A Religious Case for Scientific Literacy

A Religious Case for Scientific Literacy

“I haven’t been in a science class in a long time, but the earth moves closer to the sun every year—you know the rotation of the earth. We’re moving closer to the sun… We have more people. You know, humans have warm bodies. So is heat coming off? Things are changing, but I think we are, as a society, doing the best we can.” This strange case for the insolubility of climate change/global warming was uttered by a state senator…

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Conspiracy Theories, Writing and Logic 103

Conspiracy Theories, Writing and Logic 103

In editing a piece of promotional work for someone one morning, I was reminded again of the many similarities between writers, who tell fantastic stories for a living and have no intention that they be taken as fact, and conspiracy theorists, who tell fantastic stories for a variety of reasons with every intention that they be taken as fact. In Truther circles, as in plotting a story, the narratives often become increasingly elaborate as they expand. Take Jade Helm, for…

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Conspiracy Theories, Writing & Logic 102

Conspiracy Theories, Writing & Logic 102

I commented in an earlier post that I have observed similar thought patterns and behaviors in some inexperienced writers and conspiracy theorists (or truthers, as they are often called). In my first article on the subject, I explored some of the common elements in the narratives spun by truthers—specifically Sandy Hook truthers—and inexperienced writers I’ve worked with over the years in different contexts. Some of those elements include: The importance of time. For example, that video cannot be taken of…

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Conspiracy Theories, Writing & Logic 101

Conspiracy Theories, Writing & Logic 101

I have recently participated in ongoing conversations online with Sandy Hook truthers. After listening to the litany of “reasons” that they have for suspecting a hoax or conspiracy of some sort (what sort varies), and hearing their questions, and reading some of their source material, a pattern began to emerge. They seemed to have little awareness of a number of things that, as a writer, I must take into account in every story I write and every plot I conceive….

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Health 101: Myth and Bloated Bureaucracies

Health 101: Myth and Bloated Bureaucracies

Myth #3: other country’s universal healthcare systems require bloated bureaucracies.  This first of two related myths, as summed up by TR Reid, has it that the universal healthcare systems of other wealthy countries are run by bloated bureaucracies. This is simply not true. Every other system Reid cited is less wasteful than ours. This is true whether they are public or private systems. Our for-profit setup has the highest administrative costs in the world. This is a major reason we spend more on healthcare and…

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Cosmology … Part 5

Cosmology … Part 5

Some of the cosmologies of the past … Stephen Friberg, Aug 21, 2016 … On the first day of my talk talk on cosmology and the Baha’i Faith at the San Jose Baha’i Center (“Beyond Materialism: How Cosmology Makes Us Confused and What To Do About It“), I will review some of the fascinating cosmologies of the past. No era or culture, of course, can be characterized as having a fixed single cosmology and usually there are multiple competing worldviews….

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Cosmology … Part 4

Cosmology … Part 4

Beyond Materialism: How Cosmology Makes Us Confused and What To Do About It Stephen Friberg, Aug 14, 2016 … The title of a series of talks on cosmology and the Baha’i Faith that I will be giving at the San Jose Baha’i Center is “Beyond Materialism: How Cosmology Makes Us Confused and What To Do About It.” The goal is ambitious – to probe the roots of modern materialism and to find a work-around away from the problems caused by…

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Cosmology and all that … part 3

Cosmology and all that … part 3

Towards a Baha’i Cosmology – Part 3 Stephen Friberg, Aug 8, 2016 … I’ll be giving a series of talks on cosmology and the Baha’i Faith at the San Jose Baha’i Center on Sunday, Sept. 11th, Sunday, Sept. 18th, and Sunday Sept. 25th. It is the adult class, and typically 12 or so people are there.  We have good discussions! The title will be “Beyond Materialism: How Cosmology Makes Us Confused and What To Do About It“.  Part 1 will…

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Cosmology – and all that … part 2

Cosmology – and all that … part 2

Towards a Baha’i Cosmology – Part 2 Stephen Friberg, July 22, 2016 For a paper I’m writing on Baha’i cosmology – an attempt to look at what a post-secular cosmology for the modern world might look like  – I’ve been reading a lot of books on the topic. A book by Leonard Mlodinow – a Caltech physicist turned writer – illustrates something I’ve been seeing again and again. The book is The Upright Thinkers: The Human Journey from Living in…

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Cosmology – and all that

Cosmology – and all that

Towards a Baha’i Cosmology Stephen Friberg, July 22, 2016 I’m writing a paper on Baha’i cosmology – the relationship between the structure of the physical universe and spiritual reality as described in the Baha’i writings – and reading a lot of different books on cosmological topics. Here, I will be sharing some of my thoughts on those books and topics. Cosmology – or at least modern cosmology – is a funny kind of animal. It is based on physics and…

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