Friday, August 30, 2013

The Trouble with Scientism


The idea that science is making philosophy and religion largely redundant reappeared recently in the form of an essay in The New Republic (subscription required) by evolutionary psychologist Steven Pinker. While repudiating the belief that scientists should be entrusted to solve all problems, the Harvard professor defends another version of “scientism” that comes very close to it, as philosopher Marie I George explains in the following article.

* * * * *

Scientism: legitimate label or boo-word?

Marie I. George

Steven Pinker in his recent article, “Science is not your enemy”, maintains that the “term ‘scientism’ is anything but clear, more of a boo-word than a label for any coherent doctrine.” “Scientism,” however, according to current usage arguably has two readily defined, closely related meanings. In the first instance “scientism” names a position that Pinker (rightly) claims is lunatic, namely, that “scientists should be entrusted to solve all problems.”

That a position is lunatic does not mean that it is not espoused by certain high-profile authors. For example, the biologist Richard Lewontin once affirmed (New York Review of Books Jan. 9, 1997) that the primary problem involved in getting a “correct view of the universe in people’s heads” is “to get them to reject irrational and supernatural explanations of the world…and to accept a social and intellectual apparatus, Science, as the only begetter of truth.” (Of course, not only is this affirmation self-refuting, since it is proposed as a truth, but has not been established through scientific experiment, it is also contrary to common sense. For example, knowledge of truths such as the brute fact that dogs need food to live does not require scientific inquiry.)

While relatively few people embrace the extreme version of scientism, nonetheless numerous individuals embrace it in a weaker form. While they do not go so far as to proclaim science the sole arbiter of truth, they do have what I define as an attitude or mindset that chronically overestimates what science can teach us, an attitude rooted in ignorance of the limitations of the scientific method,. A method or a way or proceeding has to fit what is being studied if it is to prove fruitful. So, for example, to expect to discover the existence of non-physical entities through empirical observation is absurd.

This kind of expectation, nonetheless, is all too common. For example (following the discovery in 1995 of a micro-organism -- Symbion Pandora -- living on the lips of some lobsters) the editors of the prestigious medical journal The Lancet voiced the hope that “a scientist as inquisitive as the one looking in the lobster’s mouth and marveling at S Pandora will come across evil, maybe from the preserved brains of those afflicted….Should that happen, evil will be classifiable and may even prove reversible.” And Pinker himself laments that even non-believers revile “the application of scientific reasoning to matters of religion,” as if questions concerning God, the afterlife, etc. could be answer through experimentation.

As Aristotle observed long ago, people can get in the habit of using a given method successfully and then wrongfully conclude that method works everywhere. A proper education can help prevent this from occurring. A liberal education includes a philosophical reflection on the different branches of learning and their methodologies. Pinker’s assertion that science is “indispensable in all areas of human concern, including politics, the arts, and the search for meaning, purpose, and morality” shows gross ignorance of the sort of question that can and cannot be answered using the scientific method with the accompanying overconfidence in science’s explanatory power -- this is precisely what constitutes scientism in its second sense.


What questions can science answer?

Those that can be answered through observations generally made in the context of experiments that are performed in view of testing hypotheses. Science then plainly cannot establish that “the laws governing the physical world (including accidents, disease, and other misfortunes) have no goals that pertain to human well-being,” as Pinker claims it does. Laws do not “govern” in the manner intelligent agents do; rather they simply expresses a regularity among natural phenomena (e.g., when the temperature of a gas goes up, so does the pressure it exerts against the wall of its container according to the formula PV=nRT).

That the laws of nature were or were not put in place by an intelligent being in order to achieve a goal or goals is not able to be established or overturned by any scientific experiment. Pinker blithely goes on to tell us that science has taught us that there is “no providence…no answered prayers” without the least reference to any experiment, and it is plain that none could ever establish these things. (Yes, experiments as to whether prayers are answered have been attempted. The experimenters generally fail to consider the possibility that God is not interested in participating in their experiment, or that perhaps the way a prayer is answered is not by the empirically observable recovery of physical health, but by spiritual comfort and/or strengthening.)

Pinker is hardly the only one to overestimate science’s role in human knowledge. Contrary to what he seems to believe, many other thinkers are rightly accused of scientism. Biologist William Provine, for example, in his essay “Evolution and Foundation of Ethics,” asserts that: “Modern science directly implies that the world is organized strictly in accordance with mechanistic principles. ... There are no gods and no designing forces that are rationally detectable.” Provine appears to identify “rationally detectable” with detectable through empirical observation, something which obviously is unable to detect an immaterial entity; not to mention he speaks as if philosophical arguments for God’s existence starting from natural phenomena had not been proposed by philosophers, starting with Aristotle. It does not appear to cross his mind that perhaps the scientific method cannot answer this question.

Provine goes on to tell us that science also directly implies that “when we die, we die and that is the end of us.” While a philosopher might propose a defense of materialism, and infer such a position from this defense, it can in nowise be tested through an experiment. Plainly Provine’s scientism does “threaten…the spiritual health of our nation,” contrary to what Pinker would have us believe.

The same is true of many of those who propose bio-psychological explanations of religion, such as Pascal Boyer in Religion Explained, and Daniel Dennett in Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon. The same applies to the view that science has shown that people do not have souls. Biologist Steven Jay Gould, in Ever Since Darwin, articulates the widespread view that evolutionary continuity between ourselves and chimpanzees renders the concept of soul antiquated. Yet, does material continuity explain the human capacity for abstract thought? This is plainly not a scientific question, but rather a philosophical one.

Pinker observes that “the intrusion of scientific reasoning into the territories of the humanities has been deeply resented,” but does not acknowledge how often this resentment is well-founded. This is not surprising given his ignorance concerning the sort of questions that scientific reasoning is capable of answering. Pinker, for example, rightly notes that the exploitation of African Americans in a study of syphilis is not an unavoidable consequence of science, but he fails to note that science has nothing to say as to the moral rightness or wrongness of this study. Here the appropriate form of reasoning is moral reasoning based on the fundamental non-scientific principle familiarly referred to as the “Golden Rule.”

Pinker while giving lip service to the difference between fact and value is quick to assert that we need science if we are to have “the moral values of an educated person.” Ethics has its own principles and its own methodology, and they are quite different than those of science. Science can certainly help in the application of moral principles and conclusions, but not in the very formulation or derivation of them. For example, our ability to correctly apply the moral principle, “Do unto others…”, is helped by science which informs us that second hand cigarette smoke is bad for human health. The moral principle at the root of this reasoning, however, is not the result of some experiment.

