might. Otherwise, we might be able to afford such poverty reduction policies.

Drug problem & hyper-individualism in US has more to do with hollywood & mass media than church.

Materialism of media makes us unhappy. Marx called it relative depravation. Its why CEO pay transparency caused a race to the bottom (or the top depending on how you look at it).

I would suggest that cultural variables make these comparisons challenging. For instance, in culture comparisons go the other way (i.e. the social science says faith makes you happy). What is their metric for happiness?

The type of happiness this measured looks laughable–notice that California and Colorado rate very highly. This suggest that picturesque backdrops, outdoor, and affluence may be more at play than any fundamental notion of happiness thats really enduring (i.e. a more Aristotelean definition).

Well…all those nations presumably have a notion of human rights….versus the alternative. They are still leveraging the human rights paradigm.
—————————————
The nature of their definition of happiness is pretty important–are they defining it intrinsically and long term or short term and pleasure oriented. Moreover, the best of the peer reviewed study (100 or more studies) goes the other way on the religiosity question.

The OECD also may not be the best organization. I’m not sure what their agenda is exactly beyond industry, economic growth, and trade and tourism.

And even though we got outranked…it may be the difference between #12 and #1 isn’t all that much.

Here’s a critique of the study from the CATO institute…although this is one of the early versions to be fair:
Page on cato.org
————————————–
I think the scale and massification of US cities makes it difficult to achieve the kinds of results that these European ones do.

My guess is most social scientists would point to the correlation/causation problem with this data.

Unfortunately, you can’t factor our the effect that FOX News scaring the heebeegeebess out of its viewers.

I wonder what you would get if you compared just religion US people vs. atheists in these countries. That seems like a more direct comparison.

It would seem that the 2008 recession may have massively effected the data over time (given its US epicenter_….not sure how much it effected the data in 2014. Moreover, those countries are going to be able to deal with shocks like that probably easier.

My guess is that economic inequality is the root cause of this data…which your data can’t fully factor in.

Also, what about atheist countries that aren’t included in this ranking?

—————————————
I think the scale and massification of US cities makes it difficult to achieve the kinds of results that these European ones do.

My guess is most social scientists would point to the correlation/causation problem with this data.

Unfortunately, you can’t factor our the effect that FOX News scaring the heebeegeebess out of its viewers.

I wonder what you would get if you compared just religion US people vs. atheists in these countries. That seems like a more direct comparison.

It would seem that the 2008 recession may have massively effected the data over time (given its US epicenter_….not sure how much it effected the data in 2014. Moreover, those countries are going to be able to deal with shocks like that probably easier and their people are going to feel more secure.

Moreover, its probably more correlated to economic insecurity and/or employment and/or poverty level than it is to religiosity. That has more to do with capitalism and the way our welfare state works. It also pointed out that public-sector people were happier–which suggests just having welfare state policies gives these country an advantage. My guess is that economic inequality is the root cause of this data…which your data can’t fully factor in.

Also, what about atheist countries that aren’t included in this ranking?

Not sure if this has anything relevant (link)

July 30, 2014 / compassioninpolitics

Teaching Critical Thinking–How to Teach Students to Write Well

How to Teach Students To Write Well – Part 1 (link)
How to Teach Students To Write Well – Part 2 (link)
How to Teach Students To Write Well – Part 3 (link)
How to Teach Students To Write Well – Part 4 (link)
How to Teach Students To Write Well – Part 5 (link)

July 30, 2014 / compassioninpolitics

Socratic Thinking Questions–Critical Thinking Videos

Socratic Questioning Series Disk One:
Socratic Questioning Series [Disk 1] [Part 1] (link)
Socratic Questioning Series [Disk 1] [Part 2] (link)
Socratic Questioning Series [Disk 1] [Part 3] (link)
Socratic Questioning Series [Disk 1] [Part 4] (link)
Socratic Questioning Series [Disk 1] [Part 5] (link)
Socratic Questioning Series [Disk 1] [Part 6] (link)
Socratic Questioning Series [Disk 1] [Part 7] (link)

Socratic Questioning Series Disk Two:
Socratic Questioning Series [Disk 2] [Part 1] (link)
Socratic Questioning Series [Disk 2] [Part 2] (link)
Socratic Questioning Series [Disk 2] [Part 3] (link)
Socratic Questioning Series [Disk 2] [Part 4] (link)
Socratic Questioning Series [Disk 2] [Part 5] (link)
Socratic Questioning Series [Disk 2] [Part 6] (link)
Socratic Questioning Series [Disk 2] [Part 7] (link)

Socratic Questioning Series Disk Three:
Socratic Questioning Series [Disk 3] [Part 1] (link)
Socratic Questioning Series [Disk 3] [Part 2] (link)
Socratic Questioning Series [Disk 3] [Part 3] (link)
Socratic Questioning Series [Disk 3] [Part 4] (link)
Socratic Questioning Series [Disk 3] [Part 5] (link)
Socratic Questioning Series [Disk 3] [Part 6] (link)

How To Teach Students to Seek the Logic of Things
How to Teach Students To Seek The Logic of Things – Part 1 (link)
How to Teach Students To Seek The Logic of Things – Part 2 (link)
How to Teach Students To Seek The Logic of Things – Part 3 (link)
How to Teach Students To Seek The Logic of Things – Part 4 (link)
How to Teach Students To Seek The Logic of Things – Part 5 (link)

* These videos have been posted by the Critical Thinking.org the organization that put them together

July 29, 2014 / compassioninpolitics

Open Evidence Project 2014

Debate camp evidence is starting to be uploaded at the NDCA’s Open Evidence Project 2014. Very important note….MANY of the following are placeholders…..the presence of a name is not sufficient to suggest the camp is available at this time.

Berkeley
Dartmouth DDI
Dartmouth DDIx
Emory
George Mason
Georgetown
Georgia
Gonzaga
Harvard
Hoya-Spartan Scholars
Kansas (JDI)
Michigan (7-Week)
Michigan (Classic)
Michigan (MNDI)
Michigan State (SDI)
Missouri State (MSDI)
MoneyGram Foundation
North Texas
Northwestern
Samford
Sun Country (SCDI)
University of Texas (UTNIF)
Wake Forest
Wyoming

Here is the URL for the 2014 Open Evidence Project. Remember to book mark it. Also reember to return soon, as many of the camps will likely be updated over the coming weeks.

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