Are faith and reason incompatible?

Lawrence Summers: We have an administration [i.e. the George W. Bush administration] that takes pride in the fact that its policies are based on faith and conviction rather than reason and evidence. In a very different corner, in large parts of the academic world, the parts of the academic world that would almost define themselves by the opposition to what the administration stands for, there’s a belief that truth is an arbitrary social construct, or a reflection of power relations rather than reality. And the great virtue of debate is respect for each other’s positions.

And I have very much the opposite sense. The great virtue of debate is to understand it better, and you come closer to a better answer.

 

Recorded on: June 2007.

Larry Summers on truth, debate, academia and George W. Bush.

The pagan origins of three Catholic practices

A few traditions in the Roman Catholic Church can be traced back to pagan cults, rites, and deities.

Photo by Josh Applegate / Unsplash
Culture & Religion
  • The Catholic rite of Holy Communion parallels pre-Christian Greco-Roman and Egyptian rituals that involved eating the body and blood of a god.
  • A number of Catholic holidays and myths, such as Christmas, Easter, and Mardi Gras, graph onto the timeline of pre-Christian fertility festivals.
  • The Catholic practice of praying to saints has been called "de-facto idolatry" and even a relic of goddess worship.
Keep reading
Surprising Science

The idea that Alzheimer's is a form of diabetic disease has been gaining currency in medical circles for almost ten years. The accumulated evidence is now so strong that many specialists are now comfortable referring to Alzheimer's as type 3 diabetes.

Keep reading

The digital economy benefits the 1%. Here’s how to change that.

A pragmatic approach to fixing an imbalanced system.

Videos
  • Intentional or not, certain inequalities are inherent in a digital economy that is structured and controlled by a few corporations that don't represent the interests or the demographics of the majority.
  • While concern and anger are valid reactions to these inequalities, UCLA professor Ramesh Srinivasan also sees it as an opportunity to take action.
  • Srinivasan says that the digital economy can be reshaped to benefit the 99 percent if we protect laborers in the gig economy, get independent journalists involved with the design of algorithmic news systems, support small businesses, and find ways that groups that have been historically discriminated against can be a part of these solutions.