The Humanities

Lethal Absurdity

Phil Hansten | June 26, 2015

The most costly of all follies is to believe passionately in the palpably not true. It is the chief occupation of mankind. H. L. Mencken We seem to have an epidemic of absurd thinking. Discussions based on empirical evidence and rational …

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The “Deadline Watch” was a recent topic on National Public Radio. You put in data about yourself and the ticker on your wrist continuously estimates your time left on Earth. Its inventor, Fredrik Colting, a 37-year-old Swedish former grave-digger, then …

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The Devil’s Desiderata

Phil Hansten | November 10, 2013

Astronomers assumed for years that there were planets similar to earth throughout the universe… planets that could possibly harbor life and even intelligent beings. Now astronomers are regularly finding evidence of planets circling other stars (“exoplanets”). This virtually guarantees what …

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Some Thoughts on Reading “Adventures of an Accidental Sociologist,” Part 3

Dan Liechty | August 27, 2013

Now that I am sitting down to write my third blog on my reactions to this book, it is pretty clear that the book engaged me at a fairly deep level. Although I didn’t plan it this way, part 1 …

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Clifford’s Law

Phil Hansten | June 27, 2013

Some people find Clifford’s Law disturbing and counterintuitive. Its inventor, William Clifford, doesn’t care what you think. Clifford’s Law, for example, leads to the startling conclusion that the 2003 invasion of Iraq would have been a terrible decision even if …

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A Call for Readings

Bill Bornschein | June 2, 2013

One of the best things about working with Becker in the classroom is that it provides such a great resource for continually seeing him anew through the eyes of students. They bring a fresh world of experience to the eternal …

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