Over the last several years, there has been a lot of chatter in the media about the obesity epidemic afflicting the United States, especially young teenagers of junior-high age. I will not rehearse the linked statistics here: you probably know them better than I, since, unlike your faithful Skeptic-In-Residence, most of my “Skeptic’s” readers are parents. (However, in fairness, I do have a PhD in being a kid ... a fat kid in particular. So I do have some modest competence to say what I say below.) I have even written humorously here and, somewhat humorously, here about my own struggles with weight, body image, and exercise. But this is really no laughing matter. Now, as far as the biological, somatic, and nutritional dimensions of the problem are concerned, basically no one is laugh
On Thursday, 1 February 2018, Jamie Dedes honored me by publishing my review of the new book by Paul Moses, The Saint and the Sultan: The Crusades, Islam, and Francis of Assisi’s Mission of Peace. I found the book engrossing. In fact, even its omissions were engrossing. And Moses' entire text was provocative, touching issues on history, ethics, religion, and the psychology thereof. In fact, Paul Moses' book was too good to keep. So -- with Jamie's permission -- I am taking the liberty of reprinting my review here.
For a religious person who is “seeking God’s will,” the most reliable indicator that you are in serious trouble is the belief that you have found it. Paul Moses has, perhaps unintentionally, written a brief but fascinating account of a case in point: The Saint and the Su
The latest (3 January) issue of Forbes references a Washington Post op-ed by Prof. Laura L. Carstensen, professor of psychology and the Fairleigh S. Dickinson Jr. professor in public policy at Stanford University, on the semiotics of aging started me reflecting about what I want to be called, and what I do not want to be called, now that I am pushing 70. (I will be 69 in April of 2018.) Words matter. And – over time measured in multiple years – certain words / terms have become increasingly patronizing because I have, over that same interval of time, come to think of myself more and more, not as middle-aged, but simply as old. Prof. Carstensen is right: By failing to identify with “old,” the story about old people remains a dreary one about loss and decline. Language matters: We need a