Pinker naively wants to rehabilitate “scientism” with a positive meaning delimited in terms of a commitment to the notions that the world is intelligible and that the acquisition of knowledge is hard. Of course, the realist philosophers, such as Aristotle, acknowledged these two things long before the birth of modern science. It would be nice to see some “hard work” behind Pinker’s sweeping statements, for example: “The moral worldview of any scientifically literate person—one who is not blinkered by fundamentalism—requires a radical break from religious conceptions of meaning and value.” Instead we are given bald, unscientifically founded assertions, such as that “all the world’s traditional religions and cultures—their theories of the origins of life, humans, and societies—are factually mistaken.” Whether or not a human being is the product of solely material evolutionary causes is not a question science is able to answer. Pinker’s assertion reveals his gross ignorance of what sort of question is philosophical and what sort is scientific.

It is not difficult to see, then, that overweening confidence in the ability of science to answer questions that lie outside the reach of its method is far from being a rare phenomenon nowadays—indeed Pinker provides us a prime example of it. Again, the antidote to scientism is philosophical training consisting of reflection on the different methodologies appropriate to the various subject matters. Limiting oneself to scientific training alone makes it all too easy to unwittingly import the scientific method into areas where it does not apply.

Marie I. George is Professor of Philosophy at St. John’s University, New York. An Aristotelian-Thomist, she holds a PhD from Laval University, and a MA in biology from Queens College, NY. She has received a number of awards from the Templeton Foundation for her work in science and religion.

Source: MercatorNet

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Bahrain fathers want justice


The Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR) expresses grave concern over the escalated level of impunity in Bahrain that has gone as far as detaining the fathers of victims of extra-judicial killings who continue to demand justice for their sons.

On 11 August 2013, Ahmed Abbas Mowali was arrested from Arad following a police attack on a peaceful protest calling for rights and freedoms. On 13 August, the public prosecution ordered Mowali's detention for 45 days pending investigation on charges of “illegal gatherings”.

Ahmed Mowali is the father of Yousif Mowali, 23-years-old, who was arrested, tortured and then drowned in January 2012. At the time, his mother was told at the Samaheej police station that Yousif was at the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) and that he was fine.

A few days later, police said they found Mowali's body floating in the water on 13 January 2012 in the Amwaj area. A state doctor reported the cause of death as drowning and ruled out signs of violence. However, a second autopsy performed by an independent forensic pathologist concluded Mowali was electrically tortured, and was unconscious when he drowned.

The investigation into Yousif Mowali's death has not made any progress, and no one has been held accountable for his death or his torture.

On 22 August 2013, Abdulhadi Mushaima was arrested from his home following a raid by riot police and security officers dressed in civilian clothing during the early hours of the morning.

On 24 August, he called his family and informed them that he was given a detention order of 45 days. He was interrogated at the public prosecution in the absence of a lawyer and was charged with “illegal gathering” on the basis of his participation in peaceful protests.

Mushaima is the father of Ali Mushaima, the first protester to be killed in the Bahraini protests on 14 February 2011; Ali Mushaima was killed in front of his own house by police officers firing birdshot.

His death was confirmed in the Bahraini Commision of Inquiry Report (BICI) under Case #1 where it was stated that:

“The death of Mr Almeshaima can be attributed to the use of excessive force by police officers. At the time of the shooting, there were no reports of any disturbances in the Daih area. Furthermore, the fact that Mr Almeshaima was shot in the back at close range indicates that there was no justification for the use of lethal force.”

Since his death, Mushaima's family has been subjected to ongoing attacks by the authorities. The family's home has been attacked more than three times.

On 13 January 2012, their home was directly attacked with tear gas after security forces raided the house by entering through the kitchen, where they broke teapots and assaulted the deceased victim's sister by spitting in her face and shouting at her.

From what she recognized, the security forces were Yemeni and they were filming the assault. The officers attempted to beat Ali Mushaima's father, then they threw tear gas at the entrance of the house, which caused it to spread throughout the house. Ali Mushaima's aunt was present at the time, and the tear gas caused the 83-year-old woman to have difficulty breathing, high blood pressure, and an infection in her kidney, all of which she had not suffered from prior to the attack.

Although the family attempted to leave the house to escape the toxic gas, the security forces encircled the home and prevented their exit for a period of time.

On 31 January 2013, the 3rd Criminal Court sentenced one policeman who is accused of “the beating that led to the death” of Ali Mushaima to seven years in prison. He was released during the appeal trial and the court will hear his appeal on 16 September 2013.

BCHR believes that both Ahmed Mowali and Abdulhadi Mushaima were targeted and detained for exercising their basic rights and publicly demanding justice for their murdered sons.

BCHR has previously documented several cases of attacks on families of extra-judicial victims that included detention. On 26 October 2012, Jawad Al-Shaikh was arrested at a peaceful protest in Manama that demanded self-determination. Until this day, no one has been held accountable for the death of his 14-year-old son, Ali Al-Shaikh, who was killed by police with a shot to his neck from behind on 31 August 2011.

These arrests are acts of intimidation directed at all other relatives of killed victims, who continue to accuse the regime with the killing of their sons and continue to participate in peaceful protests to demand justice. This is part of a systematic policy of granting impunity to the violators of human rights as a previous report by BCHR shows.

BCHR calls on the Bahraini government to:

Release Ahmed Mowali and Abdulhadi Mushaima immediately, as they have been targeted for practicing their legitimate right to peacefully assemble and demand justice;

Stop the acts of harassment and intimidation directed at the relatives of the victims of human rights violations who continue to raise awareness about it and demand justice;

Hold those responsible for the killing of civilians accountable and bring them before an independent judicial system;

Compensate families of extra-judicial killings both morally and materially for their losses, as well as for the attacks they have been subjected to.

BCHR also calls on the international community to condemn the Bahraini regime's use of vengeance in the cases of families of victims of extra-judicial killings.

Source: IFEX

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Quote of the Week - St. Jerome


"As we deny not those things that are written, so we refuse those things that are not written. That God was born of a virgin, we believe, because we read it: that Mary did marry after she was delivered, we do not believe, because we read it not."--St. Jerome

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Remembering Prince Friso


Prince Friso with his family before the skiing accident


Prince Johan Friso, of the Netherlands, has died at 44 in his mother's residence, the Huis ten Bosch Palace in The Hague where he was with family on vacation.

He remained in a coma for a year and a half after being hit by an avalanche at an Austrian ski resort in 2012.

The prince was buried in the small village of Lage Vuursche, near the castle where his mother, former Queen Beatrix, plans to retire. The funeral was officiated by the same cleric who performed his wedding ceremony.

He was the younger brother of the new king of the Netherlands, Willem-Alexander.

After the accident Prince Friso was transferred to the Wellington hospital in London, where he lived. In July he was moved back to the Netherlands. According to a government communique, "Prince Friso has died of complications related to the hypoxic brain injury, which he suffered as the result of his skiing accident in Lech, Austria on 17 February 2012"

The media immediately began speculating whether this was a case of euthanasia. The consensus is that it was not. Most importantly, Prince Friso had not left a living will, so his family and doctors could not presume his consent. As well, Dutch euthanasias are often carefully-planned affairs, with the family gathered around the bed. But Friso's death seems to have caught the Royal Family unawares, as the King was with his family on holidays in Greece.



