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{ Tag Archives } rationalism

Faith in Method

An essay I wrote as part of this year’s “Critical Encounters” series here at Columbia, published today in the Columbia Chronicle. The theme this year is Fact and Faith. How we believe what we believe by Brendan Riley, Assistant Professor of English When fact and faith come into conflict, how do we move forward? Alas, […]

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Seeking: better angels for congress

I was working at home, preparing to leave for a seminar in Turlington hall, when Jenny called from the radio-station where she was working. “You have to turn on the TV,” she said. Both towers had been hit by planes and were on fire. As I watched, trying to understand what was going on, I […]

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A little bit of Amen

So I read some of The Brain in Love by Daniel Amen, M.D.; narrated by Patrick Lawlor.  A few thoughts: The book spends a lot of time talking about brain scans as a key diagnostic tool. At first, it sounded pretty intriguing: peoples’ brains are the root of all their problems! Defective brain patterns account […]

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The Murder of Roger Ackroyd

by Agatha Christie The only Christie novel to make the 1000 books you must read before you die list, Ackroyd serves as a metonym for every Christie novel, or at least every Poirot novel. It’s skillfully written, with a wide net of characters, an intriguing puzzle mystery with plenty of side distractions (affairs, debts, scoundrels, […]

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How to Think About Weird Things

Critical Thinking for a New Age; by Theodore Schick, Jr and Lewis Vaughn How to Think About Weird Things was recommended as a primer on diagnosing Woo by Orac over at Scienceblogs. As someone who finds himself more and more irritated by irrational thinking (despite my own gaping biases that lead to it), I was […]

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Freedom and Truth

History on Trial: My Day in Court with David Irving by Deborah E. Lipstadt Truth isn’t part of a cultural conversation if freedom of speech doesn’t accompany it. That’s the most salient–of many–lessons that emerges from Dr. Lipstadt’s powerhouse account of her 2000 trial defending herself from a libel suit by David Irving. I can’t […]

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