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Category Archive: science

Apr 11 2013

Pride goeth before…

Ashton-James Fig

It has become a sort of pop-psychology truism that people who engage in prejudicial behaviour are doing so from a place of insecurity. It makes intuitive sense that if you don’t feel good about yourself, you can bring yourself up by tearing others down. Indeed, there is some evidence that threats to self-concept are likely …

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Feb 08 2013

Academic Blogging

For those of you who have never visited the excellent sociological blog Family Inequality, I suggest that you stop reading right now, and head on over there for an hour or two. Don’t worry about me, I’ll wait. Welcome back! I hope you enjoyed your stay there, I know that I spend quite a bit …

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Feb 06 2013

Bravo to Canadian skeptics: Jenny is Dropped

About a week ago, I read that Jenny McCarthy, the celebrity face of the anti-vaccine movement, was going to be headlining an event called “Bust a Move” at the Ottawa Cancer centre. I was horrified, and spelled out my objections in a letter to their CEO: Hello Ms. Eagan, I am writing this letter to …

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Feb 05 2013

A truffle rooted out from the heap of… bad news

There was one more bit from one of this morning’s stories that I thought was an interesting development, and deserved its own post: The proportion of women among the ranks of Canada’s wealthy elite has almost doubled over the past 30 years, new data released by Statistics Canada Monday shows. The data agency published its analysis …

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Jan 30 2013

Another stake in the heart of colour blindness

I hate “colour blindness” as a racial philosophy. Well-intentioned though it may be, it’s a profoundly unhelpful and unworkable proposed solution to a very serious intercultural issue. Is there any other problem on the planet that we think is best addressed by simply pretending as though it isn’t there*? For every other social issue I …

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Jan 17 2013

…I took the road most comfortably travelled by…

A figure from the study

The following post is a continuation of a discussion we began this morning, looking at a paper by Daniel Effron and colleagues. In it, the authors conduct a number of experiments to investigate a phenomenon in which white people demonstrate a tendency to use salient examples of being “not racist” (choosing not to accuse an …

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Jan 14 2013

Taxes ARE Theft (but so what?)

One of the oft-made claims by self-styled Libertarians is that ‘taxes are theft’ (and are therefore ‘bad’). This kind of assertion underpins most of the Libertarian position, and also the bulk of any anti-tax/pro-small-government arguments by folks of any political stripe. Unfortunately, it’s rare to hear this position defended as the self-styled Libertarians don’t seem …

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Dec 10 2012

A response to Larry Moran

As I mentioned in my summary of my experience at Eschaton2012 in Ottawa, I had a brief exchange after my presentation with biologist ad blogger Larry Moran. He took me to task for a statement that I made during my presentation, in which I asserted that race is not a biologically-defined reality, but rather a …

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Oct 25 2012

Allergic to logic

The Scene: Heaven – Intelligence Design Inc., a celestial engineering firm. Angels toil away on various projects, some at architect’s easels, others at lab benches, other stitching together prototypes of different animal species. A senior angel wanders the corridors, supervising. A peal of trumpets announces the (unexpected) arrival of YAHWEH. Supervisor: Lord! (All angels look up from …

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Oct 16 2012

Good thing we’re studying the important issues

We live, as we ever have, in a time of great uncertainty. Climate change is undeniable, but specific and plausible paths forward are seemingly beyond our grasp. We face an inscrutable economic future, with a whirlwind of contradicting ideas constantly blowing around us. Despite the progress we’ve made unlocking the mysteries of the cell and …

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