Saturday, August 24, 2013

Russia will be bitter pill for Snowden


Snowden May Face a Tough Time in Russian Asylum

August 22, 2013

by Andre de Nesnera

People who know about these things predict accused NSA leaker Edward Snowden will soon be very unhappy he chose Russia as the place to avoid prosecution in the United States on espionage charges.

Snowden was working as a computer network manager for the National Security Agency in Hawaii, but turned up in Hong Kong earlier this summer and began releasing information about secret electronic surveillance programs the agency uses to monitor telephone and internet traffic around the world.

Then when the United States started seeking his arrest and extradition, Snowden took a plane to Moscow, where he holed up in an airport international transit zone hotel while he tried to find a more permanent place to settle outside America’s reach.

There was talk of Cuba or Venezuela, but those didn’t work out. After a month, Moscow granted him asylum for 12 months despite fierce objections from Washington.

David Barrett, a national security expert teaching at Villanova University, says Snowden will soon find out, if he hasn’t already, that Russia may not be the ideal place for a self-proclaimed whistle-blower.

“One of the things that [Russian President Vladimir] Putin said when he spoke of the possibility of Snowden’s staying there, is that Snowden would have to be quiet,” Barrett said. “He would have to stop saying things and revealing things about U.S. intelligence.

“And I don’t think that that would be a very happy existence for Snowden if he had to live under those conditions where he could not speak to reporters and groups about NSA,” Barrett added.


'Gray unhappiness'

Peter Savodnik, an expert on Americans seeking asylum in Russia, says the Moscow authorities are good at creating what he calls “a sort of gray unhappiness.”

“The Russians specialize in that sort of thing where somebody shows up at your doorstep and there is something very pathetic about this. You have nowhere else to go - you are throwing all of your trust, your faith into the Kremlin,” said Savodnik, whose upcoming book is about Lee Harvey Oswald’s brief defection to the Soviet Union.

The Kremlin, Savodnik says, will “allow you to think for a while that you have arrived. And then, of course, you realize you have not.

“And then you begin to become a little bit crazy and mad, which is what happened to Oswald and what has happened to every single American who has defected or sought asylum in Russia…, Savodnik continued.

Oswald, you may remember, came back to the United States and in 1963 was arrested on charges of assassinating President John F. Kennedy, but was himself assassinated before he could go to trial.

“I don’t think there has been a single case of an American who went to Russia since World War II and found the ‘happily ever after’ that he was looking for,” Savodnik said

As for Snowden, Savodnik says the Russians would want him far away as possible from the news media – and in the worst case scenario, they would send him to live in a remote region of the country.


Cleaning gymnasium floors?

“They will stick him in some Khruschevka [apartment buildings built in the 1960s] or some other Brezhnev-era dump,” he predicted. “He’ll clean the floors of some gymnasium or work in some broken down factory that is being propped up by the state and probably shouldn’t exist.”

Wherever Snowden ends up, says Matthew Rojansky, director of the Kennan Institute at Washington’s Wilson Center, one thing is certain: no-one is going to trust Edward Snowden.

“Because it’s understood: this is someone who would betray their own country and so that’s hard to respect for most ordinary people, including Russians,” Rojansky said.

“That has been the fate of almost every westerner who has spied or defected and then gone to the Russians – they end up being quite isolated, and perhaps living comfortably if they stay for the long term, but certainly not living well in the sense of being fully integrated in a part of their society.”

And Rojansky says the Snowden affair will inevitably affect relations between Washington and Moscow.

“The Snowden issue is going to remain on those lists that senior American officials take into negotiations for years to come,” he said. “It may not be at the top of the list, but it will be somewhere on there.

“And at some point, America will be able to offer enough to Russia and the circumstances will be right, and the media spotlight will have faded, and so maybe they’ll move him on to a third country,” Rojansky said. “He’ll spend some decent interval of time there and then suddenly he’ll end up in a courtroom in Honolulu or something like that.”

Analysts say there is no doubt Snowden would have a better life in a place other than Russia, but where that would be is anybody’s guess.


Source: Global Security


Friday, August 23, 2013

Quote of the Week - St. John Chrysostom


"The scripture, like unto a safe door, doth bar an entrance unto heretics, placing us in security concerning all we desire, and not suffering us to be deceived . . . Whosoever useth not the scriptures, but cometh in otherwise, that is, betaketh himself to another and an unlawful way, he is a thief."--St. John Chrysostom

Thursday, August 22, 2013

US Companies who Train and Equip Egypt's Military


Under US law, Washington should not provide military aid “to the government of any country whose duly elected head of government is deposed by military coup d'etat or decree.” However, many US companies would be affected by stopping military trainina dna equipment to Egypt.

The Institute for Southern Studies, specifies the 10 biggest US Defense contracts involving direct military aid to Egypt from 2009 to 2011. These include:

1. Lockheed Martin
Amount: $259 million

In 2010, Lockheed Martin provided Egypt with 20 F-16s as well as night vision sensor systems for Apache helicopters. Lockheed Martin is the biggest beneficiary of US government defense contracts, receiving a record $36 billion in 2008.
Globally, Lockheed Martin is one of the largest defense contractors. Seventy-four percent of its revenues come from military sales.

2. DRS Technologies
Amount: $65.7 million

The US Army contracted this US-operated, Italian-owned military services company to provide vehicles, surveillance hardware and other resources to Egypt in December 2010.

3. L-3 Communication Ocean Systems
Amount: $31.3 million

L3 Communications provided the Egyptian government with a $24.7 million sonar system and military imaging equipment.

4. Deloitte Consulting
Amount: $28.1 million

Deloitte, the world’s second largest professional services firm, won a $28.1 million Navy contract to provide planning and support for Egyptian aircraft programs.

5. Boeing
Amount: $22.8 million

While most people know Boeing for its commercial flights, it is also the second largest defense contractor in the world. Boeing won a $22.5 million Army contract in 2010 to provide Egypt with 10 Apache helicopters. The Aerospace also received a contract to provide logistics support to Egypt.

6. Raytheon
Amount: $31.6 million

The world’s largest guided missiles provider gave Egypt and Turkey 178 STINGER missiles, missile launch systems and 264 months of technical support for the Hawk missile system.

7. AgustaWestland
Amount: $17.3 million

AgustaWestland - also owned by the same Italian company that operates DRS Technologies - secured a contract to provide helicopter maintenance for the Egyptian government.

8. US Motor Works
Amount: $14.5 million
US Motor Works landed a $14.5 million contract in 2009 to provide engines and spare parts for the Egyptian Armament Authority.

