The Pursuit of Knowledge

The Pursuit of Knowledge

Politics Versus Education

By 1.14.14

Anyone who has still not yet understood the utter cynicism of the Obama administration in general, and Attorney General Eric Holder in particular, should look at the Justice Department's latest interventions in education.

If there is one thing that people all across the ideological spectrum should be able to agree on, it is that better education is desperately needed by black youngsters, especially in the ghettoes. For most, it is their one chance for a better life.

Among the few bright spots in a generally dismal picture of the education of black students are those successful charter schools or voucher schools to which many black parents try to get their children admitted. Some of these schools have not only reached but exceeded national norms, even when located in neighborhoods where the regular public schools lag far behind.

Where admission to these schools is by a lottery, the cheers and tears that follow announcements of who has been admitted -- and, by implication, who will be forced to continue in the regular public schools -- tell the story better than words can.

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The Pursuit of Knowledge

Why December 25th?

By 12.24.13

One of the most popular theories and commonly taught explanations for why Christmas is on Dec. 25th is because the early church placed Christian holidays at times of Roman celebration to co-opt the local pagan festivals.

Christians placed Christmas on Dec. 25th to co-opt Saturnalia, the mid-winter festival, or possibly the Festival of the Unconquered Sun -- Sol Invictus. The theory went that Christians could get the heathen to convert by co-opting their own holidays.

There is one problem -- it sounds more convincing than it is. These theories did not start growing until the 12th century and only became popular once comparative religion became trendy after the 18th century. Going back to the earliest Christian church finds evidence that Christmas, though not initially celebrated, had starting being commemorated well before the Feast of the Unconquered Sun's creation for entirely Christian reasons.

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The Pursuit of Knowledge

The C.S. Lewis Industry

By From the December 2013 issue

Countless books, documentaries, and news segments have been queued up to mark the 50th anniversary of John F. Kennedy’s assassination on November 22, 1963. That was also the day C.S. Lewis died.

Unlike Kennedy, Lewis died of natural causes: likely one part weak heart, two parts kidney failure. According to Devin Brown’s new biography A Life Observed, at four that afternoon, Lewis’s older brother Warnie “carried tea to the small downstairs bedroom of his home” in the Kilns at Oxford where Lewis was resting. They exchanged a few forgettable words. At 5:30, Warnie “heard a sound and rushed to find his brother lying unconscious at the foot of his bed. A few minutes later…Lewis ceased breathing.” It was one week shy of his 65th birthday.

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The Pursuit of Knowledge

The Noble Savage

By 1.14.13

And you thought today's writers are a low, unprincipled bunch?
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The Pursuit of Knowledge

Jensen And Flynn

By 11.27.12

The friendly dispute between Arthur Jensen and James Flynn over the role of genes in IQ was a model of intellectual discovery.
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The Pursuit of Knowledge

P Is for Poison

By From the June 2012 issue

As in political correctness, pornography, and plastic, the three great public poisons of our time.
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