I am re-publishing this "Skeptic's" column today because, if anything, it is even more relevant today than when it first appeared. I am also re-publishing it because, when I originally published it, politics used to be ... you know ... both fun and funny. So for a few moments, we can share a trip down Memory Lane to a time of comparative innocence.
Well, we are in that time of year again – July in general, and the Fourth in particular -- when we all make the obligatory pilgrimage to the First Church of American Exceptionalism, also known colloquially and variously as "the back yard" or "the deck" or "the patio", where we celebrate the Sacrament of Opportunistic Patriotism with beer instead of wine, with burgers instead of unleavened bread, on an outdoor barbecue grill instead of an alta
I have been closely following the history of the hyper-restrictive – grossly over-restrictive, in my estimation – abortion laws and bills, including the so-called “heartbeat” laws / bills. As a result, I have become convinced that the biggest problem with the abortion debate – both pro-choice and pro-life -- is that both parties assume they know one helluva lot more than they actually do, in fact, one helluva lot more than anybody knows about what a fetus in a womb actually is, “ontologically”. In fact, both parties assume that they know one helluva lot more than anyone can know, even in principle.
First, we need to define some terminology. Consider the word “phenotype”. “Phenotype” refers to those characteristics of a biological organism that are naked-eye, empirically,
On a recent weekend, my wife and I watched – I for probably the dozenth time – the 1956 classic science fiction movie Forbidden Planet. Perhaps halfway through the movie, and largely because of the Freudian discussion of the power and place of the id in the human mind that was woven into the narrative, I had a lightning stroke of insight: Forbidden Planet (hereafter FP) is no longer, as it was in 1956, a vivid but purely theoretical cautionary tale about Freud’s warnings concerning what he called “the return of the Repressed,” but is also a chilling metaphor for the hazards of Trump as the first truly postmodern American President. Suddenly, I realized that we are not Dr. Morbius and his nubile daughter living on Altair IV perhaps 200 years in the future. Rather we are Americans liv