9. Goodrich Corp.
Amount: $10.8 million

The US Air Force and Goodrich brokered a $10.8 million contract to obtain and distribute reconnaissance systems for the F-16 jets the Egyptian Air Force uses.

10. Columbia Group
Amount: $10.6 million

Columbia Group provides $10.6 million-worth of unmanned vehicle systems, along with technical training, to the Egyptian Navy.


These companies are characterized in the Iranian press as aggressors. Many Iranians were recurited and welcomed by Morsi to swell his Muslim Brotherhood ranks. It is largely foreigners who are keeping the streets red with blood.


Related reading:  Positive Images of the Conflict in Egypt

 

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Positive Images of the Conflict in Egypt


Egyptian child's drawing of the bloody conflict in Egypt. The Muslim Brotherhood burned 50 churches and Christian establishments on a single day. Note that the mosque weeps with the church and tries to comfort.

Christians at a burned down church in the city of Suez stood behind the altar with signs that read: "My fanatic brother, we came here to pray for you." Note the vested man at right front with the a scar on his forehead. He was formerly Muslim.




In one village, Muslim farmers went to the Coptic priest (shown below in black) and stayed with him and with other Christians guarding the village church.




Muslims and Christians join hands to protect each other during prayer.



Although the altar was totally burnt, the Christ Pantocrator icon was untouched by the fire at Mar Gerges Coptic Orthodox church in Asyut.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Russia warns against tourism in Egypt


MOSCOW, August 15 (RIA Novosti) – The Russian government urged its citizens Thursday to avoid traveling to Egypt, a popular tourist destination engulfed by riots over the sacking of an Islamist president that have already resulted in more than 500 deaths and the torching of churches.
The death toll stood at 525 as supporters of the ousted Mohamed Morsi clashed with security services, The Associated Press reported Thursday, citing the country's Health Ministry.
The pro-Morsi movement Muslim Brotherhood said police had used live rounds against civilian protesters and put the death toll at close to 2,000. Police denied using lethal force.
The majority of casualties occurred after police cracked down on camps of Morsi supporters in the capital Cairo on Wednesday, dispersing them after a clash.
Each side accused the other of using snipers to shoot indiscriminately at people involved in the riots. The list of victims includes at least two foreign reporters from the UK and the UAE, while a Russian television crew was robbed at knifepoint by looters in Cairo.
The Muslim Brotherhood plans to stage a mass rally in Cairo on Thursday evening, Reuters reported, citing a statement by the group.
The Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement Thursday that Russians should avoid traveling to Egypt, while the Federal Tourism Agency called on travel agencies to sell fewer holidays to Egypt, one of the most popular destinations among Russians.
But no plans were reported for the evacuation of Russians currently vacationing at local resorts, whose numbers were tentatively put by the Russian Tourism Industry Union at 40,000 to 50,000.
The Egyptian embassy in Moscow called the Russian warnings "unfounded," pointing out that no Russian tourists have been harmed so far during riots.
The Russian Orthodox Church expressed concern Thursday over reports that at least seven Christian churches had been torched in Egypt by Islamists, and that local Coptic Christians had been forced to flee the country over accusations that Christian minorities in Egypt had backed the ouster of Morsi, known for his Islamist views.
Engineering divisions of the Egyptian military have been deployed to rebuild the churches, local media said Thursday.
Morsi narrowly won the presidential elections in May 2012 that followed a revolution that ousted his authoritarian predecessor Hosni Mubarak, but was removed from the presidency in July in a military coup d'état that came after months of street protests by Morsi's opponents.
Morsi is currently under house arrest, which was extended until Sept. 15 on Thursday, local media reported.
The ouster polarized the country, with Morsi's supporters replacing his opponents in the streets. The military declared a nationwide state of emergency in an attempt to stop the violence.
Several European countries, including Germany, France and Italy, have expressed concern over the situation in Egypt, as has US President Barack Obama on Thursday. Russian President Vladimir Putin has made no recent comments on the ongoing crisis, but warned soon after Morsi's ouster against a possible civil war in the most populous Arab nation.
Source: RIA Novosti, August 15, 2013

At this date at least 50 churches have been burned by the Muslim Brotherhood.


Thursday, August 15, 2013

Muslim Brotherhood Terrorism


The Muslim Brotherhood executed a well organized attack against Christians in Egypt on Wednesday, August 14. Running the length of the Nile, and in Suez, churches were burned, as were shops belonging to Christians. Over 200 Christians lost their lives and the American media once again showed its bias by ignoring the tragic events.




Related: Christian Churches Attacked, Burn All over Egypt; Muslim Brotherhood Mob Attacks Anglican Church; Media Sympathizes with Muslim Brotherhood; Widespread Anti-Christian Media Bias; Putin Urges World Leaders to Unite Against Persecution of Christians

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Quote of the Week - Cyril of Jerusalem


"Nothing at all ought to be delivered concerning the divine and holy mysteries of faith without the holy scriptures."--St. Cyril of Jerusalem

Monday, August 12, 2013

USA Economy: Warning! Things are worse than you imagine


G. Tracy Mehan III


If you suffer from melancholia, or display other symptoms of clinical depression, you might want to skip reading Niall Ferguson’s The Great Degeneration: How Institutions Decay and Economies Die. For the rest of us, it is an essential grounding in the daunting realities facing the current and future generations of the Western democracies, especially the United States.

Ferguson, a Scottish transplant to Harvard and a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, based this book on his 2012 Reith Lectures for the BBC. Warning: Things are even worse than you thought.

Ferguson’s short, articulate, and powerful book describes a quartet of pathologies plaguing the United States and most Western countries: “democratic deficits,” “regulatory fragility,” the “rule of lawyers” rather than the rule of law, and an “uncivil society.” Ferguson believes these conditions have contributed to making the US a “stationary state,” a term coined by his countryman, Adam Smith. This has led to “a shocking and perhaps unparalleled breach” of Edmund Burke’s partnership which the great Anglo-Irish conservative described as “not only between those who are living, but between those who are living, those who are dead, and those who are to be born.” Ferguson relies heavily on contemporary scholarship but also draws on the intellectual legacy of the formidable triumvirate of Smith, Burke, and Alexis de Tocqueville.

Read it all here

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Kerry on US-Russia Relations


U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has said Washington still has 'shared interests' with Russia, despite deteriorating relations, most recently over the case of fugitive intelligence leaker Edward Snowden.

Opening talks with the Russian foreign and defense ministers in Washington, Kerry said bilateral ties are facing some 'challenging moments.'

'It's no secret that we have experienced some challenging moments and obviously not just over the Snowden case. We will discuss these differences today for certain,' Kerry said. 'But this meeting remains important above and beyond the collisions and the moments of disagreement. It is important for us to find ways to make progress on missile defense, on other strategic issues including Afghanistan, Iran, on North Korea and Syria.'

