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The Big Think Pumpkin Carving Contest

There are many ways to transmit big ideas - through videos, through the written word, or as the title of this blog attests, through pictures that are worth more than 1,000 words.

EDGE Big Thinkers Miss a BIG Worry

Getting risk wrong leads to dangers all by itself, and we will remain vulnerable to these mistakes until we let go of our naïve post-Enlightenment faith in reason and accept that risk perception is inescapably an affective system, not just a matter of rationally figuring out the facts. 

Happiness and the Pursuit of Happiness

One of my favorite BIG THINKERS, Dave Berreby, criticizes our Declaration of Independence.  Here’s the Declaration’s theory:  We have the right to life, and we have the right to the […]

Marriage and Reading as Elite Customs

One thing that distinguishes us conservatives from libertarians is that we’re actually worried about growing inequality in America. We’re not that obsessed by the bare fact of economic inequality, but […]

Love, Justice, and God

BIG THINKER Steven Mazie does well to criticize the complacency of Stephen Asma.  Asma, citing obvious facts of evolutionary psychology, observes that our natural powers of knowing and loving are limited.  […]

Defending History as Higher Education

I’m taking a break from talking about conservative diversity to think  more about justifying the content of liberal education these days. So here’s an account of chairs of departments of history […]

Inside the Mind of a Psychopath

The amygdala is a part of the brain that plays a key role in processing emotions. How does the amygdala function differently in a psychopath's brain from that of a normal person?

The Fat Tax? The Stupid Tax?

BIG THINKER Daniel Honan reminds us that Mayor Bloomberg is not in any obvious sense an ideologue.  He’s just about using the power of government to curtail behavior that costs the […]

The Meanings of American Decline

A new Pew poll, and the global perception captured in the chart below, leads Ali Wyne, a fellow Big Thinker, to inquire in an interesting post about the meaning of the idea, […]

Being Conservative vs. Being Thoughtful?

Big thinker Will Willkinson summarizes and analyzes a summary of a study by Scott Eidelman and others that’s hurt a lot of conservative feelings.  The big point seems to be that when […]

Memorial Day, Every Day

A little science-fiction philosophy to provoke you to remember on Memorial Day, courtesy of Oxford philosopher Derek Parfit: Suppose you were given the chance to teleport yourself, Star Trek style, […]

Political Scientists: the New Pariahs?

With Stephen Colbert on vacation this week, Rep. Jeff Flake of Arizona seems to have jumped into the role of the laughable conservative who makes ridiculous arguments with a straight face — or, in this case, who tries to make worthwhile political science research sound ridiculous. 

Why Ohio Matters

Here’s what we can expect for Super Tuesday. Mitt Romney will win his home state of Massachusetts, the neighboring state of Vermont, and Virginia, where Ron Paul is the only […]

The Buffett Rule, Rebuffed: What Now?

President Obama apparently thinks the safer way to justify higher taxes on the super rich is to pitch the proposal based on its deficit-reduction potential. But if he wants to get the ball rolling for meaningful tax reform, Obama will summon his rhetorical powers to explain how the Buffett Rule could help reduce the nation's massive and destructive wealth inequality.