Philosophy professor James Sterba revives a very old argument. by Derek Beres In his book, Is a Good God Logically Possible?, James Sterba investigates the role of evil. Sterba contends that if God is all-powerful then he’d be able to stop evil from occurring in the world. God’s inability (or unwillingness) to stop evil should make us question his role, or even his existence. Why does God allow evil to happen? This question has been at the heart of Western religious philosophy since the dawn of monotheism. The very term and concept of God has long divided humans. Is he the … Continue reading What are the chances that God is actually good?
The quality-adjusted life year (QALY) seeks to determine the value of health care treatments. Some patients are wary. BY LOLA BUTCHER AUSTIN WAS three years old and Max was a newborn when their mother, Jenn McNary, learned they had a rare genetic condition called Duchenne muscular dystrophy. The doctor painted a grim picture: Her boys would stop walking by age 12 or 13 and, shortly thereafter, they would require nighttime ventilation. They would each need a tracheotomy, a feeding tube, or both by their late teens. Death would come a few years later. It hasn’t worked out that way, thanks to two new … Continue reading Is the Medication You’re Taking Worth Its Price?
WAKE UP! By a scientist. You’re reading this with a cup of coffee in your hand, aren’t you? Coffee is the most popular drink in many parts of the world. Americans drink more coffee than soda, juice, and tea — combined. SUBMITHow popular is coffee? When news first broke that Prince Harry and Meghan were considering Canada as their new home, Canadian coffee giant Tim Hortons offered free coffee for life as an extra enticement. Given coffee’s popularity, it’s surprising how much confusion surrounds how this hot, dark, nectar of the gods affects our biology. COFFEE’S INGREDIENTS The main biologically active ingredients … Continue reading THE POWER OF COFFEE
LAETIZIA HAESSIG/EYEEM/GETTY IMAGES By JENNA BIRCH “I don’t like my daughter’s boyfriend. With a storied history of dating tons of toxic manipulators when I was around her age (24), I think she’s falling for someone who’s going to break her heart. He’s dripping in red flags—disappearing for entire weekends without a word, showing little regard for meeting her friends or family and always contacting her at the last minute to spend time together. But this is her first real ‘love.’ How do I express my concerns about her boyfriend while also being supportive of her?” First off, props to you for … Continue reading He’s My Daughter’s ‘First Love,’ but I Think He’s Toxic. What Should I Do?
BY JOELLE RENSTRO Research suggests that if the desire for a phone builds in infancy, it can become second nature. The Environmental Protection Agency first warned of secondhand smoke in 1991, some 30 years after scientists determined that smoking cigarettes causes cancer. Today, a growing body of research points toward a new indirect health hazard. Just as frequently being around other people while they smoke can cause cancer, heart disease, lung disease, and other ailments, what I call “secondhand screen time” could be endangering children. By not limiting their own phone use, parents and other caregivers may be unwittingly setting kids up to be addicted to screens. AN ADDICTION … Continue reading Secondhand screen time may be just as dangerous as secondhand smoking
“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” —Martin Luther King, Jr. “If I cannot do great things, I can do small things in a great way.” —ibid. A child who dreamed of being a superhero grows up to find himself powerless in a nation marching from one war to the next. By Taylor Plimpton When I was a little kid, I wanted to be Superman. There are photos of me, maybe three years old: I am wearing a red cape and tights, and the “S” is on my chest. It is a serious business, … Continue reading Me, I Am No Savior
Are we part of a dying reality or a blip in eternity? The value of the Hubble Constant could tell us which terror awaits Corey S Powell is a science editor and journalist. He has been editor at Discover, Scientific American and Aeon. He is the author of God in the Equation (2003), and co-authored Undeniable (2014), Unstoppable (2016) and Everything All at Once (2017) with Bill Nye, with whom he also makes the Science Rules! podcast. He lives in Brooklyn, New York. Edited by Pam Weintraub What determines our fate? To the Stoic Greek philosophers, fate is the external product of divine will, ‘the thread of your destiny’. To transcendentalists such … Continue reading Fate of the Universe
Facing a future of fire, drought, and rising oceans, Australians will have to weigh the choice between getting out early or staying to fight. by BIANCA NOGRADY When tiny flakes of white ash started falling like warm snow from a sky sullen with smoke, we left. We had lived for weeks with the threat of two huge bushfires hanging over our small Australian town, advancing inexorably toward us from the north and the south. My hometown of Blackheath, perched at the top of the Blue Mountains, surrounded by stunning but drought-parched Australian wilderness, was in the center of this flaming … Continue reading How Long Will Australia Be Livable?
The fires in Australia are a case study in the realities of climate change. by Christine Kenneally Writer based in Australia I met Claire Yeo, a fire meteorologist at Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology, more than 10 years ago when I covered the Black Saturday bushfires in Victoria, Australia’s southeastern mainland state. The February 2009 fires were the most destructive and deadly the country had seen—shocking even to Yeo. At the time, she thought those fires would be a defining—and singular—event in her career. Since then, global temperatures have steadily increased and the continent has become drier, leading Yeo to worry about … Continue reading When Fire Weather Becomes the Norm
A new study uses the famous trolley problem to show how our culture shapes our moral beliefs. By Sigal Samuel This story is part of a group of stories called Finding the best ways to do good. Who’s more likely to throw you in front of a runaway trolley in order to save a bunch of people’s lives — someone from America or someone from China? That might sound like a bizarre question, but psychologists and philosophers are interested in it because it helps us get at an underlying question: To what extent does our cultural context shape our morality? We … Continue reading Is it okay to sacrifice one person to save many? How you answer depends on where you’re from.