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Long Love Affairs with Libertarianism

written January 2007 | comments (9)

The 20th century philosopher-novelist Ayn Rand, author of The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged, famously called herself a “radical for capitalism.” The libertarian writer and journalist Brian Doherty has borrowed the epithet for his remarkably engaging and encyclopedic history of the movement in “Radicals for Capitalism: A Freewheeling History of the Modern American Libertarian Movement” (Public Affairs, 768 pages, $35). (continue reading…)

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Fact Checking 101

written January 2007 | comments (5)

In eSkeptic from January 10, 2007, we published highlights from a press release issued by PEER (Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility), a Washington D.C.-based environmental watchdog group. That press release, dated December 28, 2006, was headlined:

How old is the Grand Canyon? Park Service Won’t Say
Orders to Cater to Creationists Makes National Park Agnostic on Geology (continue reading…)

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Science & the Decline of Magic

written January 2007 | comments (7)

I am optimistic that science is winning out over magic and superstition. That may seem irrational, given the data from pollsters on what people believe. For example, a 2005 Pew Research Center poll found that 42 percent of Americans believe that “living things have existed in their present form since the beginning of time.” The situation is even worse when we examine other superstitions, such as these percentages of belief published in a 2002 National Science Foundation study: (continue reading…)

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Kramer’s Conundrum

written November 2006 | comments (6)

After a paroxysm of racial viciousness at the Laugh Factory Friday night, November 17, 2006, Michael Richards, the 57-year old comedian who played Kramer on Seinfeld, explained to David Letterman and his Late Night audience the following Monday, after a barrage of negative publicity: “I’m not a racist. That’s what’s so insane about this.” (continue reading…)

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War & Peace

written October 2006 | comments (2)

The evolution-creationism skirmishes that have periodically flared up throughout the past century embody the long historical tension between science and religion. It may surprise you, then, to learn that Charles Darwin matriculated at Cambridge University in theology, and throughout his five-year voyage around the world he was a creationist who regularly attended church services. It was only upon his return home that his loss of faith came about. (continue reading…)

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