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.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Michael’s Picks

by Michael De Dora

* In case you are one of the many people who rush in donations at the end of the year, you might consider checking out the organization GiveWell, which evaluates and ranks charities based on how effective they are in allocating their resources to those in need and accomplishing their respective missions. GiveWell’s top three charities for 2012 can be found here

* On a similar note: it is often said that conservatives are more charitable than liberals, in that conservatives donate more money to charitable organizations than liberals. But is this commonly held view true? According to a new study, the answer is no. 

* The Washington Examiner recently featured yours truly in a profile, including a brief interview on my position regarding religion and morality. The creationist Ken Ham caught wind of it and was not impressed.

* Susan Jacoby, ahead of the release of her new book on Robert Ingersoll, pens a wonderful essay for The American Scholar on the little-known 19th-century freethought advocate and orator dubbed “The Great Agnostic.”

* Addicted to heroin? Meth? Alcohol? Neurosurgeons in China claim to have a cure: destroy the pleasure centers of the human brain. Carl Zimmer explores all sides of the intense debate on this issue for Time magazine.

* Christian blogger Robert Hunt clarifies that a secular government does not abandon discussion on moral beliefs it values. It simply requires a different approach to discussing them. What a refreshing read! 

* On his blog Against the New Taboo, Tauriq Moosa argues that fiction and literature play an important role in shaping moral thinking. 

* Gallup has released a new survey that details the reasons why Americans either support or oppose marriage equality. You can view the findings here.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the link about the study on charitable giving by political affiliation. Frankly I hadn't the impression either political side gave more than the other. But had I thought about it it, I would have guessed that Republicans tend to give more to religious based charities.

    But these 2 statements from the study would seemingly contradict each other...
    In short, when Democrats (Republicans) control the White House, Democratic (Republican) voters say they see the economy more favorably.

    We find that charitable contributions fluctuate based on the political landscape: Democrats (Republicans) donate less money when a Republican (Democrat) occupies the White House.

    More evidence that people don't behave rationally about economics even based on their perceptions?
    ha ha ha
    (Not that I've personally ever had the rational market fantasy. ;)


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