In a recent “Skeptic’s Collection” column I gave examples of beliefs that represent the principle that “A little learning is a dangerous thing”. The examples I cited were derived from physics, psychology, and literature. But history is no less susceptible to warped beliefs than other disciplines. A recent issue of the Washington Post Magazine contains such an example of warped history. Problem is that the Post writer, while doing a sterling job of debunking the beliefs of lovers of the Confederacy, fails to note that liberals and progressives, in their zeal to repudiate such atavisms, fail equally to take into account their own myopia, and end up with a view of history – Civil War history in particular – that is equally warped, just in the opposite direction.
The article compri
For the last several weeks, I have been following the news out of the UK about the Parliament’s vote on PM Theresa May’s foredoomed plan for Brexit, including one installment of “Prime Minister’s questions,” which, for obvious reasons, centered on the still-falling debris from the May government’s unprecedented 230-vote blow-up of Mrs. May's Brexit deal. It had all the tragic dignity of, say, Sophocles’ Oedipus trilogy: you know what is going to happen, but for that very reason, you simply cannot bring yourself to avert your gaze. I was all the more horrified because, knowing the Parliament vote was imminent and that it would be followed by the 29 March deadline imposed by Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, I had begun some weeks before to read about the European Union (EU), Brexit, and
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