social science

The New Secular Puritan Covenant

Thanksgiving brings back memories for Americans of the Pilgrims and Puritans, carrying out their “errand into the wilderness” to build a “city on a hill,” surviving that first bleak Massachusetts winter of 1620-21. As a kid, I remember that cutting out Puritan hats from black construction paper and taping them to the school windows was [...]

New Study Downplays Harm Abortion Inflicts on Women

A study published last week in the journal JAMA Psychiatry claims to show that women facing an unwanted pregnancy do not suffer any negative impact on their mental health after abortion. Carried out by the ANSIRH (Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health) program at the University of California, San Francisco, the study sought to respond to [...]

The Dangers of Contemporary “Authoritarianism”

Matthew MacWilliams, in a January 17 post on Politico, expatiated on the “one weird trait that predicts whether you are a Trump supporter." That variable turns out to be "authoritarianism.” The author relates the results of a late December 2015 poll he conducted in conjunction with the University of Massachusetts. Controlling for different variables, he contends [...]

Well-Being vs. Well-Feeling: On Defining True Happiness

In the twenty years since the publication of Deal Hudson’s marvelous book Happiness and the Limits of Satisfaction, the eclipse of Greek and Christian ideas about happiness by the pursuit of pleasure, of “well-feeling” rather than “well-being,” has only advanced. This movement has been deepened and accelerated by my colleagues in the social and behavioral [...]

The Real Threat Facing the Humanities

Higher education in the United States is beset with a variety of crises, from skyrocketing tuition rates to the attendant ballooning student loan debt. Much has been written in the last several years, in particular, about the dire situation in which the humanities find themselves in the universities, as student enrollment in majors such as [...]

Are Religious Children Meaner Than Their Secular Counterparts?

Since the release of a Pew Research Center report last spring on the “Changing Religious Landscape,” media outlets have suggested that the declines in Church affiliation indicate that the United States is becoming a nation that has given up on God.  NPR claims that Americans—especially young Americans—have lost their faith.  Now, a study reported in [...]

Time to Question Inevitability of Gay “Marriage”

The social science world is reeling as it becomes clear that one of their newest rising stars, Michael LaCour, is a fraud. As a graduate student at UCLA, LaCour co-published an electrifying paper claiming to show that, contrary to conventional wisdom, people’s long-established views can be changed quite easily through a brief encounter with a [...]

The Latest Sham Science on Gay Parenting

Social science is a sham. That’s what I take from Helen Rittelmeyer’s superlative February 2014 First Things essay, “Bloodless Moralism.” Claims to objectivity are a smokescreen—those who profess to explain political, economic, or social behavior are almost always motivated by personal interests and natural biases. They are often at least as politically minded—if not more [...]

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