Category Archives: Human Relations

Christakis’s Blueprint for Sanity

I’ve started reading Yale sociologist Nicholas Christakis’s book Blueprint: The Evolutionary Origins of a Good Society. Christakis is something of a hero not only of free speech, but of sanity itself. His wife Erika, also on the faculty, was denounced … Continue reading

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When Smart People Get Stupid Ideas

If you want to hear stupid ideas, talk to a stupid person. But if you want to hear incredibly, mind-bogglingly stupid ideas, talk to a smart person. It’s not a new insight. Political pundit William F. Buckley once said that … Continue reading

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Grokking Our Disagreements

I finally got around to reading Robert Heinlein’s science fiction novel Starship Troopers. When I was growing up, I read two or three science fiction novels a week. How I missed Starship Troopers, I don’t know. And one of my … Continue reading

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Life is a Judgment Call

The bar patron asked the bartender, “Is life worth living?” The bartender replied, “It depends on the liver.”1 In other words, it’s a judgment call. Most of us crave simple patterns to explain life. We crave simple rules to guide … Continue reading

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Truth, Lies, and Bullsh-t

“I am lying,” said Epimenides the Cretan. So if he was lying, then he was telling the truth. And if he was telling the truth, he was lying. Epimenides also made the Statue of Liberty disappear. Sorry. That was a … Continue reading

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You See What You Expect

Why do smart, sane, honest people sometimes disagree no matter how hard they try to find the truth? Name an issue: Abortion Feminism Immigration Islam President Trump Racism My friends and I often have stark disagreements about those issues. But … Continue reading

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Trick or Treat

Is it okay to “trick people” for their own good? That question comes up early in John Staddon’s book The New Behaviorism. I’ve just started reading it, and it’s a thought-provoking analysis. Behaviorism is a psychological approach that, true to … Continue reading

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