Featured Articles

Classroom Controversy

  • Catholics Against Contraception

    Fortnight Fiasco: Government Grants Freedom, Not God

    On July 4, 2012, the US Conference of Catholic Bishops concluded their Fortnight for Freedom, a pulpit political initiative that is intended to challenge certain aspects of President Obama’s Affordable Healthcare Act (AHA). The Bishops are cheezed off because, under the AHA, the Catholic Church will be required to provide healthcare access to its many US employees–and a fair number of those employees are sure to use that healthcare coverage to obtain contraceptives. Regardless, of the global population explosion, and the fact that the vast majority of the Pope’s US flock has been religiously using contraception for generations, contraception is something that the Catholic Church officially abhors. If Catholics are going to have sex, then, by God, it’s going to be unprotected sex. Global population doubled twice during the 20th century (from 1.5 billion in 1900 to 6 billion in 2000) and the Pope wants to ensure that it does likewise in the 21st century. Via the Fortnight for Freedom, the US Conference of Catholic Bishops are attempting to make the argument that the AHA’s mandates will inhibit their religious freedom. In this case, ‘religious freedom’ is defined rather broadly as ‘blocking access to contraceptives for Catholic Church employees.’ On July 4th, the Archbishop of Philadelphia, Charles Chaput, asserted that ‘God grants freedom, not government.’ However, on that point, Bishop Chaput is dead wrong. Why do Americans enjoy religious freedom? Americans enjoy religious freedom not because god granted them that freedom, but because their government ensures religious freedom. I dare Bishop Chaput to cite the spot in the Bible where it says ‘Let it be known that henceforth citizens of the USA will enjoy the right to religious freedom–and, by the way, employees of the Catholic Church shall be denied the opportunity to engage in contraceptively-protected sex on the Church’s dime.” Nope, there’s no mention whatsoever of Americans and their preferred methods of contraception in the Bible. Trust me, I’ve checked. What freedoms Americans do enjoy, religious and otherwise, are spelled out in the US Constitution. Although, of late, Catholic Bishops have been insisting that religious freedom is America’s ‘first freedom,’ technically-speaking, that isn’t true. First of all, being an appendix to the Constitution, the First Amendment cannot be said to confer the ‘first rights’ on US citizens, but rather, some of the last. Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. Essentially, where the First Amendment refers to religion it simply asserts that there must be a separation of church and state. In other words, the USA defines itself as a secular state that tolerates religious freedom. Conversely, the US government will protect religious freedom, but it will not tolerate interference by any religion that would presume to manipulate the day-to-day governance of the USA. Once we understand the proper relationship of religion and government in the USA, and the true intent of the First Amendment, it rapidly becomes clear that the ‘Fortnight of Freedom’ is nothing but an example of excessive and illegal overreach on the part of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops. Catholicism and every other religion within the boundaries of the US owe their existence to legal (i.e., Constitutional), not religious protections. But, just as religions are protected by the laws of the land, so must they obey the limitations of those laws. In sum, Bishop Chaput and the US Conference of Catholic Bishops have no business telling President Obama how to run the USA. Instead, Bishop Chaput and his colleagues should thank President Obama for his enduring support of the First Amendment protections that enable Catholicism and every other legitimate religion to operate in the US. When it comes to the business of running the government, Bishop Chaput and the US Conference of Catholic Bishops should mind their own business, and be grateful for the priceless freedoms that (legally!) collaborating with the US government affords. Finally, if the US government passes a requirement that all employers in the US will be obliged to provide healthcare to their employees, it is not the business of the Catholic Church to dispute that directive. It is the duty of the Catholic Church, like all upstanding citizens of the USA, to obey that directive. As we move toward 2014 and full implementation of President Obama’s Affordable Care Act, Bishop Chaput would be well served to remember Jesus Christ’s sage admonition, “Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s.”

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  • report-child-abuse

    Sociology versus Psychology – The Social Context of Psychological Pathology and Child Abuse

  • Disgrace

    Don’t Bother Apologizing for Joe Paterno

  • Transformers__Care_Bears_by_autoacat

    Care Bears vs. Transformers: Gender Stereotypes in Advertisements

  • Athletes and the ‘Club’: Nothing Good Ever Happens After Midnight

  • Fat Cat

    Wealth and Inequality in America

  • 123

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

  • Functionalism 2.0 – Rethinking an America Tradition of Conservative Thought

  • Darwin and Evolution

    Charles Darwin: The Unlikely Revolutionary

  • Finding_Lilliput_by_potyzeff

    The Last Days of the Lilliputians

  • Big Brother is Watching

    Facebook is a Spy Machine

  • ISIS brand

    ISIS behead American journalist

  • SAMs for Uncle Sam

Addressing the Academy

Research Summary


The Corporate Welfare State & Growing Inequality in American Society

Unlike a lot of people out there, I am one to say I TOLD YA SO. The current growth in inequality, the current "mess" in the global financial system, the weird political machinations that seem to directly contradict the principles upon which modern democracies were founded, these were all predicted decades ago by Sociologists. So what are you going to do? Well, read this article, but slowly. There's a lot of enlightening Sociology in this article. If it gets a little thick, pop on over to the forums and ask Owen a question. in the global financial system, the weird political machinations that seem to directly contradict the principles upon which modern democracies were founded, these were all predicted decades ago by Sociologists. So what are you going to do? Well, read this article, but slowly. There

