About Rationally Speaking

Rationally Speaking is a blog maintained by Prof. Massimo Pigliucci, a philosopher at the City University of New York. The blog reflects the Enlightenment figure Marquis de Condorcet's idea of what a public intellectual (yes, we know, that's such a bad word) ought to be: someone who devotes himself to "the tracking down of prejudices in the hiding places where priests, the schools, the government, and all long-established institutions had gathered and protected them." You're welcome. Please notice that the contents of this blog can be reprinted under the standard Creative Commons license.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Michael’s Picks

by Michael De Dora

* Should doctors who oppose mandatory ultrasound laws engage in “civil disobedience”? This anonymous doctor says “yes.” Amanda Marcotte says “no.”

* You’ve probably heard conservative and religious leaders lament the recent “moral decline” of the United States. Yet are we truly in moral decline, or is the country just shifting away from traditional, religious morality? That’s the question taken up in a new article in the Economist, which finds little evidence to support the former position.

* The National Organization for Marriage (NOM), which advocates for restricting the legal definition of marriage to one man and one woman, has announced an international protest of Starbucks over the company’s support of marriage equality. Apparently it’s not going well.

* The very cool story of a giant, weird-looking, six-legged bug that was thought to be extinct, but had just found a hard-to-find home.

* I told you a couple of picks back that Harvard University political philosopher Michael Sandel has a new book coming out April 24, titled What Money Can’t Buy: the Moral Limits of Markets. Now I’ve also got a preview article by Sandel, and a clip of the audiobook.

* “Why we need sex ed now.” Check out the graphic sent to me by the people at Public Health Degree, who are apparently fans of my blog.

* Here’s a fun web site to spend a couple of minutes on: “What the heck has Obama done so far?

1 comment:

  1. Ah, Starbucks, the Moral Compass of our generation...

    Re "moral decline," the article is pretty good, but it looks a little spin-doctored. For example, why choose "since 1991" as a timescale for violent crime? Overall conclusion is right, though. Also, the author is very correct to point out that it all depends on what counts as moral decline for a given person. I'm inclined to see out-of-wedlock births as nearly orthogonal to moral concerns, but for somebody else that sort of metric may be very important.

    Every generation since Gilgamesh has railed against the moral laxity of the next. But what's interesting is that people only really *seem* to see moral decline between 1 or 2 generations, separated by a few decades. Only really hardcore conservatives would claim that 1700 was morally better than 2000, and as for taking morality lessons from Ancient Egypt or something, forget it.

    I guess what I'm saying is that "moral decline" = "get off my lawn" with an ethical veneer.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.