How much of a person’s intelligence do you think is genetic, and how much do you think is a product of his or her environment (how he/she was raised, education, etc.)?
If your answer was not “100% genetic”, it might be difficult to imagine a time when almost all professionals, including psychologists, believed that intelligence was static throughout one’s lifetime and was completely hereditary. That is the setting of Marilyn Brookwood’s new book, The Orphans of Davenport: Eugenics, the Great Depression, and the War over Children’s Intelligence. It recounts the story of the four Iowa psychologists who discovered that children’s…
When thinking about historical oppression, how does one weigh deaths in the tens of thousands? How do you compare that to hundreds of thousands or millions?
This question is important when considering all sorts of tragedies. There is a quote attributed to Joseph Stalin (one never knows the veracity of these things) that says: “The death of one man is a tragedy. The death of millions is a statistic.” People know about the Holocaust (6 million dead). A lot of people even know some about the imperialist oppression in the Congo (an estimated 15 million dead) thanks to King Leopold’s…
Think about what you do. Do you often feel like you’re hanging by a thread, just waiting for someone to find out that you have no clue what you’re doing?
This feeling, often called impostor syndrome, is extremely common among parents, teachers, writers, bakers, lawyers, and even doctors. It’s common among every class of people you can imagine. And that theme, of feeling like you don’t belong in the place where you find yourself (and that it could all fall apart at any moment) is a major theme throughout Adam Stern’s new memoir, Committed: Dispatches from a Psychiatrist in Training…
“Devalue the words of women and half the battle is won.”
Kate Moore (author of the 2017 bestseller The Radium Girls) writes these words in the final pages of her new book The Woman They Could Not Silence, but the principle is conveyed throughout the entire work. Moore has spoken to our cultural moment by telling the story of a woman in the mid-1800s who overcame a system that was specifically stacked against women.
The Woman They Could Not Silence focuses on Elizabeth Packard, a wife and mother whose husband (a pastor) sends her to an insane asylum in 1860…
What, to the American slave, is your 4th of July?
The words of Frederick Douglass are words I could not get out of my mind while reading Annette Gordon-Reed’s new book, On Juneteenth. I can imagine those words, or the sentiment behind that Douglass speech, may have been on the minds of those who first celebrated Juneteenth, a commemoration of the enslaved people of Texas finally being granted the freedom they already naturally (and even legally) were owed.
Pulitzer Prize-winning author Annette Gordon-Reed (The Hemingses of Monticello) is one of the great historians of our time, and she has created…
Aren’t we better off without religion?
Does Christianity crush diversity?
How can you say there’s only one true faith?
How can you take the Bible literally?
Hasn’t science disproved Christianity?
Doesn’t Christianity denigrate women?
Isn’t Christianity homophobic?
If you’re not a Christian, have you found yourself asking these questions before?
If you are a Christian, have you thought through the answers to these questions?
Rebecca McLaughlin’s wonderful Confronting Christianity is written for everyone because it slowly walks through answers to these hard questions (and more). I have been in church my entire life, yet some of McLaughlin’s answers in Confronting…
If, as Martin Luther King, Jr. said, 11 o’clock on a Sunday morning is the most segregated hour of the week… how do we fix it?
That was over 50 years ago, and it still rings true. Most churches in America have one dominant culture group. Multicultural congregations are increasing in number and proportion as demographics shift across the United States. However, in many churches, the tipping point of becoming multicultural (where 20% of the congregants are not among the dominant culture group) still seems far away. My local church (of which I am a layperson, not a pastor) has…
Have you ever had a book that you were excited about, but failed to capture your interest?
This is my experience with John Sedgwick’s newly released From the River to the Sea: The Untold Story of the Railroad War That Made the West. I love American history, and the premise is promising: two railroad barons ignite a rivalry that created the American West as it now is. Los Angeles was even transformed into a major city within a matter of months because of the inexpensive railroad tickets produced by the rivalry. It’s fascinating.
Then why wasn’t the book fascinating?
What percentage of Americans do you think supported the space race in the 1960s?
As with almost all statistics, it’s impossible to arrive at one conclusive answer, but I assumed the number would be high. Maybe 75%? Cold War rivalry ran deep, the story goes. Everyone took the losses to the USSR in space very seriously and wanted to pull ahead. But it turns out that isn’t so true. It turns out that public sentiment for space exploration is remarkably similar to what it was 60 years ago: it’s not worth the money. Throughout the 1960s, the majority of Americans…
Which books do you think made America what it is today?
You’re probably thinking of classic works of literature: Huckleberry Finn, The Great Gatsby, To Kill a Mockingbird, something along those lines. That’s what I expected when I opened Americanon, Jess McHugh’s brand new work from Dutton Books. But the word “unexpected” in the subtitle could not be more apt for what this book had in store.
First, McHugh doesn’t have in mind the kind of literature you read once and put back on the shelf. She, for quite a compelling reason, has chosen books that Americans have bought in…
Book-reviewer, AP World History and AP Psychology Teacher. MAT Secondary Social Studies, University of Arkansas. Arlington, TX.