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Facebook and family

Facebook and Family  “I was hesitant to add family members on Facebook at first, but I’ve grown to enjoy it.  I’m not very good at keeping in touch with family, so I feel like if I’ve posted on Facebook I’ve done enough”—Mark, a Facebook user from California Facebook is everywhere!  However, the effects of Facebook on society are still unfolding. The company states that “Facebook’s mission is to make the world more open and connected. People use Facebook to stay connected with friends and family, to discover what’s going on in the world, and to share and express what matters to them.”  Facebook users create their own profile pages, which contain biographical data, current events, and photographs.

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Research Commentary

Good Science

Redefining Reality: Seeing is Disbelieving

Epistemology = How do we know the world that we know? Ontology = What is the nature of the world that we know? In this short article Dr. Tim argues not only that the world is a materialist presence that exists independent of our observation (his ontological statement), but that this materialist presence can be known basically through a process of empirical trial and error. The empirical trial and error is necessary because the human is fallible, given to delusion, and open to manipulation and contrivance. That much is true, we are too easy to fool it seems. But is that in our nature, or is it a function of our flawed socialization process? That's the rub. Personally, I think socialization but then hey, this a Sociology journal and I'm a sociologist, so maybe I'm biased (or maybe, it is the Truth).

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Lousy science.

Cajun Culture Wars: Another Victory for LouSEA Science Education

On June 2, 2011, Mark Guarino reported in the Christian Science Monitor that the Louisiana Science Education Act managed to survive a recent legal challenge in the Louisiana legislature. Sadly, that does not bode well for science education in Louisiana, or in the other states that are considering similar legislation.

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Stephen Haking's Stubbornly Persistent Illusion

Stephen Hawking’s God: A Stubbornly Persistent Illusion

Homo sapiens has enjoyed singular success at tweaking the environment because of the unique psycho-social wiring of the human mind ( Pagel ). Hearkening back to the nature-nurture debate, the human mind is a multi-dimensional intellectual construct that emerges from the complex combination of human biology (id), psychology (ego), and sociology (superego).  The human mind, and sense of self does not emerge purely in response to the growth of an operational brain. It takes healthy, well-functioning gray matter and long term, psycho-social training, learning, nurturing and emotional cultivation in order to create a context in which “the light can switch on” in a human mind.

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To boldly go...

Living the Dream: Transcending the Boundary between Sci-Fi and Reality

Visualization and imagination create the world. Or, as Dr. Tim says, reality starts with fantasy. Or, as I like to say, as above in consciousness, so below in matter. No where is this more clear than in the area of science fiction where reality consistently lags behind fantasy only by a half century or so.

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A Biracial Journey to Understanding Identity

I can remember at about the age of eleven being at one of the many Arabic parties I would attend growing up.  The women were all laughing and dancing, their head scarves off, no men in the room.  They wore beautiful dresses and their hair and makeup were fully done.  They looked so elegant as I watched them belly dance effortlessly.  I remember wishing my hair was as dark and as thick as theirs.  I also wished my skin was as tan and my eyebrows as pretty.  Why did I always have to feel like the white girl at the Arabic party?  My cousins, aunts, and grandmother often introduced me as such:  “ This is Amira, Mazen’s daughter. She’s American.”

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Terrorist groups and European fighters in Iraq

  At present there is no independent Kurdish state but the ‘land of the Kurds’ crisscrosses Syria, Turkey, Iraq and Iran. However, the Iraqi Kurds have been able to gain autonomy from Baghdad. Kurdish aspirations for an independent state stem back to the days of Empire and the post First World War treaties, which carved up Ottoman territories. The two treaties that concern the Kurds are: Treaty of Sèvres signed in 1920, which mentions an independent Kurdish state and the Lausanne Treaty, signed three years later in 1923 that makes no mention of a Kurdish state.

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Obama, human rights and ISIS

Western leaders have suddenly woken up and realised that ISIS is a regional global security threat. This realisation has also forced policy makers and security experts to abandon their orientalist monocles. The desire to act ‘now’ by launching airstrikes on ISIS targets and by providing military and humanitarian aid to the Iraqi and Kurdish authorities raises questions about the ‘real’ motivations. Justifications for intervention President Obama’s reasons to intervene in Iraq, as he has said is to stop ‘these barbaric terrorists in order to protect Americans and prevent an act of genocide.’ He added, ‘the terrorists have taken over parts of Iraq and have been brutal to religious minorities, rounding up families, executing men, enslaving women, and threatening the systematic destruction of an entire religious community, which would be genocide’.

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Getting Ahead: A Case Study of Social Class in the USA

This photo of my parents reveals much about their personalities (hers 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 to scrabble along in the slums of the big city, St. Louis. All her life she yearned for her bucolic childhood when everything was “nice.” My father was a coal miner and the son of a coal miner from West Virginia. He hated the mines so much that after the Second World War he stayed in the military as a professional soldier.

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