The meeting in Washington follows the announcement from the White House on August 7 that President Barack Obama was canceling a one-on-one meeting with Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin scheduled for Moscow next month.

'Our agenda is rather broad and it includes, of course, issues where we have disagreements,' Lavrov said. 'We will continue to talk about them, calmly, as we should. I recall my first meeting with John in his current position when he said our countries share a special responsibility and a lot depends on us. So, we need to work together, as adults. This is what we're trying to do and we hope it will be mutual.'

The meeting also included U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu.

It is expected to focus on the situations in Afghanistan, Iran, and North Korea, and U.S.-European plans for a missile-defense shield that Russia strongly opposes.

Ties between the United States and Russia are strained over several issues, one being Russia's decision to grant Snowden, a former U.S. intelligence contractor, temporary asylum.

Snowden leaked classified information about U.S. global Internet- and telephone-surveillance programs and faces espionage charges in the United States.

Washington has also been frustrated by Moscow's continued support of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad amid the country's devastating civil war. The United States supports rebel factions in the country and wants to see Assad leave power.

Moscow, for its part, has been concerned for several years about the joint U.S.-European plan to build a missile-defense shield in Europe. Washington says the system is intended to protect NATO countries from a possible attack from Iran, but Moscow argues it could affect Russia's nuclear deterrent.

The United States has also expressed concern about what it says is a crackdown on civil society in Russia since Putin returned to the Kremlin last year. There have been increased protests in the United States over a Russian law adopted this summer that criminalizes the 'propaganda' of homosexuality to minors.
​​
That law and another requiring nongovernmental organizations that accept foreign funding and engage in 'political activity' to register as 'foreign agents' have led to calls for the United States to boycott the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. The Obama administration has said it is not considering a boycott.

On August 8, Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko defended the gay-propaganda law.

'I want to calm everyone down first of all, as in addition to this law on the territory of Russia, we have the Constitution of the Russian Federation that guarantees all citizens the right to a private life, guarantees that there will be no interference in this private life,' Mutko said.

'This law is not intended to deprive citizens of any country, religion, or orientations of their interests and rights. This law is intended to ban the propaganda among youth, more than anything else.'

Mutko added that the law should not affect the Sochi Games.

'I can assure you that the Olympic Games will take place at the highest level. All rights of all citizens will be protected, but the laws of any country whose territory you enter, must of course be observed,' he said. 'But I'll say it again -- this doesn't affect the athletes at all. Come and compete.'

With reporting by Reuters, AFP, AP, and ITAR-TASS
Source: http://www.rferl.org/content/russia-us-relations- obama-putin-snowden/25070617.html

Friday, August 9, 2013

Karzai urges Taliban to join peace process




Afghan President Hamid Karzai has repeated his call for Taliban to give up militant activities and join the Kabul government-led peace process in Afghanistan.

'Come and serve your soil and put down the weapon which the stranger has put on your shoulders and that you kill your people with. Put it down and serve your people,' Karzai in his Eid al-Fitr message on Thursday, marking the end of the holy fasting month of Ramadan.

He said the militant group was pursuing the interests of foreigners in the war-torn country.

The president added that the militants were humiliated in recent peace talks held in the Qatari capital of Doha. 'You have witnessed this during the opening of the Qatar office, you were guests and not the owner. You were guests but you were not honored. Your flag and sign were raised and then immediately taken down.'

Read it all here.


Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Quote of the Week - St. Basil the Great


"Believe those things which are written; the things which are not written seek not."--St. Basil the Great

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Putin Urges World Leaders to Unite Against Persecution of Christians


MOSCOW, August 1, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Vladimir Putin has urged the world’s political leaders to stop the violent persecutions against Christians that have erupted in many Middle Eastern countries.

Speaking at a meeting with Orthodox Christian leaders in Moscow last week, the Russian President said he noted “with alarm” that “in many of the world’s regions, especially in the Middle East and in North Africa inter-confessional tensions are mounting, and the rights of religious minorities are infringed, including Christians and Orthodox Christians.”

“This pressing problem should be a subject of close attention for the entire international community,” Putin said. “It is especially important today to make efforts to prevent intercultural and interreligious conflicts, which are fraught with the most serious upheavals.”

Read it all here.







In November 2009 a Russian Orthodox priest was gunned down in Moscow by a jihadist.

Monday, August 5, 2013

INDEX of Topics


INDEX of Topics at ETHICS FORUM
(Current as of 15 April 2017)

Abortion
Canada Waffles on International Funding for Abortion
UN Partners Push Abortion Access in Africa
Denying the Humanity of the Unborn
Military Doctors and Abortion
Blind Chinese Dissenter Fights Mandatory Abortion
Gosnell Faces Murder Charges
Planned Parenthood Endorses Infanticide
Spanish Bishops Stand Against Abortion
Another Media Fact-Checking Failure
Chile Study Exposes Lie of "Safe" Abortion
Catholic Bishops on Paying for Abortions

Addiction
Ethics of Addiction
Nicotine and Tobacco Addiction
Senate Investigating Narcotics Deaths
Drug Trafficking and Terrorism Linked
National Institute on Drug Abuse
Opioid Abuse
Mitigation of Opioid Use for Chronic Pain

Ancient World Ethics
Plato's Debt to Ancient Egypt
Ethics and Ancient Cosmology
Ancient Moral Codes
Ethics and Religious Practices of the Ancient Afro-Asiatics
Aristotle's Understanding of the Chief Good
Aristotle's Observation Do Not Penetrate Beyond the Material
Early Metaphysics: Primal substance and cause
Theories of Change and Constancy
Neolithic Medical Care

Anglican
Reflections on the New Anglican Catechism (Introduction to the Ten Commandments)
Reflections on the New Anglican Catechism: The Law and Righteousness
Alice C. Linsley's address to the International Catholic Congress of Anglicans (July 2015)
Ms Cotton on Behalf of WATCH

Animal Rights
Ethical Concerns Surrounding Animals
A Blow for Animal Rights
Battling to Make Animals Persons

Antiquities and Art
Priceless Manuscripts Saved
Iconoclasm: The destruction and loss of heritage reconsidered
Islamic Extremism and Iconoclasm
Two Falat Paintings Seized by Feds
Paintings Stolen in Rotterdam
Four Arrested for Smuggling Egyptian Antiquities
Islam Versus Sacred Sites
Robbery of Ancient Graves
Looted Artifacts Found in Cairo Metro
Bulgaria Hopes for Income from St. John's Relics
Hamas Seizes Smuggled Antiquities
India Seeks Art Looted During British Rule
The World's Oldest Known Museum
Taliban Destroys Priceless Buddhas of Bamiyan

