Aeon April, 2016

The New Astrology

By fetishizing mathematical models, economists turned economics into a highly paid pseudoscience

Since the 2008 financial crisis, colleges and universities have faced increased pressure to identify essential disciplines, and cut the rest. In 2009, Washington State University announced it would eliminate the department of theatre and dance, the department of community and rural sociology, and the German major – the same year that the University of Louisiana at Lafayette ended its philosophy major. In 2012, Emory University in Atlanta did away with the visual arts department and its journalism programme. The cutbacks aren’t restricted to the humanities: in 2011, the state of Texas announced it would eliminate nearly half of its public undergraduate physics programmes. Even when there’s no downsizing, faculty salaries have been frozen and departmental budgets have shrunk.

 

But despite the funding crunch, it’s a bull market for academic economists...

The Atlantic AUGUST 30, 2016

How Trigger Warnings Silence Religious Students

Practices meant to protect marginalized communities can also ostracize those who disagree with them.

 

Last week, the University of Chicago’s dean of students sent a welcome letter to freshmen decrying trigger warnings and safe spaces—ways for students to be warned about and opt out of exposure to potentially challenging material. While some supported the school’s actions, arguing that these practices threaten free speech and the purpose of higher education, the note also led to widespread outrage, and understandably so...

NPR JUNE 11, 2015

How 'Diet Gurus' Hook Us With Religion Veiled In Science

 

Flip through today's bestselling diet books and you won't see any references to religion. From Paleo to vegan to raw, nutrition gurus package their advice as sound, settled science. It doesn't matter whether meat is blamed for colon cancer or grains are called out as fattening poison — there's no shortage of citations and technical terms (tertiary amines, gliadin, ketogenesis) to back up the claims...

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