Archive for February, 2015

Obama the Theologian

February 19, 2015

Ross Douthat shares some thoughts about Obama’s theological trajectory. His last point, that Niebuhrian analysis tinged by partisanship is unhelpful is very important. Here’s the concluding paragraph:

Obama was never going to have Ike’s authority, but he could still profit from his example. The deep problem with his Niebuhrian style isn’t that it’s too disenchanted or insufficiently pro-American. It’s that too often it offers “self”-criticism in which the president’s own party and worldview slip away untouched.

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Skills not degrees

February 19, 2015

There’s an important difference between a degree and skills.

The future of education belongs to those who figure out the difference and develop pedagogy and systems to teach and measure skills, it seems to me. But the future is a complicated thing..

Who Owns Yoga?

February 19, 2015

Can we Christianize practices like Yoga? I’m somewhat skeptical, but regardless they are at least contested practices today. As this article shows.

The Coming College Decline?

February 19, 2015

Another downer essay on the state and future of higher education. Here’s the key paragraph that picks off the discussion:

Frey has calculated that if the U.S. does not improve its college completion rates for young people, the share of Americans holding at least a four-year degree will start to decline as soon as 2020. After that, his model forecasts that the share of college-educated Americans will not climb back to its level in 2015 (just under one-third) at least through 2050.

I’m less bothered by the lowered 4 year graduation rate than the article, because lots of jobs that “require” college degrees really don’t (and we’ve already more graduates than those jobs, at least so I’ve read. But proper training for all and competencies for all, whether at a 4 year school or not is a pressing issue.

A History of Political Correctness

February 19, 2015

This article gives a quick review of the idea of political correctness. It’s interesting to not the way the term’s use has been transformed in the midst of various cultural battles.

Christian Zionism

February 19, 2015

Here’s a discussion of a recent report on Christian Zionism. While I am always doubtful about the perspective of these sorts  things (and sometimes their on-the-ground knowledge – as they tend to treat extremists as representative), there’s almost always something to learn.

Autonomous Cars

February 7, 2015

Not sure it will play out quite like this, but if even 20% of these predicted outcomes happen, we’re in for a wild ride. The big takeaways: greatly reduced traffic (and less use of things like roads, parking, gasoline – and less cars and pollution), industry shakeups (automobile, gas, transportation, insurance), public safety changes (fewer accidents, fewer police and traffic tickets), and other social disruptions it’s hard to imagine. And the best prediction of all:

The end of the DMV!

So, let’s just pretend for a moment…

Walmartization of Higher Education

February 7, 2015

Don’t know how I didn’t post about this one when it first came out. Race to the bottom anyone?

Does Political Correctness Work?

February 6, 2015

Ross Douthat suggests it sometimes does. In so doing, he warns us against purely utilitarian responses to this issue.

The Problem of Evil

February 5, 2015

Here’s a brief article about an interview with comedian/actor Stephen Frye and his take on the problem of evil (part of a discussion of his atheism). A pointed and direct expression of the problem of evil.