by Alan Jacobs

If we live in a disenchanted age — an era of science, technology, and secular reason — why are stories about supernatural forces, magical beings, and godlike powers so popular? Alan Jacobs explains what fantasy lets us safely see.


READ MORE Image: Zsolt Kósa


Machine Grading and Moral Learning

by Joshua Schulz

A recent proposal to have computers start grading college essays raises deeper questions about the purpose of education. Joshua Schulz explains why grading is a moral craft.


Who Needs a Liberal Education?

by Gilbert Meilaender

Do universities really need more general education requirements? The liberal arts are neither attractive to nor practical for every college student, Gilbert Meilaender argues — and they are not the only path to wisdom and freedom.

Tocqueville on Technology

by Benjamin Storey

Critics say that Alexis de Tocqueville failed to notice the importance of technology in young America. But Benjamin Storey argues that the great student of democracy understood the power and poetry of technology better than he is generally given credit for.

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Me, My Genome, and 23andMe

by Austin L. Hughes

The FDA put the kibosh on 23andMe’s diagnostic services — but not before geneticist Austin L. Hughes became a customer. He describes what he learned and asks whether the government is right to worry about the rise of personal genomics.

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Why and How We Should Break OPEC Now

Science, Technology, and Religion

A symposium exploring how modern science and innovation affect religious practice and belief, written from the perspectives of some of the major faith traditions.

The Golem and the Limits of Artifice

Charles T. Rubin on what the Jewish legend can (and cannot) teach us about bioethics

Disenchantment and Its Discontents

Joseph Bottum on why Catholics need not choose between science and wonder

Redeeming Technologies

Timothy Dalrymple on how Evangelicals embrace technological innovation

The Trouble with the New “Islamic Science”

Imad-ad-Dean Ahmad on trying to read the Koran like a science textbook

Implicit Science in Hindu Thought

Varadaraja V. Raman on the foreshadowing of modern science in ancient Hinduism

Science through Buddhist Eyes

Martin J. Verhoeven on the imperfect harmonizing of Buddhism with science

Science and the Search for Meaning

Peter Morales on Unitarian Universalism and what science and religion share
Top to bottom: Wiki CommonsSainte-Chapelle via Shutterstock; Digital icon hand via ShutterstockWiki Commons; Marat IvanovOne Cosmic Egg, with permission; Ladakh monk via Shutterstock; Statue of Joseph Priestley via Shutterstock.


Philanthropy’s Original Sin

by William A. Schambra

In a dark chapter of American history, thousands of people were once forcibly sterilized with the aim of improving the nation’s “genetic stock.” But while state governments and the scientific community have been making amends for eugenics, another set of key players has been all but overlooked: philanthropists, who sought to use their wealth and influence to care for the weak and vulnerable by eliminating them.


READ MORE Image: Am. Philosophical Society.

Do Elephants Have Souls?

by Caitrin Nicol

A wealth of recent research on animal intelligence, emotions, and awareness calls into question much of the conventional wisdom about what separates man and the animals. What does this evidence mean, and how does it affect our obligations to other creatures? Caitrin Nicol explores the biology and history of that most bewitching and impressive creature of them all, the Elephant.

Born to Run

by Noemie Emery

The good, the bad, and the ugly of horseracing

Dog’s Best Friend

by Diana Schaub

Disciplining pets and mastering ourselves
Top: “Big ears,” altered w/perm. (CC); Middle: “Brown eyes,” cropped w/perm. (CC); Bottom: “I’m here for you” (CC).

When Technology Ceases to Amaze

by Robert Herritt

Our everyday lives are mediated by more magical-seeming technologies than ever before, but they fail to evoke a sense of mystery. Robert Herritt explores the reasons for our lack of wonder.


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When Finance Met Physics

by R. McKay Stangler

Stock trading has become a form of mathematical modeling, with sometimes disastrous results. R. McKay Stangler reviews a new book that claims we need yet more and better models.


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Scientism in the Arts and Humanities

by Roger Scruton

As the ideology of scientism spreads to the study of art and literature, Roger Scruton argues that we risk believing that brains are but matter, paintings are but pixels, and all culture is nothing but “memes.”


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Brave New World, Plato’s Republic, and Our Scientific Regime

by Matthew J. Franck

The society depicted in Aldous Huxley’s dystopian warning bears a striking resemblance to the city described in The Republic. Matthew J. Franck compares their teachings on politics, philosophy, poetry, and the power of science.


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"Delusion Dwellers," pencil on paper, ©LLipton (www.laurielipton.com)

Science and Non-Science in Liberal Education

by Harvey C. Mansfield

Natural science, with its standards of experimental rigor, has come to dominate the university, leaving many non-scientific scholars confused about the place of the humanities or social sciences in the academy. But, as Harvey C. Mansfield argues, science remains dependent on non-science, and philosophy remains the cornerstone of any serious education.


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by James Bowman

On Breaking Bad, terminally ill high school chemistry teacher Walter White transforms himself into a drug kingpin. James Bowman argues that the hit show is a tale of an Enlightenment figure thrust into a world of pre-Enlightenment values by his confrontation with mortality.


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Image courtesy AMC

Editorial

The Record of Our “Scientist-in-Chief”

How has President Obama’s inaugural promise to “restore science to its rightful place” fared? The president’s record on issues from energy to bioethics to R&D budgeting shows a failure to put science above politics. But is it ever possible for such policy debates to escape politics?


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St. Francis, Christian Love, and the Biotechnological Future

by William B. Hurlbut

The new Pope chose to name himself after Francis of Assisi, “the man of poverty, the man of peace, the man who loves and protects creation.” As William B. Hurlbut explains, the humility of St. Francis stands in stark contrast to the hubristic aims of modern science, and his understanding of suffering and redemption offers a needed corrective to our appetite for biotechnological perfection.


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Understanding Heidegger on Technology

by Mark Blitz

What can the controversial German philosopher Martin Heidegger teach us about technology? Mark Blitz argues that Heidegger’s work provides a challenging and timely (if not unassailable) way to think about the role of technology in modern life.


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New blog

Practicing Medicine

The Hollowness of Radical Bioethics

by John Sexton

In their new book, Genes, Cells and Brains, Hilary and Steven Rose offer valuable critiques of biological reductionism and technological “Prometheanism.” But John Sexton reveals something missing at the center of their leftist bioethics: human nature.


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Scientism and the Integrity of the Humanities

by Austin L. Hughes

Austin L. Hughes responds to Steven Pinker’s attempt to put science in charge of the humanities.


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Image by Henry Leutwyler via stevenpinker.com

E-mail Updates

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Reporting Mass Shootings and Suicides


Ari N. Schulman on the news media’s troubled coverage of imitative acts of violence.


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The Secular Religions of Progress

by Robert H. Nelson

Economists often try to present their discipline as truly scientific — a value-neutral tool for predicting policy outcomes. But looking to history, Robert H. Nelson shows that economic science cannot be separated from its moral and even religious presuppositions.


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The Good Doctor

by Daniel P. Sulmasy

Daniel P. Sulmasy, a student of the late Dr. Edmund Pellegrino, reflects on the legacy and moral integrity of the man who helped found medical ethics.


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The Conservative Record on Environmental Policy

by Jonathan H. Adler

Environmentalists often dismiss conservatives as obstructionists who are only interested in stopping the government from regulating industry. Jonathan H. Adler corrects this common misinterpretation of the history of American environmental policy.


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