Posts

Showing posts from June, 2020

Chapter 5 - How the News Makes You Stupid

Image
[I am writing a book and plan to post chapters as I go, here is Chapter 5. I've already posted the introduction and first four and you can start here to read them. I will update with links to the future chapters when they are done.]


In the story of the Emperor's New Clothes, it was the those enlightened people that could see the clothes. The rabble could not. The more educated and knowledgeable someone was the better chance they had of seeing the clothes. In modern Western Culture one of the ways we educate ourselves is by careful attention to the news. Most college educated people are news watchers. We might flip on a cable news channel as we sip coffee in the morning. We scroll through CNN.com during the day. We check the opinion section of the Wall Street Journal. We see what is trending on twitter. We talk news with our friends at lunch. We post something about it on Facebook when we get home. We watch coverage on protests in Iran. We read about China's currency man…

Chapter 4 - No One Was Enlightened by the Enlightenment

Image
[I am writing a book and plan to post chapters as I go, here is Chapter 4. I've already posted the introduction and first three and you can start here to read them. I will update with links to the future chapters when they are done.]

The turning point of history was really the Enlightenment. This is what I learned in my middle school history class. Ancient Rome was advanced. Ancient Egypt was advanced. Ancient China was advanced. But then Rome fell, Egypt faded, and China faltered. The world entered a period we call the Dark Ages in which people were very superstitious and uneducated. Life was gross. Doctors bled everyone. People didn't bathe. Witches were burned. And everyone died young. It was only with the onset of the Enlightenment when people set aside their superstitious ideas of God, embraced science, and focused on equality that things finally started to get better. Soon after that, slavery ended, modern medicine was invented, and life generally just got better.
How …