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"Tradition?? The only good traditions are food traditions. The rest are repressive."

"There are two ways to think. The first is to trust to your ancestors, your religious leaders, or your charismatic professors. The second is to question, to challenge, to explore history for meanings, and to analyze issues. This latter is called Critical Thinking, and it is this that is the mission of my web site. "

Dr. Laina Farhat-Holzman  

December 2017

What are Laws and Norms?


Laws are rules of behavior observed and enforced by a society. These rules are mandated by whatever authorities are recognized by that culture. In republics such as ours, the laws are created by a process that involves debate, public input, and the combined authority of elected representatives, an elected president, and a judiciary as a source of appeal. When such laws are widely considered reasonable, the vast majority of the population obeys them. When laws are regarded by most as unre more...

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Is Fear of Strangers a Human Instinct?

Is fear of strangers (xenophobia) built in to the human genetic code? If genetic, it would be instinctive and innate. Blinking when something is thrown at us is instinctive. Fight or flight is an instinctive response to danger. Maternal protection of her young appears to be instinctive. But attitudes toward strangers are not uniform. The attitude is a learned response that depends upon our life circumstances.

People living in an environment of scarcity and hardship, such as the In more...

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Good Manners Need a Renaissance


Our country is having an epidemic of bad manners, causing all sorts of discord. In Western Civilization, good manners are the grease that makes the social wheels spin. One of our oldest definitions of good manners is the Golden Rule: "Do unto others as you would have others do unto you," or in the Hebrew scriptures, "Do not do unto others what would be hateful to you." This simple formula works for most of us, with the exception of sociopaths or psychopaths, who do not feel the pain of t more...

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Is Fundamentalism in Meltdown?


Every mainstream religion has positive elements that provide comfort and direction to its parishioners. But religions also have dark underbellies that create death, destruction, and havoc. No human society has ever been without religion, but in addition, no human society has ever escaped bouts of the dark stuff.

Could anyone at the time of the birth of Christianity, a religion based on the loving, pacific theology of Jesus, imagine that faith 1400 years later in the hands more...

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Can There Be a Centrist Party?

The political pendulum in this country has now swung to two extremes, making it very difficult for a sensible person to select a party that is a big, tolerant tent. Once long ago, the Republicans were such a party and for the same length of time, the Democrats were also a big tent. Today, both parties are struggling for survival and both are being deserted by people in the sensible middle.

A good friend of mine, has stated the problem well:
"Centrist? God, I hope so. The ex more...

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