It’s one of those days when braining is very hard, and I think this is a problem for many people during the pandemic. I’m not sure why it’s the case for me, unless I’ve internalized the anxiety I share with many people about politics, the pandemic, aborted plans, and so on—to the point where adrenaline and cortisol are clogging up my synapses. To be honest, reading any kind of scientific paper seems like an almost insuperable chore, and though I have a backlog of interesting science papers to report on, I just can’t bring myself to read them. Stay tuned.
This is probably temporary, so instead of braining I’ll just drop a few references that I’ve read and wanted to write about, but can’t force myself to say anything substantive. I’ll put the screenshots below and a few words about each one, and perhaps you’ll find intellectual nourishment. Click on each screenshot to read the article.
First, Andrew Sullivan’s weekly column just arrived in my inbox, and I haven’t read it yet, but I will. Sullivan informs us that this is the last free access to his new site, The Weekly Dish, before the paywall goes up. I’ve subscribed, and so will continue to call attention to pieces I think are interesting. If you don’t want to pay $50 per year, go to the link below to get your last free read.
The main piece is Sullivan’s argument for the legalization of psychedelic drugs, and why they’re useful, and there’s a secondary piece called “Is Wokeness Winning?”, a response to readers’ criticisms of Sullivan’s previous piece that answered the question “yes, it’s winning”, and explained why.
Speaking of James Lindsay, whom Sullivan mentions in the “wokeness” piece, criticizing his decision to vote for Trump, there’s a good albeit long analysis of the insidious connection between Critical Race Theory and anti-Semitism at Lindsay’s New Discourses site:
Here are two papers on “scientism”, one by Maarten Boudry and the other by Massimo Pigliucci, who take opposite positions on issues. Boudry rejects the term, defending the idea that the sciences (broadly construed, as I call it, as does Boudry) are the only sources of knowledge. Pigliucci has a narrower definition of “science”, but the real argument should be about whether there are other ways of knowing besides interrogating nature (the “empirical method”), something that Pigliucci seems to think. Read Boudry first, then Pigliucci:
From Forbes. Those opposed to meritocracy on the grounds that it perpetuates racial inequalities and inequities have driven many colleges to ditch the use of standardized tests like SATs and ACTs. Because minorities get lower scores, this is seen as evidence that the tests are “racist”. People also argue that these tests have no predictive value for success in college or after college.
As far as I know from my reading, that last assertion is wrong: test scores not only are as useful as high-school grades in predicting college success, but also predict post-college success. They’re also also valuable in identifying students who may have lower GPAs but are worth noticing because of their high test performance. I stand by my prediction that, as wokeness spreads, the very idea that one should advance on the basis of merit will be tossed into the trash bin.
At any rate, this article argues (and gives lots of links) for the value of standardized tests as predictors of success.