Artificial Intelligence
Robots Designed to Act Morally?
The Ethics of Artificial Intelligence by Nick Bostrom

Assisted Suicide
Abuse of Assisted suicide in Oregon
Conditions for Ending Life Unclear
Assisted Suicide in Switzerland: Women Most Vulnerable
Maine Rejects Physician Assisted Suicide
Massachusetts Doctors Debate Assisted Suicide
Trauma of Assisted Suicide Witnesses

Belgium
Belgium Approves Euthanasia for Terminal Children
Belgium's Big Business: Organ Harvesting
Insane Conversations in Belgium
Identical Twins Killed by Belgium Doctors

Binary Distinctions, Binary Sets
Understanding Binary Distinctions
Levi-Strauss and Derrida on Binary Distinctions
Does the Binary Feature Signal Greater Complexity?
The Biblical Worldview is Binary
Blood and Binary Distinctions
Binary Distinctions of the Horites
Binary Distinctions and Kenosis
Today's Savage Mind

Bioethics
Bioethicists and Death Control
France's New Bioethics Law
Not Everyone is Optimistic About BAM
The State and Bioethics
Is Bioethics a Dirty Word?
Colorado: The question of personhood
Politics of Biotechnology
George Annas on Obama's Bioethics Commission
Obama appoints 10 More to Bioethics Commission
Obama's Bioethics Commission
Obama's Bioethics: Where's the discourse?
Are All Bioethicists Crazy?

Business Ethics
Socially Responsible Investors
The Arrogant More Likely to Commit Fraud
Nonprofit Does Not Mean Ethical
Corrupt CEOs Pay for Their Transgressions
Can Business Ethics Be taught?
Gray Area: New product categories
Avoiding Sex Discrimination Lawsuits
Honest Talk About Women and Money
What Dan Cathy Actually Said
Profitability of Corporate Social Responsibility
Ethical Investing and Good Returns
Malfeasance in the Gold Market
Oxford Handbook of Business Ethics
Siemens Exec Bribed Officials
Wall-Mart Criticizes Failure of Business Leaders
Have Ethics Disappeared From Wall Street?
France's Code of Ethics for Traders
How Bernie Madoff Did It

Censorship
Plato and Aristotle on the Value Censorship  (See Summary)
Censorship or Good Parenting?
Censorship of Plays in England by Joseph Conrad  (or this.)
What are Common American Censorhsip Laws?
Censorship in Turkey
Iran, China Buy Technologies to Block Internet Access
You Tube Project Parodies Damascus Censorship
Facebook Ban and Government Censorship
What Students Should Know About Totalitarianism

China
China Improves Military as Part of "National Rejuvenation"
Blind Chinese Dissenter Fights Mandatory Abortions
Chinese Generate Brain Cells From Urine
China Crackdown on Organ Trafficking
Chinese Woman Saved 30 Abandoned Babies
Chinese Sages on Natural Law
Understanding the Axial Age

Circumcision
Female Genital Mutilation Not as Bad as It Seems
Female Circumcision in Cultural Context
Two Perspectives on Female Circumcision
Circumcision and Binary Distinctions
Female Circumcision or Female Genital Mutilation?
Circumcision Debated
The Origins of Circumcision
Circumcision Among Abraham's Habiru/Hebrew Caste

Climate
Two Environmentalists Knock Heads
Climate Cycles Indicate a Dynamic Earth
Complex Climate Changes
Lower Solar Irradiance, Higher Atmospheric Temps?
Climate and Wealth Redistribution
Climate Change and Human Innovation
When the Sahara Was Wet
Antarctic Ozone Hole Smaller
Climate Data Fudge Factor
South American Glaciers Growing
Reality Climate Ideologues Won't Face
Kansas Bill Calling for Objectivity in Climate Science Fails
America's Wake Up Call on Climate

Cloning
Raising Lab Neaderthals
Israel Extends Moratorium on Human Cloning
Reproductive Cloning Ban Means Death to Some Embryos
Animals Cloning Trials a Failure
Disgraced Libyan Cloner to Discuss Collaboration

Crime
Criminal World's Bank of Choice
Paintings Stolen in Rotterdam
Robbery of Ancient Graves
Nazi Criminal Experiments
50,000+ Dead in Mexico
Another American Hate Crime
Crime Leads Using Familial DNA
Hebron Farm Robbed by Arab Gang
Four Arrested for Smuggling Egyptian Antiquities
Rape Among Qaddafi's War Crimes
Fulani Murder Women and Children in Jos
Camera Caught Nurse Turning Off Ventilator
Smuggling African Bush Meat
Albinos Killed for Body Parts
Nationwide Child Prostitution Exposed
What Motivates Grave Desecration?
Episcopal Priest Charged with Molesting Adopted Son

Cyber Ethics
Information Ethics
Know the Rules of Cyber Ethics
Attack on US Cyber Security
Cyber Crime and Terrorism
Cyber Security Act 2009
An Ethicist Looks at Wikileaks
Julian Assange a Megalomaniac?

Death Penalty
Capital Punishment: The debate
Maryland to Reinstate Lethal Injection
Washington's Lethal Injection Protocol Questioned
Maryland's New Death Penalty Restrictions
C. S. Lewis on Capital Punishment
Iran Hangs Two Dissidents
Oregon Governor Bans Executions
Mumbai Killer's Execution
West Indies May Restore Death Penalty
Albino Killers to be Executed
Norwegians Get Death Penalty for Spying

Diplomacy
Growing Tensions in the South China Sea
US Talks with Taliban Compromised
Holbrook's Last Words: Stop Afghanistan war
State Department Brokers Empty Concession
The Obama Doctrine
A Diplomatic Mis-step: Promoting gay rights abroad
Africans Not Buying What Obama is Peddling
US Diplomats Told to Collect DNA of Foreigners
White House Glitch Sends Diplomats Home
US Policy on Israel: "A one man show"
How Congress Does Diplomacy
Hillary Clinton: Cultural imperialist?
Benghazi Debacle

Economy
Dollar's Decline Since 1913
Review of Niall Ferguson's The Great Degeneration
Reality Check on the American Economy
USA Economy: Warning!
Microcredit Goes Mainstream
Blaming the Free Market for Bad Loans
Keynes' Work in Light of Sexual Preference
China's Economic Growth Slowing?
Rice: Africa's New Commodity
Nigeria Emerging Economic Power

Education
Calling Out Jonathan Rauch
Yale Education a "cheap hodgepodge"
Kansas Bill Calling for Objectivity in Climate Education Fails
Underdog Cults and Identity Studies
Einstein Was Right About Education
American Universities Under Ethical Microscope
Teacher Unions a Disaster for American Education
Call to Remove Gay Activist Head of Education
Lefties Rule and Ruin UK State Schools
Darwen Vale Teachers Go on Strike
UK Religious Groups Offer School Options
Straight Talk on Public Education
Pakistan's Ghost Schools
Swedish Home School Leader Exiled
German Home Schooling Family Granted Asylum
Seceding from the Public Schools
American Colleges and Universities Mimic China
Breaking the Darwinian Monopoly in Science Education
German Mother in Prison for Resisting Sex Education
The Teachers' Union and Moral Regression
Billionaire Supports Catholic Schools
Notorious Fraternities

