Topic Review
Judgment of Solomon
The Judgment of Solomon is a story from the Hebrew Bible in which King Solomon of Israel ruled between two women both claiming to be the mother of a child. Solomon revealed their true feelings and relationship to the child by suggesting to cut the baby in two, with each woman to receive half. With this strategy, he was able to discern the non-mother as the woman who entirely approved of this proposal, while the actual mother begged that the sword might be sheathed and the child committed to the care of her rival. Some consider this approach to justice an archetypal example of an impartial judge displaying wisdom in making a ruling.
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  • 24 Oct 2022
Topic Review
Ashkenazi Jewish Intelligence
Whether Ashkenazi Jews have higher average intelligence than other ethnic groups, and if so, why, has been an occasional subject of scientific controversy. Studies have generally found Ashkenazi Jews to have an average intelligence quotient (IQ) in the range of 107 to 115, and Ashkenazi Jews as a group have had successes in intellectual fields far out of proportion to their numbers. A 2005 scientific paper, "Natural History of Ashkenazi Intelligence", proposed that Jews as a group inherit significantly higher verbal and mathematical intelligence and somewhat lower spatial intelligence than other ethnic groups, on the basis of inherited diseases and the peculiar economic situation of Ashkenazi Jews in the Middle Ages. Opposing this hypothesis are explanations for the congenital illnesses in terms of the founder effect and explanations of intellectual successes by reference to Jewish culture's promotion of scholarship and learning.
  • 45.1K
  • 14 Oct 2022
Topic Review
List of Topics Characterized as Pseudoscience
This is a list of topics that have, either currently or in the past, been characterized as pseudoscience by academics or researchers. Detailed discussion of these topics may be found on their main pages. These characterizations were made in the context of educating the public about questionable or potentially fraudulent or dangerous claims and practices—efforts to define the nature of science, or humorous parodies of poor scientific reasoning. Criticism of pseudoscience, generally by the scientific community or skeptical organizations, involves critiques of the logical, methodological, or rhetorical bases of the topic in question. Though some of the listed topics continue to be investigated scientifically, others were only subject to scientific research in the past and today are considered refuted, but resurrected in a pseudoscientific fashion. Other ideas presented here are entirely non-scientific, but have in one way or another impinged on scientific domains or practices. Many adherents or practitioners of the topics listed here dispute their characterization as pseudoscience. Each section here summarizes the alleged pseudoscientific aspects of that topic.
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  • 14 Oct 2022
Topic Review
Thesis, Antithesis, Synthesis
In philosophy, the triad of thesis, antithesis, synthesis (German: These, Antithese, Synthese; originally: Thesis, Antithesis, Synthesis) is a progression of three ideas or propositions. The first idea, the thesis, is a formal statement illustrating a point; it is followed by the second idea, the antithesis, that contradicts or negates the first; and lastly, the third idea, the synthesis, resolves the conflict between the thesis and antithesis. It is often used to explain the dialectical method of German philosopher Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, but Hegel never used the terms himself; instead his triad was concrete, abstract, absolute. The thesis, antithesis, synthesis triad actually originated with Johann Fichte.
  • 29.3K
  • 31 Oct 2022
Topic Review
Luciferianism
Luciferianism is a belief system that venerates the essential characteristics that are affixed to Lucifer, the name of various mythological and religious figures associated with the planet Venus. The tradition, influenced by Gnosticism, usually reveres Lucifer not as the devil, but as a destroyer, a guardian, liberator, light bringer or guiding spirit to darkness, or even the true god as opposed to Jehovah.
  • 16.0K
  • 01 Dec 2022
Topic Review
Pharmakon
Pharmakon, in philosophy and critical theory, is a composite of three meanings: remedy, poison, and scapegoat. The first and second senses refer to the everyday meaning of pharmacology (and to its sub-field, toxicology), deriving from the Greek source term φάρμακον (phármakon), denoting any drug, while the third sense refers to the pharmakos ritual of human sacrifice. A further sub-sense of pharmakon as remedy which is of interest to some current authors is given by the Liddell-Scott-Jones Greek–English Lexicon as "a means of producing something". In recent philosophical work, the term centers on Jacques Derrida's "Plato's Pharmacy", and the notion that writing is a pharmakon. Whereas a straightforward view on Plato's treatment of writing (in Phaedrus) suggests that writing is to be rejected as strictly poisonous to the ability to think for oneself in dialogue with others (i.e. to anamnesis), Bernard Stiegler argues that "the hypomnesic appears as that which constitutes the condition of the anamnesic"—in other words, externalised time-bound communication is necessary for original creative thought, in part because it is the primordial support of culture. Michael Rinella has written a book-length review of the pharmakon within a historical context, with an emphasis on the relationship between pharmakoi in the standard drug sense and the philosophical understanding of the term. Adrian Mróz, a Polish-American philosopher and musician, analyses its application to art and argues that pharmakon is any physical, mental, or behavioral object which can cut (techne). In other words, pharmaka are agential and responsible for changes in consciousness.
