• money-greedy1

    What Causes Poverty

    What causes poverty? The same thing that causes global warming, war, debt, and a host of other global evils ...

  • 1237498_73106875

    The Greek Financial Crises – What is Money

    What is money? And why is debt such a problem? The answers lie within ...

  • -Domestic-Violence-Against-Men

    Intimate Partner Violence (feminist’s shame)

    Surprise surprise surprise. Men are abused by their intimate partners just as much as women are. ...

  • einstein

    Are Scientists Spiritual?

    Are scientists spiritual? The answer is yes! Recent research suggests that the majority of scientists at top universities in North America have spiritual leanings, even though they may not like to admit it. ...

  • sociology_word_cloud_1

    What is Sociology?

    What is Sociology? Glad you asked. Sociology is the study of the world that we create. ...

  • umohm-alan-schwartz

    What is Religion?

    Most sociologists would say religion is either fantasy, social gathering, or elite machination; but in fact it is so much more. ...

  • Psychosis_5_0

    The American Nightmare

    This photo of my parents reveals much about their personalities (her’s vivacious and outgoing, his withdrawn and closed off), their relationship (little real contact), and also the times. The typicality of their lives reveals much about the USA. My mother was a farmer’s daughter whose father lost the farm to the banks, and they had ... ...

  • 123

    Killing the little girls of the world – the lingering problem of female infanticide

    In our country, babies are considered weaker if they are born female. In some other countries, babies are murdered at birth if they are born female. ...

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Addressing the Academy

Classroom Controversy

Commentary

Don't hate me because I'm beautiful

First published in 1994 by Gerald Grow, this article takes a critical look at advertising, exploring the meaning behind the images. Commercials work not because they sell a product, but because they sell a "state of existence," or a "way of being" that we find desirable or that we attain towards, but that we can never achieve! In a very real sense advertising, argues Grow, promotes despair and depression because advertising shows us things that most of us can never attain. Are advertisers to blame, then, for the exploding rates of depression and mental illness, eating disorder and pathology, in our "modern" world?

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Family is Fascism

When it comes to family, do we have a problem?According to Anna we do and I gotta agree with her because in a lot of ways she's right. As a therapist I have seen first hand how "families" shit on and abuse each other and it ain't pretty and what's worse, the abuse is always justified. Even sexual abuse of four year old children can be conveniently ignored when it occurs in a "family" setting. On top of all that, children are programmed into The System by their parents. But does all this mean family is necessarily a bad thing? No, not necessarily. Personally I think family is the best bet we have of surviving, and tight knit, functioning families are pretty much the only way of meeting the deep emotional and psychological needs of children. But that holds only when the family is healthy, only when all members have equal power, only when all members are respected, and only when all members are one hundred percent free of emotional, psychological, sexual, and physical abuse. If these conditions are not met then ya, there's a problem.

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Darwin rules!

