The ReThink Blog

It is all too easy to get caught up in bias--to lose one's perspective--especially in the heated arenas of partisan politics and scientific debate. This blog does not pretend to be unbiased, but it is a place where difficult issues are stripped to their basics and presented as cleanly and with as much intellectual honesty as possible. This is a place where controversy is confronted from the ground up and minds are urged to stay open.
The Candidates 2016 and My Vote
And now we get down to brass tacks: who do I endorse, if anyone, to be the next President of the United States?

THE CANDIDATES 2016

The Candidates 2016: Preamble
This election year, it is harder than ever to ReThink on the candidates for president in an objective manner.
The Candidates 2016 and Science
Where do the presidential contenders stand on vaccines, evolution, GMOs, and climate change?
The Candidates 2016 and Domestic Policy
This week, we discuss education, healthcare, drug policy, and immigration.
The Candidates 2016 and the Economy
Each candidate has plans to improve America's economy. Which ones make the most sense?
The Candidates 2016 and Civil Rights
Which candidate has the best platform to preserve our civil liberties?
The Candidates 2016 and Energy
This week, we ReThink the approaches of Clinton, Johnson, Stein, and Trump on energy subsidies, nuclear power, fracking, and domestic oil and gas.
The Candidates 2016 and Foreign Policy
This week, we look at the different approaches the candidates take on America's interactions with the rest of the world.
The Candidates 2016 and My Vote
And now we get down to brass tacks: who do I endorse, if anyone, to be the next President of the United States?

LOGICAL FALLACIES IN POLITICS

Top 10 Logical Fallacies in Politics
Author E. Magill discusses the prevalence of logical fallacies in political thought.
5 More Logical Fallacies in Politics
It's time to continue the exploration of bad arguments in politics with five more logical fallacies ripped from political headlines.
5 Logical Fallacies from the Republican Debate
It's time to go over some more logical fallacies in politics, but this time they will all come from Republicans running for president.
5 Logical Fallacies from the Gun Debate
The shrill arguments about gun control that followed the Sandy Hook tragedy may be dying down a bit, but logical fallacies live forever.
5 More Logical Fallacies in Politics (2015)
Even in today's discussions of immigration, violence, and climate change, the presidential candidates are making major mistakes in basic reasoning.

THE PLANNED PARENTHOOD VIDEOS

You Don't Have to Be Pro-Life to Find the Planned Parenthood Videos Disturbing
Despite all efforts to make it seem otherwise, the Planned Parenthood videos are not a straightforward issue.
Rethinking the Planned Parenthood Videos
New videos from the Center for Medical Progress cause the Geek to rethink his prior assumptions.
Did Carly Fiorina Lie?
Presidential contender Carly Fiorina's description of a PP video is the source of much contention that completely misses the point.

RETHINKING GUN CONTROL

Rethinking Gun Control, Part 1: Statement of Intent
Before he cuts through the shrill politics to get at the facts, the Unapologetic Geek lays out his opinions on gun control.
Rethinking Gun Control, Part 2: The Second Amendment
Before we can talk about gun control, we have to talk about the meaning and relevance of the "right of the people to keep and bear Arms."
Rethinking Gun Control, Part 3: Looking for a Trend
Are gun-related deaths on the rise, or on the decline?
Rethinking Gun Control, Part 4: State Track Records
Can any conclusions be drawn by comparing state gun laws to their respective firearm mortality rates?
Rethinking Gun Control, Part 5: International Variations
What kind of comparisons can be made among different countries and their various approaches to gun control?
Rethinking Gun Control, Part 6: Spree Shootings
Even if firearm homicide rates appear relatively flat, many insist that so-called 'spree shootings' are on the rise.
Rethinking Gun Control, Part 7: Registration
When it comes to gun registries, two questions must be asked: are they effective, and do they threaten individual liberty?
Rethinking Gun Control, Part 8: Background Checks and Gun Show Loopholes
It's time to dive in-depth into the failed Toomey-Manchin proposal.
Rethinking Gun Control, Part 9: Conclusions
It's time to wrap up this extended look into the gun control debate.

THE CANDIDATES 2012

The Candidates and Science 2012
Where do the 2012 presidential candidates stand on scientific issues?
The Candidates and Domestic Policy 2012
Where do the 2012 presidential candidates stand on domestic issues?
The Candidates and the Economy 2012
Where do the 2012 presidential candidates stand on economic issues?
The Candidates and Civil Rights 2012
Where do the 2012 presidential candidates stand on civil rights issues?
The Candidates and Energy 2012
Where do the 2012 presidential candidates stand on energy issues?
The Candidates and Foreign Policy 2012
Where do the 2012 presidential candidates stand on foreign policy issues?
The Candidates and My Vote 2012
Which presidential candidate gets my vote in 2012?

RETHINKING ANTHROPOGENIC GLOBAL WARMING

Rethinking AGW, Part 1: Outline of Intent
It's time for me to take a fresh, serious, and intellectually honest look at anthropogenic global warming.
Rethinking AGW, Part 2: The BEST Data on Rising Temperatures
The first premise of anthropogenic global warming--that the average global temperature is on the rise--is put under scrutiny.
Rethinking AGW, Part 3: The Human Contribution
How much, exactly, does mankind contribute to greenhouse gas emissions?
Rethinking AGW, Part 4: Global Coping
How well does the Earth compensate for changes in atmospheric carbon dioxide levels?
Rethinking AGW, Part 5: Pascal's Wager
Is acting on AGW logical, even if it turns out to be fiction?
Rethinking AGW, Part 6: Publication Bias
We have to trust the research to take a stand on global warming, but acknowledging the bias and following the money reveals that we can't.
Rethinking AGW, Part 7: Questioning Authority
Are the NOAA, NASA, and the CRU worthy of our trust?
Rethinking AGW, Part 8: The IPCC
The IPCC is the most ambitious merger of science and politics ever attempted. Should a handful of errors ruin its reputation?
Rethinking AGW, Part 9: Loose Ends
In the final installment, I mop up some of the remaining arguments and make my determination about anthropogenic global warming.