Environment
Amazon Has Two Distinct Forests
Sahara Greening
New Study on Peatlands and Drought
Locust Plague in Madagascar
Madagascar's Unique Rosewood Illegally Logged
Africa's Underground Water
Vatican Reforestation Project
Lake Baikal is One of the World's Wonders
Carbon Capture and Storage
Veteran Sherpa Says Everest Not Safe
Shrinking Lake Chad
Australia's Amazing Biodiversity
Acid Waters Destroying Coral Reefs
Deng Deng National Park
Global Ice Levels Rebound

Ethics
What Makes a Good Society?
Deontological Approach to Ethics
Ethics in Animal Experimentation
Virtue Ethics
Ethical language
Ethical Standards and Critical Thinking

Eugenics
Eugenics Wearing a New Face
British Stamp to Commemorate Marie Stopes
Eugenic Catechism
Big Money in Eugenics
Eugenics Doctor Receives Award
Methodists Repent of Support of Eugenics
Wanting a Deaf Child
Killing Babies

Euthanasia
Canada Grants Right to Active Euthanasia
First Child Euthanized in Belgium  (CNN report is here.)
Killing of Disabled Girl: Hitler would be proud
Europe's Sinister Expansion of Euthanasia
Bioethicists and Death Control
Belgium Approves Euthanasia for Terminal Children
Identical Twins Killed by Belgium Doctors
Euthanasia Safeguards for Doctors, not Patients
Bulgaria Rejects Euthanasia Bill
Pro-Life Californians Oppose Patty Berg's Bill
Say Goodbye to Grandma
Dutch Crazy About Euthanasia
Luxembourg Considers Euthanasia
Italians Debate End of Life Options
Slippery Slope to Euthanasia? (Obama insurance reform)
Letting Terminal Patients Die
Odious Notion of Wrongful Life
Brain Dead Woman Wakes Up!

Family
Vulnerability and Human Dependency
The Case for Traditional Marriage
Marriage Attacked in Australia
Children and the Value of Family
Hungary's Constitution Defends Marriage and Life
Same Sex Marriages Deprive Children
Marriage is More Than a Lifestyle
Intact Biological Families Nurture Better
France: Homosexuals Protest Against Gay Marriage

Finland
Finland: Asylum Seekers to Work for Free

Freedom of Speech
Freedom of Speech: When professors get involved
The Threat to Free Speech At Missouri
University of Chicago Pushes Back of Trigger Warnings
Safe Spaces

Gay activism, homosex
Calling Out Jonathan Rauch
Brit Urges Homosex at Age 14
Black Clergy Oppose Gay Marriage
Ugandan Gay Activists Win Court Victory
Utah Mormons Support LGBT Pride
Same Sex Marriages in Mexico City
Portugal Approves Gay Marriage, Bishops Reject It
Bashing Ex-Gays
GLBT Teens Need Help
Homosex Rarely Monogamous
Homosex Not Universally Accepted
Eastern Orthodox Statement on Homosexuality
White House Petitioned to Label Catholic Church a Hate Group
California's Ban on "Conversion Therapies"
Peter Saunders is a Homosceptic
Gay Activists Muzzle Liberty, Conscience

Genocide
Bosnian Serbs Jailed for Genocide
Genocide in Srebrenica
Will Obama Keep His Promise? (Turkish massacre of Armenians)
Rwandan Genocide Officer Sentenced
Makeli Found Guilt of Genocide
Rwanda Report Implicates France in Genocide
Rwandan First Lady Arrested in France
Feminists Promote Genocide of Females
Christians Slaughtered and Media Looks Away

Gun Control
Where is Our National Spine?
The Abomination of Gun Violence
The Problem of Guns
7th Circuit Agrees with Sotomayer
On Guns and Climate the Elites are Out of Touch
Guns, Pornography, and Jihad
Common Sense About Guns

Health Care
Obamacare bait swallowed by uninsured
Obama: Speculation on Health Care Before the Election
Poor Care of Elderly in UK Government Hospitals
An African American Friend on Obamacare
Obama Counting on Citizens Obeying the Law
What Obamacare Promises
Key Health (Insurance) Reform Ruled Unconstitutional
What Should Americans Do After the Supreme Court Ruling on Obamacare?
Medical Insurance for Christians
Orwellian Twist to Obamacare

Hunger
GMOs: The Failed Promise to Reduce Hunger in America
Hunger in America 2010
Hunger in America 2014
Population Increases and Hunger Decreases
U.N., Clinton Want Global Hunger Management
Italian Court Rules Food Theft Not a Crime

Human Reproduction
Availability of Voluntary Sterilization
65 Orthodox Bishops Reject Obama's Contraception Mandate
Myanmar's 2 Child Policy for Muslims
Destroying Embryos
India to Legalise Surrogacy
UK Entering Designer Baby Market?
Eggsploitation
First American IVF Baby Gives Birth
Lebanon: Muslim Fertility Slump
Big Money Backs Sterilization Camps
Israel's Abuse of Ethiopian Women
Hormonal Contraception: A brief history
Philippines Debate Over Contraception
Obamacare comes to light

Human Rights
Secular Squatters on Biblical Land
Pope Benedict: First Human Right is to Life
United Nations: Abortion a Human Right
Plight of Christian Sisters in Pakistan
Australia's Child Abuse Commission and the Stench of Hypocrisy

Human Trafficking
The Scourge of Human Trafficking
Thailand Holds 100 For Human Trafficking
American Bar Association Task Force of Human Trafficking
Child Trafficing Verdict in Sarasota, Florida
Portland's Dark Side of Porn and Child Sex Trafficking
Child Trafficking in Haiti
Obama's Administration and Human Trafficking
US Busts Thai Sex Trafficking Operation

Islam
Who Was Mohammad?
Muslim Flight Attendant Suspended
Facing the Facts About Islamic Extremism
Islamic Violence Against Women
A Muslim Kid with a Clock

Journalism/Media
Al Jazeera Reporter Killed by Sniper in Syria
US Journalists Lack Spine
Attacks on Mexican Journalists Escalate
More Journalists' Homes Destroyed in Pakistan
Journalists Face Global Challenges
More than Seven Journalists Missing in Libya
Western Media Ignores Plight of Eastern Christians
Press Freedom to Report on Palestinian Statehood
Rick Sanchez Speaks About CNN
Anglican Clerics Tackle BBC Bias
Does NBC Hate Religious Conservatives?
Widespread Anti-Christian Bias in Media