Darwin Day: Celebrating the Scientist that People Love to Hate

 There are two kinds of people in this world: those who celebrate Darwin Day, and those who don’t. Charles Darwin (February 12, 1809-1882) is without doubt one of the most important scientists who ever lived. He is also one of the most controversial. First published in 1859, Darwin’s theory of evolution has proven to be one of the most groundbreaking achievements in the history of science. Not only did evolution establish a unique theoretical framework which subsequently gave rise to the field of modern biology—and a plethora of related scientific disciplines—but evolutionary theory also helped to advance a radical secular, scientific cosmology. In other words, evolutionary theory gave life to an entirely new way of looking at the world from a purely scientific perspective. This is why scientists make such a fuss about Darwin’s birthday. Yet, is it precisely because of evolution’s secularizing propensity that it has proven to be such a persistently controversial scientific theory. Theologically-inclined folks tend to dislike Darwin and his irreligious ideas. Always have. Always will. Of course, some theologically-minded folks have found ways to maintain their religious faith, while also cultivating some level of conviction in Darwinian evolution. However, it is worth pointing out that Darwin himself was never able to artificially bifurcate his religious and scientific beliefs in that fashion; the young Charles Darwin was a faithful Christian, but the mature Darwin was a secular humanist. In 1831, Darwin embarked on his historic journey on the HMS Beagle as a firm believer in creationistic principles. Like many natural philosophers of his day, Darwin believed that Genesis offered a literal version of Creation. However, as Darwin’s nearly five year circumnavigation unfolded, he encountered phenomena, such as the anomaly of ancient marine fossil beds that lay at the very peaks of the Andes, that rattled his faith in young earth creationism. Ultimately, Darwin’s creationist beliefs were completely undone by the creatures that he encountered in the Galapagos Islands. Though he had witnessed many wonders during his travels, the bizarre menageries that Darwin encountered in the Galapagos exceeded anything that he had yet imagined. From giant tortoises to endless varieties of land crabs and snails, Darwin marveled at the seeming adaptability and (dare he think it?) mutability of the species that he observed. Perhaps as he gazed upon the spectacle of marine iguanas bobbing in the surf, Darwin gave thought to a new and unsettling idea. Just as Charles Lyell had suggested in his fascinating book about the earth’s geology, tiny and slow-paced changes had the net result, over the eons, of introducing extraordinary alterations to the earth’s geological features, might not the same be true for living organisms? In other words, could the tiniest physiological changes accumulate sufficiently across time to bring about the transmutation species? Ultimately, these insights gave rise to Darwin’s unapologetically secular theory of evolution, which can be summarized as follows: Variation: whether it’s dogs, grass, or fruit flies, organisms in any breeding population tend to vary from one individual to the next Overpopulation: from oak trees to salmon, parents tend to produce more progeny than can survive to maturity Struggle for survival: the overproduction of progeny tends to inspire high-stakes competitions to secure limited resources Survival of the fittest: individuals with advantageous genetic traits enjoy an edge in the competition to secure scarce resources Evolution through natural selection: winners of bio-ecological competitions survive and pass advantageous genetic traits to their offspring—which, in turn, brings about the gradual evolution of new species Rarely do scientific theories elicit even the slightest attention from the general public. Apart from a few celebrated scientists, such as Einstein, the workaday world of science usually operates off the radar screen of public interest. Not so with Darwin. Evolutionary theory has inspired widespread acrimony from the moment of its first publication. In addition to other objections, many people have been displeased with the idea that, within the confines of evolutionary theory, humans do not occupy any special pride of place. From Darwin’s perspective, humans were, quite simply, just another form of life (Darwin, 1871). Essentially, evolution postulates that humans exist because their ancestors, just like any other complex organism, randomly developed advantageous genetic traits. For those who are in need of a loftier sense of theological or philosophical purpose, they won’t get it from Darwin. Furthermore, evolutionary theory also constitutes an unforgivable affront to anyone with an affinity for creationism. In Christian theology, God is not only the source of Creation, but God is also the most sacred being in the universe. By discounting the role that God plays in the origin of species Darwin’s theory has been attacked for being a slur upon the sanctity of creation and, worse, as an insult to God. One might guess that after, more than 150 years of monumental scientific success, evolutionary theory would have won the public’s hearts and minds. Not so. In national public opinion surveys, slightly less than half of US adults generally report that they believe humans have evolved from some other species of animal (similar surveys conducted among scientists generally yield overwhelming support, in the range of +90%, for evolutionary theory). Given the, at best, tepid public support for evolutionary theory, legislators are often inspired to search for ways to undermine Darwinian evolution in the public sector, and their favorite place to attack evolution is in the classroom. The most recent example of such an attack is currently underway in Indiana. On January 31, 2012, the Indiana State Senate passed Bill 89 which would allow local school districts to offer “instruction on the various theories of origins of life” which “must include theories from multiple religions.” It will be interesting to watch the progress of this bill. Clearly, the goal of Indiana Senate Bill 89 is to challenge the privileged position that evolutionary theory currently occupies as an explanatory perspective in high school science classrooms—a privileged position, I should add, that evolution has earned by dint of being vetted and tested by more than 150 years of rigorous scientific research. Nevertheless, should Indiana Senate Bill 89 move forward and be approved by the Indiana House of Representatives, the new law would have a devastating effect on Indiana’s high school science curriculum. ...

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Opening your eyes to the new Surveillance Networks

Now here's a kick in the head. They know where you are. And by "they" I mean everybody. Anybody with even a minimum online presence in today's surveillance/social networks leaves a global footprint that anybody can trace. Sounds reasonable if you are thinking about the police I suppose. Why worry if you don't have anything to hide right? But what about organized criminals? Far more useful it is for them to know when you are out on your own, away from home, vulnerable, and alone. Don't have any enemies? No exes looking to beat you down? Don't know anybody that wants to take things from you? Then you have nothing to fear! Tweet away but just be aware, "they" are watching you.

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