in pursuit of an academic religion

I’ve been thinking about religion again. I think about the good things, like the way it can support a person’s ability to acknowledge their mistakes or the inspiration to care for others. Yet I’m also think about the problems with religion, particularily of finding a religious interpretation that can be a source of healthy challenge neither constructed to meet one’s own wants or to justify one’s oppressive situation. Inspiring me to write this post is, partly, a post titled Can reason and secularism protect kids from anti-science rhetoric (and build a better society)? over at a blog called Boreal Citizen. The post Continue reading

thoughts about thoughts

I just started reading the book The Curious Feminist by Cynthia Enloe and the first page includes this gem: I have come to think that the capacity to be surprised – and to admit it – is an undervalued feminist attribute. To be surprised is to have one’s current explanatory notions, and thus one’s predictive assumptions, thrown into confusion. In both academic life and activist public life in most cultures, one is socialized to deny surprise. It is as if admitting surprise jeopardized one’s hard-earned credibility. And credibility, something necessarily bestowed by others, is the bedrock of status. … Better to assume the “Oh, Continue reading

Interacting with those we disagree with

What do you do with people you don’t agree with? Do you agree to keep quiet about the topics you disagree on? Do you cut them out of your life? Or keep them in your life but with a mental note not to take seriously any of their opinions? Do you argue incessantly? These questions permeate my life. Perhaps it is because I hold strong opinions about things. I care about a great variety of issues which means I have lots I could potentially disagree with people on. I notice subtle implications of things so I disagree with things other Continue reading

vaccines and the selling of fear, distrust and a sense of superiority

I read an article today about a family in New Zealand where a young boy came down with tetanus. His father is speaking out about their decision not to vaccinate, admitting that it was the wrong decision and hoping to spare others the pain they have had to suffer. The following stuck out to me: He’s not stupid. If anything, he was just a little bit too smart for his own good. The Williams are the one in 10 parents who opt out when it comes to vaccination, not out of ignorance, but because they think they know everything. Williams Continue reading

responsibility, the ability to accept criticism and pit bulls.

I’ve written about some of the questions around bullying, and whether individuals need to grow thicker skins or be treated gentler, and about boundaries and people’s different abilities to accept criticism. In all of these there are questions of what is normal acceptable behavior, what to do when different people’s behaviors cross those lines (is someone being firm or being a bully), and how people deal with criticism (are others being too judgemental or is the person being oversensitive). Now similar questions come to my attention in an article about pit bulls: “Pit bull owners live in a dream palace, where all dogs are good, Continue reading