This Week In Comments: August 14th—20th

Another great week in Big Think comments. 

Neil deGrasse Tyson: Health, Wealth and Security? Science Did That

1. Teemu Laitinen 

 Why aren't governments composed or created of scientists? Some day I want to see even ONE country with a government of scientists. And their advisors could be loyers and so fort. All those people, who are all in power right now. Let the scientists lead.

2. Alan Rast

Interesting. The people who believe in God say that God gave us everything. Science measures it, tries to understand it, explain it, but I'm not sure that it would be wholly correct to say that science GAVE it to us. And science, for all it's wonder, is still just a different version of another religion, with zealots and adherents to disproved theories and beliefs.

David Duke's Godson Now Opposes White Nationalism

1. Rhonda Newberry Hile 

This reinforces my belief that people are intrinsically good and have to be taught to hate. Respect for his courage in turning away from hate at the cost of his family's acceptance.

2. Nicholas Chiasson

In The Picture of Dorian Gray, Wilde, with his indomitable wit, wrote 'now, the value of an idea has nothing whatsoever to do with the sincerity of the man [sic] who expresses it'. Discounting a position because of other ideas or actions that the interlocutor might have participated in or expressed in the past is an entirely fallacious and counterproductive model: beliefs & ideas exist independently and should be considered on their own merits alone — not necessarily as an extension of their expresser's platform. Sure, her narrative is anecdotal, but there's value in sharing stories like this. Effectively challenging an individual's beliefs — even if said individual is a radical and holds repugnant views — relies on rationally engaging with them, as individuals, rather than violently haranguing them and feeding the innate victim-complex at the core of nearly all radical ideologies. This is why deradicalization programmes depend fundamentally on re-education rather than shaming.

Cohousing Could Help Solve Some of the World’s Most Pressing Problems

1. Neil Musilek

I've been around cohousing in the past. 96% are happier because 4% end up doing all the work and 75% are healthier because the other 25% are sacrificing to take care of them. It only works for those that can sit back and watch others work.

2. Cheryl Ostor 

We moved to a village in France. We live in little town houses close together and we have local grocery stores, butcher, bakeries, farmer's market, bars, restaurants, music festivals, sports within a few blocks away and bus/trains to visit larger cities. We are surrounded by hilly trails, vineyards, beach/sea within walking distance. It is basically the same thing, the old fashioned way.

'Upstreamism': Your zip code affects your health as much as genetics

Upstreamism advocate Rishi Manchanda calls us to understand health not as a "personal responsibility" but a "common good."

Sponsored by Northwell Health
  • Upstreamism tasks health care professionals to combat unhealthy social and cultural influences that exist outside — or upstream — of medical facilities.
  • Patients from low-income neighborhoods are most at risk of negative health impacts.
  • Thankfully, health care professionals are not alone. Upstreamism is increasingly part of our cultural consciousness.
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Elizabeth Warren's plan to forgive student loan debt could lead to an economic boom

A plan to forgive almost a trillion dollars in debt would solve the student loan debt crisis, but can it work?

Photo credit: Drew Angerer / Getty Images
Politics & Current Affairs
  • Sen. Elizabeth Warren has just proposed a bold education reform plan that would forgive billions in student debt.
  • The plan would forgive the debt held by more than 30 million Americans.
  • The debt forgiveness program is one part of a larger program to make higher education more accessible.
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Banned books: 10 of the most-challenged books in America

America isn't immune to attempts to remove books from libraries and schools, here are ten frequent targets and why you ought to go check them out.

Nazis burn books on a huge bonfire of 'anti-German' literature in the Opernplatz, Berlin. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)
Culture & Religion
  • Even in America, books are frequently challenged and removed from schools and public libraries.
  • Every year, the American Library Association puts on Banned Books Week to draw attention to this fact.
  • Some of the books they include on their list of most frequently challenged are some of the greatest, most beloved, and entertaining books there are.
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Supreme Court to hear 3 cases on LGBT workplace discrimination

In most states, LGBTQ Americans have no legal protections against discrimination in the workplace.

(Photo by Andres Pantoja/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
Politics & Current Affairs
  • The Supreme Court will decide whether the Civil Rights Act of 1964 also applies to gay and transgender people.
  • The court, which currently has a probable conservative majority, will likely decide on the cases in 2020.
  • Only 21 states and the District of Columbia have passed laws effectively extending the Civil Rights of 1964 to gay and transgender people.
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