This week in rbutr… 9 June 2014

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Note: The articles on the right (below) critique the articles on the left, but that does NOT mean the articles on the left are necessarily incorrect, or that the articles on the right are necessarily correct. rbutr just shows the discussion; we don’t tell you what to think.
Source Articles Response Articles
Society
Richard Dawkins and fairy tales. What’s the deal?
ReligionMysticismBelief
Reading fairy stories to children is harmful, says Richard Dawkins – telegraph.co.uk You can call me a big bad wolf but not a bore, says Richard Dawkins – theguardian.com
Speaking at a festival, Richard Dawkins has warned that reading fairy tales to children is harmful because it instils a false belief in the supernatural. In an interview with the Guardian, Dawkins denies ever condemning fairy tales and in fact thinks they can be wonderful for stretching the imagination of children and helping them learn to deal with fantasy as fiction.
Rape Culture, Violence against women, and Crime stats…
FeminismRape CultureCriminology
A Gentlemen’s Guide To Rape Culture – medium.com Social Narratives vs. Reality – camelaw.wordpress.com
Men are the primary agents and sustainers of rape culture.. Men commit 99% of reported rapes. Women are constantly assessing their safety and planning their lives around the fear of being violently assaulted, unlike men. The Bureau of Justice Statistics (US) show us that men are in fact more likely to be victims of these crimes. 29.1 men per 1000 vs 23.3 women per 1000 are victims of violent crime.
Does gender bias affect how we react to Hurricanes?
HurricanesEnvironmentGender
Female-named hurricanes kill more than male hurricanes because people don’t respect them, study finds – washingtonpost.com Why Have Female Hurricanes Killed More People Than Male Ones? – nationalgeographic.com
A study in PNAS has found that people don’t take hurricanes as seriously if they have a feminine name, and as a result more people die in those hurricanes. The analysis of the data raises some questions which need to be considered. +1
Economics
With significant economic growth, poverty remains the same. But is that simply a consequence of how the US measures poverty?
EconomicsPovertyPolitics
Growth Has Been Good for Decades. So Why Hasn’t Poverty Declined? – nytimes.com Raising America’s Pay; Might Someone Hit The EPI With A Cluebat Please – forbes.com
The idea that economic growth is the best way to fight poverty hasn’t held true over the last 40 years, with growth of over 147% per capita, but poverty staying at 12-15% the whole time. If you want to address poverty in the US, you also have to devise strategies that make the benefits of a stronger economy show up in the wages of the people on the edge of poverty. The US, unlike other countries, has an absolute measure of poverty rather than a relative measure. The US also doesn’t include government support in their measurement, so the measure of poverty being referenced in the EPI article is a measure of those who would be in poverty if the government didn’t help them.
People are angry at Amazon for refusing orders for books from Hachette, but do they know the full story?
PublishingBusiness
Authors Angered Over Amazon’s Dispute With Publisher Hachette – npr.org Another Explanation for the Hachette Delays – hughhowey.com
Amazon isn’t shipping books from the publisher Hachette, and people are getting angry. Amazon has stopped pre-ordering stock in order to provide on-time delivery, pushing the shipping burden back on Hachette. In other words, it is Hachette that is failing to deliver the books, not Amazon.
Education
Slavoj Žižek, a famous and eminent Philosopher, seems to create some controversy…
PhilosophyAcademiaEducation
Please Stop Worshipping the Superstar Professor Who Calls Students “Boring Idiots” – slate.com Please stop bashing the superstar professor without engaging his work: a reply to Rebecca Schuman – simongros.com
Slavoj Žižek is one of the most famous and eminent philosophers alive and working today, but he is dismissive of his students in an incredibly harmful way, and people need to stop accepting that. This article is another attempt to undermine Zizek’s work by minimsing him as a person by referring to him as a ‘rockstar’ and taking jokes out of context.
Health
Fasting study shows amazing potential, but how much can we trust it when the study was on 10 people?
FastingHealthImmunity
Fasting for three days can regenerate entire immune system, study finds – telegraph.com Fasting, Cancer, and Sensationalism – rationalityunleashed.net
A new study shows that fasting “flips a regenerative switch” which prompts stem cells to regenerate your immune system. The Telegraph make some pretty sensational claims that go beyond the data of the study that they refer to. The study had a tiny sample of 10 people and no controls.
The debate about sugar continues to rage…. Should we consider sugar to be toxic? Which forms of sugar are better for you?
is sugar toxic?
rbutr
This week in rbutr, issue #3

With our third issue, it is becoming clearer to us that we will need to run this twice a week. There are simply too many great topical discussions happening each week to send out only one email. So we’re going to look at sending out an email each Monday and Thursday (or thereabouts). This way we can keep getting the interesting discussions to you faster, rather than sometimes as much as a week after we get them!

We would like to thank the rbutr members who made this edition possible by finding and submitting these great disputes: Trin, Craig, kungfujoe, OptimalCynic, tscanlon, and Rationalityunle. Join them by submitting high quality rebuttals.

Also…anyone got any good ideas on what to call this email? “The best of rbutr” and “this week in rbutr” are the best I have come up with, but the ‘week’ reference won’t work if we post more regularly than once per week, and both names really miss what we are trying to do here: Show you the most interesting discussions taking place on the internet over the last few days. “great discussions on the internet over the last few days” just doesn’t have the same ring to it…

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