The world is changing rapidly – politically, socially, technologically – and we have repeatedly considered here how we are ill-equipped to deal with it. One of the major problems blocking progress is one of authority vs critical thinking. All of us, professionals included, often defer to authority without critically thinking about the complexities of a … [Read more…]
It is interesting that scientists rail against Christian fundamentalists, because so many scientists are equally fundamentalist about their own disciplines. Let us begin with examples, data; let us use science against the scientist. I have previously mentioned Bernard Barber’s paper, ‘Resistance by Scientists to Scientific Discovery‘, and Thomas Kuhn’s slender but essential – and largely … [Read more…]
In high school it was a great surprise for me to discover that the United States is overwhelmingly protestant. Living in Cajun country, I had simply assumed that most of the country was Roman Catholic. There are so many fascinating quirks and oddities that living in a ‘foreign’ culture offers. There are the differences of … [Read more…]
Part of the eerie beauty of south Louisiana are the trees, particularly the live oaks which can achieve breathtaking size. If you are in Lafayette, it is worth a visit St. John’s Cathedral just to see the 470 year old Cathedral Oak. The Cathedral is located on what was originally the site of the parish … [Read more…]
If you live in Acadiana, you should check out a current-events talk show on KRVS, ‘Bayou to Beltway‘. The host, Pearson Cross, was the Department Head of Political Science here at the University for some years, and if you keep up with Louisiana politics you have seen him quoted in papers nationwide. He has become … [Read more…]
It is the rare film adaptation of a novel or short story that equals the quality of the original; those that are better than the original are particularly scarce. To my mind, one of the few in that latter category is Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner. I was so impressed with the movie that I went … [Read more…]
In one of the recent presidential debates, a panelist asked Ben Carson what he would do about ‘grey’ drugs, life-saving medicines that have recently seen astronomical price inflation. My ears perked up. For some time I have wondered about how we might resolve the tension, and where the balance point lies, between the considerations of … [Read more…]
We think that prejudice, in and of itself, is a problem. But we, all of us, are constantly prejudiced about what is going on in the world around us, not just about people but about business, technology, and government. If we were not ‘prejudiced’, if we did not expect certain patterns, we could not function.
The real problem is that when our initial impression – our prejudice – becomes our only impression. The problem isn’t prejudice; the problem is closed-mindedness.
It would be hard to think of a more conservative culture than the military. There are strict rules, rigid protocols, and inflexible generic clothes. In addition, there is a prescribed, if unwritten, code for personal behavior that approaches the robotic, and is often a lampoon of conservative stereotypes: brusque, business-only, stoic, humorless, and unemotional. Perhaps … [Read more…]