Things Glen Found Interesting, Volume 50

On Fridays I share articles/resources about broad cultural, societal and theological issues. Be sure to see the explanation and disclaimers at the bottom.

  1. What are the most-cited publications in the social sciences (according to Google Scholar)? (Elliot Green, London School of Economics Impact Blog): I am familiar with many of them, but some I have never even heard of. Apparently I am less well-read than I thought.
  2. The False Promise of DNA Testing (Matthew Shaer, The Atlantic): DNA testing exonerates some but falsely implicates others.
  3. Good Citizenship as Barack Obama and Clarence Thomas See It (Conor Friedersdorf, The Atlantic): “There are real divergences in the ways that Obama and Thomas view citizenship, but their approaches are more complementary than contradictory. Taken together, their advice encompasses the personal and the political, affording a better portrait of the whole citizen than either offers in isolation.”
  4. The culture wars play out in the most fascinating ways:
    • Media Want To Make Sure You Never Hear About The Little Sisters of the Poor (Mollie Hemingway, The Federalist): “A case of “Little Sisters of the Poor” vs. “Powerful Men in Government” is a gift from the editorial gods…. If any Republican president went to war against a group called Little Sisters of the Poor, that editorial gift would be unwrapped on every front page of every newspaper in the land.” (additional commentary at GetReligion)
    • Related: Professor Michael McConnell on Zubik v. Burwell (Michael McConnell, Volokh Conspiracy): “the decision was basically a quiet, face-saving, non-precedent-setting defeat for the government.”
    • How The Fight Over Transgender Kids Got A Leading Sex Researcher Fired (Jesse Singal, NY Mag): this is a very long piece which I found utterly fascinating. It shows that for some people 90% agreement is not enough: “And if you look closely at what really happened — if you read the review (which CAMH has now pulled off of its website), speak with the activists who effectively wrote large swaths of it, examine the scientific evidence, and talk to former GIC clinicians and the parents of patients they worked with, it’s hard not to come to an uncomfortable, politically incorrect conclusion: Zucker’s defenders are right. This was a show trial.”
    • Yes, my sexuality is a choice: Why I reject the “born this way” narrative (Marcie Bianco, Salon):  “The progressive move away from identity categories negates the need for the normative, ‘born this way’ narrative that has been used to socially validate them…. if sexuality is socially constructed and expressed through culture, then there is no norm, nor is there deviance.”
    • State-Mandated Mourning for Aborted Fetuses (Emma Green, The Atlantic): I am somewhat baffled that this story doesn’t mention the Center for Medical Progress videos from last year. There is clearly a relationship.
  5. Quick Links:

Why Do You Send This Email?

In the time of King David, the tribe of Issachar produced shrewd warriors “who understood the times and knew what Israel should do” (1 Chron 12:32). In a similar way, we need to become wise people whose faith interacts with the world. I pray this email gives you greater insight, so that you may continue the tradition of Issachar.


Chi Alpha is not a partisan organization. To paraphrase another minister: we are not about the donkey’s agenda and we are not about the elephant’s agenda — we are about the Lamb’s agenda. Having said that, I read widely (in part because I believe we should aspire to pass the ideological Turing test and in part because I do not believe I can fairly say “I agree” or “I disagree” until I can say “I understand”) and may at times share articles that have a strong partisan bias simply because I find the article stimulating. The upshot: you should not assume I agree with everything an author says in an article I mention, much less things the author has said in other articles (although if I strongly disagree with something in the article I’ll usually mention it).

Also, remember that I’m not reporting news — I’m giving you a selection of things I found interesting. There’s a lot happening in the world that’s not making an appearance here because I haven’t found stimulating articles written about it.

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