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  • 07 Nov 2022
Topic Review
Tears in Rain Monologue
"Tears in rain" (also known as the "C-Beams Speech") is a monologue delivered by character Roy Batty (portrayed by Rutger Hauer) in the 1982 Ridley Scott film Blade Runner. Written by David Peoples and altered by Hauer from the scripted lines the night before filming, the monologue is frequently quoted; critic Mark Rowlands described it as "perhaps the most moving death soliloquy in cinematic history". The speech appears as the last track on the film's soundtrack album.
  • 10.7K
  • 03 Nov 2022
Topic Review
Genetically Modified Food Controversies
Genetically modified food controversies are disputes over the use of foods and other goods derived from genetically modified crops instead of conventional crops, and other uses of genetic engineering in food production. The disputes involve consumers, farmers, biotechnology companies, governmental regulators, non-governmental organizations, and scientists. The key areas of controversy related to genetically modified food (GM food or GMO food) are whether such food should be labeled, the role of government regulators, the objectivity of scientific research and publication, the effect of genetically modified crops on health and the environment, the effect on pesticide resistance, the impact of such crops for farmers, and the role of the crops in feeding the world population. In addition, products derived from GMO organisms play a role in the production of ethanol fuels and pharmaceuticals. Specific concerns include mixing of genetically modified and non-genetically modified products in the food supply, effects of GMOs on the environment, the rigor of the regulatory process, and consolidation of control of the food supply in companies that make and sell GMOs. Advocacy groups such as the Center for Food Safety, Organic Consumers Association, Union of Concerned Scientists, and Greenpeace say risks have not been adequately identified and managed, and they have questioned the objectivity of regulatory authorities. The safety assessment of genetically engineered food products by regulatory bodies starts with an evaluation of whether or not the food is substantially equivalent to non-genetically engineered counterparts that are already deemed fit for human consumption. No reports of ill effects have been documented in the human population from genetically modified food. There is a scientific consensus that currently available food derived from GM crops poses no greater risk to human health than conventional food, but that each GM food needs to be tested on a case-by-case basis before introduction. Nonetheless, members of the public are much less likely than scientists to perceive GM foods as safe. The legal and regulatory status of GM foods varies by country, with some nations banning or restricting them, and others permitting them with widely differing degrees of regulation.
  • 10.3K
  • 08 Oct 2022
Topic Review
Physical Law
A physical law or a law of physics is a statement "inferred from particular facts, applicable to a defined group or class of phenomena, and expressible by the statement that a particular phenomenon always occurs if certain conditions be present." Physical laws are typically conclusions based on repeated scientific experiments and observations over many years and which have become accepted universally within the scientific community. The production of a summary description of our environment in the form of such laws is a fundamental aim of science. These terms are not used the same way by all authors. The distinction between natural law in the political-legal sense and law of nature or physical law in the scientific sense is a modern one, both concepts being equally derived from physis, the Greek word (translated into Latin as natura) for nature.
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  • 01 Dec 2022
Topic Review
Functionalism Versus Intentionalism
Functionalism versus intentionalism is a historiographical debate about the origins of the Holocaust as well as most aspects of the Third Reich, such as foreign policy. The debate on the origins of the Holocaust centres on essentially two questions: The terms were coined in a 1981 essay by the British Marxist historian Timothy Mason. Notable functionalists have included Timothy Mason, Raul Hilberg, Karl Schleunes, Christopher Browning, Hans Mommsen, Martin Broszat, Götz Aly, Yehuda Bauer and Zygmunt Bauman. Notable intentionalists have included Gerald Fleming, Karl Dietrich Bracher, Andreas Hillgruber, Klaus Hildebrand, Eberhard Jäckel, Gerhard Weinberg, Walter Laqueur, Saul Friedländer, Richard Breitman, Lucy Dawidowicz and Daniel Jonah Goldhagen.
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  • 24 Nov 2022
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