THE CANDIDATES 2008

The Candidates 2008 and Science
Where do the 2008 presidential candidates stand on scientific issues?
The Candidates 2008 and Domestic Issues
Where do the 2008 presidential candidates stand on domestic issues?
The Candidates 2008 and the Economy
Where do the 2008 presidential candidates stand on economic issues?
The Candidates 2008 and Civil Rights
Where do the 2008 presidential candidates stand on civil rights issues?
The Candidates 2008 and Energy
Where do the 2008 presidential candidates stand on energy issues?
The Candidates 2008 and Foreign Policy
Where do the 2008 presidential candidates stand on foreign policy issues?
The Candidates 2008 and My Vote
So which 2008 presidential candidate gets the Unapologetic Geek's vote? Time to decide.

STAND-ALONE ARTICLES

4 Examples of White House Excess
That White House silver doesn't polish itself.
4 of the Biggest Unanswered Questions in Science
Author E. Magill discusses some of the big mysteries in science, one discipline at a time.
Are Airport Security Checkpoints Necessary?
Escalation is probably not the best solution to airport security measures. Maybe--just maybe--less is more.
Are Open Primaries Biased?
Perhaps yesterday's Super Tuesday elections can teach us something about the differences between open and closed processes.
Bill Maher is a Cancer on Modern Medicine
Author E. Magill discusses his father's recent cancer diagnosis and examines the depths of Bill Maher's insanity on the subject.
Book Review: Contested Will...
Did Shakespeare write Hamlet? Many prominent people are skeptical, but James Shapiro is skeptical of the skeptics.
Caffeine: What You Don't Know Can Kill You
Just how bad for you can caffeine really be?
Digital Transitions, Digital Transmissions, and SETI
Does the mandatory digital transition spell doom for the assumptions that built the Search for Extraterrestrial Life?
Do Children Enjoy Violent Cartoons?
A new study suggests that children don't like violence in their television programming. The ReThink Blog breaks it down.
Donald Trump vs. Conservatism
The party that purports to conserve the values and institutions of America is courting a presidential nominee who vows to upend them.
The Facts Behind MSG (Plus a Recipe for Chicken & Broccoli)
Author E. Magill discusses the common belief that MSG is bad for some people, and includes a recipe for take-out-style chicken and broccoli.
Healthcare as an Economics Problem
Understanding the difference between scarcity and shortage is an informative way to examine the healthcare debate.
How Did Fundraising Affect the Senate in 2012?
As an exploration of the influence money has on elections, let's compare campaign contributions to results in the latest Senatorial elections.
Jenny McCarthy Murders Children...
The anti-vaccination movement, personified by advocate Jenny McCarthy, is unrepentantly responsible for the deaths of children.
The LHC: God is Shrinking
As the Large Hadron Collider increases our knowledge of the universe, is God getting smaller or are we just getting closer to him?
Lightbulbs and Liberty: CFLs vs Incandescents
Why are we letting the government take away our right to choose our lightbulbs?
Michael Dowling's IQ is Irrelevant
Michael Dowling is a celebrity because of his 170 IQ, but is IQ really worth anything?
The Missouri Ballot 2014
The Geek takes a look at his local ballot for the upcoming 2014 midterm elections.
Modern Witch-Hunts: When Skeptics Become "Deniers"
Skepticism is a virtue, but when even skeptics start throwing insults, have politics gone too far?
On Willpower
Is there a scientific basis for the concept of willpower?
The Pennsylvania Ballot 2010
The Geek uses his controversial 'trust-the-candidates' approach to examine next week's ballot in his district of Pennsylvania.
The Pennsylvania Ballot 2012
The presidency isn't the only important race worth investigating.
Quantum Mechanics 101: Entanglement
A new experiment could test the limits and possibilities of quantum entanglement, but what is quantum entanglement and why should we care?
The Science of Spoilers
A new study suggests that people tend to enjoy stories more when they already know the outcome. In our current spoiler-obsessed climate, can this possibly be true?
Season's Greetings
Shouldn't it be possible to wish people well this time of year without offending someone?
A Skeptic's Take on Alice: Madness Returns
Alice being the victim of repressed memories makes for a great video game, but can memories really be repressed?
A Skeptic's Take on Limitless
In this installment of A Skeptic's Take, the notion that we only use a small percentage of our brain power is put under scrutiny.
Unnecessary Complications
The Geek gets into the reasoning behind daylight saving time and wonders if it's necessary in the modern world, given the side effects it creates.
Vaccines and Autism
Is there a connection between vaccines and autism?
Wake Up, It's the Future!
There are plans in place for the future of space exploration that will blow your mind.
We're All Doomed: The Internet is Alive (Maybe)
Science says the brain is more like the Internet than previously thought, which means we're all screwed.
What if the Birthers are Right?
The Unapologetic Geek takes on an insane thought experiment, assuming the apocalypse is upon us because the president wasn't born in the USA.
The White House's White Paper Looks Awfully Red to Me
Our government is justifying the murder of its own citizens by asserting authority it simply cannot have.
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