Justice
MKL Murder Conspiracy Trial
No Justice for Murdered Border Patrolman
Homosexual Judge's Competence Questioned
Moldova: Chemical Castration for Sex Offenders
Justice Department Launches GLBT Emphasis
Did Hobbes Change the Meaning of Justice?
Elizabeth Anscombe on Justice

Legal Ethics
Any Legal Talent Outside Harvard?
Pennsylvania: Lawlessness in High Places
Justice Breyer's Fordham Award Stirs Controversy
Luban on Legal Ethics and Human Dignity
Jewish Ethics and Secular Law
Andrew Perlman: Batman and Legal Ethics
Lawyer-Client Communication

Medical Ethics
Poor Care of Edlerly in UK Government Hospitals
Some Israeli Doctors Complicit in Torture
India, Iran and Medical Ethics
Patient Dumping

Moral Codes
The Moral Code of Ani
Ancient Moral Codes

Morality
Moral Obligation
Revising Good and Evil
Russia Rejects UN's "Evolving Morals"
Scott B. Rae's Moral Choices
A Road Map for Moral Renewal in Europe
Buttiglione: Intolerance is Moral Amputation
Joel Marks: Ammoralism Minus the Fiery Prose
UK Riots Reveal Loss of Moral Compass

Natural Resources, Energy
Israel Finds Oil and Gas at Rosh Ha'ayin
"Fueling Poverty" Banned in Nigeria
Germans Exit Nuclear Energy
US Opposes Iran-Paki Energy Cooperation
BP's Obstruction of Independent Journalists

North Korea
What Students Should KNow About Totalitarianism
Why North Koreans Can't Write Research Papers

Organ Harvesting and Traffic
Belgium's Big Business
Boycotting Organs from Chinese Prisoners
Organs Taken From Living Refugees
Bangladesh: Poor Victims of Organ Harvesting

Politics
Why Many Are Resorting to Anger in Debates
Big Mouth Candidates and Free Speech
Obama's Messy Second Term
John Boehner and Divine Guidance
Obama Care Counts on Citizens to Obey the Law
Congressmen Steer Millions to Pet Projects
Many Experience IRS Harassment
What Americans Can't Talk About These Days
Living Word Church Accused of Electioneering

Polygamy
"Christian" Polygamy: Say what?
Cases of Polygyny Growing
Most Pakistani Leaders are Polygamists
Belgium: Sharia everyone?

Pornography
Portland's Dark Side of Porn and Child Sex Trafficking
Denmark's Child Porn Policy
John Stuart Mill and the Harm of Pornography

Poverty
Poverty Spurs Surrogacy in India
More Americans Poor But Still Honest
Poverty Worse in India Than in Africa
Poverty and Patients' Rights
What Makes a Good Society?
Addressing Chronic Poverty
Aristotle and Poverty
The High Cost of Being Poor
One Billion Going Hungry

Religion
Karl Barth's Critique of the Religion of "Good People"
The Sun and the Sacred

Religious Conscientious Objection
Good Friday Denied to Cranston Teachers
Progressives Enjoy Attacking Kim Davis
Muslim Flight Attendant Suspended for Not Serving Alcohol

Religious Intolerance, Persecution
Muslim Brotherhood Terrorism
The Pakistan Most Americans Don't Know
Coptic Christians Fear Future in Egypt
Putin Urges World Leaders to Unite Against Persecution of Christians
Boko Haram to Christians: Convert or Die
Tony Blair on the Problem Inside Islam
Coptic Child Murdered; Dumped in Sewer
Orthodox Priest Murdered in Moscow
Scientism's Irrational Attack on Religion
Christians Attacked in Punjab by Muslim Mob
Britain: Battle Over Religious Conscience

Russia
Russian Internet Blacklist Law
Russia Rejects UN's Evolving Morals
Putin and Poroshenko Meet in Normandy
Russia Warns Against Tourism in Egypt
Russia says Egypt plane was bombed in terror attack (2015)
Russian's Nuclear Power Contract with Iran (2013)
Kerry on US-Russian Relations (2013)

Sexual Abuse
Amsterdam Discovered that Prostitution is Rape
Portland Top Porn City
Sexual Abuse of Adolescent Boys
Libyan Women Reticent to Speak of Sexual Harassment

Socialism
Socialism and ISIS

Stem Cell Science
Another Stem Cell Debacle
USA: Absence of Stem Cell Donor Consent
Some Stem Cell Lines Off Limits
Whistleblower Exposes Soo Kyung's Stem cell Research
Mouse Stem Cells for Retina Repair

Suicide
Helping the Suicidal
Maine Rejects Physician Assisted Suicide
Trauma of Assisted Suicide Witnesses
Massachusetts Doctors Debate Assisted Suicide
Oregon Says No to Suicide Kits
Oregon PAS Stats Released
Guidelines for British Doctors Asked to Assist Suicides
Suicide Not a "Right" Even in Switzerland
Connecticut Ban on Assisted Suicide
Montana Allows Assisted Suicide

Surrogacy
Surrogacy Option
Baby Market in Belgium
Canada Moves Toward  Legal Surrogacy
Australia Seeks Legislation on Surrogacy
Surrogate Twins Denied French Citizenship
India to Legalize Surrogacy
Poverty Spurs Surrogacy in India
Eggsploitation

Taxation
Preparing for Taxageddon
Ron Radosh on IRS Scandal
You Too May Experience IRS Harassment
IRS Knew of Conservative Harassment in 2011
IRS Apologizes for Targeting Conservative Groups

Terrorism
Ethics in the War of Terrorism
Chechyan Terrorism and the Obama Administration
Iran, Boko Haram Stir Trouble in Nigeria
Nine Year Old Girl Forced to Wear Suicide Jacket
Boko Haram Murders Nine Polio Workers
Suicide Bomb Kills Lawyers and Journalist in Somalia

Time
Theories of Time
Better a Philosopher Than an Orator
Gain a Heart of Wisdom
The Sun and the Sacred

Totalitarianism
What Students Should Know About Totalitarianism
Vietnam Jails 13 Pro-Democracy Activists
Myanmar Prohibits Worship and Prayer

Truth
Truth Defends Itself
Kierkegaard: Witness to Truth

Utilitarian ethics
The Dark Side of Utilitarianism
Utilitarians Embracing Nihilism

Violence
Islamic Violence Against Women
Muslims Killing Muslims in Egypt
French Police Assault Elderly, Children
Immigrants Riot in Sweden

Voices of Reason and Integrity
Abdul Sattar Edhi
Malala Yousufzai
Chen Guangcheng
Rocco Buttiglione
Raafat Al Ghanem
George W. Bush
Aung San Suu Kyi
Yukiko Sugihara