Plato’s reading suggestions, episode 75

Here it is, our regular Friday diet of suggested readings for the weekend:

The decline of public intellectuals and the rise of so-called thought leaders.

Human expertise and the illusion of knowledge.

Many parents still believe a large number of myths about child psychology that have been debunked or lack evidence.

Focused on Trump’s successes, many supporters are unfazed by his reversals.

A 100-year-old “challenge” to Darwin is still making waves. Though in fact it helps the theory of evolution.

The Evangelical roots of the post-truth world.

220 thoughts on “Plato’s reading suggestions, episode 75

  1. Robin Herbert

    In Australia there are these motivatible groups but they are mainly used by the fringe parties. In Australia they have to be convinced to change their vote which is a more difficult thing to do. In the US you only have to convince a few more of them to go out and vote which is easier especially since many of them are not voting because they don’t think the major parties care about their issues. Thus the ‘forgotten man’ resonates with people who don’t normally vote and therefore whose participation can change things.

    I don’t think there are many of these motivatible groups that would help the Democrats much.


  2. brodix


    “I hope they have started already.

    With who? Chelsea?

    This isn’t how nature works. The clock does NOT get turned back. The old dies and rots and the new grows up in the cracks. Just because the old is big and overwhelming doesn’t mean it can’t die.

    The bigger they come, the harder they fall.


  3. SocraticGadfly

    Valerian, which non-swing state is yours?

    On voting, if there’s not a Green (and a reasonable one) on the ballot, I’ll vote for a Democrat who’s not a full-blown conservaDem. But, I’ll try pushing them to the left. Here in Texas, Congressman Beto O’Rourke has already announced he’ll run against Cruz. Congressman Joaquin Castro is rumored to be considering a run. That said, while O’Rourke is a couple of points to the left of Castro, both have one big problem among others — both have yet to endorse Conyers’ single-payer bill in the House. I expect to vote Green for Senate unless the Dem nominee has changed his mind by then on that issue.

    Massimo, that said, otherwise, yes … kind of like Martin Luther at the Diet of Worms, I can’t pull that two-party lever any more. That said, if the Socialist Party USA starts fielding more candidates, and tweaks its platform in ways that make it better than the Greens’ platform, not to both you and Valerian, I reserve my right to shift allegiance within parties of the left. SPUSA is, among other things, reportedly looking at a more science-friendly platform on GMOs. As long as it keeps the same anti-interventionist foreign policy as both it and Greens currently have — if they change on that and have candidates for me to vote for …


  4. wtc48

    Robin: “To beat Trump next time the Democrats will not only need to find a candidate with broad appeal, one who can motivate people who can go out and vote, they will also need to find out how to counteract the accurately targeted campaigning of the GOP.”

    Good luck with that broad appeal. I’ve been hoping for one of those since 1972, 45 years, and we’ve had two that fit that description. Is there any doubt that Obama would have gotten a third term if it had been legal? Or Bill Clinton, for that matter, despite the many people in rural areas that hated both of them.


  5. wtc48

    From my choice of candidates, obviously I prefer moderate Democrats, because they’re the ones that get elected, and I have no use for any Republicans more recent than Wayne Morse and Tim McCall. But my own views are somewhat to the left of Sanders. But I’m pretty doomed out about the future of the planet, especially with the surge of nationalism that has come up recently, because I think some kind of global government with clout is the only hope for a solution to global environmental problems.


  6. wtc48

    Even my use of the term “environmental” has implications that anything that isn’t terraplaned is some sort of token park.


  7. SocraticGadfly

    Saph: Yeah, I was hoping for Le Pen-Melenchon in France. (Keep wanting to type Melanchthon — the old Lutheran heritage still seeps out?)

    Oh, well, there’s still the possibility of British election schadenfreude. If Corbyn is as inept as I expect BUT May is half that inept, maybe the Tories could be forced to coalition and Britain gets even more fun.


  8. saphsin


    You were hoping LePen would win so that Melenchon had a better chance? I have mixed feelings about that. It partly feels messed to risk the chance and partly I see the logic in it. But Hamon voters didn’t back him so he lost, he would’ve come put on top even if he got half their voters. I don’t know enough about French politics to know the context but that looks like voting Stein over Sanders if they both participated in the Democratic Primaries, it looks bizarre to me.

    I don’t know what’s happening with Corbyn because I get different reactions from people, one side calling him an inept leader and the other side blaming the fact that the rest of his party was trying to usurp him and that he can’t be blamed. I’d rather just reserve judgment unless I do all the research myself, but alas, I don’t want to at the moment.


  9. synred

    >What happens when abstractions rule

    The Green house effect is not an abstraction. Just get in your car on a cold day when it’s been sitting in the sun with the windows rolled up.

    W/o the green house effect the earth would be too cold for us to live hear.


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